Recently when a few of my friends gathered to work on this script that we have planned for this children’s show, the topic as always wandered away from our normal sense of trying to comprehend something related to our script, and away from something that we had to give birth to, through our collective imagination and each one’s individual input. The topic was all about how my friend had visited a conference of Dr Ravi Zacharias, (the premier Christian Apologetic of this time and age, very much like how C.S. Lewis was back in his day) and did not understand why a Christian man, a great scholar, a Cambridge University Professor and an Intellectual seldom presented the gospel during the sessions, but used the time instead to talk about how to stand up for Christianity in an immensely dark time and age, swarming over with the moods of secularization and Modernization. Naturally my blood began to boil as a dog probably felt like when his Master was threatened or the threat of an attack rose up, I naturally felt the need to tell them about why it was so, but I allowed the moment to continue on, I wanted to observe what my friends thought about the subject, about the subject of Apologetic’s, of giving a response, a Christian response to Skeptics and Cynics… Most of them were born again Christians, who made it to church every Sunday, who are involved in youth groups and who know members in their community rather well, I was the total opposite of what they were, I read differently themed books, I was very much into understanding the deeper spiritual implications of my personal walk with Christ and knowing the hidden mysteries of God, it was true that I was a Jesus Freak, probably in some degrees more than them… and they in some degrees more than me, but I say that not to speak ill of my fellow brothers who routinely use every opportunity to do good to their fellow men. But I speak that because for me personally the knowledge of God that I possess in my heart, at times becomes such a blazing furnace, too intense and fiery, incredibly passionate that I struggle to come to terms with it, to balance it and to hold it in when all it wants is to express and share that feeling.
At the moment, my life and its sense of direction seems rather uncertain, I have trouble choosing from becoming a full time writer or a full time Apologetic or Theologian, or something else… I keep myself occupied with part time jobs and writing assignments, but there are many other things that happen in my life, I do have my struggles, intense battles with the unruly flesh, and at times it can be discouraging but I also know that I am being renewed every single day, that God is working on my inner character, that His voice has become my conscience. I know well that my Shepherd’s Staff leads and guides my paths and that despite often times walking through dark valleys, My shepherd never leaves me alone. He helps me learn something through the daily bouts with painful mind battles.
The gospel makes me want to scream it from the rooftops, to speak to strangers on overcrowded trains where space is probably a place that existed as emptiness in their thought bubbles, I can’t blame them, they are bored and beat down citizens of a country which is heavily over populated and filled with all sorts of uneasy undercurrents, some of them political and much of them philosophical. I find myself constantly discouraged, the sheer volume of people that I encounter whenever I visit the city every other alternative week overwhelms me, how can I … a single man speak or find it in my heart to speak to every soul…? And I have heard my own testimony through my own ears, and I feel like despite the presence of God’s relentless grace, a theme very rampant in the story of my life, I am unsure if God would find a use for me, sue me, I am only human. I have always struggled to believe anything good about myself, I am just being honest of course.
My eyes see things, I see the times, they appear empty, I can see so many outer distractions, I can see many cunning inward deceptions, I can feel the shallowness of our interactions, I can feel the incredible fear and paranoia that we as a race exercise upon each other, I can feel so many things that routinely take many hours of reflection and prayer to get sorted out, my heart longs and feels immense sorrow and agony for the billions of souls who are unaware of my Lord, of their Lord..!!! It frustrates me often to have sleepless nights, I wish for God to appear either in my dream or in person and tell me that His plan for my life is for me to preach the gospel, to make sure that I go up on stage and pray for the Holy Spirit to use me as a living sacrifice, as a burning bush to bring God’s light to dark souls.
But only if it were that easy, easy as saying, Jesus loves you… to a complete stranger or to even acquaintances that I have known about over many years, I have noticed that people don’t find the pure magic that stirs within my soul when I hear the name, Jesus… That name above all names, that beautiful immortal soul whom I count upon as my most closest friend, who sees my sin but does not turn away from my own vague and unstable heart, God draped in flesh who took the rightful price for my mistakes and paid for it with his blood… I can remember the last time I met him when I leaned on the fourth floor, my heart broken into many pieces, fractured even… My spirit in an unquenchable agony, I had suffered a mental breakdown, and I was ready to die, I was ready to put my misery to an end, I had had enough of this life, I had had enough of me, I hated the person that I had become, I hated the mistakes, the many blunders, and I felt so very alone… I felt so alone, that I could not bear its thorny pain that I wished to jump to my death, for some reason, I decided to vent out my frustrations one last time to the God whom I considered dead and insensitive to my plight, to my life’s immense sorrow and hopelessness, I wanted to scream and cry out or maybe it was at him, before I took the final decision, I knelt down, my face streaming with tears, the light in my room felt stale, and I wanted to put an end to all of my sufferings, but as I spoke, a strange thing happened to me. The immense burdens that I held in my heart, seemed to mysteriously vanish, for the first time in my life, I felt the magnificent power of the Lord working in my heart, I opened my Bible, eager to search for some clue and purpose to this wondrous and miraculous event, I came across Psalms 107
10 Some sat in gloom and darkness;
they were prisoners suffering in chains.
