He came to tears just with the appearance of books, notebooks and pencils on the table. I had no idea how to start and what to teach him. I asked him to read a lesson from his textbook which he did with a gloomy face. However, when I ask him to write the answer on the exercise page, he threw the pencil away, tried tearing the page and went and slept on the bed. That was my first day of home schooling my 7 year old son Asher, a year back.
Tears streamed down my face and in my mind I was pleading with God to please open some ways for him. I was asking God for a miracle; a miracle of some school which would accept him, a miracle of someone who would step into his life and teach him by compassionately understanding his needs or maybe at least his father to take up the responsibility of teaching him as he is much closer to Asher. It really didn’t make any sense to me that such a challenge should come my way. I asked God for some alternative ways to show up as I wasn’t ready to take up this responsibility of teaching him at home. My days were already filled with caring for the needs of my 6 years old daughter who wanted me almost all the time. One more responsibility felt demanding for me.
She seemed just an answer to my prayer for a good friend. She showed a lot of care, often asked about my children, always assured me of her prayers, shared her feelings and thoughts, shared her prayers and listened to mine just as a good Christian friend will do, supported me, encouraged me, and even considered me her very close friend but one fine day she just walked away. Even though there wasn’t any kind of dispute between us and things were just going fine, she suddenly stopped the contact. I wrote to her but she didn’t reply. I messaged once again but she didn’t check it till today even when being online. For months I felt miserable and shocked. I couldn’t accept that someone whom I considered one of the nicest people in my life would just leave me without even saying a word or letting me know what my fault was. I felt side-stepped and slowly rejection crawled in.
Why does it hurt so much when people do things which make us feel rejected? Why wouldn’t the hurt go away? It’s because we are hit in an already bruised place. Because the past hurts of rejections are still unhealed. And those wounds will stop us from moving forward with ease. Because rejection isn’t just a one-time feeling, it’s more like constant stabbings on the unhealed wounds from the past…
……And, I still had those bruised places of my past incidents of rejections where I felt “I don’t matter”: When my 8th grade teacher rudely ask me to leave the dance group because I am left-handed and couldn’t do some of the dance moves with perfection; when my 11th grade chemistry teacher threw my practical note book out of the chemistry lab and yelled at me because it had errors in the chemical equation; when the HOD, where I was working as a volunteer in mission work, never appreciated me for my works as she did to other girls in the department because I belonged to a different state; when my father didn’t encourage me when I wanted to join youth ministry to carry on my new found passion to serve God through my life; when a teammate in my outreach team treated me with hatred and spread rumors about me; when during the early years of my marriage, my husband couldn’t understand my heart for the Kingdom work & my calling, it felt a lonely walk ; when my close relative felt embarrassed because of my daughter’s medical condition and often blamed me for her sickness and considered it as a curse from God on my life.
My friend’s unkind action just felt like another stab on those bruises. It felt like a sign that “I am not accepted”. It felt like a secret message that “I really don’t matter”.
For most of the time, I thought the only solution for not feeling rejected by people is to avoid friendships, avoid being very close with people, avoid trying new things and avoid even expressing my feelings and thoughts with others. But by doing so, I would not fix the issue permanently. If I shut myself from others, I might as well miss out on the good friends, good ideas, opportunities and like-minded people who would stand by me and believe in me. Avoidance may seem a protective shield from rejection but it won’t heal the bruised places. There had to be a better way, a permanent fixing, an ample healing and a discovery of a whole new perspective.
Recently, when I was reading Lysa Terkeurst’s book “Uninvited”, I found my answers, I found a better way, I found a healing and a renewed perspective to perceive things through. It felt like God was speaking to my hurting heart and wondering mind to see life through His way.
She writes that, “Rejection isn’t just an emotion we feel. It’s a message that’s sent to the core of who we are, causing us to believe lies about ourselves, others and God. We connect an event from today to something harsh someone once said or did. That person’s line becomes a label. The label becomes a lie, and the lie becomes a liability in how we think about ourselves and interact every relationship.
The Line – “I don’t want you” becomes the label “you aren’t accepted”.
The Label – “you aren’t accepted” becomes the lie “you aren’t worthy”.
The Lie – “You aren’t worthy” becomes a script of self-rejection and it unleashes doubts, hesitancy and many other liabilities that hinder our present relationship.
