I played Bible Roulette once. And that was the time that the double entendre significance of the phrase “Be Careful” dawned on me.
In 1981, Rey, my co-worker at the Arabian Bechtel Co., in Jubail, so sympathetic I was heavy laden with homesickness and burdened by culture shock, advised me to go to CR and said, “Pour it out all there,” when I get my first letter from home. As Rey had predicted with the toilet bowl as my witness, I poured out a bucket of tears.
I blamed myself for making it so good my resume when I applied for that Secretarial job. Also, I thought I came out smart in that interview done at the office of the Overseas Development Board (OEDB) by Gene Chalmer, the Bechtel recruiter. Because of that, I was assigned to Michael Bishop, the most demanding boss, head of the Operation and Maintenance Department, entailed with massive responsibilities.
For one equipped just one week of office practice at the Baliwag Municipal Court, which truth to tell, I learned nothing, I dreaded and panicked by the monumental prospect of working in corporate environs in a diversified culture of an intimidating foreign land. I had the full measure of the phrase, “Be Careful with what you wish for”.
Day in and day out, for three months, I was overwhelmed, distressed, and stressed out. I wanted to go back home, if not for the solace and comfort Rey had provided me. He was the secretary of the head of the Health Group Division and often told me of the similar experience he had three years ago. But at least, his boss was not as demanding with a vast reservoir of kindness; unlike mine who found pleasure in torture.
Rey intuited me of his coping mechanism to deal with his homesickness and his other problems in wrestling for a decision. He said, he randomly opens his Bible and poke his index finger on the open page. To which verse his finger landed, he reflected on it, and confessed, he found tranquility and peace with the revelation the Lord gave him.
Desperately needing for an inner peace, I tried Rey’s method. I opened up my NIV Bible, and randomly flipped through it, and poke my index finger on the page.
My finger dropped on Mathew 27:5 which says: “Then [Judas] went away and hanged himself.” Huh!
Not satisfied, I did the routine again, which appeared to me now as like a Bible Roulette. My finger pointed on Luke 10:37 which says: “Go and do likewise”.
On my third try, my finger landed on Verse John 13:37 which says: “What you are about to do, do quickly.”
Three times, the Bible passages were as if weaving a dangerous theme. I thought of Rey’s experience. Did he usually get revelation in just one go? “Be careful reading the Bible as a one-liner.” That’s another “Be Careful” phrase that ran through my brain.
However, the experience taught me to read the Bible in context. It encouraged me to dig deeper on what the particular verse says, by reading the Bible Commentaries, which relates to it, and tracking down its corresponding historical and background information. I was always getting excited discovering new insights. I became so engrossed doing this that little by little I felt my problems in the office slowly dissipated. It was like my emotions were shielded not to pick up negative vibes.
Being careful is good advice after all. As we confront the world with issues that beg to lower our values and standard, we succumb to the demands of the moment. The tendency to stand firm on what we care about is being challenged. And so we need to be careful, be wary, keep our eyes open, be alert, and let not our guard down.