Monthly Archives: September 2016
No lie is of Truth.
Reading the First Epistle by the beloved Apostle John always is a good idea for a Christian, whatever stage of growth I am in. It is like a checkpoint, that prompts myself to see if the claims I make about my growth in Christ actually is a fact or just a dream I am living in.
Today it is common to see Christians telling lies, “White Lies” is the term used to justify those lies. These are lies that harm no one, and probably makes the other person feel better. What is the harm in telling them?
No lie is of Truth, says the beloved Apostle. No lie. Absolutely no lie.
Of course, we live in a world filled with lies. How can I survive this world? Telling lies has become a way of life. You know, the survival of the fittest. But, wait, I am righteous because of Jesus Christ. You, as a Christian, have imputed righteousness because of our Lord and Teacher. And if you are righteous, then you have only one way of living. The righteous shall live by faith, not by lies.
In one of the previous blogs, I wrote about how my blood pressure was high and initially the physicians thought I was suffering from hypertension. I also mentioned how my blood pressure was normal after that day I was admitted to the ICU. However, there was one exception to that.
On the second night of my stay at ICU, around 2 AM, I woke up suddenly, as I heard someone yelling very close to me. As I woke up, I saw a medical intern of Goliathan proportions, screaming at the top of his lungs, very close to my face, saying, “Why are you crashing? Talk to me. I am not going to lose you under my watch.” He kept screaming these same words again and again, and in the background, I could hear the alarm sound of the blood pressure monitor ringing louder and louder. And, I had absolutely no clue what the ruckus was about.
Then the staff nurse in charge of me told that intern to calm down and that she would take care of me. Even then the intern took only a couple of steps backward, saying, that he would be watching me all night. Then the nurse took hold of my hand and in a gentle voice, told me that suddenly in my sleep, I started to breath heavily, my BP went above 150 and the alarm went off. And after I woke up, it went up to 180. Even as she was talking to me in an assured voice, my BP started to climb down and in the next five minutes, it was back to normal.
So, what happened? As my edema got worse, I had trouble lying down, as I felt suffocated and had trouble breathing. So, from July 1st till the day I got admitted to the ICU, I spent days and nights just sitting. Even if I had to sleep, I would be sitting and sleeping. Three times, I tried lying down and every time, it was a horrible experience, and everyone around me got scared that I would die of suffocation. And since I was closer to 125 kgs (around 275 lbs) during that time, my wife and others had trouble lifting me up. So, I was so scared that I would sit for hours and sleep in the same position. Though now I was in ICU and was sleeping in an inclined position, apparently I had a nightmare while sleeping, was breathing heavily and the BP had gone high. And when the intern came and screamed so close to my face, the BP went higher.
Now, I turn back and remember how Jesus Christ has dealt with me in similar situations. Yes, I have renounced sin when I was baptized. And every year, I have made so many renunciations, that I had lost count of them. By the grace of the LORD, though my old self had been crucified with our Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ, my flesh is still alive. My flesh is used to the sins that I had committed; they have become habits. And there are times, like a nightmare while sleeping, I just fall into the habit and before I realize, I am back to the sinful ways.
However, every time, I realize that I had fallen, because Jesus Christ tells me so. But He does not scream in face; He does not shout from the top of His lungs. Instead, He whispers to me, in a gentle voice. Not once, He let me continue in my nightmares; He woke me up every single time. Though I have failed Him so many times, never once He has failed me. If I had continued in my sinful ways, it was only because I did not listen to His voice or I did not want to leave that sin. There are times, the gravity of the sins I had committed have startled me, but not once the Voice of our LORD has startled me. For my Shepherd knows that if I am scared, I would go into my shell; I would try to hide my face from Him, like my parents Adam and Eve did.
Instead, Jesus looks at me, with same love and mercy that He had in His eyes, when He looked at Peter on the day He was betrayed. In His voice, I can hear the same tenderness He had, when He asked Thomas to put his hands into His wounds. I hear His voice in the gentle breeze that made Elijah realize the presence of God.
Oh my soul! Listen to that gentle voice! Listen to the voice of your Shepherd! Run into His arms. Jesus Christ knows your shortcoming, oh my soul! HE understands you more than you can ever understand yourself. Jesus loves you with all your faults. Yet, He never shouts at you. For He is meek and humble. And HE is waiting for you to open the door to your heart. Let Him come in and sup with you. Whenever you turn right or left, He whispers in your ear, the path that you have to take. Listen to Him. Listen to His gentle voice. And never take your sins lightly, just because Jesus Christ is being gentle to you. Your sins are horrible, and Jesus knows that. HE must, for HE paid the price for those sins. So, listen to His gentle voice.
In the previous blog, I mentioned about how the nurses saved an old man’s life when I was in the ICU. However, there was something that bothered me a little.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I believe what the nurses did that day, and in general, what they do to be very noble and I have utmost respect for them. This is just an observation I wanted to share.