Thus, rejection steals the best of who we are by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said or done to us. As a result, relationships feel unsafe, opportunities feel risky and life feels difficult. We carry on but this sense of rejection settles into the core of who we are.
The problem isn’t the people, the problem lies within us as we hold on to things which won’t give us stability. We try to search our approval from the wrong places. We base our acceptance on people’s constantly changing actions, words and applauds for us. It’s okay to need people but some of our biggest disappointments are the result of our expectations we have of others that they can’t even possibly meet.
While we are busy trying to earn love and acceptance from people, we often forget the truth that only God’s love is complete enough to give us stability, and has power to heal our hurts. He waits every day, with every answer we need, every comfort we crave, every affection we are desperate for while we look everywhere but at Him.
We do things keeping God in mind but not really spending time getting refilled by Him and His abundant love. We think we are connecting with Him, but in all honestly, we let the world stir up our deep affection, decide our worth and give us approval.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to GRASP how wide and long and high and deep is the LOVE OF CHRIST, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the FULLNESS OF GOD.”Ephesians 3:17 – 19
At the core of who we are, we crave the acceptance that comes from being loved. To satisfy this longing, we will either be graspers of God’s love or grabbers of people’s love. If we grasp the full love of Christ, we won’t grab at other things to fill us. Fullness comes to us when our hearts are aligned with Him. When we truly abide, delight and dwell in Him, He will satisfy our inmost needs of acceptance. When we let this truth settle deep down in our hearts, we won’t find ourselves pleading others for our acceptance and instead we will start living from the full assurance of His love. We will rip out those hurtful feelings of rejection and replace them with a new solid understanding of our true worth which is found in Him.
“I am loved” will be the very first thought of our everyday life no matter what people say or do to us. With full confidence in His unchanging love, we will invite others in our lives, firmly believe in our dreams, have a poised character and a true sense of our worth. And it’s the place, it’s the right perspective and it’s the profound principle from which we will live our life loved and treasured always “.
I don’t know in what forms rejection has crawled into your heart, but I am sure it did at some point where all you felt was unloved, misunderstood, betrayed, avoided, left alone, unimportant and offended. When you gave your best, the best was never enough for someone, when you put 100 percent into a relationship, all you got back was just 50 percent, when you tried to do something new, you didn’t get the much needed applauds from others , you found that the people you love, are celebrating others but you, when you shared your dreams with people close to you, they failed to understand the depth of it, or maybe when you made all efforts to keep those friendships, still people walked away from you.
How will you respond? Will you let those hurts settle deep in your heart or will you allow God’s truth and His love to get rooted in there?
Remember rejection will only crawl in when we allow it to:). We have the choice, the power and the truth to let go of the hurts, and let the fullness of God’s love walk into our hearts. Let’s release our grips on the unstable things we were holding on to and let’s return back to His passionate embrace. Let’s be graspers of His love alone and let’s rewrite the script of our life’s story for His glory!
It feels like our fast paced life has suddenly come to a halt. Just a month back, every one of us was engaged with our daily life, work, travels, plans and schedules just to find out this month, that nothing seems to be working the way we were anticipating. The rapidly spreading coronavirus has made the whole world get reversed. And for most of us, it’s getting a bit challenging to adopt to this new normal life with all peace and ease. The lock downs, the social distancing and the precautions we need to take to avoid the spread of the virus feel a very hard task and mostly inconvenient with each passing day. All of us long to return to our normal lives as soon as possible.
It’s so much of an unknown season where none of us can predict what the future holds. The news channels and social media are filled with rising numbers of confirmed cases and deaths. There is still no vaccine available for the virus. The poor people of our country are suffering the most. Our kids are trapped between four walls. There are predictions of community spread, more deaths and more chaos we will face due to the effects of this virus in the coming days. It feels so much like we are standing in the in –between. In between the life which was moving smoothly before the pandemic hit and the life which we will have after the pandemic gets under control.
