Category Archives: Personal
DISCLAIMER: I believe in every word of the Bible as the Word of God, I believe in the confession of our faith, I believe that our faith grows with our confession of the Word of God and I also believe in divine healing. But then….
On 5th October 2017, I had a sharp pain on left knee, but I ignored it as it had happened twice before, and after a day or two, the pain would be gone and I would be okay. But this time, the pain became so intensive, I was unable to walk. Till today, I am not walking. But the Lord did promise me that this is my time to take refuge under His wings, to unlearn few things and to learn few things, and that He will deliver me in His time. HE also said even if I seek medical help, it won’t help; that I have to drink from this bitter cup.
But, NO, I would not listen to the Lord as it became more painful, and I got admitted again in the same hospital that treated me before. The physicians were kind to my plight and were very nice to me. For 3 weeks, they did all possible tests, but they could not find anything wrong with my left knee. Everything was perfectly okay. And they could not even lessen the pain without giving me some serious pain killers, which they did not want to.
But God in His mercies, renewed His promise to me that if I yield to His purpose for me, slowly the pain would go away and one day I will walk again. Finally one day, after being admonished by my wife for the lack of faith in our God, I surrendered myself to the will of God. It was then a brother in Christ visited me at the hospital.
He was a believer in our church and now is pastoring a church in a rural area. Recently he joined a weekly Bible college that is based on Word of Faith movement. The founder of the Bible college is a big name in USA, and I have read about him when I was there. When this brother came to meet me, he was surprised to see that I was well overall and the only problem was my knee. He told me that to the pastor who is in charge of the Bible college here, this would be nothing. He would cure it in seconds, he declared. Then the brother called that pastor on the phone and asked to pray for me. That Word-of-Faith pastor said a small prayer and asked me to start walking. I really tried to move, but the pain was so severe, I could not move my leg. So, he prayed one more time, with more intensity and then asked me to just jump out of the bed and start to walk. But I could not even move my left leg. So, he prayed a third time, rebuking my “unbelieving” heart that is not willing to listen to God’s command.
I did not know how to respond. God knows I wanted deliverance at that moment. And I know that if it is God’s will, it will take only a second for me to be healed. But when the Lord has told me that I have to be in the furnace for an appointed time, there is nothing any miracle worker can do about that.
Then I got discharged and on December 25th, 2017, the brother called and said he is bringing that pastor along with me, and that he wanted to pray directly for me. The pastor came to my room, and talked about how many people were healed on that trip by him and all that. Then he looked at the swelling on my left knee and rebuked the “evil spirit” in the name of Jesus Christ and commanded me to walk in the Lord’s name. But nothing had changed. So, he prayed more vehemently this time and commanded with authority to walk. Again nothing but pain. Then he help my knee where it was paining severely and gave a mighty punch and ordered the demon to leave my body and commanded me to walk again. If I was in pain before, after that mighty punch, the pain was unbearable. After sometime, he left, wondering what is causing my “unbelief” in God.
I am still unable to walk, but when slowly God taught me few things about myself, I started to surrender and accept my faults. The Lord has been teaching me long-suffering and patience over the time, and my pain has subsided so much. And whatever He has promised would happen during that phase has been happening, just in His time, as perfectly as He has said. Glory to His mighty Name alone. Amen.
I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick. – Ezekiel 34:16 (NKJV)
Few days back, I was informed of an impending visit from some of our relatives. As we were praying, the Lord told me that I needed to give counselling to a teenage boy who is going in the wrong way. The Lord also gave me insights into his wounded mind, and gave examples that I must use from my own bitter experiences from my childhood. So, I surrendered myself to God’s will and was waiting for the boy to arrive.
