Conforming or Not

We know it was risky and he too was well aware of it, I hope. He came running to leap forward and jump into the river bank below. But then, he stopped at the edge of the river wall about fifteen meters high.

“Jump! Jump! Jump! You can do it,” we shouted. We cheered him to give it another try.

He looked down calculating in his mind whether he’d be able to reach the water. There was a huge deposition, near the water, caused by the recent mud sliding. He couldn’t get his pride killed easily.

We cheered him again. I don’t remember who started it. We wanted to let him do it by any means, it seems. We, bunch of boys, conformed to let him jump so that he might learn his lesson.

This time, more determined, he went back. And he came running as we are still cheering for him. He jumped from that height!

THUD! A sound burst! He couldn’t make it to the water! He was reeling in pain. The clapping and cheering had stopped suddenly.

We quickly swim to the other side of the river. We stand nearby him. There was no immediate help available. We don’t know what to do. After sometime, he came back to sense. It was huge relief for all of us.

This happened during our pre-teen and early teen years. We easily fall prey to what is commonly known as peer pressure. We try to avoid being different and bear the wrath of ‘the brutes’ among our group of friends. Especially when we’re going for a swim, away from home, in the river nearby the hills.

Having not protested against the unwanted cheering and clapping, which caused great pain to one of our friend, I regretted a lot. Yet I am glad he has learned his lesson and does not sustained any irreparable damage to his body.

Conformity:

Conformity, in other words, is succumbing to pressure groups. To conform is to act in accordance with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, compliance to the surroundings, and the likes.

It is one of the most difficult stages to overcome in life, especially during our pre-adolescence or adolescence period. In our adolescence years, we wanted to be accepted, have friends and abide by their or our rules.

Grownups, like you and me, must have been through these stages in our life, I hope. However, the way we have experienced and overcome the same would different. The time has come now, for us to help our young ones when they been through this stage.

My young friends, if you are still in this phase, do not get discouraged if you cannot get conformed to your surroundings. This is one of the many tests of life you are about to get passed with flying colors. It is important to not get carried away with the swarm of flies.

In case, you are faced with dilemma day in and day out, ask our God for His abiding help and presence. The hormonal changes and the adrenaline rush are not easy to get by, but it can be conquered.

Do Not Conform:

It is enjoyable, pleasurable, and easily addictive to conform in the ways of the fallen world. Everyone enjoyed doing sinful practices, although with guilt ridden heart. The pleasure and enjoyment can be short-lived.
Now, let see what the Bible says for a believer to follow:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

‘Dare to be different’, in a good way, in the likeness of Christ is what the Bible is teaching. Do not depend on your own interpretation of God’s word, it can be hugely misleading.

We have lived in the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air. All of us lived among them at one time, following the desires of flesh and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. (Ephesians 2:1-3) But we have been saved by the grace of God.

Not conforming also means to not go with what the majority are doing in a place or time, if our deeds would demean our faith as well as others.

Participation and separation in the fallen world is a pilgrimage in progress. (2 Cor. 6:17) Our participation to the world must not discourage others nor should our separation hurt other person, in our path to follow Christ.

To Die Or Not To Die

As if in our hand, some of us tried toying with our life. When we hit rock bottom with no chance of recovering, we are tempted to think about it.

It might be unnecessary or unbelievable to even think about ‘to die or not to die’, but let us talked about it. The more relevant question must be the timing; now or when?

A year ago, I have my tryst with death too. For some hours I’d remain unconscious. It was not a great moment to recall the pain, when I become conscious again. But let me put a few here:

In that bout of my status epilepticus, I was given a chance to live again. All the things that worked together on that particular day cannot be a coincidence. The hand of God was surely involved, I would say. From the unknown vegetable vendor to all needed timely helpers and help I have received, it was clear that it was God who spared my life.

Seventy percent of patients who experience such episode resulted in death. It was written in the research paper I had read. I have made some research on my own about my illness. However, my doctors advised not to indulge in that process so I had deleted all my sources. If not, I could have shown you their findings.