The predictable In –between will feel easy, thrilled and promising when we know with certainty what the future holds, when we know the better outcome that awaits. But how should we respond to the in – between which has got no known outcome, favorable possibilities or a slight glimpse of a healthy environment in future? How should we live in this season of turmoil where there is a big question mark regarding our health, our finances, the safety of our beloved ones and the well-being of the entire nation? How should we respond in this in –between season of uncertainty?………
Jesus’s disciples felt the same way after Jesus’s death. He was mocked, lashed, ripped of His clothes, crowned of thorns and nailed cruelly on the cross. Their Messiah was taken away from them. The miracle maker Himself was laying behind the closed tomb. The hope giver Himself was dead. There was grief all over Jerusalem because the one who came to save them was crucified. Weeping, uncertainties, disappointments and heartaches could be felt all over the place as Jesus was crucified.
“It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.John 19:30
They were in between the time of Jesus’s death and the day of His resurrection. Life felt measurable. Grief was crushing their heart, distress was filling their minds and no one knew what the future held. No one knew how to respond during this in between season. All they had was His promise of resurrection to cling on until they could see Him face to face.
“When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief”. Matthew 17:22-23
Still this was a very painful time for most of them as they couldn’t believe that He would be raised to life. They couldn’t see the life beyond His death. As they had no idea how the resurrection would take place. Probably their human minds couldn’t imagine a dead person raising up to life. They probably felt lonely and uncertain in this time of grief as Jesus laid in the tomb.
Yet the promise keeper, the miracle maker, the hope giver, the Savior of the world, rose fulfilling the promise He made with them. He had conquered the darkness of death and risen to life. Their Messiah appeared to them giving them a new hope and a promising future.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” Mark 16:6
For us, Good Friday is just over and we wait for Easter Sunday to be celebrated. In our churches since our childhood, we know that we are to remember Christ’s passion & sacrifice on the day of Good Friday and to celebrate His resurrection on Easter Sunday. But no one tells us what should be done on Saturday – the in between season of grief & joy. No sermon is preached on how to survive the day between death and the resurrection.
The Saturday (the in –between season that we are in today) should be the hope day🙂
……..We hope for a better tomorrow as we know that the ultimate tomorrow, the hope of abundant life, healing and restoration is made possible by Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross. We believe that God is in control of the world He created. We hope that He has plans for our future and the in –between season will not last forever. We hope that He will never forsake us in the valleys of death. We hope that light will surely shine through darkness. And when our hope is in His promises, His power and His sovereignty, it gives us mental and emotional strength to get through the in –between season amidst all the fears and uncertain situations around us.
So, things are challenging definitely, but let’s savor His hope and cling to His promise of resurrection; resurrection from the uncertainties, from fear, from this hard in –between season and from the deadly virus which is spreading over the world till we get to the other side – to our normal and smooth going life again, continually abiding in His grace…
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast”. 1 Peter 5:10
In the bliss of her motherhood journey which newly had begun, she dreamt the loveliest dreams as she cuddled her baby in her arms. The girl child was the answer to her secret prayers to God. She felt immensely joyful admiring the innocent and cutest look of her baby girl. She dreamt of her tiny feet running on the floor, her curly hair adorned with clips & ribbons, her frilled frock swaying as she would walk, her lovely eyes gazing at her mother and her giggles & laugh echoing around the house as she would play with her brother and father. She imagined her family to be the happiest place in the world maybe, with two kids in her arms with no worry or fear; it seemed nothing but a splendid blessings from above.
The heartaches which were about to come her way were unknown. She was unprepared for the tempest she would face for endless days. She was unaware of the news which would rip her soul apart. She was naïve about the darkest night waiting to haunt her mind with fright. In the blink of an eye, her cutest & blissful moments with her baby were ruthlessly snatched away by the daunting news she never imagined in her wildest dreams to be true. Her once serene life was disturbed with frightening alarm and it seemed like it would never be peaceful again. Her finest dreams were crushed under the fear of this unknown route, leaving her in agony, in sobs, and in the harshest plight of her soul.
In a fraction of second, her life flipped from a beautiful castle to stormed rubble, leaving her with anguish, with a seizing & crying baby in her arms and awful pounding in her heart. It was heart wrenching too for her to carry her baby through the hospital corridors day after day for one or other test or procedure. Painful for her was to see the needle pricks on the little thighs, the merciless insertion of cannulas on the tiny hands and the numerous blood tests that followed every single week, taking every ounce of strength and life from her helpless baby.
