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