(With inputs from John Abraham, Chembur )
It is so difficult to be the loser.
I like winning, although it hasn’t be the way of things with me.
Jesus’ affinity for the last, the least and the lost is about the only thing that is currently keeping me going. You find it in “Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus” by Robert Farrar Capon. He says, death and losing is about the only way in which God can bring His salvation into our lives.
Which then is a good thing. Am I a successful youth chaplain? Whatever that means! Currently, by the parameters of the world, I am not successful. Leave those parameters. This is what I would like:
I would like myself to be a wonderful instrument in His hand. I’d like to imagine Him as Eric Clapton and me, his guitar. That way, a meaningful ministry. Something that would touch so many lives that they see what God sees in them.
I am sure God reads my blog.
Colaba was sleeping even as I stepped into Wesley CNI church, this morning on my inter-denominational church visit. She resembled one that was snug on Sunday morning after storing week.
I loved the calmness this old church bore on me. As I stepped in from the pavement, I could glance upon an empty horizon at the end of the road – yes,my favourite, the seaside.
I loved coming to Colaba again. There was something about it which is hard to miss. May be it’s the dilapidated buildings which once proclaimed the splendour of the British Imperial life. May be it’s the “service” industry’s (whatever that means!) attempts at giving those buildings a botox or a nose job to make it look young though old, vainly retaining the vestiges of colonialism. Perhaps it is that colonial hangover or even an unbelievable appreciation towards the British who invested so much in a country not their own. Anything beautiful that was not your effort looks enticing when the creator is gone, forever.
The service was characterized by a familiar CNI liturgy. The songs and the service indeed drew me in, except for the excited little girl on the seat beside me. I felt God wanting me to let her be and help her find the pages in the worship book. Her mum who clearly had no familiarity of written English was excited to see her child attempting to sing from the English hymnal.
The Sermon by Rev. Kalison, spoke about the power of resurrection. Christ our Lord is risen and he comes to us and strengthens us saying, I have power over everything, so cheer up. I was encouraged. I needed the power or resurrection too. Yes, I am a pastor myself, but I need to hear the Word of God and open my heart to the Lord’s power. That I did. Praise God. The Easter day message that I shared at the small church near which I stay, rang through my ears and encouraged me even more.
After the service I walked out into a different Colaba. It was a tourist Colaba which was noisy and full of shops. Yet it was picturesque and I started clicking pictures with Retrica app filters.
I had a nice calm time and here are some of those pictures
2012, for me ended on The theme ‘vulnerability’. Following an elbow dislocation and later a surgery, I realised that I was not as strong as I thought to be. A great deal of help and understanding from friends gradually took me to recovery. The self-sufficient and capable George was now dependent and thankful to many people. I had to learn to take help. The Physiotherapy following The removal of plaster was very painful. I moaned, cried, huffed, puffed, struggled and felt irritated at times. I was weak. Not at All The picture I had of myself. The weak and moaning side of myself was never allowed expression But in the hostel single-room it reigned regal. I took it slow. Allowed time to heal and believed God wanted to teach me some things. And teach he did.
God enabled me to do much, with my right hand even though it was later observed that my little finger remained bent and powerless drawing a path all the way to the elbow which remained numb. Doctors found a slipping ulnar nerve on the left side of the elbow which is slowly recovering while there’s muscle deterioration on The hand. It looks scary as I see the right hand thinning down compared to The left.
I’ve been worried about that. Plus all The tasks and pending work before me. The ten semester exams I missed will greet me, come Jan 17. . .
The two worst thoughts a person can have affected me: I am unable to do What I have to do so I don’t trust myself to do it. A loss of trust in oneself. The second is, God will do only What he wants to when he wants to so there’s no point in praying, especially for a miraculous healing without The suggested surgery to fix my ulnar nerve under elbow.
These thoughts took The wind out of me. I began to get scared. Panicked. I felt hard to breathe. I began to feel hopeless. Dear ones called and encouraged me. But . . .
Even the next morning I woke up in panic, out of breath. . . And I was supposed to be a seminary student in preparation for pastoral ministry . . .
God warned me in class today. My mother had read out from James yesterday [over the phone] following up from what she had read during the family prayer back home and warned me for having lack of faith. She told me that I was the one who was supposed to stand up in situations like this and become an enabler. I asked her whether she was encouraging me!
But during a paper presentation in class today based on Isaiah, God warned me through one of my classmates who read aloud Isaiah 7:
Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands (Isa 7:4 NRSV)
If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. (Isa 7:9 NIV)
I read it in different versions.
It shook me. I read the portion again and sat like a little boy who just received a second chance.
It’s funny. My mind’s calm now. I feel like I was just spanked on bum for not listening. And I feel alright.
I finished an assignment yesterday, and will finish one more once I finish this blog post.
The change is amazing. Just two verses. Direct speech. The context of the verses (Isaiah Chapter 7, Syro-Ephramite war -Read it!) makes things clearer.
Look to the Lord.
All of this can happen even to a person who has dedicated his life to tell others about God and his steadfast love, care and guidance which gives us hope.
And I needed a spanking.
God, I need more.
What I need and What I’ve been steadily lacking is a trust in myself. A lack of confidence that I am capable of doing things, taking up responsibilities and the like.
However, it’s been a learning experience for me.
Today, I spoke to a counsellor who encouraged me to face my struggles in the face, and to keep realistic expectations.I was also asked to not bother about others’ opinion.