Category Archives: Personal
When is the time to trust?
Is it when all is calm,
When waves the victor’s palm,
And life is one glad psalm
Of joy and praise?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is when the waves beat high,
When storm clouds fill the sky,
And prayer is one long cry,
O help and save!
When is the time to trust?
Is it when friends are true?
Is it when comforts woo,
And in all we say and do
We meet but praise?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is when we stand alone,
And summer birds have flown,
And every prop is gone,
All else but God.
What is the time to trust?
Is it some future day,
When you have tried your way,
And learned to trust and pray
By bitter woe?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is in this moment’s need,
Poor, broken, bruised reed!
Poor, troubled soul, make speed
To trust thy God.
What is the time to trust?
Is it when hopes beat high,
When sunshine gilds the sky,
And joy and ecstasy
Fill all the heart?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is when our joy is fled,
When sorrow bows the head,
And all is cold and dead,
All else but God.
When I am afraid, I will trust in You. – Psalm 56:3 (NIV)
When I am afraid, it is easy for my soul to take the path of least resistance. There are many things that can calm my nerves. I can watch a serial or a movie, which will help me to forget my fears – for time being. If I am suffering pain, hey, there are pain killers which will alleviate the intensity of the pain. There are so many things like these. But, then the pain comes back. The hurt that is deep within is still fresh after binge watching a serial or movies. The wounds have not healed. When there is a sign of distress, I am afraid and I want to take refuge in one of the few things that will give temporary relief.
But how long can I go on like this? How long I have to live in this fear? How long am I going to allow the wounds of my past to dictate the life I am living today? How many more times I am going to let the failures of past to decide on my plans for the future? Unless the root of my fear is identified and is completely obliterated from my memory, I am going to be afraid often.
Yes, after everything else fails, I do tell this verse. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. But by now, along with my fears, I also know that I am saying it by memory. I don’t mean it anymore. I trust in the Lord, but not when my fears take the “rational thinking” route. God is my last Refuge. Come to Him when nothing can quench your fear.
Though I give Him the last place when I am afraid, His grace is so much, that He never pushes me to the last place. My Father in Heaven knows my fears. My Saviour and His Son, Who is seated at our Father’s right hand, knows what fear is. Yes, the High Priest I have knows what agony means. Jesus Christ is there to intercede. The Spirit of God is praying for me, as I have no idea what to pray for.
Now my fear is being quelled; my heart beat is becoming normal. I still do not know the root cause of my fears, and it scares me. It scares me, because I am worried that I may, yet again, give my Father last place, when my fear comes to haunt me. I know I will, for I have done it before. As I sit there worried, the Spirit of God moves in my heart, in a mighty way.
“Don’t stop with trusting Him. Show your trust in your actions”, He keeps telling me. I tell the Spirit of God, “Yes, yes, see my actions. I am not afraid anymore.” But deep in my heart, I am still scared. I just was hoping that the Lord Who knows all things might miss my fears. But the Spirit of the Lord is gentler than I have understood. In a gentle way, He keeps reminding me that my actions must not be the actions of this world, but actions of the Word. I am confused. Very confused, till He Himself leads me to the next verse.
I trust in God. I praise His Word. – Psalm 56:4 (NIRV)
“Praise His Word. Praise His promises. Praise the Lord for all the promises He has given you. Don’t worry about the wounds. Don’t worry about the failures of the past. Don’t you worry about the fear that is sneaking around. Praise His Word. Show your trust in God by your actions. Praise Him”, commands the Holy Spirit.
Now I open my mouth. My lips are sealed together. My throat is parched. I am still scared. My words are nothing but mere mumbles. It feels like a travesty is being enacted. But the Spirit of God says, “It is okay. Your Father knows your fears. Your Brother is interceding for you. They know what is in your heart. Just keep going.”
