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Living in the Shadow of the Past

Posted by Bill , 19 April 2013 · 1192 views

The Setting: A squatter’s ghetto in the middle of Manila, home to 25 million people. My wife and I are visiting the family of Mariana who died of an asthma attach last Friday. She has 8 children; the youngest is 2 months old. They all live in one room on the second level of a short dwelling cobbled together from repurposed wood and tin.

The Smell: We sit next to a small open fire with rice cooking on it, the aroma of burning rice that has overflowed into the fire fills the air. The humid scent of a shallow trench filled with a slowly moving mass of fetid grey water adds to the attack on our senses.

The Sound: A conversation close to us discusses how the funeral will be paid for, who will take care of the children, how the baby will survive without the mother feeding her and of the husband who will live his life out in prison. Ambient background sounds of neighbors surviving the day fill the evening as darkness begins.

The Shadow of the Past: Mariana had a history of prison time, the result her illegal drug addiction. This was the third generation to live and die in this shadow of darkness and fatalistic belief. There was no love, no hope, and no future.

The Shadow of the Savior: Love - someone visited her in jail and shared the Gospel, Hope - someone with the hands of Christ helped train and mentor her for a better life, Future – someone pointed her forward to the cross of Christ and the gateway to eternal life with Him.

The Present: A squatter’s ghetto in the middle of Manila where God is at work and one life at a time is being unshackled from the shadow of the
past. Victory came in the present with a better life for her family, a better life that will continue even though she is gone from the ghetto. Those that visited her in prison, those that helped train and mentor her, those that pointed her to the cross are still present and will help release these other prisoners from their shadows of the past through the Holy Spirit. One of these is Mariana’s son, who is in in school and being mentored by those saints who are still present.

The Lesson: Mariana lived and died with a future. A present reality and future view of love and hope, the gift of God through Jesus. She did not have to suffer in the shadow of the past, cursed by a life that pointed to a history dominated by the only the things seen. This was a life set free from the shadow of the past, redeemed for all time as a daughter of the king.

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Kris Rickert
Apr 22 2013 07:11 AM
Having been there I can actually smell and feel the situation. Thankfully, our Savior has paid the price of Salvation for the masses of people. Here are a few pictures to provide visuals to your wonderful description.
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