But it so happened that as soon as they came, they had to leave right away to another city. But before leaving, the kid asked me if he could speak to me on Saturday afternoon as he would be back by then. I told that was fine. But again, their travel plans changed and I was informed that he would be arriving late in the night, and if possible, he would like to talk for few minutes with me. I agreed again as the Lord had told me to. Then Saturday night, I was informed that due to traffic problems, they were not leaving that evening, but would be reaching on Sunday morning, and would be leaving within an hour or so. Now, I was in a dilemma, as Sunday mornings are generally hectic and it would be difficult to accommodate time to talk with him, as I would be in the church by 9:45 AM to prepare for the worship service. But, I was assured this time, that they would be in the morning by 7:30, so just few minutes of my time would mean a lot. So, I hurried up all my processes so I could be ready by 7:30. Yet again, the dreaded phone call came, informing us that the traffic was severe than they had anticipated, and hence they would reach our home only by 10 AM.
Now I knew that I won’t be even able to say goodbye to the kid, as I would be in the church, leading the worship when they arrive and leave right after. But it also bothered me that the Lord had told me that I had to talk to the boy and gave words. The Lord is always true to His Word. So, I sought the Lord’s guidance in this matter… and something happened.
I suddenly became too weak and started feeling severe pain. As I told my wife rather eloquently, I had only 4 minor ailments that is bothering me: 1. I am not able to walk. 2. I am not able to stand. 3. I am not able to sit, and 4. I am not able to lie down. Though I am able to joke about it now, at that moment, the pain was intense and severe, I did not know what to do. Could not sit, stand, walk or lie down. What are the things you could possibly do when you are feeling severe pain? So, at the last minute, I had to give the worship to our assistant pastor who has been in training for just such emergencies.
At 10 AM, when the worship was starting, the teenage boy called me, asking if I could spare just five minutes of my time. Though I was in pain, I asked him to come, as my wife just then pointed out that the Lord has been truthful to His Word. As we spoke, he realized how many wounds he has suppressed in his sub-conscious, how he has been blaming himself for what has happened to his parents, how he had been subjected to severe physical beating in the name of being disciplined, and finally how it had led him to abuse his own body. As we spoke, I could see that the Lord was making a breakthrough in the kid’s heart, and we ended up talking for nearly an hour. As he left, I believe the presence and the grace of the Lord was with him, and the Great Physician will heal the wounds of that teenage boy.
However, the one thing that I realized was how in the parable of a lost sheep, the Good Shepherd leaves all the 99 sheep in safety and goes searching for that one last sheep. I never took it literally. But today, as nearly 100 believers were worshipping the Lord, He had made me indisposed so that He could reach out to one lost soul… it made me realize how important each soul is for our Great Shepherd.
If the Lord had asked me my preference, attending the worship of the Lord or to spend the same time counselling a lost soul, I admit that I would have preferred attending the worship of our Lord God. But today, the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ, made me realize that every lost sheep in important to Him. All I can say is, “Thank You Lord for the affliction that You gave me this day, so that I could be of use to a dear lost soul. May Your Name alone be praised. Amen.”
No matter how many times, my heart tells me not to feel, but believe in God, there are times in my life, when distressed all around, when troubles seem to engulf me, when the darkness seems to lost forever, when even my bones are in pain due to severe afflictions, my soul cries out as my eyes are looking at the heavens for a sign: But, where are You, God, in my trouble?
Every time, absolute silence comes as an answer from the heavens. Never knew that silence could break your heart so well. But it always leaves me confused. I used to remember those days, when I had been saved. Whenever I looked at the heavens, I always received an answer, a sign. Not anymore. Has the Lord changed? No, that can’t be. The LORD is immutable; Jesus Christ is the Same yesterday, today and forever. So, why am I not getting the answers and the signs I received when I came into His fold many years back?
The more I cried out to the heavens, asking where the Lord is in my trouble, more deafening the silence became. But, I also noticed that despite not knowing where the Lord is during my troubles, I am being delivered as He has promised. It tells me the Lord is near… but how near, it left me wondered, till one day the Lord gave me an answer through the Scriptures.