As I try further and further to praise His Word, suddenly Life enters my soul. My voice is back. Tears flow for no reason at all. As I praise more of His Word, I don’t know what the wounds are, but I can feel them being healed. As I praise the Lord for His promises, the fear of past failures repeating again in my life, they vanish in thin air. Even now, I know the fear is lurking somewhere, waiting for a chance to show its ugly head. But all that fear is gone, when I hear the heavenly hosts join along with me in praising His Word. And suddenly I realize that His Word is Jesus Christ Himself. And all the promises are “yes” and “amen” in Him. Yes, I will praise Him more and more. I will praise the Lord our Father, for providing me His Son. And all my fears are conquered. I will trust in You, Lord and I will praise Your Word all the time.
After I was told not to use my iPod during my stay at ICU, I was sort of worried about spending my time, which I had plenty. So, I asked for my Bible, my journal and a pen. The church believers promptly brought them to me, on the very next day, which was July 10th 2016, a Sunday. Whenever I was awake, I would read my Bible, jot down notes and prayers in my journal.
On July 11th, I realized that the nurses were treating with more respect than usual. Even nurses from other religions were treating me with deference. Initially I thought I was just imagining things, but some of them who were rude before, suddenly had become quite polite towards me. It took one more day for me to find out the reason.
The next morning, one of the Christian nurses came to me and asked me: “Why you did not tell us that you are a pastor?”
I was confused and asked her, “But I am not. Who told you that I am a pastor?”
“Oh, we already knew that you are a pastor. Then we asked your attender about you. He told us that you lead worship in your church; you are also in-charge of prayer meetings and at times, you even give sermons. So, he just confirmed what we already knew… that you are a pastor.”
I smiled at her and pointed out that leading a worship, conducting prayer meetings and even giving sermons when the pastor is indisposed does not make me a pastor. I am just an ordinary believer, who by the grace of our God, does these things when God allows me.
But she would not accept it, because all the Christian nurses working at the ICU were convinced that I am a pastor. By that point, I was exasperated and asked her finally how they all were sure that I have to be a pastor. Her answer made me actually laugh. Because her answer was: “Because you keep reading your Bible. So, you are a pastor.”
These nurses are good Christians. Every day they pray for the patients who are under their care. When they come across patients who have lost their hopes, they pray for them and counsel their families. They have brought comfort to many families in that hospital and they have led so many souls to God. Still, they are under the impression that if one reads the Bible a lot, then that person has to be a pastor.
I have seen few pastors actually discouraging their believers from reading the Bible. Once, a pastor even told me not to read the Bible so much, because the Bible itself warns against reading it. I did not even understand what he said first. I had to ask him twice to get it correct – that he believes the Bible warns the lay people not to read too much Bible. In his support, he showed me this verse.
Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit.
– Proverbs 25:16 (NKJV)
I later found out that many other believers were discouraged from reading and meditating on the Bible based on this verse. I understand why the pastors discourage meditating on the Bible. There are some who read the Bible so much, they became too proud to listen to their preachers, left and formed their own churches, where it is always about how good they are. Now, that is something the Bible does tell about honey.
It is not good to eat much honey. So to seek one’s own glory is not glory.
– Proverbs 25:27 (NKJV)
On the other hand, most pastors discourage their believers from reading the Bible, because when they read the Bible and meditate on the Word of God, their eyes are opened. They ask various questions to the preachers and the preachers of the Word of God discourage them from reading their Bible. “Just read some verses everyday. Don’t read too much, for you will end up vomiting what you read. We are there. Listen to what we preach. That is more than enough.” This is what they say.
Isn’t it sad that the mainstream Christianity is going back to those days of dark ages, where the Roman Catholic church forbade their followers from reading the Word of God, but to listen to what the priests have to preach.
I told the nurse that reading the Bible and meditating on the Word of God is not restricted to the ministers of God; that a perfunctory reading of the Scriptures may be enough for a “baby” Christian, but as we grow in the Lord, we must read more and meditate a lot on the Word of God. I don’t know if I have managed to convince her.
