The choice

“..yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour”
( Habakkuk 3:18)

Prerounds. The early morning rush to get everything straight before the consultants came was on. I took my exam sheet and walked into room number 5, to a very peaceful looking mother. As we got talking about what her 1 year old had come with, my heart sank lower and lower, and my mind a tangled mess of questions and emotions- the unfairness of it all, the injustice to this family, the pain. What could you possibly say to this family?
Her baby had an advanced stage malignancy, with a superadded infection. For a whole 5 minutes, my mind couldn’t get past that information. As I walked out after completing my examination, I simply couldn’t help but go over the mother’s words, when I asked her how she was coping. Her only reply was, I’ll make the most of the time I have with her. Tell me what’s the plan for today, doctor.
There was no blaming anyone, no self-pity, no wondering what the future held- she had chosen to take one day at a time.
She chose her attitude towards a circumstance she could do nothing about.

Habbakuk chose his attitude.

There are days when I feel dizzy with the endless possibilities that could have been, as to what they are now. Don’t get me wrong , right now is great but my hyperactive brain goes into these overthinking modes, where when I look through those those glasses, right now could be better. You get what I mean?
Many times, when we look at our circumstances and happenstances, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of self pity, entitlement or sheer rebellion.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve caught myself with this pattern of thoughts especially on days when I feel overpowered by the happenings around me and just want to sit around and sulk. Those are the days when we feel like we have been wronged by the whole world- our families, our friends, our upbringing, everything and everybody associated with us. I for one have many a time thought, did I miss the train that led me to where God actually wanted me to be?
Circumstances might be trying, or less than ideal- Maybe you feel you have been manipulated into a situation, maybe you feel you deserve better, maybe this wasn’t exactly how you imagined your life would turn out, maybe you think you need more time, and yet you don’t have it, maybe you can’t just get over what a great past you had, and how what you have around you is not anywhere close- I don’t know…can you think of any more?

Sometimes the injustice around you, makes your blood boil. Sometimes, you wonder whether God actually sees.
A quote I came across recently read like this,
“Accustom yourself to unreasonableness and injustice. Abide in peace in the presence of God Who sees all these evils more clearly than you do, and Who permits them. Be content with doing with calmness the little which depends upon yourself, and let all else be to you as if it were naught.”
Read it again. And read it slowly.

Around the time we got married, someone jokingly advised me, ‘ There may be days in your life when you wonder whether you’re with the right person. I strongly advise you on those days to but glance at the other name on your marriage certificate. That’s exactly whom God meant you to be with- for better or for worse.’
In a very similar manner, most days, we just have to rest and trust that God has us exactly where He would want us to be at. He is all powerful after all.
My prayer over the last few months was that God would help me clean out my messy thought life, and give me a heart of discernment. And God has been teaching me the power of choosing my attitude towards whatever circumstance I’m in.
Choosing joy over misery, choosing to trust God even when it doesn’t make sense, choosing to obey even if it’s hard, choosing to be kind to the other colleague when it feels like they don’t get you. Choosing an attitude of faith.

As I spent time in God’s presence, I lay to rest the need to know when the storm would end. It sufficed to know more intimately, my God who controlled the storm.

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me;
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.
Sometimes He weaveth sorrow
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the under side.

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me;
I see the seams, the tangles,
But He sees perfectly.
He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim;
He gives His very best to those
Who chose to walk with Him. (Grant C. Tullar)

May God enable you dear reader, as we navigate another year ahead of us, to choose your attitude towards your circumstances, knowing that the Lord we trust in, has it all in His hands.
He’s weaving the story- yours and mine- and He’s not done yet.

He is near…

As he walked out of the hospital into the sun with his frail nine year old son, he shook his head in disbelief. What a roller coaster of a month that was! Who would’ve thought when they boarded the flight to India for a vacation, that their lives were going to be changed forever! One evening they found their son looking extremely tired, and unable to make relevant conversation. The next thing they knew, he was critical, hospitalized, had an organ replacement surgery, and was battling life and death for the next 20 odd days. Tears, prayers, sleepless days, nights, and thirty days later, he was discharged, with just a couple more tubes left to be removed, and a long list of medications to be given at home.
One month ago, he was competing children older than him at debates and elocutions, a couple months later he was being given speech therapy and muscle strengthening exercises. Everything had changed, and they’d just about survived this storm as a family. The billion questions raging in his mind yet unanswered.
The fact that one could never be prepared enough for what life has to offer cannot be overstated.

