Believe me, it is a difficult task to listen to God’s voice. I haven’t heard it and I am not even sure if one can actually hear, although there are people claiming that they have. Good for them; really.
Finding out God’s will in life is even more difficult.
Finally, I have just let Him do whatever. From where I thought I knew what the Lord had in store, in the form of an idea and a dream, I have come to make this short 5 month journey wherein I realised the God I knew is actually the God I hadn’t known. There’s too much about God that no one really knows Him that well. Of course, this pearl of wisdom came from Jesus Himself when He said only He knew the father. But theology attempts to look at God in different ways, trying to put together the puzzle, with pieces which we believe He gave us. It’s interesting. You could spend a life time putting it together, and still not find him. Still the journey is worth it.
But a journey where we do just this and nothing else, is in itself not worth merit. That’s where your purpose in life comes in, I think. I just think, that’s all.
So it’s a surrender. Not yet complete. It never will be. But He still accepts.A surrender which says, you ride the boat, I’ll just sit here with you, because I have no clue where you are going.
Whether He wants me to ride it for a while, is something that I don’t know. Will I regret not being persistent? For giving up when I became tired mentally? Actually, it’s His problem. Really. That’s where it’s come to. I’ll just help solve His problem.
Take me with you. And I am damn scared, God.
Do some theology now and study further in Psychology/ Counselling later.
Enroll on a Ph.D Psych programme and do a bit of theology later.
Two options have I before me:
Theology figures in both places, because when you set out for the Lord, you ought to have a clearer understanding of the troubles in clearly understanding God.
Psychology, on the other hand, appears twice, as it is a my special are of interest.
Which way? I’m waiting for some emails from some Universities about their Ph.D programmes.
If I have to do theology next year, I’ll have to apply this year and the dead line for applications is August 31.
My sister, very sweetly wrote in detail, amidst her busy schedule, that I should look for opening and closing doors now. That’s the best way to decide on His will at the moment. If it’s his will, doors will open, if it isn’t the doors will shut. She herself has an amazing story to tell of how she enrolled for her Ph.D at an American university all in just three and a half months. God opened the right doors and without wasting time she just entered them. Of course, she has a super supportive adventurous husband who’s achieving his big dreams one after the other! I’m very proud of both of them.
I’m taking a walk down life’s corridor. Come and open door and I hop in.
This is a very exciting phase.
If you have been following what have been writing in the past few days, you can see my thoughts oscillating like a pendulum.
Trust in God
I am in that place where you know what to tell people who are in trouble, because you truly believe that is the truth and the way the bible teaches. At the same time, I’m struggling to put them into practice.
There’s no more validity to what I say. Even as I tell me friend, hold on, God has a plan, I struggle wondering where God is and why He isn’t clear. But my strong belief is He will be so clear some time that I will be able to see and hear what He wants. Till then I must hold on to his promises. And , shut up.
But will He make himself clear? Or would I have to decode what His message is from all that I read and hear? Is He expecting me to solve a riddle? Or will He whisper that I won’t hear and miss it? This is where I would be making a fool of myself if I miss it. Well, that anxiety, as you can see, is till there.
It scares me. I’ll hold on still, because when, not if, God makes things clear, it will be a story which many will be able to identify with.
“Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need”
- Work in a Christian institution or organisation for a while
- Apply for Seminary this year through the Church, to become a priest
- Apply in a Seminary to study theology privately, leaving me a theology graduate and not a priest
- Apply for a Ph.D or M. Phil
Today I lack the determination with which I left Bangalore for vacations to Kerala, after my exams. I am thoroughly demotivated to set out on my own thinking of problems that might crop up at home. An elder brother of mine said that if that’s what you are called to do, they will come around to it.
I am not convinced yet. I am still holding on to myself. I have not surrendered. The use of ‘surrender’ is deliberate. Your wishes stand aside to the wishes of the church. You go where the church sends you. You minister where they place you. Of course, merit matters, but not always. You could study further, but you have to be in parishes and lead the Parish mission, Women’s Fellowship, oversee Sunday School and youth league (if time remains after the committees of the church and the previous two organisations). But the influence you have on people is immense. I’m not talking in terms of power, but the ability to make people think and change the course of their life so that they can live their purpose in life and be part of Kingdom building. If my father were to read this, he might ask, don’t you want to give back anything to the church which gave you so much and made you what you are today. True, I can’t be ungrateful. By the way, I don’t want to be ungrateful in the first place. But this isn’t the only way to pay back. Plus, I don’t think God expects a pay back. Which parent gets the exact pay back for bringing their children up and all the sacrifices they make in the course of it? You just can’t , so you just pass it on to your children. I guess the same principle works here. Now if anyone’s doubting me being a true Mar Thoma christian, must now that I am a hard core Mar Thomite. May be the best way or the only way to repay need not be becoming a pastor.
So where’s God’s will in the whole game? That’s the elusive part. I am sure of a calling for Christian mission work – that my life is to be spent sharing the news that Jesus loves you and wants you to know and get closer to Him so that you could have the gift of eternal life with Him in heaven, after you begin pushing up daisies. But which way? What route?
I’m tired. I have to admit it in spite of believing that God has His place and time to reveal things. Lately, this thought has been coming to me, subtly but strongly: Take whichever route and He will bless you.
So all the strong feelings I have about what to do are not to be trusted, according to my dad, because they are feelings. Most of the things I dislike is what I am called to do or at least seems to. “Don’t you think God must be speaking through all these people?”, asks mum trying to make me talk. I can see people asking the customary, ” Monum achenaakaanalle?” ( Isn’t he going to be a priest, too?), often with connotations – “…like his father”, and a smirk.