Reading your Bible is like spending time with your Beloved, Jesus Christ. Meditating on His Word makes your heart glad and you are filled with inexpressible joy. As I read somewhere, the Bible is the only Book in the entire world, where the Author of the Book is always present when you read it. Yes, the Spirit of God will be with you and help you grow in the Lord. Let us not delegate reading the love-filled Epistles that the Lord wrote for us to our pastors. Let us grow personally in the knowledge of our Saviour and in His love. Please read your Bible.
As I write this blog, I still remember those days when I was bound by sin few years back. I wish I could tell that those were the days of innocence, when I did not know what was right and wrong. But, I am still today ashamed to think of those days, because I knew what I was doing. But even those days, when I was feeling disgusted at myself, there were times when I realized that the LORD still loved me. But instead of running into His wide-opened arms, I shrunk back.
But one July 17th morning, as I was singing my morning devotional song, the Spirit of the Lord moved me to sing a Tamil Christian song in which one of the line is from Psalm 16:10.
For You will not abandon me to Sheol. – Psalm 16:10 (HCSB)
As I started to sing the song, I got stuck at that particular line. I was singing just that one line for nearly five minutes, I was unable to move to the next song or even next line. Suddenly the Lord opened my eyes and made me see myself in the Light of His Word. If I was disgusted with myself before, now I abhorred myself completely. And the Lord broke my heart and with tears in my eyes, that morning, I pleaded only one thing from our LORD: please do not abandon me to Sheol, O Lord. I kept singing that song. By that evening, the Lord broke the bondage of that particular sin in my life and delivered me from going to the pit.
And I remember that very night, when I sat there to pray, I was too stunned about my utter stupidity. It took few days for me to realize in what precarious position my soul was in. It took me more than few weeks to realize what great mercies and grace that the Lord had showered on me on that day.
On that night, on July 17th, I started to write in my diary about what I had done and how the Lord saved me in His grace and all I could utter where the words of Balaam.
The utterance of him
who hears the words of God,
who sees the vision of the Almighty,
who falls down, with eyes wide open…
– Numbers 24:4 (NKJV)
It was during that time the LORD made me realize that I needed more spiritual support to proceed further and it was then I thought of writing a blog. For whenever I start writing a blog, I remember that these are utterances of him, who fell down with eyes wide open… though he was hearing the words of God, and was seeing the vision of the Almighty. It makes me realize every time I blog, that I am standing only because of the grace of the Lord. If not for His grace, I would be falling down, with my eyes wide open.
O my Father in heaven, thank You for Your grace. Thank You for providing Your Spirit, Who convicted me of my sin, Who broke my stubborn heart. I thank You, especially for the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ. It is His blood that cleansed me of my sins. It is His blood that gives me the strength to face my accuser. It is the faith of Your Son which is the Shield by which I am extinguishing the burning arrows of the evil one. Thank You, Father. Help me to grow more in Your grace. Through Your Son and my Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
If last week, I spent time praising and thanking the Lord for saving my life a year back, this last week was spent sulking and being depressed for most of the time. On this day last year, July 14th, 2016, I was moved out of ICU to Special Ward, and I remember how ecstatic all of us were. We were sure that within months, I would be back to my normal self and all the troubles were over.
But the last one year has been anything but that. Few relapses, three nearly fatal encounters with medications and overall weakness in fragile body frame are the outcomes we have faced in this year. The doctors told me that I have the protein content of an infant, and my body strength is equal to a kid that is 2 years old, except that I am carrying such a huge frame for a 2-year old. So, I become very tired too often. Especially this week.
I slept for two days, Monday and Tuesday, like a little baby. Though I managed to stay awake for most of the day from then on, I have become too weak to concentrate on anything. As a result, this week, I have not read my Bible as much as I would like to, my prayers are limited to morning when I feel more fresh and my praise & worship are limited to singing one or two songs… mostly because by the end of second song, I would have fallen asleep.
So I was going down spiritually and I could sense depression taking control of me. Especially this afternoon, I was very upset with myself that after all the LORD has done to me, I am still depressed and hated myself. But the more I wanted to pray, the weaker I felt and had to lie down. I did not want to sleep, I wanted to pray and suddenly I heard the quiet voice of our Lord: “Even Elijah got depressed. And you are no Elijah.”