Storms don’t really announce their coming in advance. We usually get to know when they’ve come.
Boarding the flight to do a residency program in the ‘City of Dreams’, I was excited and nervous at the same time, about how it’s all going to be- a new house to set up, a whole new atmosphere, and a big step out of the comfort zone for me. It’s only a couple of years, I told myself. And having done the drill once already, the second time around wouldn’t be so bad , I thought.
Looking back many months later, I know for a fact that nothing could have prepared me enough for what unfolded over the next few months. The ‘ruthless corporate’, is something one has heard over and over again in the past, but not a term I really believed, till I experienced it for myself.
To say the least, I found myself in the middle of a storm, unable to find footing, and unable to focus on my calling. I was left gasping for air, reaching out to familiar souls for help, advice, prayer and anything anyone could do to help me out.
What do you do when everything you are, and everything you do is challenged? Not on a single day, but almost everyday? Somewhere in the midst of this chaos in my head, I couldn’t hear my own voice anymore, couldn’t understand why anymore and I couldn’t hear the song in my soul anymore. I was exhausted.
On one of those days, when I had reached the end of myself, the disappointment and rage within me was asking, Do I even know who I am?
My husband gently looked into my eyes to echo what God was trying to get across to me all along- Remember whose you are! You are a child of God!
I looked at him, knowing fully well that that was all the truth that mattered. The only identity I wanted to go by was that I was a redeemed child of God. The storm inside of me raged to a screeching halt.
As I took a break to retreat to the scriptures, to hear from my Maker, I could only sit still as His love flooded my soul. The tears flowed. God had seemed very far away all these months, and yet He was not.
There was a beauty in that moment that one can never put into words. I was assured again of the fact that God never made a mistake with where He placed me, or what I have to face on a day to day basis. He knows exactly what He hopes to achieve through this season of my life. Placing my fears and doubts and billion questions down at His feet, I was reminded of this verse:
…and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’(Acts 17:26-27)

On a short visit to CMC Ludhiana, one of the things that caught my eye, was a board in the hospital , that echoed the founder’s refrain , ‘My work is for a King’. I was reminded of that phrase again, as I went back again to the workplace. I walked into the same set of circumstances holding on to my identity as a child of the Most High King, whom alone I wanted to please. The focus had changed.
As the dark clouds passed, and the sun rose, I can only look back and marvel in disbelief at the story God was weaving as it rained and poured. Most of my life I’ve believed that His presence moves ahead of me, but these are days when I realise, as David sang in his psalm, His goodness and mercy will also follow me…all of the days of my life.
As I write this, a familiar tune rises in my mind:

Be still and know
That the Lord is in control
Be still my soul
Stand and watch as giants fall

I won’t be afraid
You are here
You silence all my fear
I won’t be afraid
You don’t let go
Be still my heart and know
I won’t be afraid

Dear reader, are your circumstances a rude shock? Or do you find yourself in the middle of a storm wondering where your God is? Burnt out?
Take heart, for He is right there in the furnace , walking with you. Hold on to His hand, and remember whose you are. His goodness and mercy will follow you.

Be still and trust
What the Lord has said is done
Find rest don’t strive
Watch as faith and grace align

Surely love and mercy
Your peace and kindness
Will follow me
Will follow me ( Ben Fielding & Reuben Morgan)

The world can challenge everything else about you, and it really doesn’t matter, as long as you are assured of your identity in Christ. And yes, He is in control.
As the verse above reminds us, ‘In Him we live and move and have our being.’
Friend, He is not far from any of us –Elohei mikkarov.

Plan B

“Now there was a stream”, she said. ” It was happily trickling down from its source, making its way across the plains and growing stronger in force and depth as it travelled. The stream’s ultimate purpose was to join in with the river that would lead her to the ocean…the majestic ocean. She had no doubts about it. But there was an unexpected problem!” Her voice quivered with excitement as she went on to the next part of the story. My husband and I watched her face closely for the rest of it like two small children listening to their grandmother’s tales, except we knew she was going to say something that would give us a little more wisdom and insight into the season of life we were in right now. “There was a desert she had to cross,” our seventy- odd year old neighbour continued. “It wasn’t any ordinary desert. It was one of the hottest ones in the region. There was no way the stream would survive till the other end, as she was just a small stream with just enough water to keep her going. As she approached the desert, she asked her Maker , ‘ Must I cross this? Is there an easier route around? ‘ Yes , you must cross this. This is the only way through to the ocean’, came the answer. ‘ Then how will I do this? It is impossibly scorching heat. I won’t make it to the other side!’ ‘Why do you worry? I will make a way’, He says. ‘But how?’, the stream asked, looking around and seeing no obvious relief to her problem. ‘I’m going to carry you through in a way you haven’t even imagined!’ The stream waited as a strong wind enveloped her, drew her into the heat as vapour and carried her as a cloud through the desert, to come to rest above the ocean. The wind blew again, as she poured herself out over the ocean, joining with it as she knew her purpose was, in a form she never could have planned or imagined…as rain…one drop at a time. In that moment she understood a mighty truth…. the scorching heat was necessary to get her here…” Aunty A stopped to catch her breath, her eyes gleaming at us with wisdom gained over the years and with the warmth of someone who had tasted and known that the Lord is good. As she got up slowly from her chair to get us some tea, we looked at each other. I swallowed a lump in my throat. God always has a way of talking to us. Always.

