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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"I dwell with the crushed and the dejected“ (Is 57:15)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

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Divine Call Archives

The twist in God's script

By Fr. Michael Payyapilly VC

I don’t know if the Lord plays practical jokes on people but I do know that His ways are always mysterious. Despite being a priest, I am still trying to figure out His sense of humour. I suppose that is not taught to us during our theology studies and I might have to take another degree to understand His sense of humour. But one thing is sure – He does have His own special ways of doing things. And it never ceases to surprise me.

I remember an incident that happened to me a few months ago. The incident might seem very silly to everyone else but since it involved things that belonged to me personally, I find it very serious. As, I suppose, does everyone who loses their personal belongings. But it did teach me a valuable lesson as well. On a Saturday, after the retreat, I had gone home to visit my parents. I have the habit using my ear phones, if I get a call when I drive. One ear would have the ear phone while the other would be left free for me to listen to the unending honks that we get to hear on Indian roads, free of charge. After the visit to my parents, I came back to DRC. After getting here I realised that the rubber cap on one of my ear phones was missing.  I kept searching for it everywhere in the car but could not find it. I was a bit disappointed because those were costly rubber caps that were kind of a right fit for me. The company that makes these claims that they are 'custom made'.

Anyway, I called home and asked my mother to keep searching for it as I was sure that I must have dropped it at home. I don’t even know if she knew what she was looking for but with the worry in my voice, she must have thought that I have lost something that is integral to my very priesthood. My mother combed the whole area and could not find it. Blaming her weak eyesight, I made her search again. The poor thing must have thought that this is the least she can do for her poor priest son who has lost his ‘ear buds’! Ultimately she gave up and called me up to give me the disappointing news. Her voice over the phone meant to tell me that I will have to live the rest of my priesthood without my beloved 'custom made' rubber cap of my ear phone. I resigned myself to the fact that I had lost it. A few days later I was doing my exercise on the treadmill (Oh yes we priests exercise too) I find the time spent on the treadmill very useful not only for my body but also for grabbing some extra moments of prayer. I usually have my ear phones on during the walk on the treadmill and I would keep listening to gospel music or gospel teachings on my mobile.

On that particular day, as I was walking on the treadmill and listening to Gospel music, I suddenly started getting this very strong urge to pray and intercede for people. One after the other I started remembering names of people who had asked me for prayers and I was intensely praying for them and their families and at the same time my walk on the treadmill was going on. But the prompting to pray was so strong that I could not stop and I went on and on, praying for different people and their problems. But as I was so engrossed in that prayer, accidentally my hand hit my mobile phone and it fell with a big bang on to the ground. Immediately I stopped the treadmill and went to pick up my phone, which had slipped under the treadmill. I was so sure that it would be in pieces. As I stopped the treadmill, honestly I was very upset and started questioning the Lord as to why He would allow this to happen. I was after all, doing something very nice by praying for others even while exercising. And in spite of this good act, how could He allow this to happen? With that feeling in my heart I bent down under the treadmill expecting to see my phone in pieces. But as I picked up my phone from under the treadmill, to my surprise I saw there, next to the phone, that missing rubber cap of my ear phone! It must have fallen there a week back when I was on the treadmill and it went unnoticed by me. After that I went home and thought that I had lost it at home. My poor mother must have been sitting at home thinking that she was not able to find her priest son’s greatest treasure! Thank God I am a priest or else she would have twisted my ears for making her strain her already strained eyes. I picked up the cap from under the treadmill along with my mobile phone, which thankfully was in one piece, and I had this million dollar smile on my face. With that triumphant look on my face, I held that precious ear bud in my hand and then it struck me – strange are the ways of the Lord.

True - so strange are the ways of the Lord. All through the incident I thought that I was being repaid for the good I did, with a lot of pain. But little did I realize that the Lord was working through it all. Not knowing what the end result was, I kept complaining that the Lord would allow this to happen to me. I failed to remember that the Lord will ultimately bring to completion all His plans though we might not understand them today. Sometimes we as human beings jump to conclusions about thinking that the Lord has allowed evil to happen to us. But we do this without realising that the story has not ended. We are only midway through the script. The Lord still has something in store. What we consider as a disaster, might be something that the Lord is using, to get us to the blessing He has in store.

When the Israelites were called by the Lord out of slavery in Egypt, they left everything and went out in faith as Moses led them. It was not an easy decision for them to make. Even though there was the burden of slavery, at least they knew where their life was heading. But as they left Egypt, they had no idea where this Promised Land is. They had no idea if they would ever get there. But they took the step out in faith. It was a brave act. But then the incident at the Red Sea happened in Exodus 14. It was followed by the painful experience of having water in the desert but not being able to drink it, because it was bitter. This happens in Exodus 15. That was followed by hunger in the desert in Exodus 16. During these moments, the Israelites would have been confused and hurt, as to why God would allow this to happen, though they trusted Him and came out of Egypt. They thought that it was their doom and they would complain everyday about their situation. For the trust they placed in Him they expected good days to come, but what they were going through was contradictory to the script they dreamt of. But what they thought was their end was only midway to the script. The Lord had not completed His work as yet. The miracle of the Red Sea parting, the miracle of the sweet waters, the miracle of the manna and the very miracle of the Promised Land were still to come. There was to be a twist in the script. But at that moment of pain, the Israelites could not see anything positive and so they blamed God and felt betrayed by Him.

When we go through our moments of pain and sorrow, in spite of the faithfulness we have shown to the Lord, we do feel betrayed. But let us remember that the Lord never leaves His script incomplete. Nor does He let His scripts end in tragedy. The Lord does not and cannot script tragic endings. What we consider as a tragic ending does have some twist to it that is coming up. Maybe today, we are in a state where we think that the script has ended. Let us not let Satan deceive us into believing that God’s scripts have gone wrong and that it has all ended in a tragedy. The pain you are experiencing today still has another twist to it. Wait on the Lord!

As the book of Psalms says in 38:15 “But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Let us wait on the Lord, wait for Him to complete His script. Let us not reach conclusions about the pain and failures we are going through, rather let us wait on the Lord to work His miracles and to complete His script.

Oh and by the way, my treadmill stopped working two days after I found my rubber cap for my earphone underneath it! Now I am starting to believe that the Lord does play practical jokes!

Go on Lord Jesus, as long as the script has Your ending to it.

 
Divine Updates

39th National Youth Retreat

Our annual National Youth Retreat will be held at the Divine Retreat Centre. Come and let the word of God refresh you. Simultaneous retreats for couples, children and Bible nursery to be held. Contact Divine Youth for more details.

Date: May 19 - 24, 2019

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - drcsydney@gmail.com. Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2018 - December, 2018

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, has announced several English and Malayalam language retreats to be led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2019

POWER 2019 at Divine Retreat Centre

DRC is back with the highlight of the year: the 14th International Youth Conference - POWER 2019. The very best international preachers and gospel bands will be here to lead us into worship. Be there to experience a totally different atmosphere of prayer. A Couples' Retreat and a Kids' Retreat will be held simultaneously. Don't miss it.

Date: July 21 - July 26, 2019

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