Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘love’

Funny how the topic of marriage has become an increasingly popular and often discussed one among many of my friends, more so in the recent past. I suppose the older we get with our statuses unchanged, the more pressure to be married by hook or by crook, to find that clichéd Mr. Right (or Miss. Right) and live happily ever after. I can understand this well in our Indian culture, with me being in this category myself – well, not exactly, but somewhere there… Anyway, all this talk about wanting to find the love of one’s life got me thinking and I decided to blog some of my thoughts.

To most of you reading this blog post, it is no news that I have been down that road many a time only to be hurt & disappointed (and vice versa to the concerned parties, I’m sure). I am presently at a point in life where I am just content to be single & let Jesus take that place rather than face more hurt & disappointment, although that is easier said than done. However, that does not mean I have been written off the “charts” or am no longer a fish swimming in the deep, wide ocean. The difference is, I’m no longer desperate to “get hooked” or to go find “the one” because I’m pretty confident anyone worth marrying is going to come find me! Moreover, like I quoted an unknown person some time ago, I do believe “A girl’s heart must so be hidden in Christ that a man has to seek Him to find her.” That’s the only kind of man I want to marry after all of my bitter experiences, and nothing short of that will do – a man who first seeks God & the kingdom of Heaven and finds that all the rest falls in line.

One of my friends recently asked me, “What do you girls expect? Jesus?!?” I thought about it, and the truth is, yes! :o) Well, at least for me… I sometimes wonder what a hot dude Jesus must have been while He lived on earth – son of a carpenter and carpenter Himself… I don’t think He ever needed a workout because the natural must have been gazillion times better. 😛 What??? Call it blasphemy, burn me at the stake if you like, but I’m pretty sure Jesus was HOT, in fact way HOTTER than any currently existing piece of male flesh for sure! He totally burned it up, and He still does for me, for real. No, I’m not kidding. I really mean that. I am completely in love with Jesus, and if anyone wants to win my heart, they’re gonna have to beat Him. So there! Ha! 🙂

That said, let’s be practical… marrying Jesus ain’t gonna happen as long as I’m on this earth, so here’s the next best option: a dash of Jeremy Camp, a pinch of Lincoln Brewster, a whole lot of Jesus on the inside, and I’m good to go. Wishful thinking? Maybe… but what am I going to lose by thinking?

So… to tie the knot or not? That is the question… As I pondered this, God showed me a fruit tree with a ripe red fruit hanging on it. I felt like that fruit myself, ready to be plucked. Now, let’s not allow our imaginations wander away & border on disgusting here… but a ripe fruit is good for several things: to be eaten as is, or to be made into a jam or juice or jelly or some other edible product. And with that, a ripe fruit would have served its purpose. But what if… what if… nobody actually plucked that ripe fruit? Would it have failed and not served a purpose? Over time it would fall to the ground, begin to shrivel, rot, and gradually become nothing but dirt. Sad.

I think the analogy is pretty clear, the plucked fruit resonating with the much-desired, fanciful married life while the rotted one represents the unmarried life of misery. But wait… what’s that I see? Several months, maybe even years, down the line I see a shoot springing up from the dirt. Tiny, green, easily mistaken for a weed, but a shoot nevertheless… In a few more months or years, I see that shoot grow into a large tree itself, bearing flowers, fruit & being a home to many a bird… much more than it could ever have achieved, had it been plucked and eaten or made into some other fancy foodstuff. Did the uneaten fruit not serve a purpose? Indeed not! I believe both the eaten & the rotten served their purposes just as had been destined even before the world began.

So here’s my conclusion: to be married some day remains a great desire. However, let not anyone who might not ever get married assume that his or her life is meaningless and has failed its purpose. In fact, God may be able to achieve greater, mightier things in and through your singleness than He could have ever achieved through your marriage. And for the married or marrying, I’m not done yet… eaten fruits must also have their seeds or cores discarded, which at some point reach the dirt too… and we all know what happens after. Therefore, eaten or rotten, you serve a purpose; serve it well! To tie the knot or not, it matters not.

Read Full Post »

kite_runner

I’ve been catching up on all the reading I missed out on the last several years for a variety of reasons (mostly time, resources and other distractions) and just got done with The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Having already watched the last quarter of the film I imagined I had spoiled it for myself, but on the contrary I must say I quite enjoyed the latter half of the book. It has been one of the best-written fictions from the East that I have read in a while (that list including The White Tiger, Slumdog Millionaire or Q & A, and Three Mistakes of My Life). I must also add that I appreciate that Hosseini could describe rather dark incidents without the grossness that authors like Aravind Adiga thrive on, a grossness that completely puts me off.

