Pleasant Again

She fled home with her family to escape a severe famine in the land. She became widowed as she lived among a strange people. She watched her sons die, leaving behind their widows, without a child to call their own. She was named Pleasantness – in her Hebrew tongue, the name was Naomi. After all that she had seen, who could have had the heart to contended with her when she cried, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara [Bitterness], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me”..?

Look at life through Naomi’s eyes for a minute. What do you see..? Do you see any sign of hope..? Till where the eye could see, even till the horizon.. I could see nothing that could possibly have given Naomi an incentive to take another step forward. There could have been times in that phase of her life when living seemed a pointless exercise. But even when life seemed vain, Naomi was in truth fulfilling an extraordinary purpose….

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬

Naomi though was oblivious to that extraordinary purpose. Could she have ever known that her widowed daughter-in-law – Ruth the Moabite – whom she was leading toward Judah, was a chosen vessel in the eyes of the Lord..? The woman whom God found worthy of honour above every woman in Judah in her time..? Through whom, over a millennium later, at the time appointed, the Messiah whom the people of Israel awaited, would be born..?

Or could Naomi have known that the restoration and the future that she so dearly did seek was never far from her..? When Naomi returned to Bethlehem from her tragic sojourn in Moab, she lamented, ‘I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty’. She must have considered Ruth’s presence in her life insignificant [though Naomi’s love for her could never be questioned] in light of all that she had lost. But we do know – through the Book of Ruth – how the script turned out, don’t we..? God didn’t bring Ruth to Bethlehem to remain a destitute. He exalted her in stature. And Ruth – who was once considered insignificant by Naomi – cared for her mother-in-law with such a love, that the Bible notes that she was ‘more to her than seven sons’.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7

Though all these events were soon to take place, from where Naomi stood, the future was masked by the veil of time. Yet.. in the face of utter devastation and amidst the hopelessness, what did Naomi do..? In the simplest of terms, she did two things: kept living and kept loving….

Kept living..? Is that even worth mentioning..? Perhaps not for some of us. But for some, that may be a be a real challenge that we wake up with each day. The adversities may pull us down from time to time, but the worst is the ever present burden of a vacuum in our hearts where there should have been hope. To those of you I would say, JUST KEEP LIVING. The Lord who turned the bitter waters in the life of Naomi, pleasant again, and brought her out of the pit of hopelessness, can do the same with you.

And Naomi did keep the love burning bright, even in the darkest of times. There lies a challenge that is before each of us who are walking the hard road. How often do we allow the bitterness of our situations seep into our being, that we allow it to tarnish our relationships with the people around us. But Naomi could still empathize. She remained full of love and compassion. In her widowed daughter-in-laws, she saw two women who could still have a future, living far from her than with her, and she pleaded with them to leave. Imagine this.. Naomi was willing to face life all alone as an aged woman, if only her daughter in-laws could have a better future….

Our lives can at times seem to be taking us on an endless downward spiral.. sinking from one level of bitterness to the next. The search for a reason to live could seem as futile as can be, but from the life of Naomi, we can see that there is a world beyond the horizon. Our hope can come from places that we yet cannot see….

Until then, we need to ask ourselves, even as life seems like an aimless walk in a maze.. what beautiful plans are we unknowingly living out..? Who/what are the Ruth’s that God our Father has placed in our lives that we are oblivious to..? I pray to Him, that through quiet whispers He will remind you at your time of need: ‘Keep living. Keep loving.’ Trust Him – the God who makes bitter waters, pleasant again….

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

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The Train He Missed

You might be familiar with a man named C.T. Studd.. one of the most inspiring missionaries to have preached the Gospel in the modern era. But do you know how this man found and accepted Christ as his saviour..? I recently had a chance to read his personal testimony.. and in it I found a story of a man, a missed train ride and lives transformed….

Walking down the streets of 19th century Dublin, a man was looking for ways to while his time on a Saturday evening. He should’ve been elsewhere, had he only been able to be on time for the train that was to take him there. The next train didn’t leave until Sunday, and wondering how he could keep himself entertained, he took a stroll around town.