Have you ever been through a phase where you’ve wondered- hey, am I living out a plan B right now? Did I mess up plan A?
I’ve been through a phase like that where despite knowing with all my heart that God wouldn’t lead me to something that’s not His will for me, when things worked out differently from what I had actually planned or hoped for in my head, I have caught myself wondering one too many times- ‘Lord, must I really cross this to get there? Isn’t this too difficult? I could have been a happily trickling stream on the plains , you know. Or wait, did I miss out on plan A in the first place? ‘
It isn’t until months later that we had a sit down with this particular neighbour who told us this story. But I believe she was prompted by the One above to tell us this. Because it was so true about both of our lives- in a very short time, we found ourselves as a couple, completely out of our comfort zones, in a place we had never imagined to be in, facing testing times, but being assured all along the way of the Everlasting Arms that have been upholding us.
And after a particularly difficult week at work, when I was wondering whether we would really make it to the other side, we decided to spend an evening with this aunty downstairs, and now you know how that turned out!

‘ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I have been reminded of these words again and again in my heart over the last few months.
Think about it, when the God who created the heavens and the earth and everything else in all of creation, when He who calls the stars by name and knows the number of hairs on my head, says that He knows the plans He has for me…why would I even imagine that there was a plan B in the first place!
And thus I have resolved in my heart- That my only plan is to BE in Him as He leads me along- as water, as vapour or as a cloud. What He plans would be the best there could be to it!

Friend, have you been in a season of second guessing? You’re looking at the desert ahead and thinking it’s going to dry you up? Wondering whether you missed a train?
I don’t know about you, but, to me, it’s exhausting to even begin to imagine that I could make a perfectly balanced decision each time I’m faced with making a choice. I’m glad I have a Father in whom I can place my life and follow His leading all the way.
May I invite you to do the same today? Place your hand in His. And let’s just plan to BE in Him. Our lives will unfold in ways we could’ve never imagined or even hoped for.

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You’re working for our good
You’re working for our good and for Your glory
Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us (Sovereign over us, Michael W Smith)

O Mira Gratia!

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have set in place;
What is man that You think of him,
And a son of man that You are concerned about him? (Psalm 8:3-4,NASB)

“Not writing a blog for New Year’s huh?” the sister (to whom I also owe the above pic) asked the other day. I said nope, don’t know yet. Truth being, like all of us, I looked back at last year, and was simply overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of it. I looked to what lay ahead, and was even more overwhelmed by the uncertainty of it all. And honestly, I couldn’t find words to put down all that was going on in my mind. Nevertheless one word that could probably describe the one year gone by would be – GRACE. Amazing, undeserved, unending grace.

Have you ever been in that place in your mind where you really can’t see the way things are going and you are just forced to surrender it to God because your brain is exhausted trying to figure it out? That was me December of 2020… and now when I look back- I cannot even begin to fathom the mountains God moved for me and the seas He held back from drowning me. Then again, just like the rebellious forefathers, that’s also me in December 2021!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I made a home next to some rose garden last year. There were doubts, anxieties, troubles, questions, sickness and prolonged waiting. And yet there was joy in the midst of suffering, tenderness in brokenness, favour upon favour, and each unexpected twist and turn to my story proving to be another opportunity to grow deeper in love with the One I gave my life to- Jesus Christ. More often than not, every single day of the past one year has been a reminder of the miracle of sweet grace the Lord has bestowed on my life.

Now you might be tempted to shake your head and roll your eyes and say…yeah, yeah…that wasn’t my case. Or a long list of unanswered prayers and disappointments might pop up in your head. But let me tell you, as I was reminded the other day, if you have have a beating heart right now, and you are breathing freely and you have the eyesight to sit and read this blog, you have enough reasons to be grateful and thankful for the grace that’s been given you- to simply see another day. Many a time we aren’t even aware of the miracle of life. Our routines so get to us that we fail to pause and consider…the works of the Living God.

