The Sunday Musings
When one does the Lord's ministry, and as you minister to countless number of people, there are times when you meet certain people who leave an indelible mark on your life and in your ministry. These are ordinary people, but what makes them extraordinary is the way they have responded to challenges in life, people who are overcoming daily some of the most painful crisis in life all because of the way they have viewed their faith in God. I have been fortunate enough to meet number of people who in their own and unique ways have taught me some valuable lesson in my life and ministry. While serving as the youth chaplain previously in Philadelphia, I was very fortunate to meet a 76 year old, young energetic lady named Rebecca Varghese. The opportunity to meet this wonderful lady came because her granddaughters Susie, Sasha and Sneha were active members of the youth fellowship while her parents Tom Varghese and Anita were also actively associated with the Marthoma Church there. The life experience of Rebecca Varghese is incredible. About seven years ago Mrs. Rebecca Varghese had both her feet amputated above the knee due to severe circulation problem that led to gangrene. From then on her life has been confined to a wheel chair and everyday is an ordeal because of the pain and other complications that she had to face not only due to her amputation of the leg but also other health issue. But what is remarkable about Mrs Rebecca Varghese is that you will never find her complaining, she always has a smile on her face, ready to spend time with anyone who come visiting her at the nursing home. She spends most of her time reading from the Word of God, praying with fellow believers, and listening to music and songs. What has motivated her is the incredible strength that she draws out of her faith in God. She does not wallow in self pity on the contrary she faces the crisis and the bodily weaknesses through the Grace that God is bestowing on her daily. She is an inspiration to countless number of people who complain about how God is unjust at times. What makes Mrs Rebecca Varghese stand out from the madding crowd is the faith affirmation that she makes in her life "It is when I am weak that I am made strong". Here is a lady who is ready to be used by God even when her life is full of crisis and challenges, ready to say yes to God, irrespective of the painful experiences that she has to go through her life.
This Sunday the church meditates on the good news that is being revealed to young village girl in Nazareth named Mary.[ Luke 1:26-38]. What is revolutionary about this passage is the paradox about finding God's favour in ones life and the experience that one goes through in ones life, when one finds God's favour in life. Here in this passage, the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she has found favour in the sight of the Lord and this favour is all about, Mary being chosen by God to be His handmaiden. Chosen so that she could be a part in God's redemptive act in history. But this favor is a prelude to the crisis that she has to face in life. God's favour and crisis it seems do not go hand in hand at least in today's popular Christian circle. In the present day context, God's favour is equated with blessing in life and that too blessings in countless way. It could be financial, job wise, family wise or strangely even the destruction of people who are counted enemies by the so called children of God. But Mary teaches us that God's favour means that if I am willing to be used by God then I should be ready to face crisis and challenges in life. The calling of God may lead to paths that are uncertain, terrains that are full of challenges, paving way to a life that is full of crisis. This does not mean that the Lord leaves us alone to deal with our crisis in life. Just as He promised to be with Mary, the presence of our Lord, His grace is there with us even as we battle daily the crisis an and challenges of life as we serve the Lord. It is this strength from the Lord that makes Mary to affirm "Behold I am the servant of the Lord, let your will be done in my life. What is needed in the world today are people who are ready to say yes to God and ready to lead a life of full of challenges and crisis. Life where the grace of God helps them to find strength even when they are totally weak. Thus people like Mrs Rebecca Varghese become a model and inspiration for us because they gloat not on the material blessing that they have received in life on the contrary pride themselves in being weak, pride themselves in the crisis that they go through daily in their life. If your life is full of crisis and challenges, Praise God, you have found favour in the sight of the Lord.
Rev. Dr. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla,
Director and Counsellor,
Diocesan Counselling Centre,
SCS Campus, Thiruvalla.
"Acknowledge the Lord in all our ways and He shall direct our path"