Had I not regained consciousness I would have been dead, simple yet nerve wrecking. But I would be with my Savior, resting in His arms. People might say how unfortunate we would have been or otherwise. It’s just my supposition. Life, here on earth, will end there abruptly.

Purpose of Life:

I find no reason to boast or take pride in calling it our own life. It’s my life’, that’s how we called it often. We are not the owner of our life. God has a purpose in creating us.

Job, in the Bible, says, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2) God’s purpose cannot be undone. There are many verses to show God has a purpose for every man. “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5). Insight, from God, is needed to find it out.

For a believer, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Let me put it here about purpose of life. We wanted to talk more about the problem.

The Problem:

As I was recovering, my physical being was not restored at one go. It takes time to be able to leave the hospital. The pain, distorted eyesight, and other problems are not easy to bear. It is something normal to happen in life.

When something unusual happened: health not improving as we’d wanted, the unending financial crisis, our prayer not materializing, difficulty caused by choosing the wrong educational course, and many more, could makes us worry.

Many of us wanted to die instead of suffering more hardships and pain. But we should remember that to die is not the solution to everything. Sometimes, I also wanted to die, to take rest with Him, but I still have so many things to do; my purpose not yet fulfilled.

For those of us who lived with constant pain and difficulty, the journey could get challenging. But remember Jesus Christ is nearby you, watching you closely.

In our pain, He is pained. In our joy, He remained joyful. He wanted us to fight the good fight and overcome victoriously. In our suffering we are not alone although most of the time we seem to be alone.
When my purpose is fulfilled I would be taken home, even if I am not ready. So, don’t be tempted to die before the time comes. The time will surely come.

To Think About:

When this thought ‘to die or not to do’ loom large on your mind, take your time out. Remember our God is besides you when you endure that pain. Sometimes, He speaks but the Devil makes us difficult to hear.

What did Jesus Christ do when He was in the middle of His suffering? He had bore it all. Someday, our suffering will end. Someday, we will meet Him too.

Remember that Hope and Faith are to be use at its largest extent in our earthly life. Hope for good time to happen in future by putting faith on the Lord.

When you think you are no more valuable or no one values you anymore, remember there’s someone who valued you and gave His life for you. I am also in this suffering, from time to time, so I can tell you this.

Leave the matter to God. Let His will be done, even in our most difficult moment. It is my prayer that our God would sufficiently take care of us, even when it seems He is not working.

Again, let me end herewith the word of God, what Jesus Christ has declared, for you to ponder over:

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus Christ) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:9-10 with my emphasis added)

Let us try to make the most out of our life. That, we might live joyously but not beyond the permitted limit.

My Lost Spanner

Fall season for the year is about to end. People started harvesting rice from their paddy fields.

When the harvest season is approaching, it is time for servicing of our old and very small, Rice Mill Plant. For machinery work a “>spanner always become handy.

For starters, a spanner is a tool with openings or jaws shaped for gripping or turning nut or bolt. It comes in different sizes and numbers as the nuts also comes in different sizes.

a spanner and a ring
A spanner: for reference

For some machinery, there is a particular number or sizes, which fit with most of the nuts. And we stored these tools in wooden tool box.

Let me tell you something that happened in my early teenage days:

One morning, my father told me to inspect our field, where we grow mustard for its leaves and seeds, located in the vicinity of the hills nearby a river. We started growing mustard plants in the onset of winter.

I readily agreed, as I know he would be busy with machinery work during the day. I pleaded that I will ride a bicycle to the farm. Since the road can be bumpy with no proper road, my father doesn’t seem to like the idea. It is for my safety as our bicycle can develop a snag during the ride.

I kept pleading hard. So, I was allowed to go, using our bicycle. I took one spanner with me so that if it develops a snag, I could easily mend it.

My bicycle ride was smooth that day, until I accidentally lost control and hit a rock on the way. My cycle really develop a snag around the headset adjoining the front forks. I tried to tighten it, and alas, my spanner’s gone!

Where is my spanner? My father would need it during the day! I keep searching up and down the road but unable to find it! I had been warned about this! I am sweating despite the morning cool breeze blowing gently.

With a heavy heart I went back home. “Whoa! You’re fast!” said my daddy. I tried to gather my composure and smile back. “I saw you taking a spanner with you. Now, please give it back I am going to need it,” continued my father.

Feeling guilt-ridden and helpless, “My friends borrowed from me as we met on our way,” I said. Father said nothing but he helped me get ready for my school. He assured that he would manage without it.

The whole day I had been thinking about that spanner. What if I didn’t find it back! What will I say to my father? The thought kept repeating the whole time. School was not fun today!

When I came back from school, I tried to not come face-to-face with my father. I felt very guilty. But just when I was about to enter our house, father called me!

“See, what our neighbor found on our way to the farm?” he said. And that’s my lost spanner.

He told me that our neighbor went to get some mustard leaves for soup after me. He found the spanner in a bush on his way. Further, there was some damage to the crop and I did not inspect the farm this morning.

The truth was out in open! It was expected. I am unable to hide it. I was proven guilty! What now?

“I am sorry. I was lying the whole time. And I am tired. Forgive me, please?” I could barely manage to utter these words with my choked voice. I was filled with tears.

Father held me in his arms tight. “You are forgiven. Don’t do it again,” he said rubbing my head gently. And we prayed to God for His forgiveness.

A moment had passed when I regained my composure. This time full of joy and gaiety – free from my guilt-ridden heart. I regret not having confessed early before school. It is hard to spent time with a heavy guilty mind. My day could have been so much fun at school, I said to myself.

I wonder how my father could have forgiven me so easily. To which he replied because I am his son!

It is not easy to live with guilt. It can be devastating. Guilt-free life I wanted to live. It is good to confessed and reconnected with God every now and then.

We have a father who always loved us: A father who art in heaven yet His abiding presence felt all over the earth!

Change: Yes We Can! But I Will Not!

‘Yes We Can! But I will not change!’ said one of my colleagues, smiling cheerily.

He is not adamant to change. ‘It is time to act, not shout slogans and/or chanting what we wanted,’ he continued. We used to joke around currents happenings that almost deafen our daily activities.

Yes, I am talking about those times Ex-POTUS Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008. In the end, whether he brings a change or not might differ from person to person, with different ideologies and likings.

Change, in other words, may mean to transform, to alter, to reformed, etc. in its verb form. It is used with hope for positive development or transformation when associated with state and non-state elements.

Human wants are unlimited, we say, which prompts us to like new things, brought-in better practices. Being in stagnant mode can be boring and sometimes led to corrupted minds. So, it is natural to want change once in a while, which history can tell us in great detail.

All changes do not necessarily led to positive changes. It can lead us backwards at times. But we have this innate desire to change, to experience new things at the least, in our minds. For most people, it could be the driving force in their life.

When we do not found the changes we desired, or when things around us seem so stagnant, it can adversely affect us. It can even lead to unwanted thoughts and self-analysis. Further, it can lead us to irritations or having less zeal for living.

Constant:
There is a search for constant to which we can measure or build around our thoughts and calculations. In Mathematical term, we used Pi (π) the Greek letter or 22/7 which is approximately equal to 3.14159. In the same manner, in Physics we have several constant(s). They are useful in many ways to determine values, distance, etc.

Here, it can be known that as much as we want change, there needs to be something which is constant-unchanging figure. When we don’t have that figure in our lives, the waves of life are hard to bear.

When a house is built, there needs to be a constant Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20) around which the foundation is laid. The cornerstone becomes the important constant object to build a strong house.

For individuals, when we have constant value inside us, we can be safe amidst the stormy calamities. In the same manner, while embracing the much-needed change in a state or society there needs to be something constant to prevent things are not blown out of proportion.

Now, that constant value which did not change, never change, to the ends of the earth is Christ Jesus. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Here we have a constant value for measuring our lives.

While on this earth, I am also one among many who wanted change in every possible way. But change is the only constant thing on this earth. A change without Christ would be disastrous, for the state, individual, and even for the Church.

Several reforms had taken place. Several Acts and Amendments had been passed, which are still far from perfection. It is for the benefit of most people or citizens, it is being said. That is the nature of the world. However, Jesus Christ never changes.

I am not urging you to resist change. No, make that change happen for humankind to be nearer to God. More changes are bound to happen but if it affects you, remember the unchanging Lord – always standing firm on His words.

Abiding Grace: The Joy of Sharing in Sufferings

When we suffered hardships in life, we wanted someone to talk to. That too, if we are able to talk. We wanted to pour out our sufferings by letting it out.

There is no joy to any types of suffering yet there can be joy to any types of suffering. Personally, I’d been through some hardships and suffering and from the people I met on the way. Let’s discuss some of them.

Not all people understand our inner feeling. Most people tend to hide within us. People are afraid to share their sufferings to any random person. We need someone trustworthy, understanding, and not repulsive in nature. Yet it is hard to find.

There are some who could simply react to your sufferings in one sentence – blunt and plain. For, they do not know what is burning inside someone’s life. However, it would be wise not to react or question someone suffering any pain, be it emotional, physical, or even in grief.

When we are in suffering mode, our mind roamed around leading us to happiness and sadness, inside our heart. This resulted in changes of mood frequently, which sometimes becomes unbearable for us and our surroundings.

It is a privilege, I could say, to meet several people I have known in their sufferings and talked with them. Some get comforted and find joy in their suffering as it will not lasted forever. There will be an end to sufferings although in different ways.

Years ago, my father was diagnosed with cancer. It left us in great distress. We do not know what is before us yet we expect something worst to happen as the suffering is life-threatening. That same year, we learned that I would be undergoing brain surgery due to my prolonged neurological disorder.

My father was done with his first round of Chemotherapy when I was operated upon. Unfortunately yet may be God willing, my father and I becomes suffering partner to whom we can deeply let out our sufferings. We talked about so many things. Let lay out some of them here:

About The End:

Death has been the subject of our sharing, sometimes. We reassured each other of what lies ahead. Being both of us enjoying the Salvation of Jesus Christ, we are determined to meet Him in the near future.

In the course of time, I’d brushed with death, which I gladly share with my father and my families. You can read in details here. There is far better place waiting for us to enjoy. No science and technology needed to proof or help but the blood of Christ, shed many many years ago, was sufficient to get us there.

I remember my father calling me over the phone one particular day. He told me, “I thought my end has been approaching. The time has come to be with Him. I can sense death calling. But I am not afraid to go. However, it is not time yet!” I could sense him smiling while telling me this. He was laughing although tired, during our conversation. It was a great relief to hear that! And we rejoice in praising the Lord for such comfort.

A year ago, his time has finally come. My dear father, see you in Heaven!

About Life: (The special Child)

We did talk about life a lot. There are several things we wanted to re-do or make-over but that’s not possible. So far, the sufferings we had are for our own life; very less for others around us. Yet if God blessed upon our sufferings, it can be useful. And we prayed for that too.

‘The special child of God,’ we called ourselves. Yes, there is nothing special about not being able to lead a normal life, at least for a while. I will tell you why we called ourselves special child of God.

In our suffering, we talked to God more often. We need Him every minutes and every hour to be with us. Whatever happens and whatever comes our way, if God is with us, the rest we worry not. We wanted to be in-touch with Him all the time.

More so, our heart becomes more open to Him ever than before. His words are more penetrating than usual. We are in fellowship with our Savior. He looked after every minute details of our life and He is always close by – within reach. To the suffering soul, He is always near.

Does God Really Care?

Jesus Christ’s prayer for His disciples and all believers in John 17:6-25, I remembered, we discussed in a lengthy conversation. We also get comforted by His prayer – the Prayer of the Lord to His Father. He is still praying for us in the same way or even more than before.

In this prayer, it is clear that Jesus Christ knew exactly what we are going through. He Himself lived in this world in our human form. The pain, sufferings, hardships, He knew it all. He’d been through it. He’d seen it all. And now that’s very comforting.

Although I wanted to discuss these verses in great detail, let me pick some in between here. These are the prayer Jesus Christ had for us. Please go through them:

“While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.” (Verse 12a) He really did. He saved them from their physical sickness and even from the death.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” (Verses 15 and 16) Our sufferings are allowed but not to cause us harm beyond we can stand.

The One who doesn’t belong to this world had gone through sufferings. So, we must also endure some sufferings. But He will protect us from the evil one.

“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (Verse 26) This is exactly what He did. Made known to us and He will never let us suffer alone being Him within us.

We get comforted with this verses in the midst of our sufferings. When we can found the implications and express it out there can be joyous moments.

Becoming a Partner in Sufferings:

Everyone needs someone to talk to, to let out to someone trustworthy while in sufferings. For me, most unexpected, unfortunate or uncalled for, my father becomes my suffering partner. Being both of us suffering we can almost fully understand each other.

Sometimes full of hope, the other time with less hope – the mind of a suffering person can be unsteady. Anyone can fit in as a partner, someone who will listen to them. One does not need prior training. We have God-given quality to do so, if we are willing. You can be one of them.

For those sufferers who do not have someone to share their mind, Our God is there to listen. Not only listen, He act upon our cases too. Although His ways are beyond what men can understand. Not acting or doing something the way we desired does not mean that God is not working. He is always at work.

Lastly, I did not finish my race yet, but I write because I hope it might be useful.

To Timothy, Apostle Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) This was written shortly before his (Paul’s) death.

Although, Apostle Paul’s sufferings were way beyond my sufferings, which I firmly belief. When I finished this world of suffering, I wanted to say the same with my head held high.

I am hurt!

“I am hurt!” said my five-year-old, stumbling on the ground. Anxious at what I do next.

He galloped past me. I had reminded him, many times, to look out, follow my footsteps, and go slow.
I waited for him to get up by himself, which I hope would make him tougher. I also wanted him to learn something from this unwanted situation.

“Do something, Papa? I am hurt, I am in pain,” he uttered repeatedly. And I know he is hurt.

I picked him up and rub his pain gently with my hands. The pain doesn’t go in haste. I have no healing power. But he got comforted, at least, emotionally.

In my helplessness, I rushed him home. We did not bring first aid box with us while jogging in the park. We did not expect this to happen either.

On our way home, I remember myself reiterating the need to learn from mistakes. Here, it would be my forewarning to look out the path and not to gallop unnecessarily. I also knew that it is something irritating in this kind of situation, when the accident already occurred.

This incident reminded me of my relationship with the Lord. There are many instances where I wanted the Lord, my God, to do something quick in my anxious moments. Being the Almighty Father, He is and was never helpless.

Many times, I feel like crying out loud, “My God, I am hurt! I am in pain.” And I already did it because I had cried out in my mind although I did not say it out loud.

Do something, please?
I am hoping you must have plan B, in this. But some of your plans are too hard to bear. Give me strength to carry on till I reached my life’s purpose. I remember pleading hard for His intervention.

Although the waiting and His ways can take time and uncomfortable, Our God –Jehovah has His purpose for all of it. If there is a lesson to be learned in being hurt, it is even more worthy. He has all the solutions for it.

Physical hurt, although not easy, was sometimes even better than being emotionally hurt. Specifically speaking for myself, most the hurts I’d suffered are mainly due to my fault, and I accepted it.

Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob, in the Bible had a rough path in his journey of life. Yet he remained faithful to the One who leaded him through and through. At last, Joseph seemed to have found employment in his long struggle.

However, Potiphar’s wife plays spoil sport in his life. Wrongly accused, he was sent to prison. Consider these few cases:

Just when we started to feel secured and settled, some of us lose our job, although due to different reasons. It can be really hurting at times. However, I believed God has better plan for us. It depends on us being able to submit to Him even in those situations.

