A nation changing testimony

Last week, I was aware that a cyclone was about to hit India. I didn’t know much, but it was going to be a big one, the size of which hadn’t been seen since 1999 when tens of thousands of people were killed.

On Sunday, in the morning service at church, God prompted me to pray for them. I was in worship at this point, and just started going there, spiritual-pedal-to-the-metal. I prayed for people’s protection, that they would be kept safe in Jesus.

Later that day, I’m eating lunch in a pub. I see on the news a story that 78 people have died during a stampede at a temple where people were praying about the oncoming storm. They had been rushing across a bridge and afraid it was going to fall.

I have a real heart connection with India as a nation, so this hurt. I once again asked God to protect this nation and then, because I’m not perfect, I just continued with my meal.

The next day I see an article numbering the people killed by cyclone Phailin at nineteen. 1. 9. Not 5 figures, but something I can count on my own fingers and toes. WOW!!!! The government had ordered the people to evacuate ahead of the storm and the number of lives saved is phenomenal!

Whether you believe that was caused by my prayer is actually irrelevant. The fact of the matter is it happened and who am I going to give the glory to for that? The weathermen who foresaw it and the ministers which acted so promptly to save the people they represented both did amazing work, sure, but God is the one I praise here. As I try to do in all things, I want to acknowledge His glory in what has happened.

The how and the reason are almost irrelevant. (I personally do think my prayer had an impact, hence the title.) If God did just sat back and left people by themselves to figure out how they could predict the weather, how to communicate at rapid speed across a nation and move them all quickly to points of safety, then that these created beings are capable of so much is still miraculous!

I am consistently astounded at how much we are capable of and what great things then human race can do.  We are made in the Father’s image and have been given very great power.

John 14:12
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.

One God

One of the things I’ve come across while out here is dealing with other faiths. Of course they exist in the UK too, but our beliefs tend to be worn under the surface with only a few choosing to make visible statements about it. I also have a tendency to stick inside the Christian bubble, which while very comfortable, is not really what we’re called to do.

In Bangalore 80% of the population are Hindu and the signs are everywhere. The temples are present on almost every corner; their bright colours and elaborate details beckoning the eye. In my office there are even small shrines next to the printer, something completely unthinkable in Britain. Today is also a public holiday dedicated to Ganesha, one of the gods in the pantheon.

It is particularly the pantheon aspect that has got me thinking. One of the things I’ve heard from Christian’s talking about India is that when people come to know Jesus from a Hindu background, they sometimes just add Him to their existing set of gods rather than clearing the slate.

I’ve been reading the book of Daniel recently and I can see how this affected Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 4. Although he sees God’s power firsthand, he still relies on his old gods and astrologers before consulting Daniel. In contrast Daniel only ever went to one person with his questions, however big or small.

We’re not immune in the West though. Each one of us has a past and something that we loved before we met Jesus. It’s all the more dangerous for not being a six armed elephant headed deity with a name, but something hidden. Something we may not even know ourselves.

1 Corinthians 11:30-32 (HCSB translation)
This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world.

John 8:31-32 (NASB translation)
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;  and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”