How could a mother’s heart feel numb to the endless sufferings of her innocent child? All she wished was to have wings like an angel, to carry her baby away from all the pain and sickness to a quiet place where she would feel comfort, soothe and calm.
Her days, weeks, months and years were spent caring for her girl. Walking through the furnace of criticism, unacceptance and denial, her days filled with loneliness, silence and withdrawal as her life didn’t match with other mothers. Even if she wished to be one among all, her destiny chose her to stand apart. Her life was given the hardest mission to complete. She was sent on a journey which she never thought she would choose; she reached a destination which she never had expected! Only one choice was left to her: accept the destination with joy or accept it anyway.
There have been many times when she greeted the moon and the sun without a closed eyelid in between, some by hospital beds, some through prayerful tears and some with her seizing and crying baby on her lap. She cried, prayed & shed every bit of a tear she could at God’s feet until she felt solace and calm. Many times she begged God to heal her baby asking Him to alter His plan.
She spent her nights staring in the dark, she sacrificed her wishes, her comfort and the young years of life behind closed doors caring for her child, holding her in her arms, soothing her into a peaceful nap, feeding her, grooming her and talking to her just like a little girl who would play and talk with her doll and wouldn’t care if the doll couldn’t talk… With each passing day, unknowingly though, she fell in love with this gift she received from above and began cherishing it with all that she could. The gift was meant to be a bridge that would connect many aching souls to her own.
Silencing every sob, hiding every sorrow under a smile, ignoring every question, blame & criticism, overlooking every eye that stared, she carried and cared for the baby she had. Neither with the hope to have their sympathy nor with the belief of gaining their approval, she appeared to the world just the way she was, with a determination to love her child and accept the way she was destined to be. At the same time she asked a question to her own soul, “Didn’t God accept me as imperfect as I was?” So I will accept and love my child just the way she was given to me. The world may see only her deformed frame, but I will only look at her beautiful heart.
In these day, every morning I wake up I am so tempted to read the news first than read the Bible or any encouraging devotion. The news I am afraid to hear is about how many have lost their battle to Coronavirus, whether the toll of positive cases is rising, if there are any more cases identified in my city etc. There is unexplainable tension which, from the start of the day till the end, makes the heart heavy and forces the mind to think about nothing but this frightening disease which is spreading across the world rapidly.
The fear of the unknown and what’s next is real. Even though social distancing, closed schools and staying at home haven’t affected me much, because most of my time is spent being inside the home and my son is being home-schooled. However, the most unusual thing is to see no person on the road, closed shops, the news of city closing down, no sound of vehicles on the highways, no conversations of people heard around or no children playing in the locality. It almost feels like a lonely Island.
In this most unknown season of life, one can’t just think in a composed way or do anything without losing concentration and enthusiasm. Just a sneeze or slight coughing from the kids or my husband makes me imagine the worst. I am cleaning the house more than I did before, taking every precaution as explained by the experts, checking on children’s health more than I did before, reading and watching every piece of news on social media more than I did before, using WhatsApp to read and watch every forwarded message & video and every piece of information on COVID-19 more than I did before, getting lost in my thoughts while doing the household chores more than I did before, and most of all to be honest, I am praying without fail every moment for God’s protection and His grace more than I did before.
At one moment there is a feeling of faith in God and the next moment the frightening news overpowers the faith and makes the mind have anxious thoughts. These mixed feelings remind me of a story in Bible when Peter asks Jesus if he too could walk on water. Jesus asks him to come over. As Peter walks, seeing the wind, he gets afraid, his faith begins to waver and he begins to sink. He cries out to Jesus to save him. We read further that Jesus immediately reaches out and rescues him.
Peter’s doubt and fear make him to sink in the water, but despite that Jesus holds his hand and saves him.
Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31
In the same way, when I begin my day stepping out of my bed believing God for peace, strength, joy and more faith to walk by, but each time the wind of scary news comes in, each time I hear children sneeze or cough, each time I read the statistic of cases being raised, I begin to sink in the anxiety, in the unknown and the unpredictable outcome of this challenging season. Even randomly imagining what it would look like if I become a victim of it or my loved ones become a victim of it.
Being a human, it’s easy to feel concerned about many things; it’s ok and just normal to have fear of the unknown and be worried about our beloved ones. But it also is possible to focus more on the promising and uplifting things in the midst of this crisis. It is also possible to fix our eyes on Jesus rather than the challenging situation.
