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My new email pal sent me this interesting information the other day: The World Survey Values ranked the Philippines as top among Asia and 6th in the list of the happiest nations in the world. Being in the military service, he asked an American colleague who participated in the Balikatan what was so special about the Philippines. “Filipinos always have a smiling face in spite of whatever calamity or problems they face,” said the US pilot. It is, to him, what makes our country worth coming back to.It’s not the first time that I’ve heard a comment like this from a foreign observer. It seems like when God created the Philippines, He especially imbued its people with an extra dose of hope and optimism. And I think it is this sense of hope (and our own brand of humor) that will help us overcome the challenges that lie ahead for our nation.Some nights ago, I was chatting with a friend on the net, and I noticed all I ever said to him in that 2-hour-long conversation was: “I am sooo haaappeeee!!! Ang galing talaga ni God (God is so great)!!!” My friends tell me that I say these two sentences so often, I should have them patented. From the outside looking in, everything may seem to be coming up roses for me. But if you really, really knew me, you would know that I have been going through some pretty tough challenges—things too complicated to mention in this blog. Frustration, disappointment, rejection, heart ache, betrayal. . . .Name it. I’ve experienced it on all fronts—over & over.A close friend’s comment sums it up pretty well: “Parang kinakaladkad mo ang sarili mo sa bubog. (It looks to me like you are dragging yourself through a carpet of glass shards)” My prayer partner and college friend who pretty much know the details of the trials that I have been facing over the past few years tell me that my life reads like a soap opera and they can’t wait to hear what’s going to happen in the next chapter. Ok, let’s me see, I’m now in episode 47.Spring!1


There were times when I kidded God, “Lord, when will this long-winding telenobela (soap opera) have a happy ending?” One day it struck me that God may just be giving me some material for that grand manuscript that I’ve been meaning to write.

So why I do profess to be so happy still? Let me tell you that I am not a naturally happy person. I even had depressive tendencies when I was younger. I will also not tell you that it is because I’ve mastered my emotions and learned to think positively, because the happiness that I am enjoying right now is not something I’ve worked at. It is a natural outgrowth of my relationship with God.

I am happy because. . .

I know that God does not waste His trials on people. A lady sage once told me that I am like a diamond in the rough and that after God is done with me I will be revealing many of His facets to the world. Now for a diamond to shine bright, it has to undergo a rigorous process of being cut, shaped and polished. The process can be very painful, but the results are worth it. I’d like to believe that I will one day become an exquisite diamond, if I allow myself to submit to the process today.

I know that no matter what happens, I have a great future in God. A friend who is also undergoing a dark period in her own life told me, “I am tired of believing in God. He will have to prove Himself to me by answering my prayers, before I believe.” Sad to say, this is a common misconception that people have. The world says, “to see is to believe.” But God says, “to believe (Me) is to see.” Without faith, the Bible says, it is impossible to receive any thing from God. I believe I have a great future, not because I already see it, but because I know that the God in whom I trust is loving, faithful and trustworthy. Since He already gave His very life for me, wouldn’t He also give me the best things in life at the proper time?

In all this, God has given me the choice to love and forgive. I am not perfect and the people around me are also not perfect. What a liberating thought! Really now! It is foolish to demand perfection from anyone, much less from one’s self. When people hurt me, whether intentionally or unintentionally, I can choose either to love or hate, to be bitter or to forgive. I have experienced that healing comes when I choose to love as God loves, to forgive as He forgives, even when the people involved do not deserve it. At the same, I am also learning to apply that same love and forgiveness to myself. (Oh! How hard I can sometimes be on myself.)

I have learned not to base my happiness on other people or my circumstances. No man can ever make me completely happy. What a burden it is we put on another person! No wonder broken marriages and relationships abound! There is a void in my heart that no man, nor any earthly pleasure can ever satisfy. It is something only God can completely fill. The result of this in-filling is what the saints call joy. The great thing about joy is it is not dependent on circumstances. Everything may be going wrong in my life, but I can still be joyful because I know that in the end God will work things out for my good.

No matter what is going on in my life, I can choose to make other people’s lives better. When you are going through something painful, you realize what’s truly most important in life. For me, that is my being a blessing to other people. When I make this a priority in my life, God answers me in so many marvelous ways. Yesterday, I met up with my new friend S who will be leaving for India today. S has been depressed for 6 months and has for a long time been dependent on sleeping pills. Having had encountered the same problem in the past, I counseled her and prayed for her one night in my car. S’s father personally thanked me yesterday for helping her daughter, saying that I was “God-sent.” I wanted to tell him that it’d his daughter who’s a godsend because as I was counseling her, God also did some healing in my own heart and confirmed in me in so many ways what I am meant to become.

And so, I know I have every reason to be “happeee!!!” . . .

Talking about being Hapee. . .
“You must be very wealthy. How much do you think are you worth right now?” Boy Abunda asked Hapee Toothpaste owner Cecilio Pedro.

“I don’t evaluate myself according to the amount of money I make. I evaluate myself based on the service that I render to the community and the ministry that I do to the Lord. Because at the end of the day, that’s how I am going to be evaluated by my Creator,” Pedro replied.

And that to me is another secret to being truly “happee!!!”

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  1. hehehe…so you did quote me…remember, i charge by the line…good thing your credit is always good with me…BE HAPEE, Jenny!!!

  2. With God and friends like you around, I will. I most certainly will. Super thanks for always hearing me out!

  3. hi jennifer!

    i can’t help but comment on this because this is exactly the way i feel right now 🙂 everything you wrote here about why you’re happy applies to me!

    GOD is at work! He never rests 🙂

    -Gail 🙂

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