11 They had turned against the words of God
and had refused the advice of God Most High.
12 So he broke their pride by hard work.
They stumbled, and no one helped.
13 In their misery they cried out to the Lord,
and he saved them from their troubles.
14 He brought them out of their gloom and darkness
and broke their chains.
15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his love
and for the miracles he does for people.
– Psalms 107:10-15
And it was then and there that we both found each other again, and I fell in love with Him more deeply and passionately than ever before… for the first time I felt bold and courageous to proclaim of that love, even though I had known Him for a long long time, I knew my Lord and Savior as a Person, as a friend, as a counselor, as a shepherd and Teacher… they say that when you love something deeply, that you can’t keep it to yourself… And I have felt the childhood love that I had for Him awaken and come back alive, with the wisdom of experience and with the joy of a lost sinner so dead to his senses, to his conscience and to his life even, come back with renewed vigor and vitality and so completely flood my life, and it enables me to enjoy a life so simple, yet deep in its providence, its unshakeable convictions, its firm foundations and Grace. Life with Jesus, with the revelations of the Holy Bible, with the infinite mercy of the Heavenly Father and with the divine unraveling of the Holy Spirit has taught me many things, chief among them, is to walk the walk, and not merely talk the talk. As much as my renewed joy in understanding the Bible through different lens and perspectives, God wishes for me to develop the disciplines that can enable Him to work more powerfully in my life.
Every day I make it a point to post stuff about Christ on my wall on Facebook, and I make sure that I wear all sorts of Gospel themed clothing and apparel, to rep the kingdom, and also to fish and find opportunities to present the gospel, or at the very least to engage in some sort of dialogue to hear the usual list of complaints, bitterness and hateful skepticism that usually pops up whenever the name of Jesus is mentioned. There was a time in my former life when I literally hid away from being referred to as a Christian, because I was worried about what that meant, living in India, a basically Hinduistic country, and where other related faiths merge in and live in wary awareness of each other, I have faced quite some bitter and harsh truths about being a christian, it is much easier to be a Christian in a city, where beliefs are fashionable and where lifestyle is more essential to the outward eye, but in other places it can be rough and tough and not to forget… Dangerous as well. I have seen many faithful missionaries beaten up, I visited them with my teen group, nicknamed God’s kids, and those sights often made me have deeply disturbed days and nights.
All my life I have always lived in close proximity to Evangelists, Priests, Pastors, Reverends and Preachers, my own Grandfather, my Dear Mother’s Father was a Reverend of many churches, most memorably the Parish of a certain locality quite close to the sea and the lively sights and sounds of the noisy local fish market, I hold many fond memories of that particular Church.Besides breaking my jaw, winning the local church competitions in running and simply falling on the grass of the circular lawn right before my grandpa’s quarters, or be it sitting out in the night and feeling the sea’s cool wind breeze and talking stories, that place was a sort of refuge for me, I was very young back then, and our families were more deeply connected than they are now, I look upon them with fond remembrance and love.
I have lived in and around Churches all my life, always finding a deep still calm that feels truly pregnant within the inner chambers. A fun fact, the colony where my parents live at right now, back in my hometown of Vellore, is named,… Drum rolls please… Church Colony, our very house stands directly next to the local Church. And on sundays it can be quite a test to one’s sanity to read whilst the loud sounds of the service play along as I attempt to read and write.. I have always felt that my calling( not my dreams mind you) was to either become a preacher, or to be the Reverend of some Church, owing to my history, the spiritual fascination and the wondrous deep silence that I have observed from my younger years. But I trust God to do that for me, I have stopped foolishly following some impulses, hoping that they lead me to the land of my dreams, in reality, things work differently and spiritually speaking, reality and spirituality contribute to each other’s growth and strength.