In midst of all the daunting news on social media, a beautiful encouraging card I came across which is in my native Hindi language. It says that “God’s mercy (meaning Karuna) is stronger than the Corona. There is healing in Jesus’ name”.
The fear will be real but God’s grace & compassion will be real too. With our human efforts, we can take all possible measures to remain safe but the truth is: – He will always protect us not only during the pandemic but during every crisis that will show up. He will rush to hold our hand not only when we sink in our fear, but also when we walk by His promises, He will guide us to do what’s right and necessary not only when we feel hopeful but also when we are down in our faith. His Karuna (Mercy) will be always bigger than the Corona we are afraid of.
A year ago, when my husband approached me saying that he thinks we, as a family, should move to North India to begin a ministry among children and youths in my home town, all I wanted to say was a Big No. I gave him all the reasons why it wasn’t possible or even realistic moving from one state to another with no balance in bank, no resources of support, no ministry links, a child who had recently dropped out of school, another one with severe medical issues and the associated travelling challenges. It just felt so overwhelming more than a promising decision to even think about.
Every night the “what if” questions would run through my mind. What if it isn’t God’s will? What if we can’t get all the finance we need for the move? What if after telling our decision to our families, they won’t stand by us? What if the kids won’t adjust to the climate there? What if we don’t begin or continue any work there? What if we fail? All these negative scenarios would make me not to agree with his decision.
I didn’t want to leave the comfort zone which I had created over the years to stay at home and look after the kids. All my desires to contribute to Kingdom work and be a blessing to others apart from my family were buried under the thought that maybe being in the home was all that I would get to do for the years to come. After the couple of ministry plans failed in the past, I could hardly believe for any sudden shift to take place for me.
The obstacles which bothered me, bothered all our families too. They were concerned about us as we are a family of special kids, with minimum income and a number of emotional and physical issues to deal with. The sudden decision with only a month to shift was something out of the box for me as I am so much into planning, preparing and measuring all the pros and cons before I get myself into anything. For two weeks I couldn’t agree with my husband’s decision but I did pray for God’s will to be done in this matter.
I made a list of both the possibilities and the obstacles of our shifting. Before I did so, I decided that if the possibilities outweighed the obstacles, I would go with his decision and trust God for the rest.
To my surprise the possibilities were more than the obstacles. And all I could do was to place my hand over the list of possibilities, pray and focus only on them and trash the obstacles list. I began to think only the positive outcome and chose to believe that God’s got us in His hands. Whenever the “what if’s” bothered me, I would take out the list of possibilities and read it out to feel hopeful.
Things fell in place. The support we received from our family, friends and church was exactly the amount we needed for our shifting and settling down here in Nagpur. Everything actually went more smoothly than I imagined. God opened doors for us to pioneer a small work among the kids in the form of Kids Club. My kids did adjust to the hard climate here. My mom has been a great support for me to take care of my daughter. My son is doing wonderfully and he is being homeschooled.
It’s been a year and only by God’s grace we are contributing into the lives of these little ones by sharing Godly principles, values and encouragement through various activities and methods. They are cherishing moments for us as we encourage them for their future lives, instill in them the lessons of values, see them learn to follow the path of truth & love and most of all to see them laugh, dance, share their opinions, fears and doubts freely and be themselves at this place. They are very eager to come every weekend and they are usually two hours earlier than the actual time of the club:)
Over the year, I am learning to put my trust more in God despite the “what ifs”. Obstacles may come, things may not worked as planned, “what ifs” may continue in my mind but I will choose to believe that even if challenges come, God is still with us, His plans are always good, my fear doesn’t stop His plans from happening, when He begins a work, He stands by it, He holds us in His hands, He cares for my buried dreams and He makes everything beautiful in His time.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9
A few days back my husband and I were talking about the Bible verse in Mathew 7:13-14. In this particular verse Jesus predicts that many will hear His message but only a few will obey and follow Him. It’s the very familiar Bible verse you will probably know about the wide gate and the narrow gate.
So, in actuality if we imagine going through a gate which is small and a road which is narrow, the journey will seem difficult but at the same time the wide gate and the broad road is easy to get through and walk on. However, here comes the real test. Jesus calls us to enter through the narrow gate as it leads to life, which He has come to give us and not through the wide gate because it leads to destruction.
