Here are the Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
3. Nominate three bloggers each day.
My nominations for today are:
For I am the LORD who heals you – Exodus 15:26
I read this story and was so touched by this young woman’s love and compassion for others who were experiencing what she once experienced. When a leprosy patient cried out, “Don’t open my bandage!”, Sakshi revealed her own hands and feet which clearly showed traces of the disease. She assured the patient the disease was not as result of some sin. Many people who have leprosy believe that some sin in their lives is the cause. Sakshi once believed this too.
Sakshi was a teenager when she found out that she had the disease. As the eldest her younger siblings used to look up to her until she got leprosy. They abruptly withdrew from her and wanted nothing more to do with her. Friendless and rejected, Sakshi became depressed and hopelessness drove her to attempted suicide. Thankfully, her father saved her and encouraged her. He told her that she was a precious child and urged her to strengthen her heart through the pain and hardship.
“So my papa was becoming so much a comforter to me and he comforted me and even my brother and sister, they used to hate me, and they don’t want to talk with me, they were not in home at that time when I was doing all these things,” Sakshi shared. “So my father, he saw me and he pulled me from there, and he made me understand everything, and after that I became ok.”
After speaking to her father, she gave up trying to end her life but was still experiencing loneliness and it didn’t help that people were blaming her for contracting the disease. This is similar to what Job himself experienced when he lost his livestock, possessions, servants and children and was covered in painful boils. He was blamed for what happened to him. His friends offered him no comfort and told him that he must have committed some evil for all these things to have happened to him. He was all alone but he clung to his faith in God and God healed him and restored his losses.
Unlike Job, Sakshi had some support but it didn’t stop her from worrying or believing that she had done something to contract the disease. As time went by, her condition grew worse. One of her fingers bent in an awkward position and when she experienced terrible pain in one of her legs, the doctors encouraged her to amputate it but she was afraid to do so. And it was around this time that she met a few Gospel for Asia supported missionaries who encouraged her and prayed for her. They told her about the about the love of the Healer and Sakshi began to pray in faith and ask Jesus to heal her own body. And her prayer was answered. Jesus healed her!
After she experienced complete healing, Sakshi decided that she would dedicate her life to serving the Lord and helping others. She attended Bible college and served in leprosy ministry after graduation. She made it her mission to reach out to the shunned and the rejected. “Nobody is there to comfort [the leprosy patients] and to give any kind of encouragement. Nobody wants to love them, hug them or to come near to them to dress them.”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God – 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4
“By seeing them, I am thinking that I will fill the gap,” Sakshi said. “I will give that love, which they are not getting from their grandchildren and daughters… I will become their daughter, I will become their grandchildren, and I will help them and encourage them and I will love them.” With the love of Christ flowing through her, Sakshi touched the untouchable and despised by doing simple things such as helping them with housework, giving them hugs, washing clothes and combing hair. She showed them the love of God and how precious they were in His sight. He has not forgotten them. God used her testimony to give them hope. He does not cast people aside because they have leprosy. When Sakshi cried out to Him in faith, He heard her and answered. He intervened when she wanted to end her life and through her father, He spoke “words of life into her weary soul”.
January 29 is World Leprosy Day. You can make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering from this disfiguring disease by helping the Leprosy Ministry to share the love of Christ and the Gospel. We hope to see more people like Sakshi dedicating their lives to serving Jesus and bringing others to Him. Be a part of the ministry which reaches out to people who will hear, perhaps for the first time, about a kind and compassionate Savior who is not afraid to touch and hold them. He loved the unloved.
Show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother – Zechariah 7:9
Source: Gospel for Asia
He left the glory of heaven to come into our world. He was willing to rearrange His life so that He could come here and live and walk among us. He traded in His majesty for our humanity. He left His home to come to a place where He had nowhere to lay His head. He left the adoration of the angelic host to come to a world that did not know Him and to His own who did not receive Him.
He left everything to come into a world that was plunged in darkness, filled with sorrow, sickness, hurt, violence and pain. Why? Why did He come? Would you come to a place where you would be rejected, unappreciated, opposed and despised? He did. Would you reach out to people who are always trying to trap you and challenge everything you say or do? He did. Would you wash the feet of the man who would betray you and share bread with him? He did. Would you forgive the man who denied three times that he knew you? He did. What about those who spat on you, mocked you and wanted you dead, would you forgive them? He did.
Why would Jesus subject Himself to such improprieties? It’s simple. Love. He did it all for love. Love for the Father and love for us.
Love filled His heart as He walked the streets, touching, healing and ministering to people. Love filled His heart as He drove the demons out so that the person was in his right mind again. Love filled His heart as He gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk and the dumb speak. It was love that filled His heart when He touched the leper instead of just speaking the healing. His word was just as powerful as His touch but He chose to touch the untouchable.
It was love which prompted Him to forgive the paralyzed man because He saw the man’s true need. Everyone saw his physical need but Jesus saw his spiritual need and He responded to it. It was love that made Him encourage the widow of Nain not to weep before He touched her son’s dead body, giving him life again.
It was love that broke down barriers when He offered salvation to the Samaritan woman at the well and healed the daughter of the Greek woman. Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans (John 4:9). There was animosity between the two groups. And women were not highly regarded. In fact, when a Jewish man started off his day with prayer, he thanked God that he was neither a Gentile, a slave, or a woman. Gentiles were seen as in a very unfavorable light. They were seen as unclean or common (Acts 10:28). It was unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with them or go to their homes. So, these two women had two strikes against them–their nationalities and their gender. Yet, to Jesus these things didn’t matter. He loved them and wanted to offer them what the world couldn’t.
