Sunday, August 30, 2015

One God, Much Love | Manna for your Soul

Do you have a lot of things that you are guilty about?
What is your biggest regret so far?
How would you define freedom?
What would make you absolutely happy?

Personally, I haven't exactly been a Christian Jesus would be proud of because there are a lot of things that I am guilty of and I regret. 
Sure, I was born to a Christian family and we did go to Sunday School and followed all the rituals and traditions of Christianity. 
But I never prayed! Infact the only time I remember praying any kind of prayer was 2 days before the final exams. 

Fast forward 20 odd years, I went through my first major relationship crisis. My ex decided to leave me for another man. A much more wealthier man. Our 2 year old relationship and my entire life lay in ruins. That was when I met a Saint and my Pastor. That day, when I walked out of the church, I told myself - 'I am going to let Christ drive from here onwards' and I instantly felt a relief like none other. 
What followed was many painful months of waiting and curing. 
I started praying. On my knees. At first it was difficult. When I would kneel down to pray, and random thoughts would distract my conversation with God. 
Gradually, I realized that it became easier. 

My dad used to pray for pregnant women and expectant mothers, refugees and prisoners and I'd always wondered why we need to pray for everyone else but yourself. It is only when I started praying, that I realized how wonderful it is to pray for a stranger first. He knows what I need, even before and in a much better way I can articulate in. 

Today, I have a fuller understanding of every good and bad thing that has happened to me. Everything that wasn't good was His way of disciplining a child He loved dearly. Everything good - His grace. 
I've been through much more since then, but I know I've been immensely blessed.

Which got me thinking - Why does He love me so much?
Why has He forgiven me for all my sins?
I would read about the events leading up to His crucifixion and I still couldn't understand why he was so upset and 'burdened'. At one point, he cried 'tears of blood'.... How? Why? 
As you go through all the pain and guilt, you begin to realize how much more He went through. We can barely tolerate the pain of one broken relationship, the guilt of disobedience, the burden of sin, the agony of rejection and the shame of our actions. We are quick to ask ourselves 'Why me?' and 'What did I do to deserve this?' fulling knowing the answer in the back of our minds. 

When He asked the same while on the cross, I instantly identified with Him.
Why did Jesus have to die for me? 
Why did He die for you? 
All He had to do was ask His Father to rescue Him and the Heavens would have sent legions of angels to fight for The Son. Wow! That would've have been an epic one-sided victory. 
But Jesus was obedient and allowed this to happen so that you and I can go through crushing pain and still come out smelling like daisies. 

Why did God have to send His only Son to soak up the sins of trillions of lifetimes? 
Because if we as earthly creatures can love our children so much to be ready to live and die for them, how much more our heavenly Father? 
Because Jesus was the only acceptable ransom that could pay for all our sins. 
Because if it wasn't for His sacrifice, no matter what we could do to numb the guilt within, the pain would have lingered. 

How would you define freedom? Today, people around the world are living an increasingly oppressed life. In the US, residents sacrifice their liberties for a life more privileged. And this is not too different from any other country around the world. 
In the Middle East, kings and sheikhs won't encourage dissent. 
In Asian countries like India, Pakistan or China, citizens are only as free as their politicians want them to be. In the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu, citizens live in the shadow of their elected representatives. When Jayalalitha comes into power, buses are painted in the color of her political party's choice. Giant life-sized cutouts will adorn every conceivable street corner, cable TV companies will switch set-top boxes to one that patronizes her party and her government will reverse or undo every scheme of her predecessor. Any citizen suspected of badmouthing the chieftain-in-power will be disposed off swiftly and discreetly.
In 5 years when her government is toppled by the rival DMK, the entire exercise is repeated.

Christians around the world know who their real King is. But there aren't life-size cutouts. He won't give you freebies to follow Him. He won't force you to forget who or how you have been. He won't compel you to redecorate your house or your town. He won't tell you what you can do or cannot. He lets you make your choices and plan your actions. The consequences are yours to own. And no matter what, He will always love you. You don't need an appointment to meet your King.

What would make you happiest?
For some, more money makes them happy, others material luxuries. 
I started my career earning a paltry 80,000 per annum. While I wasn't discontent, I remember thinking how happy I could be if I earned Rs 2,00,000 per annum. But it didn't bring me any more joy than what 80k a year did. I earn several times that now, but I have learned to be content with more and less. 
Happiness is transient. Joy is permanent. 

Today, we have been divided by humans because someone figured out it is easier to rule over people who have been cut down to size than over humanity united. 
What religions have spared, politicians have destroyed. If revolutions like the Arab Spring is any indication, our world is ripe for redemption.

The Bible says 'Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you will find it. Knock and it will be opened'.
Your turn.

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