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.
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.
“There is a peace that cometh after sorrow,
Of hope surrendered, not of hope fulfilled;
A peace that looketh not upon tomorrow,
But calmly on a tempest that it stilled.
“A peace that lives not now in joy’s excesses,
Nor in the happy life of love secure;
But in the unerring strength the heart possesses,
Of conflicts won while learning to endure.
“A peace there is, in sacrifice secluded,
A life subdued, from will and passion free;
’tis not the peace that over Eden brooded,
But that which triumphed in Gethsemane.”