Monthly Archives: May 2016
For last month or so, my body was getting tired easily and I just thought it was because I was under stress or not eating properly and so on. But then, for last 10 days or so, my body has taken such a beating from an ailment, for the first time in so many years, I did not attend the Sunday service. The Sunday service takes place just in the second floor of our home and I could not even go from the first floor to second floor; so, you can understand how severely I was afflicted.
Many people, who have more pressing problems in their lives, forgot everything, and started praying for me with tears, and in all these, I was a silent spectator. I just could not believe what was happening to my body and to see my wife undergoing so much pain yet again because of me, it was not easy to bear. As one night, I was praying for deliverance, the Spirit of God reminded me of this verse.
But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face! – Job 2:5.
Over the years, I have lost so much. There are times when depression sets in and I end up questioning the Lord. But over all, I have always realized that our Saviour has a great plan for me, and hence taken all the losses with thanksgiving. But this time, the pain in my body was so severe and incessant, it was difficult for me to even pray.
But once the Holy Spirit showed me this verse, I sought the grace of our Lord. It is easy to talk about the Biblical heroes and say, that we must follow them. But in real life, there is a reason why only there is one Abraham, one Moses, one Job, one David and one Daniel. As I was not sure to what extent, I would be tested, I sought the grace and strength of our most loving God.
For the last few days, the pain became very intense that even trying to sleep had become a struggle. And the changes in my bones and flesh had become very visible, that I could not hide my struggle from others. In between, I even lost hope for my future, and thought, “Probably, this is it!” Yeah, I was ready to accept death itself, if it was God’s will. Of course, whenever I had to look at my wife, it broke my heart, for I had not given her any peace or happiness in my life; and then my loving family, my loving daughters. However, with lots of prayer, I was ready to yield my spirit to the Father of all spirits. But in His mercies, the LORD promised me that He has sent His Word to heal me, and this morning, when I woke up, I saw most of my body was back to normal and the pain has gone away. Still there are some wear and tear, but that excruciating pain has gone.
As I got up from my bed, I realized that the Lord has taught me yet another lesson in my life. I had never given respect to those who suffer in their bodies. Inner turmoil, depressions, struggles in their minds, yes, I could sympathize with them, for I had suffered all those. But when someone tells me that their head ache is too much to bear, my heart would look at them condescendingly – “Oh, come on! There are more painful things than your head ache!” But now, the Lord has made me realize that there is a threshold for everything. Even a small pain that lasts longer could break anyone. And when someone tells me how much they had also suffered due to some ailments, suddenly my heart feels for them. Oh, how adamant I have been, that God has to allow such a severe affliction for me to learn this seemingly basic, simple truth! Thank You, Lord, for this lesson and thank You for Your patience with me all these years.
And more than everything, I am so grateful that the Lord sustained me through this suffering, by His grace. That the Lord did not let me sin with my heart or my lips. Yes, I had not suffered even a percentage of what the great man of God, Job, had suffered. But to me, the least of all God’s children, this is a huge thing. And I praise the Lord for His enduring grace.
As I am regaining my health again, I am so happy that Jesus Christ helped me to defeat the devil, who said that I would curse the Lord, only if he was able to touch my bones and flesh. It is Your grace alone, Lord, Your grace alone, for I know it was not possible for me. Thank You, Jesus.
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth.
Joseph’s gone, Simeon’s gone, and now you want to take Benjamin. – Genesis 42:36 (MSG)
In his depression, Jacob sees that everything was working against him and he blames his sons for his misfortunes. Then he lists two things that had happened already and one more thing that was going to happen as evidence to his misfortunes.
But what Jacob did not realize that El Shaddai, God Almighty, according to His plan, made Joseph the ruler of Egypt, so that Jacob could spend his old days in the prosperity of Goshen, in the embrace of his beloved son Joseph.
Just like Jacob, in our depression, we may list all the things that we have lost. But, dear friend, if God is on our side, trust that all things work for the good of those who love Him. Believe in Immanuel, Who saves the best for the last.
1. Joseph is gone.
Joseph, the beloved son, had to go, if Jacob had to see the great works of our YHWH. Though Joseph looks so perfect, there were some minor imperfections in him that had to go out of his system, if the LORD had to fulfil His purpose for Joseph. So, he had to be separated from his doting father and had to be purified by the Word of God till His Word was fulfilled.
Dear friend, probably you have lost something that is so dear to you. It could be a relative, a friend, a loved one; or a job or a possession that was so dear to you. But, believe that our loving Father is in the process of creating something far beyond our imagination. Don’t worry about your “Joseph”, for the Only Wise God is fulfilling His purpose in ways we cannot even fathom.
2. Simeon is gone.
Yes, dear friend, our anger must go if we need to see the great blessings that the Lord has already prepared for us. Thoughts of bitterness and vengeance do not have any place in the Goshen that the Most High God has prepared for you. Our “Simeon” must be put in prison. We should never rely on him to get us out of tight spots. So, if you have to endure circumstances where you are very angry, but you are unable to pour out your wrath, then praise the LORD. Because Simeon must be in prison if you prosper in your life.
3. Benjamin must also go.
Benjamin, the son of right hand, had to go. The son on whom the aged patriarch was reliant upon. The backup for Joseph must go before Jacob could see the original beloved son, Joseph, attired in royal garments.
We all have our “Benjamins.” It could be that jewel you have, hoping to sell it when an unexpected expenditure comes. It could be a friend of yours who you trust with your life. It could be a savings you have, hoping that it will help you in your old age. It could be a son or a daughter who you are sure will take care of you. There is nothing wrong in any of them, but when the Holy God takes your Benjamin away, thank Him, for your blessing is nearer than you think.
May the LORD Who prepared the Goshen area for his aging patriarch, will also prepare a place of rest and comfort for you, who have suffered so much in your life. Amen in Christ.
When we are in depression, it feels so right to blame others; almost like a catharsis. Despite how it makes us feel better, it is never right. We will never be able to see things clearly when we are in depression. And we will end up hurting people who truly love us.
In the last blog, I mentioned how, in his depression, Jacob saw that everything was against him but that was not true. In the same verse, he also accuses of his sons, by declaring, “You have bereaved me.” (Genesis 42:36). In his depression, he thought Joseph was dead and even Simeon might have died in the prison. And, he blamed his sons for these losses.
Though his sons had played a part in the disappearance of Joseph, Jacob had no idea of that. For all he knew, Joseph was devoured by a wild animal. But if we look the Scriptures closely, we will see that the affliction suffered by Jacob due to the loss of his beloved son was his own making.
1. It was Jacob who sent Joseph to his brothers, when he knew pretty well that they were jealous of his beloved son and even hated him. (Genesis 37:4-13) Yet, he sent Joseph among them. Jacob would surely know about how the righteous Abel was murdered by his jealous brother, when they were alone in the field. Even Jacob himself had fled from his own brother. Yet, he sent his beloved son to meet his 10 very jealous brothers in the field.
2. Though the brothers schemed and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites, they never told their father that Joseph was murdered. Instead, they dipped the multi-coloured robe of Joseph, in blood of a goat and sent it to Jacob. As soon as he recognized the robe, it was Jacob who assumed that a wild beast had devoured his son, and was afflicted in his soul from that day one. Now, I am not a forensic expert. But Jacob was a shepherd all along his life. He would have been in the right position to realize that the blood scent was quite familiar – that of a goat. (I may be totally wrong here) But in his depression, he came to a conclusion fast; his faith on a bad news was so unshakeable.
3. Yet, he never sought the presence or the counsel of God, despite all the pain his heart was suffering. It only prolonged his pain. Probably even if he had sought the counsel of God, the Only Wise God would not have revealed His plan to Jacob, but He would have surely comforted him. Yet, Jacob did not seek Him, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac.
Even in the case of Simeon, it was Jacob who delayed his sons from returning to Egypt to secure the release of his imprisoned son. Since there was a delay, Jacob again assumed the worst and blamed his sons for that.
Dear friends, often we don’t realize that it was our mistakes, small or great, that lead us to the afflictions that we suffer. We may not know where we went wrong, but if we analyse ourselves in the light of Scriptures, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will see that it was our fault all along the way. But, I know it is very difficult for someone in depression to accept that they were the one to be blamed for all the troubles. However, we can make sure we don’t blame others for our misfortunes.
And let us not jump to conclusions very fast. When some things go wrong, don’t assume the worst. For one Titanic that sank, there are hundreds of ships that cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. So, when things go wrong, wait till you know something for sure.
And finally, seek your Immanuel. Jesus is with us. When you seek Him, you will find Him. In your depression, do not blame others. Do not try to find who is to blame. Just try to find Jesus. May the God of all comfort, comfort you and deliver you.
All these things are against me. – Genesis 42:36
When I was growing up, I was fascinated with the patriarch Abraham. Isaac did not intrigue one way or other; Jacob, sort of hated him. So, it bothered me that the Lord repeatedly calls us, the believers, as Jacob, or sons of Jacob. But the more I meditate on the Bible, two things are very clear.
1. I am more like Jacob, with all his faults and criminal brain. Not surely Isaac, the meditating and less talkative patriarch. Not Abraham, the great patriarch, the friend of God. But with my flaws, and sullen outbursts, I am more like Jacob.
2. And God loves me; loves me a lot more than I can understand. The love and grace He had showered on Jacob, He showers on me, too. Now, I am slowly understanding why the LORD calls me Jacob, or sons of Jacob.
Though none of the things that Jacob assumed were happening, he strongly felt that all these things were against him. Oh, how many times I had thought so, that everyone, including the LORD Himself, had turned against me, and was later ashamed to realize that I had been thinking toooooooo much of myself.
But has the LORD been against me? I have to admit that I am guilty of thinking that the Lord has forsaken me, that His right hand is up against me. May the LORD forgive me of my blasphemies.
Even before Jacob was born, our Lord God in His tender mercies, had chosen him over his brother Esau. (Romans 9:11-13). Though Jacob was not the first-born, the Lord gave him the inheritance of his father Isaac. When he ran away from his brother’s wrath, he did not seek the Lord in prayer; he just slept. It was the God of Abraham and Isaac, Who appeared to him in a dream and made a promise unto him. When Laban tried to cheat him, God gave him counsel and helped him. When Laban followed with the intent of hurting Jacob, it was again the Lord Almighty who warned Laban not to harm Jacob in anyway. How can we forget the all-night wrestling match God had with an old and withering Jacob? In everything, if anything, all these things were working for Jacob.
And I am not the best of my family. There are some well-educated, some well-behaved, some morally upright persons in my family. Yet, in His mercies the LORD has chosen me to be His child. Jesus Christ, the First-born of God our Father, gave up His inheritance for me. When I ran towards the world, I did not seek the Lord, for I was in deep sleep (figuratively), yet He made a promise to me, that He would never leave me nor forsake me; and till to this day, He has been true to His promise. When the world tried to cheat me, the Spirit of God gave me wisdom and the direction to walk in, and He became my strength to walk in those directions. When the world came up against me, the Lord became my Protector and saved me from its wrath.
Oh, how ungrateful I have been to accuse God of against me!!! Oh, Lord, forgive me for accusing of such vile things. Help me to know Your will and make me understand that You are in charge of everything that is happening around me. May Your Name alone be praised. Through Christ, Amen.