The book to a large extent deals with the father-son relationship and the concept of redemption. Usually books affect my mind and sort of have a cathartic effect on me, particularly because I tend to identify with some character in the book. This time, however, the character I identified the most with was probably Sohrab who makes his entry only in the last few chapters of the book. The reason being, in the past I too have often slept my worries off, or chosen silence over communication… I too have merely resigned myself to my fate, like a lamb lead to the slaughter and felt “tired”, as in sick and tired of life, wishing I could have my old life back. But no, I have never attempted suicide or even considered it an option. I am thankful I no longer feel that way, my life having radically taken a turn for the better. Still, I could understand Sohrab’s character and emotions more than any other.

Quite a few times in the book I stopped to think about how different my values are compared to some of those related in the book, particular the concept of redemption that runs like a jugular vein through the entire story. The extent to which Amir had to go to redeem himself in the book is rather sad… sure, it makes a good story, and I applaud the fact that he was able to give Sohrab a new lease of life almost at the cost of his own, but Amir’s main motivation being one of self-redemption worries me.

The concept of being redeemed by our deeds is something I have never been able to bring myself to terms with. To me, it completely defies the very existence of God and His work in our lives. At the least, it makes God out to me a mean, unforgiving being who derives sadistic pleasure from our suffering – an image of God I simply cannot and will not accept simply because it is too bizarre to be true. I have always been taught and do firmly believe that Christ Himself redeemed us by shedding His blood for us on the cross, thereby paying the penalty of death for our sins once and for all. There is nothing more we can do to be “redeemed”, other than believing in what Christ did.

I found the following stuff on redemption on www.gotquestions.org:

Everyone is in need of redemption. Our natural condition was characterized by guilt: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Christ’s redemption has freed us from guilt, being “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

The benefits of redemption include eternal life (Revelation 5:9-10), forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), righteousness (Romans 5:17), freedom from the law’s curse (Galatians 3:13), adoption into God’s family (Galatians 4:5), deliverance from sin’s bondage (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:14-18), peace with God (Colossians 1:18-20), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). To be redeemed, then, is to be forgiven, holy, justified, free, adopted, and reconciled. See also Psalm 130:7-8; Luke 2:38; and Acts 20:28.

The word redeem means “to buy out.” The term was used specifically in reference to the purchase of a slave’s freedom. The application of this term to Christ’s death on the cross is quite telling. If we are “redeemed,” then our prior condition was one of slavery. God has purchased our freedom, and we are no longer in bondage to sin or to the Old Testament law. This metaphorical use of “redemption” is the teaching of Galatians 3:13 and 4:5.

Related to the Christian concept of redemption is the word ransom. Jesus paid the price for our release from sin and its consequences (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6). His death was in exchange for our life. In fact, Scripture is quite clear that redemption is only possible “through His blood,” that is, by His death (Colossians 1:14).

The streets of heaven will be filled with former captives who, through no merit of their own, find themselves redeemed, forgiven, and free. Slaves to sin have become saints. No wonder we will sing a new song—a song of praise to the Redeemer who was slain (Revelation 5:9). We were slaves to sin, condemned to eternal separation from God. Jesus paid the price to redeem us, resulting in our freedom from slavery to sin and our rescue from the eternal consequences of that sin.

I am fully aware that to many minds, the idea of one NOT having to DO anything in order to be redeemed is practically unthinkable. There has to be SOMETHING I’ve got to do in order to redeem myself from my mistakes and my sins! Well, I’ve got both good news and bad news for those who think that way. The bad news first: there is NOTHING you or any other human can do on your behalf in order for you to be redeemed. The good news: “There is a way to be good again” – because Jesus has already done EVERYTHING that could ever be done to redeem you – it’s simply a matter of accepting that and walking in that faith. Too easy? Well, yes it is… And I thank God, He made it so easy for me to be free of my past, to no longer be bound by my sins, to be forgiven, to be redeemed! Today, no matter where I’ve been, no matter what I’ve done I can hold my head up high and live my life to the fullest, knowing that Christ has already paid the price and has set me free.

That said, I don’t mean to say that had I been in Amir’s position I would not have made the effort to rescue Sohrab and give him a good life. The difference would have been that my intention of doing that would not have been to redeem myself. Rather, I would be doing it simply out of love for another human, the same self-sacrificing love that Christ was an example of, the love that caused Him to lay Himself down so that I could be free, the love that Christ not only commanded to show a fellow-human but also flows through my very being, with Christ Himself as the centre of it.

I know all of this probably sounds strange to some. The other day I was confronted by someone on Facebook who commented on my friend’s status about having had a great talk with Jesus. Her comment was, “You make Jesus sound like a real person!” and my response was, “But He is a real person! He lives… He walks with me and talks with me… you ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart!” I was on fire that moment, and all I longed for was for the other person to see how true and real Jesus is to my friend and to me… I wanted her to experience it too. And that still is my prayer for the millions across the world who have never had that experience. I pray that people will be able to taste of it themselves and know it is true and real, to find forgiveness, release, acceptance, freedom, redemption, and a “way to be good again” in and through Jesus!