When me and my friends were discussing topics and themes in relation to Faith, I realized how difficult it is to give an answer these days, because nowadays the answers don’t appear to make sense, and no one is interested in listening… Truth sadly has become an opinion, a perspective and facts as they are defined are by scientific standards and worldly parameters… Truth has been broken down to specific communities, specific nationalities, specific systems and specific religious beliefs, all of these uttered truths often contradict the other, my fellow brothers in the Faith, whose very meekness can be an added thrill when Proud Atheists stomp over their tender hearts suffer often in silence, I have encountered many people who have lost faith in God, somehow, in one way or the other, trouble and suffering finds its way to my life. For many years I was subjected to the harsh and often times cruel treatment of a man, who formerly was a friend who identified himself as an Atheist a few years ago, back then I was more preoccupied with finding my way through life and coming to terms with intellectual topics and exploring my own interests, so his anger and bitterness were often diluted by my evasive mind, but it still stung, I remember how he would sometimes cockily remark that it was my reinforced and taught ideals that were hurting since they were experiencing the larger system of the world that had progressed, Modern times do not need rules from some primitive book were his scoffs often, and I was this lost soul, who secretly loved the Lord of his younger days, but who pretended like Peter to not know Him outwardly when the hour came for me to make a public stand, and my heart hurt, it grieved for the ignorance of that fool.. and it grieved for the disloyalty that I was clearly exercising but cleverly justifying with my hunger to know more about the world, I felt sorrow for the hardening of his heart and a billion others, and for the abuse that people are way too eager to throw upon my Lord, I don’t pretend to understand everything, but I can understand.. I have been in their place.. and I know how difficult it can be, Faith, child like, simple Faith is not easy, it asks you to leap and jump for joy when all around people can weigh you with a piece of their unbelieving mind with all of its secret treachery and cunning, Faith appears impossible for modern day children, nourished and reared with an excess of information and a loss of moral foundations, who are willing to throw their lives without a question at Clubbing, at Partying, at experimenting with drugs, at mocking the odd man, at Enjoying Sensual pleasures without the slightest bothering of their conscience, but struggle to accept the undeniable fact of a God who so loved them and wanted to be closer to them that He gave His own son as a sacrifice to pay for their sins.
I have closely observed how debates and plain arrogance often finds its way as a reply whenever I try to talk about the Gospel, and its very serious message. I have lost former friends who have deserted me for my Faith, for my freakish passion and love for Jesus. I have listened to immensely disrespectful and crude, not to mention and forget rude answers to the gospel. Whenever an opportunity presents itself… I weigh my time and I pray for God to allow certain opportunities to develop, I don’t go around bluntly and speak about the Gospel as it is, true it has its massive power in the very simple and direct way that it speaks, and I am conscious and careful to ensure that I do not dilute the power and conviction of the Gospels by presenting some swagged out and popular version of Jesus, I am very aware of how important it is to stick true to the fundamentals, the basics and its powerful message, but I can sense people who lead double lives, who find it hard to deal with life, people who are lost and who want something more… Call it an intuition of sorts, a radar… When I do meet them, I am very conscious to be how Christ would have been like if He were in my place and position, I realize that it is never about me, but it is always about Him… If they agree to listen to my own experience I tell them about it, but I am careful not to force it, maybe my approach is a little sluggish and slow, but I am reminded of how Christ was eager to answer questions , not to confuse but to open the ignorant wit of skeptics and religious authorities with strong references to the Scriptures and remarkable examples so commonplace yet deeply profound, I remember how he befriended the outcasts, the lepers, the odd and eccentric men and women of that day, the prostitutes, the tax collectors… Once a pharisee remarked that Christ appeared to be eager to be a friend with the sinners more than anybody else, they could not understand why he did not seek their company… Certainly they were the most powerful and important people of that day.. I routinely observe and research Cults as a part of interest in understanding strong beliefs, personally I find no shame in telling that I was mighty close to joining one to escape the dull life that I had a couple of years ago, but through my thorough observations, I can see how its central figure, often Charismatic and articulate, very popular with large audiences, often rejoices and courts the company of important people… I remember this particular guru who always invited the Ceo’s of important multi national companies to his dialogues, Who often received significant contributions for his cause from Movie stars, From wealthy Billionaires etc…! He had his own website, television programs, radio shows, an ashram constructed over beautiful and scenic sights, a temple worth many crores despite declaring that his yoga was not religious (closer to many millions in american money) … He was eager to be known despite his on screen persona of being simple and living on next to nothing, of living merely in touch with nature. But I look at all of these cult figures, the Jim Jones’s of the World, the Krishnamurti’s of the world and Dalai Lama’s of the world and I can see a clear theme, more often than not, the spiritual persona is an image that is cultivated, their personal lives were full of chaos, of vulgar debauchery and concealed secrets and often taking advantage of hungry and lost souls searching for answers. Those who met Christ never went away without some extraordinary freshness to their spirits, Christ removed their earthly burdens, He communed with them and loved them deeply, He understood them all individually, He did not love them as a group, He became one among them, He did not ask for money, He had complete authority over Nature, He performed many extraordinary signs and wonders that have been faithfully recorded by many historians apart from the writers of the Gospel. Christ is the most incredible and extraordinary figure in all of History, and despite the volume of attacks against the Faith, against the gospels, against the very being whose inspiration drove the single most important document in all of History, The Bible has withstood the most brutal and deceitful attacks and stood its ground every single time… In my own time I have read many books about parallel histories, of how a man named Christ could not have existed, of how Christianity borrows its ideas and themes from pagan religious beliefs, Biblical scholars have debunked every thrown arrow and dart of the evil one, St Augustine remarked once that, ‘The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.’ The eternal truths of the Bible shine clear for all the world to see, and its message continue to offer a very real hope and a present comfort to billions across the world. The Bible is still the highest selling book in all of History, last year, a mini series on the Bible was made for the History Channel, viewer ratings exceeded a 100 million in its short season, making it among the most watched series of all time, a subsequent movie has been planned as well. Despite recent controversy, despite many popular atheists continually denigrating Christendom, despite the falling out of opinion in regard to Christians in popular and controversial topics such as Abortion or Homosexuality, the message of Jesus Christ still remains strong despite all the ridiculous doctrines out there… The figure of Christ, still looms over the whole world, His mercy and Grace insufficient for words to express, His Love wildly unconditional, reckless and hungry, His tear stained eyes compassionate in the midst of a horrifying death ritual, His blood stained and nail pierced arms still reaching out for the lost, the lonely, the hopeless, the depressed, the poor, the diseased, the homosexual, the pedophile, the prostitute, to the criminal, to the heartless and to the wicked, crying to His Father to spare their lives, to give them one more chance, to give them more time, to repent and to turn to Him… He longs and cries for a personal relationship with each and every one of us, He wants us to see ourselves through His very eyes, Wont you abandon your senseless grip on your own future and give into Him…? Wont you take a chance and get to know His love…?
God Himself came to us in the form of a man, He lived in the most ugly bowels of poverty and shame, in the most rootless and most tortured race in all of history, He felt all that we have ever felt, He knows what we go through… Only He can understand your pain, but you have to have faith… He did not sin, He did not give up our plan, He was Lord of all the Heavens, He was King to the entire Universe, yet He relented to His Supreme Father’s wishes and came to pay the price for our sins, those mistakes that we have lost our sensitivity to, those mistakes that we willingly commit a thousand times over in a myriad of complex ways, each driving us to deep despair, yet we wander around with a void the size of the Sahara in our souls and hearts, and say that we have complete control over everything… That we say that the world is changing, when we are on the brink of complete chaos, wars loom large in many parts of the world, the rich countries of the world have used their free will to commit atrocities before fading away into the horizon of mortality, poverty has grown in leaps and bounds, cruel murders and acts of wickedness are committed on a routine basis, all of man’s philosophies and claims have routinely failed him, Sophisticated political philosophies have caused monstrous debacles, some of which many have not recovered yet from, the Horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, the failures of Communism in China, the cruel persecution of Christians in many many countries, often under the radar, we claim Humanism, but it often limits its powers, and it is unable to sustain itself over all, we need to allow Christ to teach us how to Love and to show Kindness, We need God to teach us the meaning of life, it is not something that can be humanly defined when it was never a human who created life in the first place.
I know that in many ways I have to confront many other hurtful accusations, and in all honesty they are never going to run dry, The Accuser and Deceiver will keep feeding the minds of angry people with all kinds and sorts of arguments, and day by day the pile keeps growing up, but that does not mean that truth is lost, truth defined by human beings is relative at best, God defined truth is Absolute, it withstands the most brutal of attacks and stands strong for all the world to see, but it is up to the individual to decide, to choose, to research and find out, God always wants us, but we have to decide and put aside our own sentiments and anger and decide if we want God.