Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A widow's tale

We came into the small Bible study we run on Tuesday nights in the home of Shanti - one of our JSK staff.

There were two old ladies present.  Then the door opened and one of our long-term Positive Friends - who we will call Wendy came in with her son Shaan.

We read about Jesus and the two men in the temple.  And about the followers of Christ pushing away the parents who had brought babies to Jesus to be blessed.   Stories from so many years prior - that continue to teach us what God wants from us.  Humility. A child-like spirit.  A desire for Him alone and not all the trappings that we think make life what it is.

Jesus paints a stark picture.  On one hand a proud 'righteous man' who telegraphs his prayer around the temple.  On the other is a broken and corrupt man who stands beating his breast, crying out to God for mercy, acknowledging the terrible person he is.  Jesus tells us which of the two went home at peace with God (Luke 18.14).

After the study we talked with the ladies about what they needed prayer for.

Wendy said that it was hard with her three teen-aged children.  Tears came to her eyes as she told about how she was trying to be brave and trust God - but just does not know how she will afford the new school books the children need.  The school year has started, and she said that she will be trusting God as tears found their way down her cheeks.

Then Wendy switched gears.

She told about how she had gone to her village to sort out the matter of her husband's land.  His mother had told her that she would make sure that the land got transferred to her name and the names of her children.  When she got there, however, Wendy faced one problem after another.

Her late husband's brother assured her that the land would be put into her name - but said that she should wait till his mother died.  Wendy was able, however, to find out that this was not true - and was assured by her mother-in-law that she was ready to have the land transferred to her name.  And that too immediately.

But the problem was the legal process that this entails.  When they enquired, they were told that to get the land registrar to do this, it would take Rs. 15,000.  This was a sum far, far beyond Wendy's reach.  She prayed (as she had been praying already at every step of the way).

Then she remembered that a local politician had bought a bit of land from their family when he had installed a well in their village.  She contacted him and he remembered her.  In her presence, this man called up the person in charge of transferring the land deeds.  The man assured him that he would help.  The politician asked him how much it would cost.  The man was silent.  The politician pressed him.  Finally he said that he would do it all for Rs. 1000.  And that he would do it the next day.

Wendy and her children wen the next day, which was supposed to be their last day there.  They were supposed to get a Rs. 100 stamp paper for the document.  They looked all day.  No one was ready to give them.  Wendy feels it was her brother-in-law's doing.  But she also put a spiritual dimension to it - 'our enemy was trying to pull us down - I felt so bad, but just kept praying.'  Over and over again they went, trying to find someone who had such paper.  Wendy feels that people were purposely hiding their stock and lying - telling her that she did not have.  Finally she sent her young son Shaan to one place.  The man said that he was willing to give, but would charge more.  He gave it for Rs. 150.  By then it was already 6.30 PM and they were due to catch a 7 PM bus back towards Thane.

They had to stay another day.  The next day they went to the records office.  The person who was supposed to help them did not pick up the phone.  But they did finally meet him.  He told them to come back in 2 days.  Wendy works as a maid - and told the man that she had already spent 5 days in the village and had to get back to Thane - and that the children's school and college was starting too.  He then told her that she would have to wait for a couple hours - but that he would do it.  She gratefully agreed.

And so it was done.  On that day.  They got it all done.

And they missed the 7 PM bus again.

One of their distant relatives saw them at the bus stop standing forlorn.  He was actually a son of a mistress of her husband's father.  But he knew who they were.  And they knew who he was.

He came by 2 or 3 times and finally asked if he could help.  When they told him what happened he told them to get on his motorbike.  Wendy and her 3 teenagers clambered on.  And then the man drove like the wind.  A bike carrying 5 people careened over the roads - and They were delivered to a bus-stop where they got a bus going back to Thane.

Miracles after miracles.  All hidden, of course, to the world around us.

We serve a God who looks after the small people.  The forgotten.  Those on the margins.

No billboards announced what had gone on - but we got a glimpse of how God looks after His saints.

A father to the fatherless, 
a defender of widows, 
is God in his holy dwelling. 
- Psalm 68.5

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