When we slow down and look around us, we see the story of Grace…unmerited favor … bestowed on us by a perfect holy God. Sometimes all it takes is a good look in the mirror to wonder if just a big bang could cause you to be the unique individual you are- with each system in your body working in perfect synchrony with the other, and not another person among the billions of people on this planet having the same genetic code as yours. You’ve been created unique- there’s just one of you. And that’s just the story of human beings- think about the plants, animals, birds, insects, galaxies, stars, planets…the list goes on. I choose to believe in a Creator God who created the universe to perfection. He knows them by name. This amazing God, knew I could never match up to the holiness He required of me, He reached out His hand, lifted me out of the slimy pit and washed me of my sins. His blood cleansed me, set my feet on firm ground and gives me hope for eternity. Through it all, that’s the one thing that keeps me together. The story of grace, redemption and hope for an imperfect me in an imperfect world.

That’s the story that’s been on my mind these days. The grace that saved me, the grace that keeps me and the grace that will lead me on. As I sat down the other day and reflected on all the uncertainties that lie ahead, while going all drama queen on myself , I was reminded of an old hymn that we don’t sing often enough. It was written by a slave trader who was saved by this same grace we have been talking about. When he repented of his ways and experienced the fullness of joy that comes from Christ, he penned these words down that describe how he came to loathe his past mistakes but had the hope of a forgiven and redeemed future to look forward to.

So on days when the workings of my mind could be sufficient material for a many part thriller series on some OTT platform, I take a deep breath and remember:

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures. (John Newton)

May this set the tone for the year ahead for you too dear reader.

“A woman who follows the Lord, the Lord will direct her steps, ” a calm seventy five year old voice was assuring me one night when I couldn’t see the way forward. Oh yes, He has directed my steps. I only had to surrender and trust He would. He will continue to..

O Mira Gratia!


She was a young girl, barely a teenager. He had always been a faithful son, respected in society and known to be hardworking. They were betrothed to be married as per the custom in those days. That’s all that’s normal about this story as far as we know. They were soon to face the wrath of their society when they learned that Mary was pregnant before the wedding, and Joseph had a decision to make.
We all know the story. That’s what we usually hear this time of the year, year after year. But let me turn your attention to a specific action of both Mary and Joseph that has really challenged me the last couple of years. Radical obedience to God’s calling even when it didn’t really make sense to them. Why them? What now? Why should this be so complicated? All fair questions they could’ve asked. For all we know they might’ve wondered the same as well.

Yet… they fully obeyed. What happened at Bethlehem was not a fairy tale. Instead it was a picture of absolutely surrendering their plans, their dreams, their reputations, their traditions, expectations of their culture at the feet of the Almighty God who holds it all– a picture of complete surrender even when it hurt and didn’t make sense. The baby in the manger was a symbol of complete obedience of the Son to the Father to fulfil His plan to save mankind from eternal destruction.
The story of Christmas is a call to humanity- to you and me. A call to obey and fully surrender to this Sovereign God.

Why should you?

You may have been going through a season of doubt, or barrenness or worry about the future or just frustration at how your life has turned out versus what you had dreamt it would be like. You may have been going through a season of unfaithfulness, of denying God because it seems like He is not seeing the pain you’re going through….you know what you’re going through. And as the world lights up, songs and colours and stars and all, it may seem like goads in your wounds, the carols might just be a lot of noise in your ears, you don’t seem to have a reason to rejoice. It’s good to remember that there were two lonely people on their way to Bethlehem the night before Jesus was born- a pregnant lady on a donkey’s back and her desperate husband looking for shelter- both despised, judged, looked down upon by the very people they had spent their entire lives with and forlorn. Yet they held on to the God who had called them to this great mission of being parents to the boy Jesus. Nobody else would understand them. That did not matter when heaven was on their side.
So this Christmas, I would like to ask you to bring yourself to that manger in Bethlehem- the place where the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, was born to save you and me from our sinful ways by dying for us. As you see the shepherds kneel in worship, look at the baby in the manger and his parents- that baby’s cry meant the beginning of your freedom from the clutches of sin. While we exchange gifts and greetings, let me remind you that this was the greatest gift mankind ever got. And the offer to accept that gift of salvation still stands.
You may have a lot of questions, you may have been living your entire life doing good deeds, you may have been brought up knowing the Bible inside out, you may occupy the first bench in church week after week, you might have celebrated many Christmases before this or you’re cynical about this whole thing, you still can’t seem to understand why a good God would allow suffering in this world- it doesn’t matter. The call is to fully surrender your life to the lordship of Jesus Christ and accept the salvation He gives. There’s nothing else you can do to get right with God. The answers to your questions will slowly come with the wisdom that God gives. Would you radically obey? The journey to Bethlehem and beyond wasn’t easy, neither will your journey of faith be. But it will be worth it. That’s the gift of Christmas… a call to experience that redemption…come!