Dr. Myles Munroe’s book “Understanding your potential” which I read recently, discusses this verse and sheds light on its significance. It says that most of us will hear the message but will never fulfill the deepest desires of God’s heart. Only a few percent of those who hear the message about who they are will ever become all they could be. Many people will never fulfill their purpose in life. They will not become who they were designed to be because they won’t receive and practice what God is telling them. God can only do His part if we are willing to cooperate with his purpose for our lives. Dr. Myles Munroe goes on to encourage the readers to be in the category of the few who are willing to fulfill their God-given potential to its fullest as He has planted within us a treasure to be used for His glory.
As I was sharing with my husband about this particular passage of the book, my 8 years old son overheard our conversation and wanted to know what were the narrow and the wide gates that we were talking about. It was his study time but seeing the curiosity in his eyes to know about these two gates, I thought I should tell him the meaning of the verse by drawing a sketch of a narrow gate and a wide gate for his better understanding.
I indicated the difference between these two gates mentioning them as narrow gate activities and wide gate activities. I explained to him that multitudes of people are choosing the wide gate because it has the easy life, the comfortable path which has no goals, no purpose, no relationship with God and no discipline required but in the end it leads them nowhere but into troubles. But very few people will choose the narrow gate which requires relationship with God, courage to use their potential, hard work, integrity, purpose, determination and self-discipline which seem hard to stick with. But this gate will lead them to a great life Jesus wants to offer.
Wondering how much his young mind could grasp of the meaning, I gently asked him which gate he wanted to choose. Without thinking a single thought, he happily pointed to the picture of narrow gate. I was able to help him learn this profound lesson through a simple activity. However, back in my mind I wondered if I was really choosing the narrow gate in my life, if I was truly obeying and following Jesus, if I was among the few, if I was knowing deeply the purpose God has for me, if I was trusting Him enough to give Him full control of my life….
Walking through the narrow path can be hard at a time, as the life of faith is a constant exchange of the known with the unknown. It’s a journey of complete reliance on God and denial of oneself; it’s all about His plans and not ours; it’s about being willing to wait for His timing; it’s about keeping on trusting His promises despite the circumstances we find ourselves in; it’s about having courage & audacity to follow the dreams He placed in our hearts; it’s not about how the past was or how the present looks; it’s about how the future will be.
In the world where everything is instant, where affluence is considered the only blessing of God, where perfection is applauded, where instant gratification is desired by all, where giving up feels better than perseverance, where doing easy and entertaining things feels easier than doing hard and necessary things, where comparison is the most played game, where quick fixes are in demand for the tough problems, where impressive social status is acknowledged, where integral principles are closed in books, where choosing our own ways feels much better than waiting on the invisible God, we might just get tempted to go on with the multitudes.
But Jesus invites us to choose the opposite; He wants us to trust the path of the narrow gate which seems hard but is the only way to life; it’s the only way to know who we are in Him; it’s the only way to know the rich potential God has knitted in us; it’s the only way to find the courage to make our dreams a reality; it’s the only way to know our true worth; it’s the only way to know that our sufferings are temporary; it’s the only way to know that our life is given to us to make a great contribution to the kingdom of God.
Every single day is a choice for us to choose either of these two gates by our actions, thoughts and determination.
Which category should we stand in?
Let’s be among the few, who walk through the narrow gate, who choose the life of faith in action, who despite their weaknesses find courage to believe in His strength, who follow Jesus with all their hearts, who know their true identity, worth, purpose and potential in Him alone, who are willing hard enough to let their lives count for Jesus and who are striving to fulfill the deepest desires of God’s heart through their lives!
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Mathew 7:13-14
“I don’t have
friend. I only have family” These words
with a gloomy tone from my 7 years old son brought tears to my eyes and an ache
to my heart a few days back. Before going to bed I asked him to pray and as he
recited his prayer, he prayed saying “God please bless my family and friends
and keep them safe”. But soon after the prayer as he laid on the bed, he put
his hands around my neck and tried sharing his feelings sorrowfully.
Swallowing a lump in my throat and wiping the tears at the
corner of my eyes, I assured him that his family also can be his friend but
deep down in my heart I knew it wasn’t the answer Asher was seeking……..
