Our God Who Is Faithful
Happy New Year, everyone! 2021 may have been a tough year for many of us as grief, loss, sickness, and death lodged themselves as realities. However, 2021 was also one where I believe God showed us an aspect of His remarkable grace—the grace that enables us to continue living and breathing despite the worst of news. We can embrace the truth that God is STILL faithful; that He is still good.
It is grace to choose HOPE in our lives because our God is a God of hope, and the Bible says in Romans 5:5 that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” So as long as God is with us, there will always be hope! It cannot be snuffed out. HE cannot be snuffed out!
Moreover, God has a habit of turning tragedy into beauty. When I think about the Book of Ruth, we see much grief in the opening chapter. We are told of a famine that hit Bethlehem and because of this, a woman named Naomi moved to Moab. We read that her husband dies, and later on, her two sons die. She then decides to relocate back to Bethlehem with one of her daughters-in-law, Ruth. When the women of Bethlehem see Naomi again, she says, “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me” (Ruth 1:20-21).
Perhaps we feel like Naomi this 2022. Do we? Perhaps we think that God Himself has thrown a curve ball of doom! But has He, really?
When God Intervenes
If we look carefully at the story of Ruth, we find that God was never Naomi’s enemy. In fact, God intervened and brought HOPE into the lives of both Naomi and Ruth by raising a kinsman redeemer to save them both from poverty and a barren line.
Ruth marries the wealthy Boaz, and a son is born who would later become the grandfather of King David, the mighty king of Israel and ancestor in the biological lineage of Jesus Christ. We find Naomi, who once wept in bitter tears, revived in her hope and caring for little Obed. The family is saved!
I want us to remember that no matter how dark 2021 was, we have a Redeemer in Christ. He not only saved us or redeemed us from sin, but He is also our redeemer when life’s difficulties strike. We may not understand why things happen the way they do, or why problems slam us with such ferocity, but we can pray and cling to a God whose grace is sufficient. We can turn to our Kinsman Redeemer and ask Him to intervene; to redeem lost time, to piece together broken dreams, and to renew shattered strength. He is still faithful. He is still good. He knows how to turn our tragedies into beautiful stories of hope.
The question is: Dare we to trust Him? Dare we trust His heart?
What’s Up Ahead in One Voice Magazine
This 2022, One Voice Magazine will undergo several transitions. In fact, we are currently studying how to best strengthen our operating systems, so for the time being, we will temporarily suspend our radio broadcasts. However, we will be having more videos like the Spoonful of Manna features and video testimonies on our feed. We are also doing steps to strengthen our other social media channels.
In this season, we are also going to put more emphasis on our written articles, both English and Filipino. Therefore, if you have a testimony to share that you know can stir people to hope in the Lord, please send it to us! Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and our associate editor, Amber, will reach out to you.
Continuing the Theme of Home
This first trimester of 2022 will be a continuation of 2021’s last trimester’s theme on HOME. Home happens to be such a big topic. We merely dipped our fingers in it last year! I believe this theme is worth revisiting and submerging ourselves into for another four months.
Also, expect to see our video features about Mindanao soon. If you are following us on Facebook, you would know that One Voice Magazine was able to do a mission trip last trimester with the young people of Revival Generation in North Cotabato. We are finishing up our artistic output from this trip; output that is both written and visual. So sit tight and pray for us as we develop our stories! The Philippines, our homeland, is truly beautiful and is worth fighting for. It excites us that we have a chance to share the stories of our countrymen, especially those from the tribes.
Because of the destruction brought by Typhoon Odette, One Voice Magazine continues its initiative, “Tabang Para sa Bayan,” this January. We are gathering both GCash and goods—food and water—for the most affected areas of Mindanao and Visayas.
On the poster, you’ll be able to see details such as the phone number for GCash donations and who to call/text/email for the delivery of goods. I encourage everyone reading this to love our country, our homeland, and to help our kababayans rebuild their lives.
It is my hope that this year, 2022, we will find strength to dream and hope again. Life is worth living despite its challenges! We have our Father in Heaven who will never leave us and who loves us dearly. We are part of His beloved family, His sons and daughters, so let’s take our place and dive into the greatest story of HOPE that is unfolding before our eyes: the story of Jesus in our generation.
One with you in this journey called life,
Janina Marie Rivera
Janina Marie Rivera is the author of the book, A Night Bird Sings of Blindness and Fear and has co-authored the devotional, Dawns, published by OMF Literature. She is a contributing poet in the books Joyful Light and Whitmanthology: on Loss and Grief by Various Authors. She is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine.