Unanswered Prayers 1: Closer to Him!

When you most needed it, your prayer seems to be in vain, we are often reminded.   Some prayers are answered immediately while some prayers seem unheard.  That is the reality of life.  We knew it and we wonder why?

Unfortunately, my elder brother became alcoholic.  Many tears were shed for him alone.  My parents and my whole family were in prayer mode for a long time.  My sister-in-law was a true prayer warrior.  She literally cried and shouted, to the Lord, ‘please do your work on my husband’.  Many times I saw her, on her knees, shedding tears before the Lord for her husband.

But then, there was no sign of him returning back to his good life that he’d lived before.   Our earthly eyes cannot see beyond that point.  We did not know how God was working on our brother.  But we knew He has worked His ways.  Our prayers went unanswered or it is very much heard?

Brother was a born-genius.  He doesn’t need training in carpentry works.  He can repair and work on any mechanical work.  He didn’t have the chance to pursue business courses.  Yet he undertook some real estate business very easily under his stride.  He built our house on his own.  He got lots of work done in his lifetime.  So he worked very hard.  He worked much harder than anyone in the family.

We spent our childhood together.  He was a good protector for me and a good fighter than me as well.  We love each other very much.  In whatever he laid his hands, to the fullest he did.  The same goes with wine.

Although we no longer lived in the same town, we had the chance to meet up in his final days.  We walked hand-in-hand, as we did in our childhood days.  We talked about what God has done for us.  The love of God was emphasized.  Brother was soft at heart.  At times, he requested me to lay hands on him and pray in his behalf.  We did that together.  I told him nothing can change the relation between him and God.  Many times he reiterated he was late for change.  His health had already taken toll on him.  But still we prayed.    If all the things are revealed time-to-time, there will be no meaning to life.

We returned back to our places.  After a month I was informed brother left for eternity.  Oh my! Doesn’t God hear our prayers and our request? No, He did.  He worked His ways.  It was hard to bear.  But then God did not make mistakes.  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.*

“But where is the good part here?”  We asked.  We did not have all the answers of everything in this life here on earth.  Some of the things are better untold.  One day we will understand whether here on earth or in heaven, when we have fellowship with the Lord.  When He reveal the good things being promised here, it will be sweet!

When we see Him face-to-face, all things will be whole.  We will get all the answers we wanted for ages.   The Lord declares, Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”* 

Some questions are better left unanswered.  It draws our heart closer to God.  The time will come when all will be revealed.

To God be the glory.  He holds together all the earth.  The mind cannot measure His majesty.

Romans 8:28, John 16:22

Stay Connected: Precautions

 

It’s been 10 years since I was taking medicines for epileptic disorder.   For more than a decade, I have been carrying my medicines wherever I go.  Especially, the so-called SOS medicine was to be kept handy for precautions.

Medicine drawer
Inside the drawer

I cannot afford to miss my medicines to prevent any kind of seizures.  An alarm was set in my cell phone to remind me.  Medicine took too much control of my time, I would often recall.  I did that to avoid expected attacks from the illness.  This practice does spare me from embarrassment many times.  It was worth practicing.

A visit to the doctor is another thing I cannot turndown.  By the way, I am blessed to live in a place where there are many good doctors.  There are people who do not have access to this kind of thing.  For them, it was a distant dream.  However, it is one of those things I wanted to strike off in my routine, if possible.

These practices over the years reminded me of many things.  Let me tell you some of them for precautions.

One, for a believer it was our duty to carry our weapons all the time.  More importantly, there are evil spirits that are ready to attack us.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.*

Two, for a man it is advisable to carry the word of God, which is an SOS in times of need.  Many times my SOS was having a word with my God.  I am humbled to experience His presence in times of adversities.  The answers to some prayers are instant depending on the situation, and as has been granted by our Heavenly Father.

Three, it is good to maintain good connection with God who watch you and saw your spiritual and physical needs.  For He knows what is good for you, and what you should avoid.  To be able to live a life worthy for Him, it is necessary to gain prescription from Himself.

As we can see, we need to review our spiritual illness and get it corrected from time to time.  This will lead us to be closer to God.  That will make our living fruitful for you and around us.

At an instance, I underwent surgery to help control my problem.  That means surrendering to the doctors so that they can work on me.  But I find it difficult to surrender myself under God.  It is a good thing to fully surrender before God.  Let us take courage and try to achieve it.

Stay connected with God.  Spend time with Him.

Spend time, not for Him, but with Him, at least once.

*Ephesians 6:12

Hosanna in the Highest! Deliverance is Assured

 

There are instances in life, where we wanted to make Jesus what we want.  We wanted Him to act fast.  We misunderstood His ways.  Yet, He did things in His own time.  We have to wait for ‘His time’.

Palm leaves Hosanna
Palm leaves

In the final stages of His time on earth, a week before dying on the cross, Jesus and His disciples drew near to Jerusalem.  In short, He sent His disciples to go to the village and find a colt and a donkey.  They came back as has been commanded.  They laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.

So, as Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem, multitudes gathered.  They spread their garments on the road; others cut down branches and trees spreading them on the road.  Now the crowds who went before Him and those who followed cried out, “Hosanna”.

Hosanna, in Hebrew, means ‘Lord, deliver us’ or ‘I beg you to save’.

They shouted Hosanna to acknowledge Him as the Messiah.  Long-burdened with sin and oppressed by foreign rulers, they wanted the Messiah to act now.  They wanted to make Him king, and deliver them from their present situations or hardships.  In the same way, that is all we want when we kneel down to pray.

More importantly, they presented their case while shouting in adoration.  They saw deliverance is on the way.  Deliverance is much nearer than before.

On that day, the sad doxology of ‘Lord, save us or deliver us’ became a glad doxology.  Because, in Him, they have hope.  Their hopes and spirits were renewed.  This happened just before His final presentation of Himself hanging on the cross.

Now, do you think the Lord did not see what they wanted at that moment and time?  He’d seen it all.  He’d knew it all.  But He waited.  He waited for His Father and His plans.

Was He powerless?  No, but He humbled.  He can and He ruled over nature and all that existed on earth.  The people cried out for salvation but there was a larger picture to be seen at this point.  That’s the part we cannot see in our everyday life, without Him.

Yes, the waiting, sometimes the long wait is worth it.  But the hardest part is the waiting period.  In the contemporary world where almost everything follows the stroke of one finger tip, it is far more difficult.

When Jesus Christ declared on the cross, “It is finished”, He delivered all mankind from the bondage of sin, and the chains that bind us no longer exist.  Deliverance is assured!

So we shouted,

Hosanna in the Highest!

Hosanna to the King of Kings!

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Matthew 21:9, Mark 11:9, John 12:13, Psalms 118:25

Stream of Death

 

There was a small stream near our farm.  We needed to cross this stream every time we visit our farm.  We would often refer that very small stream as ‘stream of death’.  Now I will tell you why he called that.

An old wooden Bridge on a stream
Wooden Bridge on a stream

The stream was small but can be ferocious at times during the rainy season.  The mouth of the stream was small but it was very deep and muddy.  The walls are slippery.  We often witnessed a cattle dying inside the stream as they cannot climb their way back.

It was difficult to build a good bridge over that stream.   The intensity of the water current was underestimated every time.  We were warned to take utmost care while crossing it.  Taking this clue, it was called as stream of death.  But the purpose of calling that was more of an example for life.

In our journey, we often need to cross that kind of streams that seems to just wither away in the bush.  All the problems are not necessary as wide as a big river.  However, they poised same level of threat as that can be seen.  To get drowned, the water need not be big but more important is skill of swimming or the first reaction to that.  A swimmer also gets drowned, someone told.

A valley is much wider than a small stream discussed here.  But the same God, who keeps King David safe from the valley of the shadow of death, is and was, applicable in every scenario.  He wrote,

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.*

Whenever we go to our farm and crossed that small stream, it reminded me of the safety and comfort we have in the Lord.  In that way, we come across many streams, rivers, and valleys of death.  However, if God is on our side, we will cross all of them.

A problem, big or small, stole happiness from our lives.  The safety and comfort provided by God is the same.   How much we get and enjoys depends on our relationship with God.

*Psalms 23:4 (NKJV)

Special Time; Story Time at Home

Story time with children
Story time at home

It was mostly quiet at this time of the day.  For most of the city slickers, it is time to take rest just after having their lunch.  My children were done with their assigned work.  It was calm, and the wind was lazy, just before taking their noon time nap, it was story time for us.

“Papa, tell us a story,” they demanded .  Our special time is about to begin.

They would settle down into their favorite place, or should I say, ‘our story place’ of the house facing the trees.  I’d gather them around my arms and hold them together to narrate stories, which I hope would have morals in their life.  I have the chance to pick the genre of stories, but not always.

For a Dad, who was no more working, it was always special to be able to spend precious time with my children.  Most of the time, stories told by my Dad and Granddad, in my younger days were retold.  It was a time to inculcate knowledge about the reality of life to the young minds.

Relatively important topics like; why people die? Why is my sister a female? Why not all humans are male? and the likes, were covered in these times.  It was always a special moment in a day.

Why did Mommy need to work?  This needed to be answered many times.  Most of the times, my kids get emotional, and, I feel, draw closer to me.  But what is more important is to tell them the importance of what Mommy is doing for them.  Balancing act needed to be done cautiously.

One thing that made me happy was their eagerness to learn and knows the life stories of Jesus Christ.  After every short stories or topic-wise discussion, came up the demand for at least a brief incident in the life of Jesus.  That always ended up with me enacting the implications of what has been told.

This small practice, simply, many times reminded me of the sharpness of young minds.  How the world has changed the mind of people and the impact of technology on their minds, which I will later discuss here, can be seen.

It makes life worth living.  Happiness can be seen from small things in life rather than the much-anticipated or highly-rated social events.

You are Alone But not Alone

alone yet strong; a tree
Standing alone

Let me begin this way.  This tree, standing alone on top of the hill, is alone but strong.  It reminded me of some of the adversities that decorate our lives.

Sports, whether we play or not, everyone set our interest at least in one discipline.   Due to the skill and speed involved I love football, especially English Football.  Cricket, on the other hand, I find it to be time-consuming and slow.  In English Premier League, I enjoyed watching Liverpool FC playing.  I was always mesmerized by the crowd cheering and singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.  Someone, who is always supporting us, is what we want.

Naturally, we enjoyed companionship and togetherness.  Man is not created to live in solitary.  When the cheering crowd fainted, and the going gets tough.   The road seems are lonely, we want someone by our side.  In my hospital bed, reflecting on my past and the good times spent were cherished.  The only thing I can do is to talk to God and hope for a better future.

Hard times are what made our life worth going.  If you do not face tough times in life, you do not live life to its fullest yet.  But in these times, we have someone who is always by our side to comfort us.  Those who can recognize it found happiness in suffering.  God said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”*

You are alone but not alone, someone told in my hospital bed.  The word is blunt at first but says a lot.  Because it open my heart to feel the One who is always with me through thick and thin.  For many, the time spend alone are the sweetest.  If they are able to fight through these times, they surely will find happiness in life.

To have that feeling let me list out what the Scripture tells us to do a few things amongst many. (James 4:7-8)  Submit yourselves to the Lord and resist evil.  God loves those who fully submit to Him.  Submit wholly, submit it to Him.  He will save you.  Come near to God and He will come to you.  The space maintained between God and you should be zero.  Nearer my God to Thee…says the songwriter.   Purify your heart, don’t be double-minded.  Humble yourself to the Lord, he will lift you up.  When we humble ourselves before Him, we can declare,  “The Lord is my helper I will not fear.  Mortal beings will not harm me.”

The Lord’s presence always comfort me

And I know He is always beside me

Though adversities loom large upon me

‘Son, fear not!’ He whispers in my ears.