Out of the blue, an ex-flame of either side of a couple showed up hurting the smooth family foundation. Sometimes, they ended up tearing apart the marriage. In this, we being hurt and our tears are not unseen by God because He has a purpose in every marriage. Stay closer with Him.

For now, someone tried to live responsibly when illness strike the determination. In the point of no return we stand yet it is hurting to stay in the same place. When you are too hurt to even give it up, God listen to our pain.

You wanted to move on saying you will be able yet you still get hurt. Even more hurt when you try to cope with losing some you have loved so much, Our God will pick you up and hold you in His arm.

When someone, most unexpected, let you down or downplay your existence, remember you are still more than valuable in someone’s eye. You might feel mistaken, unnecessary provoked: you get hurt and it’s not easy to overcome, remember Our Heavenly Father can feel with you.

Not an earthly father He is but someone who calmed the storms of life in His might too.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,”
declares Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 11:28)

Christians also get hurt yet rest is assured. We are allowed to suffer, sometimes, inflicted by evildoers.

‘Believe in Christ, dear friend. You’re worries or you being hurt would get healed,’ some may say. For a true believer, it is true. But to reach a level as such one must be deeply close with Christ. There is no point in following Him if we wanted comfort in our life.

Pour out your heart and let your hurtfulness be known to Him, He will deal with it. In His ways, He will deal with it. We would be blessed if we can closely follow in His footstep.

It is painful to get hurt, physically and emotionally, but it can lead us to be a better person. Stronger in life and closer to Christ Jesus, we can become!

Playing It Our Own Way

“Papa, let’s play it my way”, demanded my five-year-old.

We are in the midst of playing manual games – Snakes and Ladders.

“Wait; let me think about it….” I replied. I almost gave in, to his demands.

Today he had struggled a lot. By analyzing the way we played for the last thirty minutes, several times the snakes on the board had troubled him. It is difficult to hide my compassion towards him.

“No, let’s follow the universal rule of playing this game. Keep trying!” I said.

He gave me a scorned look. But he followed my instructions; he knew I have the authority over him.

Snake and ladder for playing
Game board; Snakes and Ladders

For starters, Snakes and Ladder is a abidings-20” target=”_blank”>game played by rolling a dice, in different turn, by each player. If your counter lands at the bottom of a ladder, you climb up. And if your counter lands at the head of a snake, you slide down at the bottom of the snake. You keep rolling the dice till you reach the goal or home.

We bought the game for some reasons: One, to reduce his screen time. Two, to help him learn how to count. Three, to spent time together. It is our hope that it would resulted in us growing closer and a good time for teaching life’s values.

Let’s talk about two things:

(a) Power Play at Home;

Now, when he demanded to play his way, by altering the rules a bit, it is natural. We also did that in our childhood days and even protested with hue and cry.

In our innate being, we wanted to bend few things if it does not favored us. But our parents enforced upon us some basic rules, which are not very sweet at that time. And I am really happy they did that.

It is a very small matter. I could have simply let him bend some rules. However, tomorrow he might say, “Papa, let’s play my way again!” So, I used my God-given authority over him so that he might learn his lesson.

In today’s society, I have seen young people challenging authorities, blending the rules and creating havoc in the society. We are deprived of inner peace and harmony.

It is becoming of a trend to revolt yet all revolutions are not bad. Please don’t get me wrong.

At home, the sanctity of family hierarchy has been challenged. In many cases, it has been destroyed. Small things flourished into destruction of human lives.

(b)The Way to the Father;

In the Bible, Jesus Christ told His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

We simply cannot bend or create our own way to go to the Father. There is only one way to get to the Father. No other way is given.

If we try to get to our Heavenly Father by our own way, we would perish. (John 3:16) God is beyond the challenge of human; He possessed the Highest Authority, forever and ever.

Do you think it would serve us good to depend on the wisdom of man; bending the way and playing it our own way?
In the game of life, let’s try to, at least, play it safe by following the ways of the Lord.

When failure looms large on our way of life, we are left with none to turn our ways to. This is the biggest threat to a life living on our own ways.