My Sikh Friend in Delhi, India
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Sometimes you may be planning something, but God often has a totally different plan, schedule, timing or outcome in mind. Most of us are not flexible enough at those points in time to say ‘not my will, Lord but thine be done’ as Jesus set the example.
Luke 22:42 -- Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
One certain day in Delhi the capital of India at the turn of the 20th century, I was on my way to a pre-arranged appointment with another Christian colleague to visit a business contact. We had not been in that part of Delhi before, and it seemed no one knew where this obscure address was also! On the way to this mysterious place, to make matters worse, the rickshaw we were travelling in broke down. So we were stuck as well as frustrated. As we sat there in the rickshaw wondering why things were going so badly wrong for us that morning, a middle-aged Sikh man passed by the rickshaw and peered in. We explained our predicament to him and he also had no idea of the place we were supposed to go! It just looked like we had been misinformed in the first place.
Congenially, he invited us to his office to which he was on his way and have a cup of that nice Indian tea which we all like so much.
We thought that would be good, having come so far on a seeming wild goose chase at least we could have a chance to think and pray about what to do next, and talk with this nice friendly man.
He opened his humble office as it was till quite early and ordered some tea for us all. As we started talking I soon realised that this was really the man Jesus had sent us to see. Like a flash of revelation in my mind, it dawned on me, that here was quite a needy soul. The man, Mr Singh, (as many Sikhs are apt to be surnamed) just began to tell us all his life’s problems. Although happily married with two young boys, he had other financial issues and in law disputes and worries for the future. After some time talking with him he was almost in tears and our hearts went out to him, and the Lord told me, ‘just tell him about Me and how I can heal his life.’
So I asked him if I could tell him some of my life’s story and how I had a ‘Friend’ who may be able to help him. Eagerly he listened as I shared with him parts of my personal story which is in part one of this book. He was very respectful and drank it all in with sincerity. At the end of this and sharing how a simple but genuine prayer to Jesus Christ had significantly helped turn my life around and more importantly deliver Eternal Life and a relationship with the Loving Creator God, I asked him if he would like to do the same.
At this point it usually becomes important to lead a person in prayer and ask them to pray with you or after you if they declare they would like to know Jesus Christ. So getting his whole-hearted approval, he repeated a prayer with me to Jesus Christ.
After the prayer ended all was quiet in the office. I peeked a look at him but he still had his very moist eyes closed for some considerable time. We respectfully waited for him to finish his own devotion with God.
As he came back to earth he looked at me and then he suddenly touched his head and heart and went down on his knees and touched my feet also. We had not seen this before in India personally, we only understood vaguely it meant a great sign of respect. We felt very touched and humbled. Mr Singh himself was elated and deeply moved. ‘From now on I will follow Jesus and my family also!’ he declared. We stayed a bit longer with him and shared a few simple Bible verses with him about his new life in Christ.
We left him to continue his office work and returned home, having never found the original person we set out to see.
A very short time after this we moved to Chandigarh, a part of north India’s Punjab state where most Sikh people live. I kept in touch with dear Mr. Singh. He came the 250 kilometers by car north to Chandigarh with his wife and two boys specifically to visit my family and I and spend a weekend receiving more Bible teaching.
True to his word Mr. Singh continued on with God and his new life. We can only be in amazed that God came to a man who responded and whose heart was open and receptive to the Word of God and was willing to come a huge distance to seek more Truth. This is a precious thing in God’s eyes and even Jesus directly referred to such people in the New Testament when he said referring to the Queen of Sheba:
Matthew 12:42 -- The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for (because) she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
Luke 11:31 -- The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
How far are you willing to travel for God? How hungry are you for Jesus or for the answers to our problems? How much are you willing to give to pray to sacrifice and to seek? Well, if you are like dear Mr. Singh, you will make progress and stand out as an example to others.
Jesus came to the Jews, (who didn’t have to travel at all to meet him) but they didn’t receive him.
The Queen of Sheba came from the south, probably Yemen, with her entourage to seek the Wisdom of Solomon in Israel with a massive gift also for him (not that he needed it).
I believe God reserves the very best for such people, perhaps because they are few and far between. Such people don’t go unnoticed to God. Are you one? Why not make a covenant with God today, and see what He will do for you?!
Psalm 50:5 -- Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
And finally for us as his missionaries we learned that valuable lesson, that God has his own way. He has his own sheep and He knows where they are, even he has to break down your ‘rickshaw’ to find them! Praise the Lord.
Other Valuable Notes
The Queen of the South
According to the Hebrew Bible, the unnamed queen of the land of Sheba heard of the great wisdom of King Solomon of Israel and journeyed there to test him with questions, and carrying gifts of four and a half tons of gold, as well as precious stones, spices, and wood. See First Kings 10:1-13 (largely copied in 2 Chronicles 9:1–12).
It is related further that the queen was awed by Solomon's great wisdom and wealth and pronounced a blessing on Solomon's God. Solomon reciprocated with gifts and "everything she desired ... besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty."
Then "she turned and went to her country, she and her servants."
Signs of Respect
Those who do not know much about the Indian culture and tradition get very baffled when they see children in India touching the feet of their elders. This is, in fact, the commonest Indian gesture and touching someone's feet means the person who is doing the act is showing his respect and subservience to the one whose feet he/she is touching. However, one important aspect related to this gesture is that the person's whose feet is being touched is always superior in age and position.
Touching elders' feet is the first lesson in manners and etiquette that all Indian children are taught. So, generally, one is supposed to touch the feet of a person if he/she happens to be an elder member of the family or a respected spiritual person. Since Indians normally live in joint families, this gesture is performed by the sons and daughter-in-laws for their parents and grand parents. Though very young children are guided by their parents to learn this gesture, the comparatively elder ones are expected to do it spontaneously.
In Indian culture, there are specific occasions when a person is expected to touch his / her elders' feet. These occasions include before one is departing for or arriving back from a journey, weddings, religious and festive occasions, etc. In earlier times, it was a like a custom in India for youngsters to touch their parents' feet first thing in the morning and before going to bed. Though there are many who still follow this rule, the truth is that the tradition is now slowly waning away with time.
When an elder person's feet are being touched, he /she, in turn, is supposed to touch the head of the person doing the act and bless him /her for long life, fortune and prosperity. Interestingly, the act of touching feet gets somewhat intensified during certain occasions. For instance, many people prefer prostrating before the deities in temples or before persons of high rank spiritually and even politically.