I will be with him in trouble. – Psalm 91:15 (NKJV)
Suddenly it all made sense. I understood why the heaven was silent when I was crying out. I understood that why, despite all the silence, I did not fall into unbelief. The LORD loves me so much, when I am in trouble, He is with me in my troubles. YHWH Shammah is with me when I am in trouble. Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ is my Immanuel, God with us. In trouble, now my eyes are not turning towards the heaven, and crying out in a disheartened voice, “Where are You, God?” Instead, when troubles surround me, I look at them and say with confidence: “The Lord is with me in my trouble; not only will He deliver me, but in grace, He will also honor me.”
Yes, dear friend, in your trouble, the Lord is with you. Cheer up. Be still. HE will deliver you and He will surely honor you. Amen. God bless us all.
When I heard that the Government of India was making NEET exam compulsory for admission to medical institutions, I spent hours dissecting why it would be tilted towards students from higher economic circles and from urban cities. But… I should have prayed.
When the State Government of Tamilnadu complied to the diktat’s of the Central Government, I analysed and said that the State Government was going to be duped by the Central Government. But… I should have prayed.
When the State Government was duped by the Central Government, as I had predicted, I kept telling everyone who was listening: “See, I told you so!”. But… I should have prayed.
When one of the students in high school came to me, crying that she won’t be able to study to become a physician, that her dreams were shattered, I felt compassionate towards her and wept with her. But… I should have prayed.
When the TV News showed the confused topper of the State Examination won’t be able to get a medical seat, I sympathised for her and posted a Facebook post. Got many likes and few comments, saying that I nailed the issue. But… I should have prayed.
When I saw that topper’s eyes on the other day, I could see that she was lost. I felt pity for her and was talking about her to everyone I met. But… I should have prayed.
This morning, as I was talking to my wife about that kid. And comforted myself that she being a topper, there would be many people to help her and she would soon excel in some other course of study. But… I should have prayed.
This afternoon, as I was watching the news, there was a “Breaking News”, showing that student did not know what to do with her life and in a moment of desperation, had committed suicide. And at that moment, I realized that… I should have prayed.
Father, please forgive me. I do understand that I won’t be able to share the burden of everyone in this world. But those people You bring into my life, I could offer a prayer for few seconds. This time, I have failed. Please forgive me, through Jesus Christ, for
I should have prayed.
David, who was taking care of his sheep, was called one day to his home, where the prophet Samuel anointed him as the next king of Israel, before the eyes of his entire family. David realized that an anointed life was good and praised the Lord.
David killed Goliath with one shot and delivered the nation of Israel from the rampaging Philistines. He recognized that a life that overcame evil was a good life and praised the Lord.
On his return, they sang a song, praising his victory: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7, NKJV). David realized that a life where others were praising your accomplishments was a good life and praised the Lord.
David was made the captain and he behaved wisely and won victory after victory. He understood that a victorious life was a good life and praised the Lord.
David became best friends with Jonathan, the prince of Israel. Jonathan was ready to give his life and title for his friend. David recognized that a life that was nourished with a good friend was worth living and praised the Lord.
David married Michal, the daughter of king Saul and became the son-in-law of the king of Israel. Everything was moving in the right direction. David saw that a life that moved in the right direction was good and praised the Lord.
Then one day, he lost everything. He had to run into wilderness to save his life. He had to leave his parents in the kingdom of Moab, as he was not even able to protect his own family. He had no food or proper clothing. When he ran away, the captain of Israel’s mighty armies did not even have a sword with him. Those who gathered around him were not the best of man. Suddenly an anointed life, an overcoming, victorious life, a good life was turned upside down.
And it was there in the wilderness of Judah, as he was hiding as a fugitive, he realized that there was something much better than life itself, and he praised the Lord.
Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. – Psalm 63:3 (NKJV)
Dear friend, why are you praising the Lord? Is it because your life is good? Is everything going fine, as you wanted it to be? Is it because you are succeeding in whatever you do? There is nothing wrong in that. But have you been to the wilderness of Judah? Have you found out that the loving-kindness of our Lord is better than life itself? Are you praising Him because of our Lord’s wonderful mercies and grace? Unless you have wandered in the wilderness of Judah, you will never realize that there is something infinitely better than life. If not, your praises will be shallower than you can imagine. Don’t despise the wilderness of Judah. Become a part of Judah – the tribe that praises the Lord. And realize that His loving-kindness is better than life. And you shall be a man or woman after God’s own heart. Oh, what a great reward awaits you! A man/woman after His own heart!
Soon after I was admitted to the emergency ward, a nurse came in and was shocked to see me in such a condition. After sometime, I came to know that she is a Christian too, and once I was stabilized, as I was talking to my wife, she came to us, and in mock anger, slapped my hand, castigating for coming to the emergency ward in such a perilous situation. She also scolded, albeit mockingly, my wife for not taking care of me properly.
Later when I was shifter to the ICU, she would visit me twice a day, and with the other Christian nurses there, she showered so much love on me and my wife. Not only that, she even brought more Christian nurses (who were not part of ICU or emergency ward) and they would pray for me and say encouraging words. I was told that they all attend the same church, in a nearby area.
This showering of love continued even after I was shifted to the Special Ward. But the special ward was a little far from the emergency ward where she was working, so slowly the frequencies of the visits reduced. And then for nearly four days, she was unable to visit us, but she would call twice every day to make sure that everything was okay with us. Then four days later, she called us to inform that she was going to bring some more nurses to visit me that evening and if that was okay with us. Of course, we had no problem.
When I got admitted, I was noticeably rotund, especially my face and all my features. But after nearly two weeks, I had lost lots of weight and looked like my normal self. That evening, she came in with few more Christian nurses, and as soon as they saw me, they stopped walking and looked at her with a disappointed look: “He does not look like what you told us”, they told her. Then she told me that I had lost of lots of weight and did not have any resemblance with how I looked on the day I was admitted to emergency ward. Then they stayed for few minutes, and left. There was some sort of disappointment in the way all those nurses talked with me, but I could not understand what was wrong. That was the last time I met that nurse. Though she stayed in touch through phone, she did not visit us after that. So what happened? I finally got that answer on July 24th, 2016, the last Sunday I was there.
By then, I was able to stand up and move freely with little assistance. So, we decided to let the believer brother who accompanied us to the hospital to go to the Sunday service that day. Since he had also become friends with those nurses by that time, he decided to go to the same church where they go; of course, their church sends a minibus to pick up believers from the hospital and drop them off again also helped. When he came back, he told us about the worship and sermon. Then I asked him about the pastor and he hesitated for a moment. Then he said, “Please don’t misunderstand me. He exactly looked like you, when you were admitted to the Emergency Ward. He is quite rotund, and obese – and even the facial features were quite identical. But that was when you were sick.”
It was then I understood why those nurses took care of me so much – they all are attached to their pastor and I reminded them of him. So, they treated me as if they were treating their pastor. That was why so many nurses visited me and prayed for me. And, it was why they were so disappointed when I had lost weight and looked my normal self. We burst out laughing when we realized the reason for their disappointment.
Unfortunately this was not the first time it was happening to me. During the days I was doing my Masters in India, I was a Christian, but I also followed the ways of the world. And it made me very popular and I had many friends. I never had time to read the Bible, or to pray or to spend time with Jesus, because my friends took up lots of my time. Then I hit a rocky road, and one day, I realized that I had gone far away from my Savior. As I started to read my Bible and spend time with our Lord, I noticed that slowly many friends disappeared from my network as they were disappointed to find that I am after all a “Christian.” Then came a day, I suddenly realized that I had no friends left at all. No one to talk to, no one to laugh with. The weird part was I was still spending the same amount of time for them; I was not preaching the Gospel to them. It was my inner spiritual journey, yet they sensed that I am different than before, and some of them openly expressed their disappointment and disappeared from my life.
Isn’t it sad that even our best friends have their own vision of who we are; and the moment they realize that we are not the same person as in their vision, they are disappointed. Some try to change us to that image, but some move on to other better images.
But it also made me think. The Lord does have a vision for each one of us. In His great wisdom, He has chosen us to be His vessels, to show the world His love and grace. I don’t know about you, but I had fallen short of His vision so many times. I had failed our Beloved innumerable times. There were times I failed so miserably, I felt that He would simply forsake me, and go ahead with someone else with His plan.
But God’s love for me has not changed a bit. No matter how many times, His vision for me has tarred by my foolish acts, His love takes hold of me, in the same way He took hold of me when I was a small kid, seeking the love and shoulders of a father. For me, the vision may look blurred, but from the view of God, it is as if nothing has happened to blur that loving image He has carved of me in His forehands.
Yes, there were times I had displeased our Lord greatly; there were times, He was disappointed in me. But, then my Brother and my Friend Jesus, the Son of God, is there at the right hand of my Father; the great Advocate, the High Priest, Who understands my weaknesses, Who is willing to wash away any blemish that I am willing to confess and own up, with His own blood. And, the anger of my Father lasts only for a second, but He loves me with an eternal love. A love that is not disappointed with how I am changing. A love that keeps the glorious vision that the Lord has for me in its sight. A love that transcends all human love and all human understanding. The eternal love of the Eternal God. Oh, I am so blessed!
Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? – Job 2:10 (JPS)
As I wrote yesterday in my blog, I was pleasantly surprised by the blessing that the Lord gave me. But something else happened, that disquieted me. After the phone call, we were about to start our morning prayers, and clearly I and my wife were very nervous. How would the day be? Would I be able to travel for a whole day? How about eating out? We were very nervous and even thought of asking our cousin to postpone the trip. Then as we started to pray, something happened.
Suddenly the Spirit of the LORD moved us to realize our errors. Say, if the LORD has given a severe affliction yesterday, like I had to endure last year, what would have we done? We would have accepted it as a lesson that the Lord is teaching us, that He would give enough grace and strength to go through the trial, we would have praised Him for considering us worthy to stand such a trial and we would have thanked Him for the lesson He taught us using the trial. Yes, we would have accepted the evil from the hand of God, because we know His loving hand is behind the rod that chastens us.
But the moment a blessing comes our way, something good comes our way, we are wary of so many things that could go wrong. Our attitude is so tuned out, that till we started praying and the Holy Spirit made us realize, we did not understand that this good, this blessing is also from the same loving hand of our Father. That He may choose this very blessing to teach a valuable lesson to us. That He would give enough grace and strength to go through the day. That if I praised Him for the affliction, then I must praise Him more than ever for this blessing; thank Him that He considered this poor man’s prayer and is showing me a favor that I do not deserve; that even in this blessing, the good Teacher has a way to teach His lessons.
Yes, the Lord rules over everything – both good and bad; whatever reaches you, who is under His mighty arm, reaches you only because God our Father allows it; whatever we receive, an affliction or a blessing, it is only because our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ has given us enough grace to sustain, to endure without falling.
So, for the last one year, the Lord taught me that He is the Ruler over everything and whatever He allows in my life is aimed at my sanctification and edification; but my mind has taken it only for the afflictions and trials. Yesterday the LORD corrected my learning. God our Lord is the Ruler of EVERYTHING. And, if we humble ourselves, we can always learn from our blessings as well as from our afflictions. True devotion is not only accepting evil from God, like Job did; but also accepting the two-fold blessing in an equanimous manner, just like Job did. Amen.
Last year at this time, August 9th. 2016, 11:30 pm, I was in the hospital, after undergoing a totally unnecessary biopsy, wearing a medical gown; as I was already suffering from severe pain, three sets of doctors left three different instructions on what position I should sleep that night, and was constantly interrupted by one or the other nurse, to change my sleeping position according to which doctor had left the instructions to that particular nurse; so, when I entered August 10th, 2016, my birthday, I was sleep deprived, wearing a medical gown and in severe pain.