Advertisement bills promoting Moody and Sankey who were on a visit from the US, caught his eye. “I will just go and hear those Americans,” he thought to himself.. just eager to hear something different, perhaps. He went. The person speaking on the stage may have been merely a man, but through his words, God welcomed this man into His fold. End of story..? Not quite….

The new Christian came to London on the invitation of his friend. The said friend.. Mr. Studd, after dinner let his guest choose the form of entertainment. The man suggested they go listen to Moody, but Studd complained that it wasn’t a Sunday.. still, he went. He too, embraced the Lord.

Like his friend, Studd could not keep the Good News to himself. He took his sons to hear Moody. But this time, God didn’t choose Moody to work His transformation. Being a man with means, Studd organized conventions at his estate where many would come to preach and to hear God’s Word. One man who happened to be at one such convention to share God’s message, initiated a conversation with Studd’s son Charles as he was heading out to play a game of cricket. And that conversation lead to Charles a.k.a. C.T. Studd, give his life to Jesus.

C.T. Studd would go on to share the Gospel with many around the world. And a little thing as a missed train – which at that moment, might have lead to much frustration – had a part to play in the Master’s plans.

Has a situation in your life made you feel like you’re standing on the platform watching the train you’d rather have been on.. run away..? Consider this, the moment that might make you upset.. frustrated.. or even angry today, could turn out to be a blessing.. not just for you, or those around you, but for hundreds and thousands more.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28


The Personal Testimony of C.T. Studd can be found here.

Without Him

When you see yourself as strong,
Remember how weak you were.
When you see yourself as kind,
Remember how reckless and rude you were.
When you see yourself as wise,
Remember the fool that you once were.
When you see yourself as bold,
Remember the coward that you were.
When you see you have a heart that loves,
Remember how cold it were.
When you see you have unbreakable faith,
Remember how brittle it once were.
When you see yourself as a righteous man,
Remember the sinner that you were.
At the end of it all,
When you see that you’ve done your duties in life,
Remember the nothing that you were,
When you stood by yourself,
And leaned not on Him.


Help me remember, Lord. Amen.

The Apple Farm Welcomes You

An excerpt from C.H. Spurgeon’s sermon ‘THE BACKSLIDERS DOOR OF HOPE’ from May 8th, 1898.


You must have noticed, dear friends, that whenever men turn aside from Christ, they go away from all the music of true religion. A little religion is a very’ miserable thing; if you have just enough religion to let you know that you are wrong, and not enough to make you right, you are spoiled for the joys of the world, yet you do not possess the joys of the world to come. I cannot help telling you again the old American story about the apples in the orchard. There is said to have been a gentleman, who asked a friend to come and have some of his apples, which he said were among the finest apples in the State; yet his friend did not come, though he was invited several times. The gentleman thought that there must be some reason for his refusal, so he asked him why he did not come; and he answered, “The fact is, while I have been driving by your orchard, I have picked up an apple or two that fell into the road, and I can’t say that I have at all pleasant memories of those apples, they were the sourest that I ever ate in my life, they set my teeth on edge even to think of them.” “Oh!” said the owner of the orchard, “now I understand. Why, I sent a great many miles to buy those particular apples that grow just by the side of the hedge, and fall into the road. I bought them for the special benefit of the boys who might be inclined to steal my fruit. Whenever they taste them, they say to themselves, It is no use to rob that orchard, the apples are horribly sour. “But,” he added, “if you will come inside, where those boys do not come, you shall then see what a good apple is like.” So is it with religion; all along the outside of the hedge:, where those people come who have just a little religion, the fruit; is as sour as it can be, — repentance that needs to be repented of, and that gripes the very spirit of the man who has it. There are plenty of those things on the outside; but you have no idea of the luscious sweetness of the fruits that grow in the center; and these shall be yours if you come back to the Master, and give yourself up wholly to him; and the result will be that you will again begin to sing.


You can read the transcript of the full sermon at Biblia.

A New Season

How long..? How long..?
Can I stay away..?
How long can I stay away,
From all I’m meant to be..?
The desire,
Is no passing thought,
But a longing
Deep within me.
Memories though,
Like pictures on the wall,
Remind me of all
The times I tried,
And failed.
“Pick up.
Pick yourself up.”,
He says.
“Just try.
Just try again.”

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