I honestly cannot express in words the comfort those words gave me. It was the voice of the One Who understands the weaknesses of the body as well as the spirit; of the One Who experienced agony by Himself at the Garden of Gethsemane; it is the soothing, gentle voice of our Lord Jesus Christ. HE understands our weaknesses, He knows our suffering and He understands our inner turmoil better than we do.
If the great Elijah had his moment of depression, where he wanted death more than anything else, under that juniper tree, who am I? So, I just put all my burdens on the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ and slept again. Now, still physically I feel weak, but spiritually I feel strong; I feel His gentle presence in the midst of this darkness. And I know that an angel will provide me the food and water I need to make that life-changing journey. The God of Elijah will fulfil His purpose for me. Amen.
After being treated in the Emergency Ward for nearly 5 hours, I was finally transferred to the ICU around 7:30 pm on July 8th, 2016. As soon as all the orderlies went, I looked around and was visibly confused. My wife saw the question mark in my face and asked what was wrong. And I very seriously asked, “But where are the large LCD TVs before our beds, so we can keep watching the news or something?” Apparently I had this idea that each ICU bed would have a LCD TV, of course, with the sound muted, but whenever the patient was bored, he or she could watch the news of some programmes. Don’t know how it entered into my mind.
Once I realized that I would be spending most of my time either sleeping or just sitting, I was a little worried. My idle mind would start solving the problems of the entire world and would get infuriated that no body understands how I could solve all educational crises and poverty, only if they would give me the authority and power. Ok, just kidding. But I used to get worried about the how things are in the society and all that. And at times, it would lead to depression when I think about the chances that I had wasted. So, I asked the nurse if I would be allowed to keep my iPod with me, so that I could listen to songs. The nurse smiled at me and politely said that the nurses who are working at the ICU are from very poor background. When they see an expensive iPod lying around a patient who was sleeping, they would be tempted to steal it. And she asked me if that was a good thing for me to do?
To be honest, I was stunned by her honesty. To admit that someone from her ilk would steal is a big thing. Then she explained further how nurses from very different background are working there; and there are people who come to clean the floor and most of them are on contract basis, and if something goes missing, then it would put a question mark on everyone who is working. So, she asked me not to use my iPod during my stay at ICU.
Then I remembered the words of our LORD: But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42, NKJV)
On Sunday night, many daily labourers were coming to clean the entire ICU to get it ready for the week. I could see how impoverished they were and as they were working, their eyes would be looking at the patients, the nurses and the doctors – expecting at least an acknowledgement of their existence. I smiled at few of them, and one of them came to me with tears in his eyes and told, “Man, you are a good person. In all these days I have worked here, you are the only person to look at me as another human being and smiled. Thank you”, he said and walked away. Soon he came back with something in his pocket and asked me if I want to eat some snacks; he got some chips for me to eat as he knew that the food at ICU would be intolerable. I smiled and politely refused, and he was very disappointed and asked, “Is it because I am doing such a menial job you are refusing it from me?” Then I had to explain to him that it was 2 in the morning and I generally don’t eat at that time and it has nothing to do with his job. I also thanked him for what he was doing. Only then he was convinced and left with a huge smile in his face.
And, what if I had kept my iPod nearby and tempted that poor man? I thank that nurse who pointed out that fact to me and ever since, I am mindful of not tempting anyone by anything I say, or do or leave behind. The LORD teaches in mysterious ways.
The last Sunday of June saw a special prayer meeting arranged in our church. The evening service ended around 8:15 pm. I was standing outside the church when our church members were leaving. At 8:30 pm, one of our believers and her two young sons came out of the church as they were in a hurry to catch the last bus to their town. They had to be in the bus stand within the next 15 minutes and it takes at least 10 minutes to reach the bus stand. So, they were really in a hurry. At the same time, one of the believers who has a mini truck was starting his vehicle. As his wont, he had few believers who was from his village along for the ride.
I told the poor lady and two sons to take the mini truck to the bust stand, but she said, “Brother, we are going to the old bus stand, while the mini truck is going via the new bus stand. So, we better walk.” Our town does have two bust stands, but it is not like our town is like New York City. To go to the old bus stand to drop this family and to be at the new bus stand, it would actually take less than 5 extra minutes. So, I called the junior pastor of our church, who was going to travel in the mini truck and told him that this family had to go to the old bus stand. He was confused and then he made it very clear to me, so that I understand without any confusion that the mini truck was going via the new bus stand while this family was going to the old bus stand. Before I could respond, that poor family started walking, so I just let it go.
But the weird part was when I mentioned this incident to few more believers, they were confused about why I am even mentioning this. That family was going to the old bus stand, but the mini truck was going to the new bus stand. So, what is so hard to understand? The problem was this:
And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. – Matthew 5:41 (NKJV)
I grew up reading memorizing the Sermon on the Mount and its practical applications. The church I am attending is a good church, but it has problems in dealing with practical applications of Christianity. It is always about, “Do you honour the Sunday service? Do you attend the Worship service without faith? Do you tithe, without even missing a penny? Do you honour your pastor and the servants of God? Do you tremble at the Word of God? Are you ready for the Rapture? Will you be forsaken by the Lord in His secret coming?” There are no practical applications. In other words, more and more Christians are becoming experts in beating the air (1 Corinthians 9:26).
Then I remembered an incident that happened many years back, when I was in college. It was a Catholic college and I was a Catholic then. Every Sunday evening, our warden, who is a Catholic priest, would go to the nearby town to conduct weekly mass and then, when he came back, he would take us to the nearby villages where the low caste people were treated miserably. We would social work among them. One Sunday evening, he was quite late from his mass, and we were wondering what happened to him. As we were off to our social work, after lots of pestering by us, he finally opened up and explained the reason for the delay.
As he was coming from the evening service, a man asked for a ride in his scooter. That man looked really tired, so the priest (who was without his priestly garments) asked him where that man wanted to go. It is a village nearby, except it would be an extra 30 kms for the priest to go and come back. And it is in a different opposite to where our college is. The priest gave that man the ride without telling him a word. As they were travelling, the man started to rant about how Christians are like grasshoppers, who should be packed off to western countries where they belong and on and on. There were few savage words thrown about Indian Christians, questioning their births and everything. The priest nodded his head for everything and finally dropped that man and started to turn his scooter. The man was bewildered and asked where he was actually headed. When the priest mentioned the college name, that man was shocked. “But it is in the opposite direction. Why did you do this?” The priest smiled at him and said, “Because I am a Christian and this is what my Lord Jesus Christ has taught me to do – to go the extra mile.”
Needless to say, it left a mighty impression on my young heart on that day. Now, I am not a Catholic anymore and I do not subscribe to anything that the Roman Catholic church advocates. The church I attend now is a Bible-based (at least, that’s what they are telling themselves) church, but when it comes to works of faith or love, there is a huge blank there. There is no comparison between an idolatrous Roman Catholic Church and a Bible-based church, though this church may have its shortcomings. But doesn’t the Bible commands us to show our faith by our works.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. – James 2:18 (NKJV)
Let us show our faith by our works.
Many years ago, my mother’s elder sister passed away and my mother was very much present when that sad incident occurred. Unfortunately I was out of state at the time, hence I could not attend the funeral as this was pre-cellular phone and pre-instant messaging period. By the time I got the message, the funeral was actually over.
When I met my mother the next time, I enquired about my aunt’s death as we were very close. While my mom was very saddened by her sister’s death, I also could see something of joy in her words. When I asked further, she said that when her sister died, her husband and her daughter were also present, but her sister kept repeating my mother’s name alone. I could not understand why that would cause such an elation in my mother’s heart. Then I was told that when in deathbed, or when people call on to someone in times of deep trouble, they call out to the ones who are very close to heart. I did not believe it then. But when I met my uncle and my cousin sister, I realized that they were sort of bitter that on her deathbed, my aunt did not say their names even once. So, after all these years, it is her sister who was close to her heart, isn’t it? This was the curt response I got when I went there.
