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Seeing and believing

Two days back, my niece visited me. As we were discussing many things, for some reason, my wife and we ended up talking about the serial F.R.I.E.N.D.S. My niece asked me if I knew that the “FRIENDS” movie is going to release in 2019, and the trailer is very funny. I knew right away that it can’t be, as no one is going to release a trailer of a movie one year before the movie is scheduled to release. So, I told her it had to be a fan-made trailer. She was adamant the news is true and she had seen the trailer herself.

Friends

Then I gave a search, and needless to say, there is no “FRIENDS” movie and the trailer is fan-made. I informed my niece about the same, and I was surprised by her attitude. She was still adamant that a movie is being made, and probably I had seen the wrong trailer. I don’t know how to react to that. I am seeing the news is fake and she is telling the trailer I saw was fake, and the news is true, because she had seen the “true” trailer.

When I was growing up, there were only few ways to check whether a news was fake or not. Yet, we would take pains to find it out. We went to the library, read papers, magazines and journals and found out the truth about a news. Now, all you need is to do a “Google” search which takes less than a minute to tell us whether the news is fake or not. Yet I see a new generation which believes what it sees and do not do have time for a little search. If it is in “Youtube” or forwarded via “Whatsapp”, it has to be true.

The sad thing is that this attitude has seeped into Christianity. Apostle Thomas said that when he sees the Risen Lord, he would believe. Still he had a condition even then: he had to touch and feel the wounds to know that what he sees is true. But nowadays Christians just believe anything they see. Angels blowing trumpets, the head of Goliath discovered, the lost day from the Book of Joshua discovered by NASA scientists, etc. In all these, they forget to seek and find the Lord and His Word. Whenever some young people send me such videos, I discourage them from doing so, asking them instead to concentrate on seeking the Lord, reading and meditating on His Word. Later I find out that they just don’t send me those videos, but circulate among themselves.

Let us stop believing everything we see. Instead seek the Lord, search His Word and find true wisdom that the Lord provides. May the Lord of all grace help us to do so. Through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, Amen.

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Lessons from ICU. 24. The disappointed love

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!

Jeremiah 31:3