Friday, September 10, 2010

The Happiest and Safest Place in the Universe

The Manila Bus Hostage Crisis; a screenshot from a Youtube video.

I will use the 2007 data because I can't find a more recent report on Philippine tourism. In that year, the Philippines ranked #53 with 3.1 million tourist arrivals. I hope my forecast is wrong, but it is reasonable to expect a decline in our tourism industry after that horrible Manila Bus hostage crisis.

I would say that in order to attract tourists, we have to convince them of two things:
  1. We have to convince that they will be happy here-- that they will enjoy their stay here.
  2. We have to convince them that they are safe here-- that no harm awaits them.
France was the top tourist destination for that year with 81.9 million tourist arrivals (kaunti lang lamang nila sa atin-- 78.8 million lang).

For some reasons, people are convinced of two things:
  1. They are convinced that they will be happy in France
  2. They are convinced that they are safe and secure in France
Now, suppose a multi-billionaire offers you an all-expense paid trip to France with the following benefits:
  • you shall be there not as a tourist but as a resident in Paris, France's best city for a period of 1,000 days (almost three years)
  • you can take your loved ones with you so you won't miss them
  • you shall receive a lavish allowance regularly so you don't have to worry about earning money.
Let's suppose all these are available to you with a few conditions:
  • You are forbidden to open the bible
  • You are forbidden to pray
  • You are forbidden to attend church
  • You are forbidden to sing songs of praise and worship to your God.
 Would you accept the offer?

The psalmist has already made up his mind:

Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
Psalm 84:10 (NIV)

He is convinced of two things:
a. True happines is in the Lord's presence only
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
  no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.
Psalm 84:11
b. True security is in the Lord's presence only
he is our "shield" (v.11) a protection from flaming arrows and bullets.

Apprehending the goodness, grace, mercy, and power of God will make you desire to stay with him. You will not trade him for all the best things the world has to offer. The happiest and safest place in the universe is God's presence.

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