Last year, on this very day, July 8th, when I was admitted to the emergency ward, I was in a very bad condition. I was told by some of the physicians and the nurses who work at the emergency ward, that they had never seen a patient in a worse condition than I was. For the first one hour, they were working on me, with the assumption that any moment, I might die. And my wife was told the same – three times. That at any minute my heart would collapse and she should not blame them later. She was told thrice, because the physician got confused by the composure my wife showed. He thought that she was in shock and hence was not responding to the severe prognosis.
But soon things turned normal as the Lord had promised me and all my vital signs had become normal. And everyone who was there had only one thing to point out – that through the entire ordeal, I and my wife were praying, without stopping for a second. Even when I was subjected to some intense physical pain due to various injections and all, my lips were constantly moving. Same with my wife. I can’t imagine what emotional upheaval she had to undergo emotionally at that time, seeing me in such a pathetic condition, yet apparently her lips were moving all the time.
Now, I really wish I can take credit that I kept praying that whole time. That would have been awesome. But the truth is I was in no condition to think coherently at all, to offer any kind of prayer. So, what I was mumbling all the time? All I could do at that moment, in that state of weakness was utter the One Name that mattered the most. I kept repeating the Name above all names. I kept telling “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”. There was nothing else I could utter, my mind was totally blanked out.
As we were talking about the events that happened last year on this day, I asked my wife what she was praying all that time. She looked confused and told me that her mind was blanked out and there was nothing in her mind to pray. Then what she was doing? And to my pleasant surprise, she said that she was saying the Name “Jesus” all that time.
When we are in total darkness, when we are not able to offer mighty prayers, the Lord our Father has given us a name, the Name of His only Son. Jesus. I am not advocating saying the Name of our Lord God in a meaningless manner, like a magic word that opens the doors to caves filled with treasures. No. Let your heart be inscribed by that divine Name. Let your breath be filled with the Name of Jesus. Let all your love start with the Name of our Friend; let the love overflow abundantly as we meditate on His wonderful Name. And when the clouds of darkness surrounds us, let His Name be the Light that guides us; when the waves of uncertainty rock our ship, the Name of Jesus be the Anchor on Whom we rest. For He has promised:
Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honour him. – Psalm 91:14-15 (NKJV)
As I was in the ICU, many believers from our church started visiting me. To be truthful before God, I have to admit that I was surprised by how much love they have for me. For one, I don’t chit chat a lot and hence, with many, I have not spoken in a casual manner. Second, there were times when I have pointed out their mistakes and hence, I was under the impression that most of the believers actually don’t like me. So imagine my surprise when most of the church members visited me at the ICU. Especially it is very difficult for our church members, because most of them are from very impoverished backgrounds. For some, even coming to the church on Sunday is difficult as they may not have money for the bus. Most of them also work everyday, except Sunday and hence taking a break to travel 3 hours to come to the hospital, and then 3 hours back, only just to see me for a mere 5 minutes is a huge sacrifice they made and I was very moved by their love.
But once all the dust settled, once I was moved out of ICU to Special Ward, some who visited pointed out that one believer, who is supposed to be very close to my family, never bothered to visit, and did not even bother to enquire about my health at all. It was a sore point for almost everyone who visited me, because when they went back and informed that believer that they were just back from visiting me, they excepted that the believer would ask how I was doing. But nothing like that happened. Even today, one year after it happened, some are still upset about that. So when they asked me why I am not hurt by that, I laughed out loud and told them that I am still reeling from the shock that the entire church loves me, and I have not been able to process that still today.
But when some of the believers who I care about deeply, kept harping on this one point again and again, I simply pointed out that this character is not Christian at all. It is, indeed, the character of one of the vilest enemies the Jews had to face in their history – Haman.