O come, all you unfaithful
Come, weak and unstable
Come, know you are not alone
O come, barren and waiting ones
Weary of praying, come
See what your God has done
He’s the Lamb who was given
Slain for our pardon
His promise is peace
For those who believe So come, though you have nothing
Come, He is the offering
Come, see what your God has done
(O Come, All You Unfaithful, Bob Kauflin, Lisa Clow)

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:11)


“He’s not eating! He’s spitting everything out”, she complained as she cuddled her ten month old son close. She looked tired and distraught. ‘What are you giving him?”, I asked. “Pureed veggies, potatoes and so on.” “Pureed how?” ” In a blender…smooth paste and put it before him.” “Have you tasted the pureed food?” “Yes, I didn’t like it.” “Then how will your child like it?” A week later she came back looking happier and refreshed. I had asked her to mash the food with her hands instead of putting it in a blender. Baby and mother were satisfied. ‘He likes the different textures’ she says. I nodded.

There was a time when we, as children, were ‘forced’ to play outside, experience the sun and the sand, feel with their fingers , listen to different sounds, experience life with all its textures and colors and smells, interact with other children, spend less time in front of a screen. We had to solve our own problems. We had to get our hands messy with paint, to know which colors when mixed together gave what color. We also had to know that if we messed up one painting paper, it would take ages before we got one again. We learnt to get messy, but also be careful. We grew up to be adults who can live without having to run back to our parents with scraped knees each time.

And our children can do it too, if we stop putting the idea into their heads that swiping their fingers over a screen are a good, non messy substitute for playing, coloring, reading , learning, any life skill for that matter. Watch them close enough, and you’ll see. The walls of the house echo with their laughter over something we would have maybe smiled at. They’re the first to notice colors, a nice dress you’re wearing, a change in décor, appreciate you singing, or dance to a tune. They hold nothing back. It takes very little but something authentic and genuine to excite them. They’re not afraid to say what they like. They’re not afraid to ask questions. They aren’t afraid to say when something’s wrong. They aren’t afraid to love- fully and deeply- ‘cos that’s how they’re wired- unless we tell them otherwise. Been around a toddler lately? You’ll know what I’m talking about.

Maybe I’ve said it before, but for some reason I feel like saying it again. Somehow, somewhere down the line, we’ve all become too careful. So careful that we sometimes cross that fine line between ‘being careful’ and ‘being fearful’. Afraid of anything and everything? ( Of course…we have a pandemic, the current state of world affairs etc to blame.)

Have you felt more comfortable staring at your phone screen and going on refreshing your newsfeed , even when the room is full of other adults (who’re also probably doing the same thing), than having an actual conversation? Familiar scene?

We’re afraid to ask questions, because we’re afraid we might get asked questions. We’re afraid to appreciate ,’cos what if that other person doesn’t think the same way. We’re afraid to hold hands and pray with people, ‘cos ‘what if I’m not that eloquent at praying out loud?’ We’re afraid of talking to our neighbors. We’re afraid of doing anything new. We’re afraid of using our resources to help someone else. We’re afraid of laughing out loud- the neighbors might hear, afraid of moving out of something that’s not been very helpful into something new, afraid of change, afraid of challenges, afraid of opening up about our struggles to people, ‘cos we’re afraid of their judgement and afraid of hurting our ego. We’re afraid of everything and everyone. We prefer the safety of our cozy homes, our routine lives, our ‘zones’, our busy-ness. We somehow have started to prefer life bland, ‘cos we’re afraid textures might hurt.

I’ve been giving in to these fears too. I’ve been just learning my way around the kitchen these past few months, and when for the first time I put a pressure cooker on the stove, I stood outside the kitchen when the whistle blew because in my mind I ‘knew’ I might not have done it right and it would burst any moment and all the neighbours would come in to see food smeared all over the walls. ( Thankfully that didn’t happen) I stopped writing for a bit, because I simply couldn’t get over these thoughts of-‘what will these blogs come across to people who read them? What would they be thinking?’ As a doctor treating children, I’ve been terrified to give any sort of advice to parents, ‘cos I imagine a scenario in my head, where one of these parents might just turn around and ask me one day, ‘Hey you don’t have any kids yet. You’re so young. What would you know?’

So these kind of thoughts crippled me- Am I enough? Am I being criticized behind my back? Am I good at this? Can I do this? And this period of doubt took me back to my knees, in conversation with my Maker. I didn’t have many words to say, but tears asking forgiveness. ‘Cos I was reminded that I am falling short of loving my Lord completely and fully. My focus seemed to be on me, my reputation, my pride, my safety, all that pertains to me. But when I shifted my focus to my Saviour Jesus Christ again, I found these fears melting away in the light of how I can rest perfectly on His love for me, for,

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

And by the strength of the Holy Spirit, I can rise above my nonsensical fears and embrace a full life -in all its colours and textures- fanning my gifts into flame for His glory, loving my neighbour as myself, reaching out to my patients with confidence, extending hospitality, making conversations that matter, being the wife, daughter and sister He meant for me to be and more importantly responding to His call on my life. I can…so can you!

It isn’t easy because we live in a difficult world. Cruelly critical of everything. But let’s hold fast to this truth. Let’s hold fast to our faith and fall back on the strength the Lord gives us. If Peter, the apostle, had let his fears of what would happen if he drowned engulf him, he wouldn’t have had the privilege to walk on water looking at his Master’s face!

What fear torments your soul today? You know your fears better than anyone else in the world. Lay it at the feet of Jesus. Embrace the life He’s given you to live with courage and joy and to fulfill the purpose to which you are called- undaunted. There’s only one of you on this planet!

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (1 Timothy 1:7)

Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There’s a place where fear
Has to face the God you know
One more day
He will make a way
Let Him show you how
You can lay this down (Oh my soul, Casting crowns)


The thing about being a medico is that more often than not, your timeline revolves around some exam or the other. You’re either preparing for one or you’re awaiting the results of one you’ve just given. I’m writing from a place of waiting on what verdict the national board is going to pass on the rest of what the next few years might look like for me based on a number of multiple choice questions I may or may not have done right. So this waiting is like the queue outside a public toilet I’m told- when you’re outside you really want to get in, but when you’re inside you desperately want to finish and get out!

That’s one kind of waiting. Then there’s the other kind- the kind where you’re waiting with baited breath for your doctor to tell you whether chemo has worked or not, or for the neonatologist to examine your baby and tell you whether things might turn out okay after all or not, or for the police to call back saying they found your missing person- the kind where after you’ve waited a couple minutes you start thinking, ‘know what? Maybe it’s maybe better I don’t know about it’ cos you’re afraid of the answer that’s going to come.

I don’t know what place you’re finding yourself in today- whether you’re waiting to get a particular outcome or you’re considering whether the outcome of all the wait might actually be worse than the wait itself, whether you’re glad that there’s some rest while you wait or you find yourself in a vacuum all of a sudden, like a noisy silence, and you wish there was some sort of breakthrough somewhere…but let me take you to an interesting word you find nearly 74 times in the Bible that caught my attention recently- Selah.

It’s a word that comes with no strings attached – it never comes as part of a sentence.

But it’s kind of always interestingly positioned. Smack right in the middle of a song or after a heartfelt lament or a poem of overwhelming praise. Some of us find ourselves in a selah position sometimes right? Like you woke up at 5 am to be in time for an appointment and then you ran all through the day to just make it happen and you end up being stuck in traffic so that you reach within a few milliseconds of the time you were given, and check yourself in, high on adrenaline, only to find yourself in the waiting room. “The doctor will see you in a few minutes”… a semicolon in the middle of your day.

You made a timetable for your life and tried to perfect it to the T- made it to the topmost college, passed out with honours, met the love of your life and probably you’re the youngest graduate around, but then the callback from the interview you gave hasn’t come. You may have to look for another job. It might take months maybe a year or so…a pause.

Who ever thought that when you got married to the love of your life and had plans and dreams and then maybe you may have problems conceiving? Who ever thought that despite having planned your delivery to perfection, you might have to wait for a few minutes for your baby to cry after being born?

These places of waiting come in unexpected and most times we’re hardly prepared for them. They have us wondering, ‘Did I do something wrong?’

So I looked up what this word really means- and most of the time it’s used as an interlude in a psalm. Though an accurate description is hard to find, the consensus is that it is a break, encouraging the reader/listener to pause and look back, some say to pause and praise- to catch a breath and consider how far you’ve come.

Find yourself wondering how on earth did you end up here? Or why’s nothing happening? The calls that never came, the unexpected outcomes, the sudden failure, the dreary diagnosis, the friend that never turned up, the stagnant family life?

Let me encourage you dear friend to do what this ‘Selah‘ phase is maybe all about. Look up to your Creator, look how far you’ve come, catch a breath, lift up your hands, and praise. He is just as good as He’s always been. The miracles we’ve read about? They aren’t just stories. They happened. And the God who made them happen? Thankfully for us, He is still the same.

You are just as good
You are just as kind
You are just as glorious
Just as divine As You’ve always been
You’re not changing
If the skies turn grey
And the lights grow dim
It doesn’t mean Your faithfulness
Is wearing thin It’s not wavering
You’re not changing
Anytime soon
(Not just stories, Maryanne J George)

Malachi 3:6
“For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.


Looks were exchanged between the elders on the stage and the worship team just to the side of the stage. They stopped practicing. As the duo singing the song for the bridal procession got themselves into place and started the music, everybody else in the hall straightened up. The atmosphere was a mix of anticipation, excitement and happiness. The bride and the groom were about to enter. The youngest in the audience for this occasion, who were four and five years old, were strictly advised to attach themselves to their seats atleast for the first ten minutes. And so, after the cameraman, the groom entered with his parents followed by the bride. Just as they reached midway, this four year old cherub, who was also the groom’s niece, got up from her seat, and made a dash for her grandfather, calling out loudly, ‘appacha’ (a term for grandad in malayalam). She didn’t stop with that. She did a small twirl, clapped her hands together at the sheer joy of just seeing him and went and squeezed his hands and hugged his knees. She kept smiling at him till his creased brows and worried looking face gave way to a huge beaming smile that reflected hers and exuded a warmth that was palpable to anyone who observed. And before her parents could reach for her she walked back to her seat, looking extremely satisfied at what she’d just done, totally unaware about the fact that this was all recorded on camera, or that she’d just made her mark on an otherwise solemn occasion.

I watched her face as she walked back to the seat next to mine, and smiled. She’d just celebrated a person she loves a lot, she’d expressed that and she was super delighted at it. It made a lot of sense to her to express what she felt for him, and that was that. She shifted her attention to the next thing. No biggie. It was that simple.
…for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these..‘ (Matthew 19:14)

Those words kept coming back to me again and again that morning.

As a paediatrician, an aunt and a sunday school teacher, I’ve had the honour and privilege of spending a lot of time around these little beings, day in and day out. Whether they’re sick, or they’re full of questions or they just want to have fun, they never fail to teach me something new everyday. If you’ve looked into the eyes of a child, you would know that there’s an unbeatable zest for life and love you see in them. Something that makes you yearn for your childhood days all over again. There’s something about the simplicity in their love for you and the trust they place in you, the joyful spirit that they have, that humbles you. That makes you want to understand why Jesus stressed on the importance of becoming like a child to experience the fullness of the joy we have in Him.

When a child starts to draw, one of the first things he/she draws is a house and stick figures of all the family members holding hands. And then when he/she can spell, they write down their names and the names of the ones closest to them. And then they show it to every person they come across. Sounds familiar? They simply can’t get enough of celebrating the love around them.

As the years pass by and we grow older, somehow the simplicity disappears. We just can’t trust God like that anymore. We somehow find it difficult to love Him fully. And gradually we discover we somehow aren’t that joyful anymore, and that translates into the relationships we have around us. We’re yet to discover at what stage of development does one learn to complicate things. When do we start thinking, “What will other people think?” as opposed to ” What does the One who created me, want of me?” How does that question become an essential part of our existence? Why do we stop celebrating God’s love for us by becoming so focussed on the doing than the being?

I’ve been wrestling with these questions myself. And as I placed these questions and doubts and struggles before my Maker, this is what I was moved to pray- “Oh to have the heart of a child before the Lord! To trust Him fully, to love Him more and more with that kind of simplicity, to celebrate Him regardless of what ‘others might think’, to declare His goodness out loud no matter what the situation looks like and to overflow with that zeal for life and love because I know I’m held in the everlasting arms.”

May this be your prayer too, dear reader, as you navigate your days ahead- to hear Him, to walk with Him, to unabashedly love Him, and to experience His constant presence- to be like a child before Him- uncomplicated. Then our eyes would be opened to see the million little miracles unfolding around us daily- in all its brilliant colours.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

The other side…

The pandemic rages on, coming and going in waves…nobody knows for how long or how many more waves we’re yet to see. When you say COVID 19 , among the many things that became a new normal, the prominent image that comes to mind is someone in a PPE suit- goggles and hood and plastic overalls and a tight fitting mask. The people on the frontlines.

“Doctor, I cannot express my gratitude for the risk you guys take on a daily basis to watch out for people like us,” my last patient for the day was saying. I was that someone in the PPE suit, and amidst the sweat and the poor visibility and the suffocation, all I could think of was finishing as fast as possible so I could get out of there and breathe in some fresh air. But Gopi wanted to talk. So I stood for a couple more minutes. He was still having fever, but the one thing that caught my attention was the fear in his eyes. He continued for some more time about his family and how people with the virus were being neglected elsewhere and how he was grateful he got a bed with us so he knew he would be looked after in a time like this. I gave him a half hearted smile which definitely didn’t reach him through all that I had put on, asked him to not worry, and came off trying to shake off that look of fear from his eyes and wondering how long it would be before I was in his place.