I wasn’t sure if he has begun to realise
what’s missing in his life that his life doesn’t appear as same as the kids
playing in our neighbourhood or the kids who are wearing their uniforms and
waiting for their school buses in the morning. I was not sure if he has begun
to realize his challenges and differences. But I was sure for one thing that he
longed for a friend, someone to talk to, to play with and to jump along, someone
to partner with him in all sorts of crazy inventions, someone who is just like
him, someone who doesn’t laugh at him but laughs
with him, someone whom he can trust and someone who is always there by his
Many times in our lives, we feel the same like Asher. Specially In the midst of life’s hardest challenge and seclusion we wish there should be someone to understand, to feel the way we feel, to lend a listening ear, to put a loving arm around our shoulders and to offer an assurance of a genuine and selfless friendship. Despite having thousands of friends on social media and lots of friend requests to confirm, despite having many friends added in our mobile’s contact lists and many more around us on every occasion, somewhere still our heart longs to have just one friend who understands, who doesn’t judge, who listens and who feels the way we feel. And in the midst of that intense loneliness our heart cries saying “I don’t have a FRIEND”.
But here’s the beautiful truth we
often overlook which Jesus has promised-
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:13-15
Jesus invites you and me to be His friends. He asks us to give away our burdens and sorrows to Him. He opens His arms wide enough so we can run to Him and be comforted.
If you feel lonely, He knows how loneliness feels like
If you feel rejected, He knows how rejection feels like
If you feel ridiculed, he knows how it feels like
If you feel tested beyond your strength, He knows how it feels like
If you feel betrayed, He knows how betrayal feels like
If you feel questioned about your calling, He knows how it feels like
If you feel like giving up, He knows how it feels like
If you are in pain, He knows how it feels like
If you are going through a death like situation, He even knows what death feels like
Because He has gone through and experienced every pain and every feeling to its intensity.
He is your true friend, who doesn’t judge but simply loves, who is your ever present help, who is your counsellor, comforter, who never ceases to lend you His listening ears, who understands what you go through, whom you can trust fully and who is just right beside you putting His loving arms around your shoulders saying” I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.”
Can you ever have a friend who is so faithful & true?
Darkness…..we all feel uneasy, stuck, confused and lost being in it. No one would enjoy it. It just feels scary. The same feeling my mom had as she went through an eye surgery few days back. Even though it was a minor surgery, as she has permanent vision loss in her left eye, when her right eye was operated on and closed, all she could feel was darkness all over and she longed to see as soon as possible.
For a few hours she felt confused, not knowing where she was. When she opened her eye which had operated on, after a couple of hours of surgery, all she could see was blur and with the dark shades it was all dark for her. I had never seen her in such a helpless condition, as she asked me
Where is the door?
Where is the step?
Where is the chair?
She needed my support to eat, drink, sit, walk and to go to the washroom. She felt panicked and helpless being in that state. But her only hope was the lights in the room which she could slightly feel on her eyes. Those lights gave her assurance in the darkness.
A day later, her blurry vision got clear and she is more than happy that now she can see clearer than before. She is excited to tell me that the curtains looks so bright and new, she can see my face clearly, her saree’s colour looks so pretty, the clothes on the drying stand looks so colorful, everything looks so shining and new. For a couple of years, all she could see was pale and unclear and she thought that was the way it was supposed to look. However, her happiness had no bounds now that she sees things very clearly and in their original colour. But the challenging part was those early few hours where all she could see was darkness.
We all feel this way many a times in our lives, when the darkness of sorrow, confusion, painful memories, loss of loved ones, loneliness, life’s challenges, scary diagnosis conquer our minds. We feel stuck not knowing where we are. We feel confused, panicked and lost. All we wish is to come out of those darkest moments.
I felt the same, when I got the diagnosis of my daughter’s medical condition. I felt that was the darkest moment of my life where all I could see was darkness.
How will we get through this?
Will she be ok?
Will she leave us?
How will I bear this?
All these questions ran through my mind. But there was a hope….there was a light…there was an assurance that no matter how dark I see, Jesus was with me and I wasn’t all alone. The light of His promises, His grace and His peace could give me assurance to get through this valley of darkness until I could see clearly, until I could see His purpose, until I could see His glory and until I could see the way He sees my future.
