God will make a testimony out of you. That’s for sure. What you don’t know is how the story will be written, how it will end.
Here’s a question: How will you keep serving a God who has seemingly planned to take away the life He has given you? Will you not leave His ministry?
“I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done.” – Psalms 118:17 NLT
This is Daryll Angelo M. Riberal’s story, which began in 2009 when he joined the Worship Team of COG Dasmariñas. After three years of faithfully serving God, he was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease in 2012. During that time, he felt conflicting feelings as he received the news. He was elated, knowing that God is writing a testimony for him to share, that he would no longer work overseas so he can keep serving in the ministry, and that this illness might bring his family to church. However, he also felt that he disappointed his parents because he will no longer be able to help his family, financially, by working abroad. Instead, he knows that they will need a lot of money for his treatment– peritoneal dialysis.
A soft plastic tube (catheter) is placed in Daryll’s stomach through surgery. A sterile cleansing fluid is put into his belly through this catheter. For three times a day, Daryll had to undergo this filtering process.
It was painful. But, Daryl turned his pain into praise.
He could have focused on how bad the situation was, but he fixed his eyes on things to be thankful for. His family began attending Church of God – Dasmariñas. The youth group he began in their barangay continued to grow even though he has allowed younger leaders to take over because he wanted to focus in the choir. He kept singing in EXCEL services, witnessing stories of healing, while praying for his own. Imagine that person leading you in worship is an individual worshiping though pain; it can’t get any more genuine than that. Daryll also attends Dawnwatches to greet God early in the morning before he greets his disease. Sometimes, he just walks to church because he has run out of money to spend.
But, as if there wasn’t enough testing in his life, Daryll’s father died in 2014 of heart attack. His mother had to work harder, take care of him harder and keep their lives together, all on her own. She and Daryll would have to leave Cavite at 2AM and head to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City to get first in line for his checkup. They had to get his medicines and take them back home despite the heavy Manila traffic. Yet, there’s no denying that taking care of Daryll is his mother’s ministry.
His mother’s sacrifice is a testimony on its own.
We could finish this story with a cherry on top of it, that Daryll has defeated his disease or that he is still fighting to serve God, even though his body won’t permit. That could easily encourage you to believe in the God of miracles, to serve the God of miracles. But, just like what Daryll said, he stopped waiting for a miracle to happen when he realized that he is the miracle.
Daryll’s battle is already over. Daryll passed away in September 24, 2018. But, Daryll never stopped believing that God is a miracle-worker. Some people said that he lied down with a smile on his face. He is finally home. Daryll must have thought, “Dear Lord, Your ending is better than mine.”
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7
From fighting to have fought for, from running the race to have finished the race, this is not a testimony of healing, but a testimony of keeping the faith. This is trusting in the truth that, no matter how the story ends, the final chapter will always reveal who the author is – God.
“He asked to live a long time, and you promised him life that never ends.” – Psalm 21:4 CEV
This is not a story of recovery, but a testimony of resilience. This is a challenge for each of His servant. What if the only reward you’ll get for serving Him is not found in this earth? What if there are no trophies or medals to show off while you’re here? What if you’re only living to leave a legacy? And this is the legacy of never giving up on the God who will lift you up.
When a singer has lost his voice, when a musician has lost his melody, when an artist has lost his creativity, when a worshiper has lost all the reasons to worship, will a servant hold on to his promise of serving Him? When all you can offer are a few breaths of Hallelujah because God has taken away your capacity to jump and shout, will you choose to give them all to Him? When all the lights have dimmed, the crowd has left and all the music can no longer be heard, may your heart still see His vision and may your ears still listen to His voice. Keep pursuing Him, knowing that you will soon meet Him.
To Daryll, we know that the armies of angels you used to sing with every EXCEL service has welcomed you with a song of utmost delight. We know that heaven prepared a celebration for you. Thank you for being an inspiration to us, to keep serving until we hear the same words you have heard, “Welcome home, my child. Well done.” If this will be the only thing we will look forward to, we pray to be just as faithful as you.
When your story ends, you begin to inspire people you do not even know.
A LETTER FROM THE AUTHOR
I only had the chance to chat with Daryll after GO Beyond. From our online conversation, I cannot deny how passionate he was in serving God. He originally wrote his testimony entitled, “I Am a Miracle.” As I was reading this lengthy autobiography, it began to dawn on me that my problems were nothing compared to his.
After his passing away, I got to talk to his mother, Sis. Roda. Her very words that I remember were, “Yan talaga ang gusto ni Daryll. Masaya s’ya kapag nandito s’ya sa church. Masaya s’ya kapag kumakanta s’ya.” Oh Lord, if I can say that too—that even in my deathbed, I can only think of serving You.
“Daryll wasn’t making a testimony for himself, he was making one for us.” – Bro. Don Cahigas.
As my leader has articulated, Daryll finished the race selflessly. He has taught me and many others what it really means to serve—that I am serving Him because I was saved, I am not serving Him to be saved.
— Geli Lizarondo
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