As the old man next to me was going into shock, my breakfast was served. Generally they serve breakfast by 7 am. But that day, due to some misunderstanding, they forgot to give me my breakfast and it was already 9 am. I was very tired by then and it was by looking at how tired I was, they realized that they had not given breakfast to me. But when the breakfast was served, the patient next to me, went into shock and I had already written about how the nurses saved his life.
During that time, I did not eat my breakfast, as I felt it was inhumane on my part to be eating while another human being was struggling for his life next to me. But the nurse who was in charge of me, while working on that patient, noticed that I was not eating and she came up and told me to eat my breakfast. When I told that I would wait for the treatment to the patient to finish, she told, “Don’t worry about that. Just eat your breakfast.”
Still I could not bring myself to eat. After another minute or two, the nurse saw that I was not still eating and she told the head nurse about this. The head nurse came to me and in a stern voice, said, “Eat your breakfast now. We don’t want to deal with two cases at the same time.”
Two cases. Only then, I realized that for the nurses there, we were “cases” to be taken care of. Once again, what they do is noble. I also understand that being a nurse, they would be seeing so many patients and they should not be emotionally involved in every case. As a result, they have become inured to emotions.
Now contrast that with God. How many billions He had seen dying? And how many more billions will pass away before the end of the world? Yet, for Him, your life matters. No matter who you are, how weak you are, how unimportant you think of yourself, your life matters to God. Your life is not a “case” to be dealt with. For the Creator of all life, your life matters so much.
No matter how many deaths had happened, no matter how many promising lives have passed away without fulfilling their destiny, God has not lost hope in your life. Your life matters to Him. Whether the plan He has for you is great or small, whether the impact you will create may last forever or may be ephemeral, you matter to God.
For a bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench. – Isaiah 42:3
One morning, when a physician had come into the ICU with his entourage of students, mostly interns doing MD, an aged patient next to me, went into some kind of shock. His vitals went down and like they show in movies and serials, the instrument panel to which he was connected sounded the alarm.
The physician asked the interns what would be the best possible treatment that they could administer to that patient, since they already knew his history. Some of the interns are old-class, so they went back to their notes; the others are modernized, so they took their smartphones and went looking for their notes. Then someone would suggest one treatment, and another would tell why that treatment would not work on this patient. This went on for nearly 8 minutes, after which they had a consensus about the treatment that could be given to the patient.
I was watching all these in amazement, because 8 minutes is a very long time for an aged patient at ICU, who was going into some shock. But fortunately, the staff nurses there were in a different league. As soon as the patient went into the shock, they called out to the head staff nurse, who gave the instructions to be followed and the treatment to be given (it took less than a minute for the staff nurses to decide on the same treatment for which the MD interns took nearly 8 minutes). In unison, they worked and in less than 2 minutes, they had stabilized the patient. By the time, the interns had decided on the right treatment, the patient was sleeping peacefully in his bed – thanks to the quick action of the nurses.
The physician-in-charge saw that I was observing all these things, looked at me and with a wry smile, said, “Thank God, you are depending on those nurses; not on these medical interns.”
So what happened there? The interns had knowledge about so many things, yet they lacked first –hand experience that the nurses had. When the time came for them to act, their inexperience showed. But then look at the nurses. They obviously know less than the students who are studying to be MD. And it is not like they face an emergency situation every day. It is not that they have drills everyday to prepare them for such emergencies. Yet, when things went wrong, they went about their job in a very calm and professional manner. How was that possible?
Because the staff nurses were doing the small, routine things everyday in a calm and professional manner. For them, this emergency situation is just an extension of what they have been doing all the time; except time and the severity of the position, everything else was the same. And they could face it with such a serenity that the interns who are trying to be MDs have to be ashamed. Though the interns know a lot more, they were not doing this on regular basis and hence when the situation demanded, they were found wanting.
Sometimes, we Christians are also like those interns. We know the importance of prayer. We read a lot about prayer and how effective it is. We hear people talking about how our prayer changes the course of history and we believe it. But, we have little experience praying. We always felt that when the time comes, we will be able to pray because we know everything about prayer. But then the day of evil arrives. Temptation comes like a thief and before we realize, we are enslaved into sin. All because we did not pray every single day.
But then there are some Christians who pray everyday. Probably not big prayers, but they pray everyday. Everyday morning, they have to spend few minutes in the presence of the LORD. Before doing anything, eating, drinking, dressing, anything at all, they have to pray. Prayer for the smallest things. Prayer for the biggest needs. For everything, they offer prayer. When we look at them, it looks like their Christian life is devoid of temptations and sins. But it is not true. They are tempted just like we are. Except that because they are praying everyday, when the temptation comes, their spirit is willing; though their flesh may be weak, their short prayers have become so powerful, they drive the temptations away just like that.
Dear child of God, let us pray continually. Let us always offer prayers to our Father in heaven, so that He may not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Let prayer be something that we do every single day with humility.