In January, I wrote about a believer in this blog, but forgot to follow up. Her name is Mary and I wanted to write something that happened in her life four years back. In 2013, her Christian daughter was engaged to get married. The wedding was to take place on the second week of February, 2014.
Weddings in India are very different from weddings in western countries. In India, the dowry plays a huge role in marriages and it is quite expensive for the bride’s side. Some 20 years back, Christians would not give or accept dowries, but nowadays, except few believers, everyone gives and accepts dowries.
In Mary’s household, her husband and her son are not saved. Her husband is a drunkard, but her son promised that he would take care of the wedding expenses of his little sister. So the wedding arrangements were being made and as the new year ushered, they received a set back. Mary’s son fell in love with a girl, eloped with her and got married. His sister, the bride-to-be got upset that he married a Hindu girl, as she was hoping her brother would be accept Jesus before she got married. So, she said few things and that upset her brother and his new wife. So, they decided not to help with the wedding expenses.
Then Mary’s husband informed her that he had saved some money for his daughter’s wedding and that weekend, he would bring that money for the wedding expenses. Except he never reached home. News reached Mary that her husband was out drunk in the road, wearing a garland made up of the most expensive liquor bottles available. All the money had gone.
By now, it was the second week of January and less than a month for the wedding day and Mary had no money to start any arrangements for the wedding. And she came for a prayer meeting in the church and I led the prayer based on Psalm 55:22: Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
After the prayer service, all the women had gathered around her and were feeling pity for her condition. They were offering to pray for her, by binding her son, by binding the evil spirit that was working inside her daughter-in-law, by binding the drinking spirit in her husband, by releasing money for her son’s savings and all that. If you are Pentecostal, you would know what I am talking about.
As I was going upstairs, I saw all these women gathered around her and she was telling her sad story about how her son had betrayed her trust, I was moved in my spirit and told her tersely, “So, it is your son who is your trust. Jesus is not your Trust, then. If Jesus is your Trust, cast your burden on Him and He will sustain you” and I walked off. Later I found out that the women were very upset with me, for not understanding the “real” problems that people face in the “real” world and for being so insensitive to a believer’s suffering. However, Mary did not utter any word and she left.
Three days later, she came back for Friday prayer and told my mother-in-law, that when I asked her who was her trust, she felt as if some hot coals were kept deep in her heart and she could not help saying, “Jesus is my Trust. Jesus alone is my Trust.” And she told that from that day on, she is in a spiritually calm place, that Jesus would take care of all her needs. She refused to ask anyone for any money; her village people asked her to seek the help of her son, but she declined.
Then the first week of February came and all of a sudden, the flood gates were opened. Not literally. Suddenly money and help started pouring in from all directions, though she asked for none. Three days before the wedding, all the wedding expenses were paid, all the dowry was settled and every thing they wanted to buy for the wedding, they bought only the best. How it happened? She is not even able to recall.
However, she had one more prayer for the wedding day. Since her husband and her son are not Christians, she wanted the pastor, who is my father-in-law, to give the bride’s hand in wedding. Now, this is sort of a big deal in our male-dominated society. The man would do nothing for the family, but this is his chance to show the world that he is the “man” in his family. This would even cause blood baths in certain places. Since it was her simple trust in the Lord had helped her so far, we asked her to simply pray and wait for the Lord.
On the day of the wedding, we all had assembled by 5 in the evening. It was 5:30 and there was no sign of her son or her husband. So, the wedding started and, still they had not arrived. We tried calling them; but all their phones were switched off. Some of the villagers were supposed to come with them; we tried calling them, and again the phones were switched off. And the time came for the bride’s hand to be given in holy Matrimony to the groom, and since there was no “men” from the girl’s side, her pastor gave the bride away as per Mary’s wish.
After the wedding, the reception and dinner got over and by 8:30 in the night, Mary’s son entered with those villagers and his drunk father. Apparently, these villagers were very upset that a woman, who had left their religion and became a Christian, single-handedly managed to arrange a wedding. So, they went and told her son and her husband that if they did not do something about it, the women in the village may stop respecting men, after all. And they came up with a brilliant idea. The wedding was scheduled to start at 5 pm, let us go after 8:30. They had to wait for us, and by that everyone would know that we, men, wear pants in our family. But by then, the Lord changed their plan to humiliate Mary, to humiliate them instead. Those villagers who had attended the wedding started telling her son how grand the wedding was and how irresponsible he was to miss his own sister’s wedding and he left with his head down.
All these happened because of one woman and her childlike faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Praise be unto Him forever and ever. Amen.