Monthly Archives: February 2017
It was on this day, February 6th, 23 years back, I received my baptism. I still remember my walk from the Prayer Centre to my college. After 3 days fast, all my friends were exhausted and they took the bus, but I could not control my joy. So, I walked the entire way, a nearly 10 km path, and all the way, I was singing and jumping. I was sure that my sinful life had gone and that I would not be committing anymore sins my life. Little did I know what indwelling sin means in the life of a believer.
For many years, I was told by “experts” that the chapter 7 of the Epistle to Romans was about what kind of life Paul lived before his baptism and it does not apply to a Christian anymore. But over the years, when I realized that there were sins lying dormant in my life, I had to struggle with my salvation. There were times I was shocked to see what kind of sins were indwelling in me, sins I had abhorred, sins that I had condemned from time to time… When I was a kid, I was known for one thing. That I would not tell a lie, no matter what. But after baptism, I had become an expert in lying, at times those who were with me, who knew I was lying, would be confused if I was telling the truth. This is just a tip of the iceberg.
Now, when I turn back and look at these 23 years, all I can see are the years that I had wasted, the ways in which I have hurt my Lord again and again, the compromises I had made with this world and, how I gave in to the lusts of flesh, lusts of eyes and the pride of life. Instead of being filled with joy today, I am filled with remorse.
And what adds to my sorrow is how faithful the Lord has been to me in all these years. There were so many times when I ended up being depressed and decided to kill myself. Suicidal thoughts had become a part of in between for few years. There were certain failures in my life that were so devastating and humiliating, that even after so many years, I am struggling to come to terms with those failures. Yet, through all those times, the LORD was with me and helped me. And those were the years when my life was not even pleasing to myself. I was not the prodigal son during that time, I was the pig in the pigsty. Yet the Lord showered so much compassion and was long-suffering.
As I was getting ready for my baptism, I had one problem. From childhood, I was raised a Catholic and had not been to any other churches or denominations. And where I was studying at that time, they were fiercely supportive of their Catholic beliefs and many of friends even stopped talking with me, when they realized I was going to get baptism in the Lord. I had no one to turn to for any spiritual advices. So, I went on my knees and asked the LORD for help and He promised me that “He will never leave me, nor forsake me.” (Joshua 1:5)
And 23 years later, as I turn back, with a broken heart and deep sense of unworthiness, I can tell that the Lord has kept His promise till this very moment. Though I tried my best, or worst, to leave Him, that He would hate me and forsake me, the Lord remembered the covenant He had made with me in the wilderness, and till today, even in His discipline, I can see only the loving hand of God, my Father; in the eyes of Jesus Christ, His Son and my Saviour, I see only compassion and grace. Oh, unworthy I am, Lord, unworthy… yet You are faithful and loving!
What can I say, LORD? Time and again, I have failed You. Even now, I am scared that I would fall again and would disappoint You… all I can say truly is, Lord, with all my shortcomings and faults, along with Your apostle Peter, “Lord, You know all things and You know that I love You.” (John 21:17). Yes, Lord, that is all I can truly say to You. I love You, Lord, I love You.
Today we were eating a black cake, which was delicious. As we were making slices, one of the believers was there, so we gave her a slice too. She really enjoyed it and quite innocently, she asked us: “Is this cake made of Ragi flour?”
We ended up laughing so hard, she was quite embarrassed. Then I explained to her, that when she does not know what something is, she should just ask what it is, instead of trying to associate with something she knows. I don’t know if she understood what I meant.
But it made me thinking. She is quite uneducated and all she knew was the pulses that are typical Indian. So, when she ate something that looked black, she assumed it to be made of Ragi flour. While it was funny, I also realized something.
I am reading the Book of Job now and as I am reading, I saw many verses there, which have arguments defending God Almighty. And, I had used the same kind of arguments in the past to defend God, and in one case, I had used literally the same words. But the sad thing is all those verses were used by the friends of Job, who ended up accusing him of being wicked and then being reprimanded by our Lord.
By the grace of God, I don’t use such arguments anymore. But I realized that I too had a Ragi-flour-cake mentality. I did not know how great our Lord is; I had not understood how vast His love is for us; and, I had no inkling of what grace really meant. Whatever I knew little, whatever I had known from my little experiences, I had tried to defend the Lord. And now, I am ashamed how shallow I had been.
Lord, forgive me for all those instances where I tried to defend You with my “ragi-flour-mentality.” Instead of letting Your Son and His great sacrifice at Calvary take the centre stage, I let my little understanding and knowledge to explain Your ways. I deeply regret those who were hurt by me. May Jesus, Him crucified, be all in all in my conversations. May Your grace and mercy guide me in all my conversations. May Your Name alone be magnified. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.