I don’t know which valley of darkness you are in right now. But I want to encourage you to be assured of the Light which is Jesus our shepherd. In the darkest moments of your life, when you feel lost, unsure, confused and shattered, when you ask
Where is God?
Where am I going?
Where is my trial leading me?
He is with you. He promises you to never leave you alone. He will be with you in the darkness until you get to the place where you can see clearly, and be joyful of the beauty of His purpose and brightness of His glory!
Recently I had my 33rd birthday. On other days I am just a normal person but when my birthday arrives, I can’t control my impulses, in other words I am just like a kid. I seriously count how many days are left for my birthday to arrive and I am excited about it. However, this time in particular, I had this deep and severe feeling in my heart about the purpose of my existence and whether I am living a life worthy of living. They say there are two important days in a person’s life. One is the day he or she is born and the other one is the day when he or she discovers why. I definitely believe I am born for a purpose like everyone else and I am not a mistake on earth but somehow I am not able to define that purpose in one line or in a composed way. But deep down in my soul, I know that I am to reflect Jesus’s love and hope to the broken world, be an encouragement for others, be a help to someone in need and be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are suffering. I can say that while doing these things, I do have that feeling of fulfillment and so I try finding my purpose doing things which makes my heart come alive.
While doing dishes on my birthday night around 11:30, I asked myself a few questions about how I want the rest of my life to be lived on this earth? How am I going to make a difference in other’s lives? How am I going to move to the next level parenting my kids? How am I going to find the purpose in the everyday battle I face and how am I going to feel fulfilled at the end of the day? The more questions I asked myself, the more anxious I grew as my life has been a total mess with daily challenges. Many times I feel so trapped with no way to escape. It’s a situation which I can’t bring out of my life and I can’t bring my life out of it. The only option I have is to fight. It has been a constant battle and no matter what I do, I have to face the same challenges again and again.
We all want to
live a purposeful life. In the midst of the day to day urgency, deep down in
our souls we wish to do the things which our hearts crave to do. And it’s just
because we are made in such a way. Those dreams and desires of fulfilling life
are woven into us by our creator God. But often when those things are not
taking place the way we desire, we bury those feelings and move on with the
same old routine of our life. But sooner or later, those feelings pop up again
making us feel restless and nudged.
But God sees the purpose of our
lives in a different way. He is constantly searching for people who are
available and willing to do His will in His way. He was able to use David as he
saw a greater purpose beyond the sheep and the wilderness, he was able to use
Esther as he saw a purpose beyond her misery of being an orphan girl, he was
able to use Moses as he saw the purpose beyond the limitations of his skills,
he was able to use Joseph as he saw the purpose beyond his life in a pit and
the jail, he was able to use Jesus as he saw the purpose beyond his agony and
death on the cross.
God will be able to use you and me when we see our purpose
beyond life’s trials and hardships. Despite the challenges, when we move ahead
to do what is necessary, despite the huge dreams in our hearts, when we step
forward to do what is less impressive, despite the fear, the rejection, the
setbacks and feelings of being unqualified, when we still move on with those
dreams God placed in our hearts, we can see Him use them in a way we never
You may not see a purpose beyond your challenge, your sickness, that difficult child, the same prayer you prayed many times, the loss, the challenging job, the setback, and the tears you shed behind the closed doors or the unbearable pain you carry in your heart but God sees and He wants to use your life amidst those trials.
So I am realizing
that instead of focusing on how I wish my life’s purpose to be or how much
grander it should look or how much productive the rest of my life should be or
what achievements I am to make, I need to surrender myself to Him and be
willing to be a vessel in His hands. I need to approach Him knowing that my
life is not my own, it belongs to Him. I need to let Him use my very scars, my
tears, my pain to create a story of strength and courage for someone out there
who needs to hear it. My sense of purpose is
beginning to change from being rooted in the idea of what I want to accomplish,
into a new approach to life that is fueled by the excitement of being used by God
in a very unique way.
Because I may not be able to see the purpose beyond my sleepless nights, aching bones, special child, feeding bottles, changing sheets, urine soaked piles of clothes, laundry basket, sink filled with vessels, lonely life and unending household chorus but God does. I may not understand that my very challenges and life experiences are a small part of the big picture God has for me and He is able to bring a message of hope for others through my broken story for His glory.