24 Nov A Journey Through Eye of the Storm
It was a hot summer afternoon. Lab class for the day was over. Chittibabu started packing up his bag wiping off sweat from his brows. Slowly he walked out of the university department. As the day faded, his energy was ebbing out. His steps were not steady, hands shivering, lips quivering muttering unspoken words. He strolled down the same winding road to his hostel everyday gleefully cheering with his friends. His friends fondly call him CB. Today it appeared different. No one was around. His feet were in no position to take him forward. Slowly holding on to the stone bench, he leaned on a dwarf tree trunk. Words of the Professor were still ringing in his mind. “Why did he behave the same way every time with me?” CB wondered. His harsh words, unfavourable gesture and erratic attitude puzzled CB. Last one year CB was the student of the same department. Prof. had sternly warned if at all CB would pass the final exams. There was no end to harassment in the hands of the same teacher. He did not spare CB in the class. Often he was offended for no reason. He never called him by name but as “C fellow”. Sometimes it was very difficult to tolerate. “Why was I unequally treated?” questioned CB to himself.
By now, day light had become dim. Darkness was setting in. Winds were blowing harsh all around. Clouds were gathering in the sky. Storm was about to sweep. CB looked through the dark. None was in sight. Raging storm in him refused to be quiet. He closed his eyes for a moment. He remembered vividly the incident which had occurred a few months back. He had the chance of visiting students’ fellowship in a college campus where a believer student was shot at. There was cover up of the incident and it was described as mistaken identity. Students were undergoing a traumatic time. A student in the fellowship shared “Yes and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” That Saturday evening fellowship, every student was sharing a verse from the Bible. When CB’s turn came, he recollected, the verse he read out to the gathering students, “For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for Him”.
All that CB knew about persecution was martyrdom of Stephen and apostles in the First century. Missionaries, evangelists and pastors had physically suffered in the hands of their tormentors. Prophets of Old Testament were afflicted due to words of the Lord. Joseph underwent ordeals at the hands of his brothers due to envy for fulfilling God’s purpose and of Photipher’s wife due to his righteous living. Daniel was thrown into lions’ den as he refused to bow down to the statue of the King. His three companions Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego underwent fiery trials as they refused to bow to the golden image. Paul had undergone several persecutions for the Lord and the gospel during his missionary journey and his trials before the Roman kings. The writer of Hebrews describes kinds of persecutions of heroes of faith- tortures, trial of mocking, scourging, chains, imprisonment. “They were stoned; they were sawn in two, were tempted, and were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented- of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in dens and caves of the earth.” But he was being mistreated, harassed and hated because of his faith. He was known as a Jesus-freak, a renegade and an apostate among his hostel mates.
By God’s grace alone he reached this stage. Hailing from a modest family in the small town, he made his way up to this university. It was not easy. Journey to this milestone was not without struggles. In the beginning of his journey he thought life would be full of roses all the way. But as he traversed along, life threw open new challenges every day. His own dear ones opposed tooth and nail against his new found faith in the Living Saviour. He was threatened to be abdicated as a son and inheritor of the family. He brought blemish to the family and was called a black sheep. His future looked bleak. He felt the ground has been removed from under his feet. He could not imagine how life would be without care and love of parents, siblings and relatives. Finally, ultimatum was sounded to him. No financial support for studies unless he denounces his new belief. Even a few radicals did not spare the youth from torturing him physically. It was thought that the renegade would retreat when the heat was turned on him. He would come to sense when support was withdrawn. Waves were at their peaks advancing to the shores of his life to sweep him away. Lightning was swinging in all directions. Roaring thunder broke silence tearing apart his comforts he enjoyed so far and shaking his foundation of faith. Journey was about to abruptly lose its direction. He had no strength left in him. He was betwixt affliction, opposition and rejection on one side and uncertainty, wavering faith and fragile mind the other side. He lived on borrowed time. Ultimatum would expire soon. He could not rest on the crossed road for long. He had to move on. He knelt down and poured his heart to the Lord when all were asleep. As he was meditating in prayers, a deep revelation flashed on. He could see an extraordinarily huge source out of which water was gushing forth in different channels. Words sounded, ‘channels may dry up, but the source will not.’ Being strengthened of God’s assurance of providence, he courageously declared to follow the Living Lord whom he knew personally and refused to deny Him. His open confession cost him dearly. His financial support stopped. Hardship multiplied in the hostel. Meeting daily needs became difficult. But the faithful God supplied all the needs throughout his student life in miraculous ways. As the affliction increased, God’s grace abounded. The more were the denials and deprivations, the more were the unexpected provisions. God’s resources never dried up. Persecution could not hinder him to progress. He flew like an eagle to rise and fly above every tempest. God did not suffer him to be tempted more than he was able.
Years passed by. The boy who was threatened not to scale beyond walls of high school completed university education. After that he suffered a while, God made him stable, strengthened and settled. He propelled into the next phase of his life. His eyes beamed with hope and promise for the future as he landed in the job. The first assignment is a new upcoming project. He put all his efforts, endeavours and energy to accomplish his role for timely completion of the project. He soon became an important person associated with the project. Beyond call of his duties he rises to every occasion. Every time he faces compromising situations, he stands firm. He rejoices in hope, endures in suffering and persists in prayer. God has not let him down. Sometimes humiliation and insults are hurled at him. But CB continues to remain unfazed as he knows he will be hated because of His name. He is ready to suffer any consequences. CB is not ashamed to suffer as a child of God.
ChittiBabu is one among millions of Christians worldwide who suffer because of their faith. He walks victoriously through trouble and suffering believing that his Lord has conquered the world. He blesses those who hate him.
And the journey continues……..
References: 2 Tim 3:12, Phil. 1:29, 2 Cor.
4:17, Matt. 5:11, Matt.10:22, Heb. 11:37-38
John 16:33, I peter 5:10, 4:16, I Cor.10:13
Dr. Nanda Dulal
The author presently resides in Bangalore with his wife Geetanjali and daughter Bonita. He and his wife are involved with UESI ministry from their student days.