Danny Juralbal– A Good Soldier Has Gone Home

IMG_0570Danny Juralbal has gone home.

His being readmitted to a hospital was one news we PBCians had been watching. Danny was a fellow alumnus; more than that, he was a fellow minister of the gospel and a fellow soldier in Jesus. And so we watched, and hoped.

The first time I heard Danny was sick was when I chatted with brother Paul Lachica on the internet, on November 12th. From that time on, never a day would pass without his name being mentioned in the posts at PBCAA blog. Then brother Junas Sagurit said Danny was in the hospital (post no. 87, PBCAA blog, Nov. 14, 2007), but judging from the details brother Junas provided, I assumed that Danny had probably been there two previous days.

Did I know Danny that much? You may ask. Yes, we both had been students at Philippine Bible College. He entered the Bible college on my last year. For students who came and went, the gates of PBC was kind of a revolving door. Students of many tribes and dialects passed through it. Danny and I had not had an association that long in the Bible college—only a year. But a year of association could have a perspective wide enough for knowing, for this guy’s path would later cross mine not a few times in three decades.

The Danny I knew in the Bible college was a man vibrant with life—the young man who was always on the go, full of smiles and laughter. I knew him to be Felix Bravo’s relative. Do you realize what it means to be a close relative of the dean of the Bible college? In my young eyes, it was something. Don’t fault me for my idealism, but I have a high regard for anybody connected with brother Felix Bravo. I knew Danny’s mother, too. In Bayugan, some young people would call her “Inang,” and I would do the same. Furthermore, Danny’s sister Adelina was my student in the Bible college when I taught there beginning 1976.

Another time I met Danny was when I brought with me Joseph Anthony Ruiz, missionary to Taiwan, to visit the man his church was going to support in Urdaneta, the fellow named Angel, if I am not mistaken. I heard by this time that Danny had become a teacher, though he still did some preaching, according to him. “Kumusta ka, brad?” he would say. Few words. Few pleasantries. But they were worth remembering.

So when Paul mentioned Danny’s name as we chatted on the Net, it was a revival of past memories. Danny the man who was full of life, always on the go. And I never thought that his life would end this way.

From the pieces of news I have gathered from the posts in the PBCAA blog, Danny had undergone an operation (‘for gallstones,” says brother Paul Lachica) at the SLU Hospital in Baguio City. (For further research, you may click this link: Gallstones). Because his liver was infected, he was readmitted, this time, at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Urdaneta City.

When brother Junas said that Danny was in critical condition, that to me was a portent of what was to come.

Then Paul made another post: “We are very sad to know the condition of bro. Danny Juralbal. He is now in the Hospital fighting for his dear life. He needs our prayers, mga kasama.”

So we prayed. I think all PBCians prayed. Not just PBCians, all Christians who knew Danny or heard of his condition prayed. Many not only prayed for him but also helped Danny financially.

Paul said he hoped for a miracle (Post no. 185). We’ll, we did what we could, and it was enough to say that we did not lack the initiative needed to knock at the doors of heaven, hoping that God would hear us. But God answered otherwise.

I have said in my post at PBCAA blog that I couldn’t believe this is happening. It is an admission that I don’t know all of God’s plans, purposes and intents. If Danny were here, he would ask the same question. It probably is the next question of the ages.

I read from among some posts in the alumni blog that Danny had desired to go to our college, to attend alumni meetings. His wife Angie said he could.

But God answered otherwise. And we in our humble state cannot complain against our Maker. He gives us this life; He takes it again. Because there is a purpose for that, and the Scripture tells us.

I would find it quite difficult to comfort a bereaved family in their time of loss. No one, definitely no one can take the place of Danny in the hearts of those who love him. We condole only for a moment, but bereavement takes much time. Bereavement is the state of having experienced the loss of a loved one; grief is your response to that loss. While bereavement takes time, it also may depend on the depth of one’s grief. One poet defines loss as this: “You see a door closed; the familiar figure is not coming again.”

However, in our Christian perspective, loss, grief and bereavement can all be substituted with hope. We always hope for something better for the Christians who die in the Lord: they are blessed, they are in a state of bliss, awaiting the redemption of their bodies. We also hope something will be better for the Christians who die in Jesus: We will see them again. For this reason the poet is wrong: It is not a door closed; and you will see that familiar figure again.

We also hope something better for the Christians in their future state: A great reward. A heavenly home, where there are no more tears, where there is no more sickness and dying. Where all will be made new, to enjoy a pleasant union with their God.

If that could comfort Danny’s family, then I think we need to say it. And we need to say it as often as it is needed.

Mrs. Angie Juralbal and family, we all condole with you. And we pray that you will have the strength to face each day without Danny, and to move on with your life. Danny may be gone, but not gone forever, for you will see him again. You may have lost him, and you may feel alone, but you have God. That is the most important. You will not walk alone. Danny’s absence is not the end of every thing, it is the beginning of a new chapter of life for you and your kids.

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