Read Full Post »

I made a new friend yesterday… a talkative 5 year old, the daughter of my friend’s maid. Farheen confidently rattled off, “A for Apple, B for Ball, C for Cat, D for Doll…” She was in the first grade and had been learning the English alphabet at school, but she shyly admitted she couldn’t remember what M was for, and jumped from H to O in her enthusiasm. I doubt she knew what any of those words meant. It was just something she had been taught, and she had dutifully learned.

In her hand she carefully held two pieces of paper on which a doll’s picture was drawn, kind of like a mini animation. She showed me how if she flipped the little pages it would look like the doll was changing its form. I asked if she had drawn them. She said a “didi” at tuition had drawn them for her. Farheen enjoyed drawing, but she didn’t have paper or color pencils of her own to draw and color.

I asked Farheen about her friends at school. She said she had none. She only spoke to her little brother, Mohammed. The teachers didn’t allow them to play in school, and she seemed afraid to talk to others in class.

After school her elder brother (a cousin, I assume) would take her to a tuition center to do her homework. She liked going there because they would sometimes serve her biscuits, samosas and Thumbs Up.

Farheen was happy that her mother Aisha had packed Biriyani for her lunch that day. It was the left over from Sunday’s dinner. She usually carried Rotis and sugar for lunch and didn’t like eating that. She preferred snacks, “pan biscuit” in particular. She laughed about her “fat little brother, Mohammed” who ate a lot, unlike her.

I spoke a little to Farheen’s mother Aisha too, while she swept and swabbed the floor. She told me that she had 3 children – Farheen who was 5, Mohammed who was 3, and another son who had recently died of some heart disease. Aisha thought this son had brought her good luck and restored her joy. She felt all her problems and sadness had returned after his death. Aisha still loved this little son of hers more than the other two and thought about him a lot. I could hear the sadness in her voice as she told me about him. I sympathized with her and tried to explain in my broken Hindi that God had given her 2 beautiful children, so to be thankful for them and love them the same way she would have loved the son she lost.

Farheen told me she liked her father better than her mother. He was a painter and would sometimes take her and Mohammed on his cycle. He would go out to some place on Sundays and buy eggs, biscuits, etc… for them. He had bought them a new fan recently, but Farheen had put it away because she was afraid other children would play with it and break it. She complained that her father made the house dirty though, and she and her mother had to clean up always.

I asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up, and to my disappointment she replied that she wanted to be a maid like her mother. “You don’t want to become a good teacher or something else?” “No, I want to clean homes. People make their houses dirty, no? I want to clean their houses.”

I saw a big mark on Farheen’s left arm and assumed it was a vaccination mark, but it didn’t strike me that she had probably never been to a doctor in her life. What it was was the scar from a brutal beating. Her teacher had beaten her with something (I couldn’t understand what) because she hadn’t paid her fees on time. The scar seemed so deep. Farheen told me it had swollen so big and didn’t heal for a long time. Her parents had shifted her to another school soon after. I asked her, “Farheen, did it hurt?” “Yes.” “Did you cry?” “No…” “Why not?” “Only small children cry…”

So little, and yet she spoke as if she was 10 times her age! I had to gulp down tears and the lump that had formed in my throat by then. My heart went out to this little child who had an entire lifetime before her, but had already suffered so much, lacked so many things that I took for granted, and had resigned herself to her fate. In her little mind, all she knew was the life she lived and she didn’t even think or wish that life could be any better for her. She was content being who she was, willing to accept her life as it was, and was determined to become whatever she thought it was her duty to become.

All the words in the world are insufficient to express what I felt at that moment. When I returned home and thought about it, I was moved all the more and could not contain my tears. To think that there are millions of Farheens all over India (and probably the world), needing a good education, a safe environment at school and home, basic amenities, nutritional food, better facilities and opportunities, genuine love and care… and just needing to know that God loves them, cares about them, and wants nothing but the best for them…

What am I doing to make life better for someone like Farheen?

Read Full Post »

 

A colleague shot this video on his digital camera during worship at my work place last week. That’s me in the maroon salwar singing and clapping like I’m half dead. 😛 Here are the lyrics for this beautiful song:

Your love is amazing, steady and unchanging
Your love is a mountain, firm beneath my feet
Your love is a mystery, how You gently lift me
When I am surrounded, Your love carries meChorus

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Your love makes me sing
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Your love makes me sing

Your love is surprising, I can feel it rising
All the joy that’s growing deep inside of me
Every time I see You, all Your goodness shines through
And I can feel this God song, rising up in me

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: