Persevere in faith and prayer; God has His own ways to intervene and change.
Our God is a God of everlasting love and omnipresent in all situations, every moment of our life. Through the thick and thin of our life He is always with us waiting for us to call on Him and rely on Him.
Often during the rosy days of our life, when we feel secure we tend to forget the Lord’s presence in our lives. Our Sunday Masses, Novenas, personal and family prayers may go on but Christ ceases to be the centre or focus any more. Everything may seem to be perfect externally but internally there is a void, a deep spiritual void building up.
We may or may not be aware of this void but “Christ” is certainly aware of it. At this juncture it may deem fit to Him, ‘Our Universal Master ‘ to intervene in our lives through an event or some kind of suffering so that we might get back to him and fix our gaze on Him.
We are too precious for Him to be lost in the whims and fancies of the world. He paid a price for us, yes, every drop of His blood. So we belong to Him. The suffering that comes on our way may seem to be very painful and bitter, yet it keeps us glued to Him. As He is the only one who can heal us and redeem us. Jesus is the answer to every problem, question or crisis. It is only through Him that we will be able to sail through this suffering victoriously.
I would like to share my personal experience which has renewed and changed the outlook of my life.
Prior to my wedding, I was a very prayerful girl. However after my wedding in Jan 1998, my focus had shifted. My Husband was every thing to me, even before I realized this fact I had already given Jesus a back seat in my life. I seldom felt His presence with me, though He was always with me.
Things began to take a turn with my pregnancy, delivery and motherhood. My husband’s transfer and other pregnancy related health problems created a lot of stress in my life. On 26 August 2000 I delivered a baby boy (three weeks premature). We named him JOY, which expands to be Jesus Owns You. From the time of his birth he gave me sleepless nights.
When he was three months old he developed small eruptions on his face, which we thought were mosquito bites. As the problem persisted we consulted a doctor and it was diagnosed as Infantile Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis (dry skin problem). In his case it was extreme and severe as explained by a well known doctor.
The sleepless nights were coupled with terrible itching, inflammation of the skin, infections, inconsolable wailing and untold suffering. We went from Pillar to Post trying Allopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda. Bought expensive creams from abroad and used steroids but all these provided no solution, it only gave temporary relief.
Years passed by with sleepless nights and the heavy burden of stress and helplessness. Jesus seemed to be far away and I began to question His love and mercy for me. We attended retreats and everyone assured that he would be healed but nobody knew when.
By the time he was 7 years old the problem had become so severe that he had to stop school. Day and night he was itching and screaming, most of his finger nails were infected and fell off due to itching and inflammation. None of the Medicines worked on him or gave any relief. Even a dose of two or more tranquilizers would not put him to sleep.
Doctors were of the opinion that the problem would persist for few more years, that is when we turned completely to JESUS our Divine Healer. We knew that when everything else fails prayer prevails. We took it as a challenge; we fasted and continuously prayed Rosary and Divine Mercy Rosary. Many people and different prayer groups prayed for him, as a result there was a respite in his finger nails and it healed but the itching persisted.
Consequently we happen to attend a retreat at Sehion (Attapady). On the first day of the Retreat, I threw all the tranquilizers into the bin surrendering him completely to the Lord. After a span of six months that was the first day that he slept continuously for 8 hours. This was the first miracle!
A Priest had anointed his whole body with holy oil but on the last day he developed very high temperature and his legs were swollen very badly, oozing out pus (God had his own unique ways). His situation seems to be worse than before, people who witnessed it were horrified with the suffering, they prayed with tears in their eyes. They urged us not to loose hope. As he was unable to walk, I had to carry him on my back.
We reached home (Hyderabad) with a heavy heart after tedious Train journey. We were firm in our faith and continued with our prayers. After the retreat the second miracle that followed was that he began to sleep during the nights but would strangely wake up every night at 3 am. That was the time of my Divine Mercy Rosary after which he would get back to sleep.
The following Thursday was Maundy Thursday. During the Holy Mass he was itching continuously, I was irritated, sad and also angry that I couldn’t peacefully participate in the Mass. After receiving Holy Communion, I angrily walked out of the Church thinking that I will never again attend Mass until HE heals my son. As the following day was Good Friday, we ritualistically went to Church. Although I forgot my own angry words, He did seem to remember it and consequently I was not able to attend Mass due to heavy down pour, a crowded Church and his continuous itching. ‘I missed the Holy Mass on Good Friday!’ I realized the folly of my words and begged for pardon from the Lord.
I even pleaded Him to give me a chance to attend the Easter Vigil. I was particular in attending the Easter Vigil because of my conviction of the power of the Risen Lord. As I had read in one of the books that when St. Augustine celebrated Easter Mass, visible miracles took place in front of the altar. The blind received sight, crippled walked and the dumb spoke, Hence I was also expecting a miracle.
The next day in spite of the rains, we were able to attend Easter Mass. Although during the Mass he was agitated and restless, I continued with my fervent prayers. It so happened that after the offertory the priest came down the altar with the chalice and paten in his hands, stretching out his hands towards the people he asked us to accept the peace of Christ. As peace has evaded me for past 7 years, I prayed with all my heart and said “Jesus I accept your peace”.
After a while my son came running to me from my husband and I noticed that his face was ‘glowing and radiant’. I realized a miracle had happened. His wrinkled face was refreshed and glowing. On reaching home everyone commented about the change on his face, which also included my non Christian neighbor. Who expressed “Hey! I had never seen JOY like this from the time I have known him”.
All of them testified the Miracle and thereafter we witnessed a change in his sleeping pattern. He peacefully slept everyday until we woke him, this never happened for last 7 Years. “Praise the Lord!”
Events did not stop with that, a few weeks later we once again witnessed the loving protection and mercy of Jesus through another miracle. While he was playing he happened to fall into 12 feet manhole (drainage pit) under repair, which had lots of big boulders and with water flowing beneath. He was rushed to the Hospital with profuse bleeding from his forehead. The incident which could have been fatal was reduced to a minute rupture of blood vessel on the forehead. Forget fractures he never even had a scar on his body. This event was witnessed by many and was testified as “Gods Incredible Protection “.
Psalm 91, which I recite every morning says in verses 11,12 ‘ For He will command His angles concerning you to guard you in all your ways , on there hands they will bear you up so that you will not dash your foot against a stone’. Indeed it was true in our lives that day. I realized that every prayer we say, every word of God and every tear we shed would never go in vain.
The events did not stop there, three weeks later we again found boils on his body; he was afflicted with chicken pox. Within 5 days it had become so severe that his whole body was covered with thousands of boils, without even a minute part of his skin being visible over his body including head. He looked frightening and scary; people who visited us scooted away in fear and horror on seeing him.
The pain and agony he experienced was so severe that he would scream and yell “I want to die; I cannot bear it any more”. During this period God had given us tremendous strength. With continuous prayers day and night and strong medication after about a month his boils began to dry up and heal. On giving him bathe, we realized that his skin which was dry and flaky had become smooth and soft. This was a cleansing process. Indeed God has his own unique way in reaching out to people and healing them of their infirmities and sickness.
The words in Psalms 103: 3, 4 which says, “who forgives all your iniquity; who heals all you diseases; who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy” , had literally come true in our lives. We continue to receive God’s love, mercy and protection in our lives thus giving us the strength to endure various trials and tribulations that come on our way.
I pray that God may grant all of us the grace to live our lives according to His will until we see Him face to face in His kingdom. To our Lord and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
– – – written by Preethi P. Sebastian, Hyderabad