In the 5th chapter of the Book of Esther, we see Haman describing all the great things that were happening to him. He talked about how he had found favour in the eyes of his king and also queen Esther (Esther 5:11-12). Yet he says something striking in the next verse.
Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. (Esther 5:13)
As a result, he prepared a gallows to hand Mordecai, but in 24 hours, things changed and it was Haman who was hanging from the same gallows. All because one man chose to ignore him.
Let us not yield even an inch of our hearts to this evil spirit of Haman. Look around this beautiful world that the Lord has made us because He loves us. Look at all those loved ones He has given us in our life. Look at the innocent smile of our children or grandchildren, when they hold our finger in their baby hands. Above all, look at the Cross. Even if you are surrounded by people who hate you, even if the entire world is against you, their hatred would never be equal to one drop of the blood that our Saviour shed on the Calvary for us. The love of Jesus alone is enough for us to survive any hatred or rejection. Look at the Cross. Look at your Crucified Saviour. Look at the Lamb of the God. Look at Jesus Christ and be filled with His diving love. Amen.
Last year, on this day, I was suffering from severe breathing troubles and it had been 7 days since I had lied down to sleep. My backbone was in severe pain and finally, I slept, slightly reclining on a couch. As I woke up, I head a small voice telling me, “Your days are numbered and you will be dead soon.” At that moment, it felt like all my last sliver of hope was snuffed out of my soul. The next morning, I was taken to the emergency ward in a near-fatal condition, and by the grace of our Lord and the prayers of the believers of our church, I have survived to this day.
For the good part of the month of June, I was getting ready for this week – to give thanks to God in a heartfelt manner. While I have been doing that in my prayers, something else came in without any notice – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
I have heard about people suffering from PTSD and that it was equally excruciating. I have seen people behaving in an irrational manner or be filled with fear for no reason at all, but to be honest, I was never able to understand why they behave in the manner they do. Especially from where I hail, PTSD is not something people even talk about. Even when some people told me that they behaved in such a manner, because of what happened in the past, I would tell them – without any understanding of what they had undergone, I must add, – that it was all in their minds and that they were just imagining things. Till it happened to me. In my mother language, Tamil, there is a saying that goes like this: “You can understand the severity of a headache and toothache only when it comes to you.” How true are these words.
Starting from July 1st, I started suffering from erratic breathing, like I was having last year. Initially I thought it was because I had no or little exercise over the year that I am having trouble breathing. Then I realized that even when I am just sitting, I was having trouble sleeping. But the moment I start singing a song, there is no trouble with my breathing at all. Similarly I was feeling as if I had swollen and become overweight again and was refusing to get out of my bed. Last year being swollen, in the first week of July, when I tried to get out of the bed of my own, I fell down twice, losing my balance and it was so difficult to lift me up again. The list goes on, but physically I look just the same I was 10 days ago. And whenever I pray or sing, or read the Bible, I noticed that I do it as normal as I am. But, when it comes down to walking or eating or, most importantly, sleeping, I am terrified. For last few days, I would get up in the wee hours of the morning and would get a chair and would sit on it and sleep; because that is what I was doing last year – I was sleeping in a sitting position. Now, though I have no problem, when I wake up, I become scared to go back to sleep and doing this, leaving my wife utterly confused in the morning.
As I prayed, I understood that the Lord is teaching me more about being compassionate. Teaching me that everyone takes their own time to heal; that some wounds are so deep, it would so much care for the wound to disappear. I am not saying that I understand PTSD completely, but I understand there is an emotional trauma associated with the physical trauma, and it is equally traumatic to that person who is suffering.
As the lessons are continuing, I felt sad for my wife, for she is back to sleeping at odd hours and taking care of me, like she was doing last year. Though she understands that the trauma I am suffering now is emotional, the care she showers on me is the same as it was last year, when I had to be treated like an infant. And, as I wondering what I could tell her during these days, I saw this quote and thought that this is all I could tell her at this moment: