Who Am I to Complain?

[From Bo Sanchez‘s Blog]

“At The Exact Time I Was Complaining, God Was At Work…”

Let me tell you a fascinating story.

Lizette shared this beautiful story to me this morning and I just knew in my heart that I had to share it to you.

Nick and Lizette are my great friends. Lizette is helping me in Catholic Filipino Academy, where we help parents teach their kids at home. (In case you’re interested in our work, visit http://www.catholicfilipinoacademy.com/) Her husband Nick got a job offer in Canada and has applied for a work permit. (Yes, in a few months, I’ll be losing Lizette from my team as she’ll be joining her husband in Toronto.)

This is what happened. Nick went through the required medical exams for his work permit. After a few days, the doctor called up to tell him that he discovered a mass in Nick’s x-rays. Very much alarmed, he asked Nick to go through a CT scan. “It could be a possible aortic aneurysm which would require immediate surgery,” the doctor told him.

Nick however wasn’t disturbed. “Doc, that mass that you saw may just be my 3rd  kidney.” It was a harmless condition his doctor in Manila discovered many years ago. He learned that it occurs to one in two million people.

Still, the doctor asked him to go through a CT scan.

But here was Nick’s problem: The CT scan costs $1,100. Being in Canada without a work permit yet, he was basically broke.

And when Lizette heard the news, she was totally distraught. She complained to God. “Lord, why are you doing this to us? How are we going to pay for this?” she cried out to God in despair.

But at the exact time she was complaining, God was orchestrating His beautiful work. At that time, Nick was attending a Men’s Retreat in Canada. With him were thirty-two men, leaders from five different prayer groups of migrant Canadians of mixed nationalities—Latinos, Indians and Filipinos.

Deep inside, Nick felt a nudge from God, telling him, “My son, share your problem to your small group leader”. Obviously, Nick was feeling ashamed because the last thing he wanted to do was to be a burden to people he hardly knew. He also feared rejection and embarrassment. Again he felt the Lord saying, “Trust these men…they are sons of mine. They will care for you.” Unsure if it was the Lord who was speaking, he kept his problem to himself while asking the Lord to give him a sign.

But after one of the sessions, the audience was broken up into small groups. And the “small group discussion starter” flashed on the screen floored Nick completely. It said, “If you need $1000, who are your friends who would help you?” 

The words hit Nick like a bolt of lighting from Heaven. Yes, God wanted him to share! At that point, Nick began to cry as he felt God was his “small group leader” telling him, “Don’t worry, I will take care of your needs.”

So Nick shared his story to his small group of guys. And immediately, the small group leader told him, “Share it to the whole group.” Again, he felt so ashamed, but the leader insisted, and so he shared.

The response was spontaneous. A basket was passed and the men dropped in $10, $20, $50… One man gave $200. And one group of men gave $750.

On that day, $1,500 was collected for Nick, much more than what he needed.

Nick was so overwhelmed by the love of the men around him. And by the love of God through them. God used Nick’s problem to turn 32 strangers into brothers that are sincerely willing to love and help each other.

One man in that group even told Nick, “In case the doctor finds out you need surgery, please tell me. I’m a banker. I’ll guarantee your loan.”

Back home in Manila, his wife Lizette heard the good news, and began to cry again. This time, tears of joy… and shame. “Bo, I was so ashamed,” she told me, “Because at the precise moment that I was complaining, God was already meeting our needs.”

Today, Nick already had his CT scan, and true enough, the questionable mass was his third kidney. As I write this piece, his medical results are now being processed at the immigration office and very soon, Nick will receive his work permit.

I know Nick and his abilities. Aside from an IT job already waiting for him, he’s also forming a medical tourism business. I know Nick will prosper in no time.

But the humbling experience of being on the “receiving” end will forever be etched in his heart. And very soon, Nick will find himself in the “giving” end also, helping those who will be in the same situation he was in

I know. Many years ago, when I was poorer than a rat, I remember receiving money from generous people. “Here’s for your transpo,” someone would slip P100 in my pocket. Another person would shake my hand with an envelope, saying, “This isn’t for your ministry, Bo. This is for you—for whatever you need.” I open the envelope and see P10,000. I still cry as I remember these stories of love.

Today, God has blessed me with “sidelines” that provide for my personal needs. And yes, I’m on the “giving” end of the stick now. And what joy it is to share blessings.

I told Lizette that God doesn’t mind our complaining. There’s nothing to be ashamed about.

He loves us, all of us—with our tears, our worries, and our doubts included.

And all our imperfections won’t stop Him from blessing us.

Behind the scenes, He orchestrates His beautiful work in us.