Seems like the next best thing in town. Just because He’s calm and a silent and talks less to people He doesn’t know and isn’t so mischievous, publicly, he might be on his way to becoming an ‘achen’ (Pastor). And to count that as God speaking through people . . .and, I’m tired.
This is the point where I begin to feel guilty. Aren’t I asking for everything my way? The fact that I don’t like to be in Kerala for too long and can’t even imagine serving in parishes and being busy trying to calm down committee members while wanting to go after the youth out there perishing, not knowing Christ? To be wanting to work in a multi-cultural setting like an urban environment . . . Is this where I am going after the ‘good life’ than serving God?
Patience. God will reveal His plans in His time. In the meanwhile it is important to keep our ears and eyes open, to ask the Holy spirit to prepare our hearts for what we are meant to hear. Are you one of those people who’re murmuring right now saying, “hey buzz off man, I’ve heard enough of this and it just isn’t working for me”?
I was. But now that I’ve learnt something more about it, let me help you look at in a slightly different manner.
God, I recently learnt, sometimes delays His answers, because He knows that we won’t be ready for His answers. Why? Because we may not have expected the answer He’s about to give, or that His plans go way beyond ours that we simply would refuse to accept it. Or may be we need to learn something more to do justice to the plans He has for us. It happened to Habakkuk. He kept asking why God was not listening to Him and not saving His people. He cried and waited a long time. In the end when God replied, he couldn’t believe His ears because God had something else in mind – destruction and eventual restoration. The kind of destruction God said broke Habakkuk’s heart that he couldn’t hold it anymore.
God, anyway had the restoration of His people planned, post the destruction ( which was a result of generations of disobedience and sinfulness, despite innumerable prophetic warnings). That gave Habakkuk a little peace of mind. A little, because he was human. Who could be peaceful in the face of destruction? He clings on to God their, remembering his faithfulness (Habakkuk 3:17-19*).
Selwyn Hughes suggests that we look at our problems in the context of certain fixed points. Fixed points in an ever changing world? Yes. These fixed points are God’s characteristics. Why? Because God is eternal and unchanging. The one who exists before and beyond time.
So what are some of those fixed points?
God is Holy, eternal, loving and faithful – always. He hates sin and sin will be punished, with the sinful. He knows that past and He holds the future. He knows exactly what is going on and is in control. If He promised, He will never go back on His word. In fact, He is the only one who will never retreat from a promise. And He loves you and will always love you, no matter what you have done. He can’t stop on that one thing.
When you look at your problem from the above fixed points, your problem becomes smaller, simply because you have a greater God for whom these problems are not irresolvable. Then we can wait patiently, no matter how much our circumstances pressurize us. And as we wait , He makes us strong and disciplines us in such a away that we learn how to handle His will and the building of His Kingdom, with the resources He has given us. That’s when we will find a friend in Habakkuk and be able to sing what he sang in Habakkuk 3:17-19*!
Let me close with a Christ Tomlin song which talks about God’s everlasting, consistent and reliable qualities:
‘Praise you God of earth and sky,
How wonderful is Your unfailing love!
You never change, God,
You remain the Holy One
And my unfailing love.’
* Habakkuk 3:17-19:
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.
I had a fantastic weekend back where I consider home. It’s my city for the past eight years. Initially I never wanted to be identified as someone from there. But later, my family which developed there made me feel at home, literally.
It was great to be back and attend the Bob Fitts concert with people whom you love being around with. I simply enjoyed ecery bit of it.
I wanted to go, but on what grounds would you travel 700 kilometers with your parents money when you still haven’t decided which path to take in life?
Dramatically, no it’s definitely God’s providence, my Dad’s brother came to visit and gifted me some money when they were leaving. Just the amount to take an adventurous trip for the weekend and come back comfortably. When I was back, I still had 50 bucks left. But I still hadn’t received permission to come. A weekend trip to Bangalore, how luxurious!
I tried with hope against hope to go for it on the week leading to the concert. No hopes.
Finally on the previous day of the concert, there was some kind of persistence on my side with my heart telling me deep inside keep trying. It wasn’t violent impolite or noisy. Simply persistent.
They flatly refused. When I went upstairs with my coffee, my mum came behind and asked me later, whether I’d go if I was allowed to, and I said that is if I was allowed. She said, then go. (What?? The impossible suddenly turned possible!)
No looking back. Take the train and leave. Packed my bags quickly for a self-financed adventure trip to be part of the worship concert by such a great singer! Squeezed myself into the general compartment of the train to Bangalore, that afternoon.
What happened in three power-packed days?
Met with friends over lunch, attended youth Bible Study, Went for the Concert, followed by a sleep over at my friends place towards where I got a free ride from friends, back to church in the morning- another free ride from a kind friend who stayed nearby, attended the first service , attended Sunday School and led a song with my favourite friends, where another fav friend suddenly turned up with an exposition to the verse mentioned in the song gloriously making the truth in the verse clear, attended the anniversary of a mission-field where we reached by another joyride in two cars with a quickly propped up plan, got back and attended a Seminar on Worship by Bob Fitts, went for dinner ,went home and talked a lot with friends who came for a sleep over, went next morning to meet an old friend, went to college to meet a teacher who I wanted to speak to, Met with friends, went to see off another friend and got on the train, found space and got back comfortably. Praise God! What providence! It’s indescribable and how God carries you through is amazing.
Yet another instance to show that God provides and takes care. He has great things planned for those who’ve given their life to him. I’m waiting but He’s making the wait worth.