Needless to say it wasn’t very long before I did end up on the other side. This was another moment where one is reminded again that disease and death are no respecters of persons. As the next couple of weeks passed in quarantine- juggling between managing symptoms and worried family members, I was reminded again and again of the look on Gopi’s face- the fear. His fears were also mine- how far would this virus display its prowess in my body? Would I recover completely? How much longer would these symptoms last? Would it worsen?

‘Everybody just dies’, my sister was saying after a week of COVID ICU duties. There was nothing one could say to cheer her up.

And with news of new variants and newer complications of the disease coming up, what can one hope for? Where do you go with all these fears?

What could one offer to that patient wondering whether he’ll make it through to the other side of this, or to the tired medico who’s been watching helplessly as patients succumb to this disease? What holds you up when you’ve fallen ill while taking care of others and you’re wondering whether it was all worth it?


That’s what we are all longing for this season. And there’s only one place I know of that I can point you to today- Jesus Christ. He knows. He sees. And He’s got this. Even when we do not understand it.

Being on the other side of the PPE suit has been an interesting and learning experience. The one thing I know for a fact is that no amount of reading or knowledge helped with the questions and anxieties, but there was an undeniable peace when I surrendered and chose to fall back on the Living Hope and move on in faith.

Amidst all the uncertainties we face today, can we place our hope in this God who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End?

Hallelujah, praise the one who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope
(Living Hope, Phil Wickham)

Thus by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strongly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… (Hebrews 6:18,19a)


Organic Malgova mangoes.

They’re tricky. Can’t really say when they’ll ripen because nothing much changes in their appearance on the outside. They’re just the same strong green. Unless you touch/ smell them one fine morning and then suddenly realize it’s time.
And then after all the waiting, you cut one. Then there’s that huge seed.

Ever wondered why the mango has to have such a big seed, almost as big as itself? I mean you look at a nice big mango, and imagine a lot of mango pulp only to find that half the space was filled with the seed! Or better still, why can’t pomegranates be seedless? Why do pineapples have such an impossible covering?

It’s funny how sometimes the best of things aren’t always really easy. They’re really good. But there’s also the seed you gotta be mindful of. Some big, some small and annoying.

Waiting for breakthroughs in life- whether it’s a job or a marriage or a child or any door to open up is sometimes like waiting on Malgova mangoes to ripen. ( I won’t blame you for already judging me for that comparison)
You wait, hope and pray. And then one day suddenly things come around. There’s that phone call or that person or that opportunity.
But most times the breakthroughs aren’t all rosy and easy. There’s almost always that big seed. It doesn’t really come in the package you’d expected it to. Yes you got the job, but you had to start over in a new place, or you married the person you’d waited for but it was right in the middle of the pandemic with all the restrictions thereof , you were planning on wearing that beautiful satin dress to your best friend’s wedding that you both had dreamt of for so long, instead you find yourself on ICU duty in a PPE suit while she says her vows some place else, you thought you’d be done with exams and there’d be clarity on what next by now, but now you’ve got more time to prepare but no definite timeline to plan on, you have the holidays, but nowhere to go to ‘cos of the lockdown, you’re finally carrying your precious child in your womb but you’re bogged down with work and can’t take all the rest you need, you got into the course you’d always dreamt of, only to wonder if you’ll ever measure up…. so on.

When the blessing comes with the seed.
When you’re extremely grateful and thankful but there are adjustments to be made, expectations to reset and plans to be remade.

Manna- the food the Israelites were praying for didn’t really come in the manner they imagined. They could only ask , ‘What is this?’ But it was better for them than they’d really hoped for.

“Oh this is gooder!!’ Four year old J was exclaiming the other day. Quick to correct him, I said “No, the progression is good, better, best.” And he goes, “Yes! And then gooder!” Like it was so obvious. You can never win an argument with a 4 year old and hence I carried that word back with me. Figured the world needs a word beyond ‘best’. So..

The last couple of months have been a time of standing back and watching God work out His ways of being ‘gooder’ to me. Better than the best I’d imagined for myself. There’s the seed though. It didn’t come easy and it isn’t gonna be easy.
But seeds contain the potential to bring forth new life. They challenge us. They enable us to enjoy the goodness of the fruit. And grow. They nourish and hold it together.

As I pen this down, I can testify to the fact that He’s been teaching me to enjoy His providence while I work around the seed. And then sow that seed to bring forth new fruit and keep the cycle of life moving, using the times and experiences I’ve gone through to declare the goodness of the Lord to you.

Answered prayers. Unexpected packaging. A whole new view. But definitely ‘gooder’.

Have you been in a ‘manna’ situation lately? Pandemic and all?

Know that the Lord your God, your Maker, is good. His ways….gooder.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, emphasis added)

I love You, Lord
For Your mercy never fails me
All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

(Bethel music, Jenn Johnson)