When Tragedy Strikes

October 3, 2009

There are questions that are hard to answer.

In the wake of the recent calamity many people are asking questions.

  1. Why did the calamity occur?
  2. Who is responsible for this?
  3. Why does this have to happen to me at a time like this?
  4. Where is God in all of these?
  5. Why do I feel so angry?
  6. Is this the end times?
  7. Is God judging our country?
  8. What will happen to me now?
  9. Will I still be able to recover?

Tragedies are real. And the people who are affected by tragedies are not just statistics. They are real people. In any tragedy the tears are real and so the worst thing to do is to pretend it’s not that bad. Whether it is a personal tragedy or a calamity that hits a family, a city or even a country, the hurts and the pains are real and we need to understand some principles behind it.


In this world there will be trouble.

Suffering and pain are real. No one is spared from trouble.

Climate change, ecological disasters, wars and rumors of wars are mostly caused by man’s sinfulness. There is a saying that goes: “Old man start wars and send the young ones to die in them.” And then there are the natural calamities. I remember the tsunami, the earthquakes that killed a lot more people in Indonesia while Manila was under water. There will be trouble in this world. It is part of life and existence in this planet.


The recent calamity has produced heroes. I think of the soldiers who gave up their lives in saving others. I think of this movie actor who saved his neighbors. I think of the countless young people who offered their time and labor helping out with packing relief goods. I think of the many private companies and individuals who did not hesitate in donating money and goods and many of them did so anonymously.

Buy tragedy also reveals sinfulness, greed and selfishness.

I think of the local official who used a rubber raft in saving his family and himself alone without taking anybody else with him when there was more than enough room to accommodate others in the raft.

I think of the local officials who withheld the giving of the relief goods because they were waiting for media coverage. I think of this executive who drowned and later on with the body recovered revealing his ring and Rolex missing.

Crisis does not create character. It simply reveals it.


God is sovereign. He is still in control. But we need to learn lessons from the calamity to enable us to improve our current situation. We should not allow the recent tragedy to leave without a purpose. There are so many lessons to be learned from this.

Calamity preparation. Zoning. Safety and precautionary measures, etc. If we did not learn from this recent calamity, then the tragedy did not serve its purpose.

I cancelled all of my talks and seminars this week, got my kids with me and helped out in a relief operations center. I encourage you to do the same. This is the best time to teach our children to think beyond themselves and discover the reality that we are a part of the community.

Give what we can give. And serve while we can serve.

Go to the nearest evacuation center. Donate goods or money. Just help.

And then there is talk that there will be stronger typhoons to come.

When logic and reason stay totally helpless in situations like this, the best think you and I can do is to pray. I thought through this the other day. And I posted this thought on my Facebook page (got a tremendous amount of response all over the world):

The flood waters have not yet subsided and a stronger storm is headed our way. In times like these, when logic and reason does not work, prayer does! Speakers like me can encourage people to stay strong in the midst of the storm. Scientists can provide helpful info on how to act during a storm but only Jesus can still the storm.”

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Alf

    True. When tragedy strikes our resilience is such an important habit. Thanks for this post.

  2. Liam

    thanks for this post Sir Francis… it really inspired me.

  3. Nhette

    Thank you for the inspiring words. Im one those who were greatly affected by Ondoy. Im still confused and asking for all the answers why it happened until I open my facebook and saw your post. Now, I know why it happened. Your post made me realized that I’m really blessed. Prayers really work.

  4. Don Pasco

    This article is very good… I was curious to know who Francis Kong is since just now, my friend and i chatted and told me that she’s a fan of yours. She told that you were their speaker in Tagatay last month during the ASPLI convention. Anyway, my search for you in the web was worth it, since i liked what i found and read and you got another fan here in Mindanao.

    Thanks for this article which gave me some realizations and inspiration. Hope to meet and chat with you personally in the future.

    God bless Mr. Francis and thank you very much.

  5. aris

    Thanks Mr. Kong..you gave me another precious insight about life…

  6. Jerome Gil

    Hello Mr. kong, I’ve heard ur msgs. in CCF while am i working at timezone. Mr. Kong kindly help on how am i going to stop this Lust that bombardin my mind. Can you give me an advice on how to deal with it?

  7. let

    Truly inspiring Mr. Francis.. only Jesus can calm the storm.

  8. mariella gay costa

    Hi! You never changed Mr. Francis Kong. You wer the same person I’ve met wen i wasin high school, remember the national leadrship seminar in baguio? that was in 2005…i was one of the participants, and i was really inspired by you! and continue inspiring me and the others…i like it wen u start ur speech with “this is my #_ speech… (^.^)

    i hope i can be somewat like u…a blessing…an inspiration to everyone…

  9. John R. Castillo

    Sir Francis,

    Thank you for the inspiration.. The wisdom keep my faith going …

    God bless and more power to you always


  10. jullian

    Thank u for all the lessons u giv, i hope more people can listen to u

  11. mcnearbabe

    very, very beautiful post, Sir Francis. short of saying, ‘i don’t understand God’s ways but i understand God…’ talk about hardcore FAITH.

    thank you for helping us understand… god bless you a thousand folds!


  12. eson

    hi sir… i was a participant in the geodata conference last oct 7… it was the first time i saw you make a talk… it was very inspiring… you really made the conference so lively…
    i wanted to buy your book that day so that i can have you sign it.. it was suppose to be a gift for my wife… (her birthday was sept 5…) she will be coming home from norway this oct 15… but my budget was not enough to buy the book that time… (maybe next week i can buy that…) because i have to relocate my wife’s family including my 2 yr old son… to another apartment… our house is still flooded as of the moment…

    anyway thank you for the inspiring message you have given..
    god bless…

  13. Jen Palma

    hi sir, i make it a habit to open your site regularly. I’ve learned a lot from you may God continue to use you to inspire other people. God Bless!

  14. sir. francis,,, i was a participant on Geodata Conference last OCt. 7-8 2009, i was so inspired of your message, it was my first time to hear an eloquent speaker like you,,,, .God bless you,,,your forever bless

  15. Rochelle Gampon

    Good evening Sir,

    I am Rochelle Gampon, a member of the Philippine Association of Secretaries and Administrative Professionals (PAS). We are currently preparing our quarterly magazine. I find this article of yours very inspiring especially with the recent events in our country.

    Will it be possible for us to reprint excerpts of this article in our PAS Magazine for our members? We provide free copies and surely this post will inspire our members especially those who have been directly affected by the calamity.

    Let me know if this is possible.

    Thank you so much and thank you for being an inspiration to all of us.


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