So, this year, I did not have any plans for my birthday. Even yesterday, when I was praying for my birthday, I was grateful that this year, I would not be wearing a medical gown, suffering from sleep deprivation and intense pain. I just thanked the Lord for this, and in prayer, asked Him to bless me according to His will, and whatever He does, I will accept it with a grateful heart.
Imagine my surprise then when this morning (August 9th, 2017), as I was getting ready for our morning family prayer, my cousin brother called me to ask if I would join him for a small trip to Pondicherry, a nearby town by the East Coast of India. When I asked him what the occasion was, he told me that his family just wanted to go out and he would be happy if my wife and I could join them for the trip.
So, we went in the morning and I just came back. It was exhausting, but in a good way. We went to the beach, had some delicious food and did some shopping. More importantly I could spend a lot of time with my nieces. Though I became very tired in the evening, the Lord strengthened me soon.
I am too exhausted now. All I want is to sleep. But then my heart is filled with so much gratitude, I don’t know how to thank our Father in Heaven. One thing though. When I was young, I was taught that if you leave anything to the will of God, you will end up suffering a lot – remember the prayer of Jesus at Gethsemane and what happened to Him within 24 hours – is what I was taught. Though over the years I understood the folly of that notion, “according to Your will” had been always associated with severe afflictions and tribulations. But, the death at Calvary is not the end. It is the path leading to the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; yes, the will of the Lord is not always to make us suffer, but once we have suffered with Jesus, to make us partakers in His revealed glory.
With a grateful heart, I praise our Father and as I am about to begin a new year, Father, may Your will be done in my life; bless me according to Your Word that You have given Your servant. Through Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
There used to be a commercial for MasterCard few years back. It is called, “Priceless.” It would show few things in life and what their costs were, then conclude with this: “The smile in your …… face – priceless. There are something that money cannot buy; but for everything else, there is MasterCard.” Recently I had such an experience. No, not MasterCard experience, but a “priceless” experience.
There is a believer in our church; she is a widow and lives with her youngest daughter. They live in abject poverty, so poor that they would attend only Sunday services, not any other prayer meetings. Because for both of them to come to the church, it would cost them (which would be less 50 cents) and they can’t afford to even spare that. Entire week, they have to work so they can have enough money to attend the Sunday services. Because of their poverty, most of the time you see them, there would be sadness in their faces, though they will be smiling all the time.
They became very close to us during this last year, during my sickness. The daughter treated me like an elder brother and whenever they come to the church, they would help my wife by doing all the household works and in taking care of me, especially when I was very sick.
This March, when I was again under severe trauma, she brought me breakfast as I was under severe pain and was unable to move. I could sense that she was more sad that day than usual. When I enquired her, she was initially reluctant to tell me anything, as I was already suffering from intense pain; but then with tears, she opened up.
Her sister, who eloped with someone, wanted to reconcile with her family for the last one year. However, her mom was not ready for reconciliation; not because she had not forgiven her. But because, as per Indian custom, when the girl comes home for the first time after her marriage, especially with a child, they have to provide her with some jewels, snacks and dresses. Since they did not have any money, for last one year, her mother has been desisting the reconciliation process. When they tried to borrow some money from their relatives, they were abused and humiliated for following a “foreign” God, and were thrown out. They were advised to wait for the Lord to give them enough provisions before inviting their eloped daughter back to home – and they had been waiting for the last one year. Now, her sister’s daughter is 3 years old and she really wants to meet her grandmother before going to school. So, they were very upset about all these.
I told her to invite her sister to come home; the LORD would provide whatever they need. I asked her to take the step in simple faith.
They did. Like simple children, they took my word and the LORD did provide with more money than they could have borrowed from their relatives. The daughter who eloped, came to the church, sought our forgiveness for what she did and has been visiting her mother frequently, along with her daughter.
Last Saturday (August 5th, 2017), as I was getting ready to go upstairs, I heard the gate opening and turned to see who was coming. The youngest daughter was coming in, with such a joyful smile in her face, along with her mom and sister. I have never seen such a smile in her face and it was priceless. There was a spring in her walk and she was genuinely happy.
What was surprising me the most was how satisfied I have been since that smile. That priceless smile has been, truly, priceless for me. There is a sense of serenity in my heart, ever since I saw her smile.
Then I remembered something I have read in the Bible about our LORD. Zephaniah 3:17 says thus: The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (NKJV)
If a true smile in the face of a sister I know only for a year can bring so much joy into my heart, then how glad our Mighty God will be, to see a smile of joy in our faces; HE carried us as we were being formed in the wombs of our mothers; when we were born, His tender hands lifted us up. Ever since He has been a loving Father, Who is taking care of us.
In this world filled with various tribulations and afflictions, there are times when we can’t even force a smile in our faces. So, when His Word is fulfilled in our life, when His promises come true, when we taste His blessings, that smile in our face – brings so much joy to our Father’s heart.
In all the troubles we are facing, He quiets us with His love, through His Son Jesus Christ; and when He sees that joyfulness in our hearts, that genuine smile in our faces, He rejoices over us with singing. Oh, what a great loving God we worship! What a loving Father we have in Heaven! What a wonderful Savior we have in our Lord Jesus Christ! How blessed are we!
“Affliction does not come from the dust–nor does trouble sprout from the ground. For man is born unto trouble–as surely as sparks fly upward.” Job 5:6-7
Affliction does not come of itself; it does not spring up from the dust of the earth, nor grow naturally from the ground, as plants do; nor has chance anything whatever to do with it. As common as it is–affliction does not come without a cause, or without being sent on purpose by God.
Yet affliction does fall to the lot of all. No one, however prosperous, is without sorrow and trial. Sooner or later: “Man is born unto trouble–as surely as sparks fly upward.” As surely as sparks go up from anything burning, or from iron beaten on the anvil–so surely does trouble in some shape befall every man who is born into the world.
Whence does it come? God sends it–or at least allows it to come. But it is not saying too much, to say that He sends it.
When Adam fell and sin and death entered into the world–then trouble came too. This was God’s appointment. He said to Adam, “Because you have listened unto the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you–cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; in the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, until you return unto the ground; for out of it were you taken–for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return.”
And not only is trouble in general appointed to man by God–but each man’s particular trouble is of God’s appointment as well. Your troubles and mine do not come forth of the dust or spring out of the ground. They do not arise by chance or accident. God sends them! Sickness and sorrow are ordained for us by Him–each sickness and each sorrow as it comes. We do not see the hand that sends them, but a hand there is–the hand of God, the hand of a loving Father!
Job’s troubles were many and great–yet let him not despair. Everything was in God’s hand. All that happened was ordered by Him–all was subject to His control. “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave–and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”” Job 1:20-21
To all who truly know God–it is a most comforting thought that their affliction comes from Him. It seems to take away the strangeness and the bitterness of it. When once they can realize His hand, then in all their sorrowful thoughts about their afflictions–they think about God too, and this comforts them. It is no longer mere trouble–but trouble which God has sent. If He has sent it–then it is wisely and kindly sent. Is there not a hidden blessing in it? Then the heart goes in search of the blessing and begins to ask why the trouble was sent, what it was meant to do, and how far it has done what it was sent for. And this is the very way to find the blessing.
Besides, when the sufferer thus sees the hand of God in trouble–he reasons that God will never let the trouble be too great. If He sends it–He will not send it too sharply, nor too heavily. There is no chance about it. All is measured and dealt out by an omnipotent hand of wisdom and love! The affliction, therefore, cannot become too sore. When the right point has been reached, when the fit time has come–then He who sent it will say, “Hitherto shall you come, but no further!”
– from Francis Bourdillon’s “Man is Born to Trouble!”