Showing posts with label Spiritual Growth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spiritual Growth. Show all posts

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Got Comfort? | Manna for your Soul

Last week, when I wrote about how God has a purpose in everything and for everyone in this life, a lot of people wrote to me about how they aren't able to see a purpose in the suffering in their lives. 
Sometimes, we go through needless pain agonizing about how God could abandon us. Our prayers are wrapped around a bundle of deceit where we tell Him how we deserve better. 

About 15 years ago, when my dad was diagnosed with cancer of the colon, we were shattered. I remember the moment like it was an hour ago. I looked up the meaning of 'Oncology' as my dad's eye filled up with tears. Doctors gave him 3 years. After a colectomy, he went through months of painful chemo and radiation therapy. While he made peace with what happened and made the best of what was left until he passed on when the cancer spread to other parts of his body. I saw the pain, the anguish and the helplessness in the eyes of a man who once was on the other side of the petri-dish. 

I admired the way he fought the stigma and the debilitating effects of cancer. Unlike other diseases, there isn't much left to do, there isn't a way you'll come close to understanding how crippling the pain can be and through it all, I realized cancer is a very humbling disease. He might have wondered why God let this happen to him, but he never once uttered it. He still prayed for the destitute, the homeless, the poor and the orphaned. He could have become bitter, but he never did. 

Years after he left, I still think about the way he suffered and marvel at the way God used him to teach me lessons in compassion. I now know a lot more about cancer than I knew then. My heart utters a silent prayer everytime I hear about a person who has cancer only because I know the pain secondhand. More than what the body goes through, I know the inexplicable pain in the heart. 

I have volunteered among patients because I know they won't have too many other people who will want to be around them. I have seen patients in the terminal stages, who can't afford any more of the expensive treatment and are left to rot away. I have seen maggots in open wounds of patients who were left to die because 'it simply isn't worth their time and effort' anymore. I've seen patients who live their every day because they know they may not live to eat the next meal. 

Not many survive that long either. 

So I've tried as little as I could to bring a smile to their faces. To the faces of their caregivers. 
Many ask me what did daddy do to die early? I won't know. 
Was daddy a saint? No. 
Yet, God chose to use him so that his son would do the things he did to random strangers who are going through worse. 

Isn't this what 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 also teaches us?
Suffering doesn't have a religion. Maggots don't discriminate and diseases couldn't care less what your God's name is. 
When daddy in his final breath said 'I am happy', he meant it. The Lord isn't a delivery service, but He sure knows how to do things in the most powerful way. 

Today, if you ask me - 'Would you like to undo something in your past?', I would say 'No'. 
Our God is The God of All Comfort. The peace that He can give you is something you and I cannot even begin to wrap your head around. He can use you not in the way people use you. And the good news is - Nothing He has touched has ever gone awry. All that he asks is - to allow Him an opportunity to experience His comfort and to have the heart that will comfort others as well. 

Because He has never and won't ever let anything happen to you that He knows you cannot handle. 

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Life's Greatest Secret Revealed | Manna for your Soul

Over the past couple of months, I've been meeting people from all faiths and one of the common questions I hear is 'What is the meaning of our life?', 'What is the purpose of our being on this planet?' 

In the Bible, the book of Psalms is perhaps one of the most evergreen prophetic verses in the old testament. Psalm 92 talks about being fruitful at every stage of your life. 
Psalms 92:12-14 tells us how God has a plan for your life and a way of using you*. 

You could be a Hindu, a Moslem, a Sikh or a Christian. No matter what we call Him, we are but clay in His hands. The true test of a believer is when you live your life as if it were your last. 

In the past, every time I was in a difficult situation, I'd curse God because I felt He was not protecting me from evil. Like a capricious child, I would fret and frown about why He abandoned me. My daily prayer time would be another opportunity to blame Him and justify myself and promises to be good and do good and offer more tithes. Sounds familiar right?
Over time, I realized that Gods sovereign rule will reign over our lives and He positions us exactly where we have to be at that point of time. 

The bedrock of Christianity is - Continuous spiritual growth and fruitfulness does not come automatically. But then again, if you look carefully this is the foundation of all religions too.

In John 12:24, we read about how to be fruitful we have to die to this world. Surprisingly this explains the fundamental beliefs of jihadis and religious fanatics. What this scripture actually means is to detach yourself from the tentacles of this world so that you can be truly spiritually fruitful. To be selfless, start with being less selfish. 

Social scientists have proven that each person has a direct influence on 20 different people. Over the past several years of blogging, I've made good friends with people from around the world. Anonymous people who share my views on several things. Now, I've never met these people, but the bond we share is no less strong. Today as I write exclusively on spirituality, I feel I am finally getting to do God's will in my life. But I was not always this way. 

It took years and months for me to get to this point where I could write about His word. 
Like bamboo that takes months and weeks to build roots and Palm trees that take 15-30 years to be productive, as a young believer I needed years of TLC from Him to get to where I am today. As a writer, this is how I serve Him. 

And the best part is - God promises us that whatever we do in His name will flourish. How powerful is that!

Verses 13-14 tells us that He is willing to use us anytime and anywhere. Looking back, I can now see how he has used me when I was going through painful separations from parents and loved ones, and I now realize that He put me through this so that I can now speak about it and comfort those who are going through pain in their lives. 

Author and christian minister Matthew Henry wrote 'The last days of saints are sometimes the best days and the last walk the best walk'. 

So why is He giving us all this? Surely, there could be something that He wants from us, right? Yes, there is. 
Like a parent who gives everything to their child but wants nothing but unabashed and unconditional love in return, God wants us to glorify him. That's all! In all that we do, He wishes that we glorify Him. 

Today, if you are wondering how He can use you where you are at this moment, consider this thought - Trees are not planted by accident and mountains are not an anomaly. You don't have to be a theologian. Like everything in nature on earth and in the little we know but cannot fathom and the vast universe of what we do not know, you are not an accident. Why?
Because if God could place us on a planet that was just the right place at the right galaxy on the right constellation on the right universe, then He surely has a massively grand plan for YOU*. 

God gives us the reason for lively praise for his goodness towards us and whether you are young child growing up or an old person into your sunset years, know that the best is yet to come when you let Him.

*But are you willing to let Him use you?

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