It was love that made Him call the woman with the bleeding problem, “Daughter” and offer her words of encouragement. He wanted to assure her that her faith had made her well. And it was love that made Him look up at the despised tax collector up in the tree and invite Himself to his home for food and fellowship. It was in love that He reached out the unreachable, the unloved, the discarded, the neglected and the undesirables. His love knew no boundaries, no barriers. It was freely given but not always received or returned.
It was love for you and me that made Him endure the insults, the whipping and finally the Cross. He bore the indignity of being nailed to a tree between two thieves, treated like a criminal although He had done nothing wrong. Yet, He did all of this so that believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life and that the world through Him might be saved.
Love came down to save a perishing world.
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself – John 12:32
Naomi was a Christian. She grew up praying to Jesus as a Friend and reading the Bible so that she could get to know Him better. So great was her love for God that it was natural to believe that when she had children, she would pass on her faith to them. However, things didn’t turn out quite as she expected.
Naomi’s parents arranged her marriage and although the wedding was held in the church and followed all the Christian traditions, her husband was of a different religion. Can you imagine being in Naomi’s shoes? You were raised to love the Lord. You look forward to going to church and worshipping Him in His sanctuary with others who share your faith. Then, one day, you are forced to stop going to church because your husband won’t allow you. And to make matters worse…your husband is an alcoholic.
Shortly after the wedding, Tarak’s alcoholism reared its ugly head. He had a steady job as a truck cleaner but spent the money he earned on drinks or cigarettes. As a result it was a struggle just to have the bare necessities. The struggle only increased when they had Oppilmani and Sadhya, born two years apart. Now Naomi had two growing children to feed not to mention providing them with clothing and education. Overwhelmed, she was compelled to reflect on her life before she got married. With a penitent heart she began to pray.
She didn’t tell Tarak that she repented of her neglect of God or that she was praying for the family’s restoration. She didn’t tell him that she was praying for him–that he would stop drinking. Can you imagine how hard it must have been for Naomi to keep these things to herself? How she must have longed to tell her family about Jesus and how only He could help them. Then, hope came in the form of Gospel for Asia Pastor Zaafir when he came to their village. God heard her prayers and He sent help.
Naomi began to speak to Pastor Zaafir frequently and began attending church again. As she grew in the Lord, Pastor Zaafir helped her to enroll Oppilmani and Sadhya in the local Bridge of Hope center. This proved to be a blessing for the children. They excelled in their studies and learned about Jesus. How it must have brought joy to their mother who had dreamed of telling them about the Friend she had since she was a child.
The joy was short-lived, however. Tarak’s animosity returned and he began to verbally abuse his wife when she attended church and insisted that the family follow his religion. In the wake of this new wave of opposition Naomi attended church less but refused to stop going altogether. All the while she continued praying for her family even as they were about to face a crisis…
…pray without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Tarak’s years of drinking and smoking finally began to take a toll on his health. What began as asthma quickly turned into something very serious and unmanageable. How terrifying it must have been for his family when he began vomiting blood. He couldn’t eat anything. However, the waves of nausea and the vomiting didn’t stop Tarak from continuing to drink alcohol. Within a few days, he was taken to the hospital where doctors determined that he had a serious lung infection. If he didn’t have an operation he would die. What was the family to do? For years Tarak had spent his income on alcohol. There wasn’t enough money for the operation.
Naomi and the children, went home, bracing themselves for a future without her husband. The children continued to attend the Bridge of Hope center but it didn’t take long for the staff to notice that something was wrong. When they inquired, Oppilmani told them about his father’s condition and that the family couldn’t pay for the surgery. The staff offered words of encouragement and hope. They assured the boy that Jesus could solve his problems and then they decided to visit the family.
The coordinator of the centre went with two social workers and GFA’s pastor Bahurai to the family’s home where they saw an alarmingly thin Tarak who looked much older than his age of 35 years. The group shared God’s Word and encouraged the family to ask for His mercy. The Lord spoke to Tarak’s heart and the father confessed his wrongdoings to God. From that moment on, there was a transformation. Naomi no longer faced opposition from her husband and she was free to regularly attend prayer meetings. She, the pastor and other believers prayed for Tarak’s healing. He began to recover slowly and he opened his heart to the God who was healing him.
Tarak no longer insisted that his family worship his god or protest his wife’s church going. Instead he brought the children to church. It took a life-threatening illness for Tarak to know the true God.
God had answered the prayers of a mother who had known Him all of her life. She had turned back to Him after she was forced to neglect Him–knowing that He was her only Source of comfort, hope and deliverance. God heard the prayers of a wife who wanted her husband to stop drinking. He heard the prayers of a mother who wanted her children to worship the true God and go to school. He heard the prayers of a woman who wanted to free her family from their struggles.
The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective – James 5:16
What a wonderful end to this story. A man once opposed to wife’s God had embraced Him. Oppilmani and Sadhya who once worshipped a traditional god was now worshipping the Creator. They will continue their family’s legacy by raising the next generation to serve the God who had brought them hope amidst adversity. As for Naomi, she watched the Lord do amazing things for her family. “Jesus turned our trouble into happiness,” she said, “and we are ever thankful to Jesus.”
You can help to do amazing things for other families like Naomi’s by sponsoring Bridge of Hope children. Your sponsorship will open the door for children to share Christ’s love with their families. If you are interested in learning more about Bridge of Hope visit this link.
I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities – Psalm 31:7
Source: Gospel for Asia