Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Faith Blog

A hundred years ago, Sadhu Sundar Singh, a Hindu convert to Christianity, became a missionary to his friends and relatives in India. While he died at aged forty, his life was so amazing that many stories from his life survive among the Christians of India. Here is one of my favorites.

Late one afternoon, traveling with a monk from another religion through the Himalayas, the mountain temperatures suddenly dropped severely. The night was approaching as the wind whipped the mountains with a severe snow storm. The monk commented that they needed to get to shelter soon or they would freeze to death in the storm. Just then, with quite a distance to go, they heard a cry for help.

Looking from the path, down a steep precipice, they spotted an injured man lying near the bottom of the slope. The monk told Singh they did not have time to help. If they stopped to help all three of them would freeze to death. The monk explained that from his religious tradition it was acceptable to leave him since the injured man probably deserved his fate. He argued that if the man died it was his karma. When Sadhu Sundar Singh seemed to feel a need to help, the monk suggested that his best bet as a Christian was to simply pray for God to miraculously intervene and then keep going in order to save himself.

Singh responded that as a Christian he could not abandon the injured man. As the monk left, Sadhu Sundar Singh climbed slowly down the perilous cliff to rescue the man. By the time he reached the man Singh was drenched with perspiration in the freezing temperatures. Against all common sense, Singh made a sling of his clothing in order to tie the man onto his back and carry him back up to the path. As the snow continued to deepen in the storm and darkness, Singh prayed for the strength to save the man's life.

Once they were back on the path it became obvious that the injured man could not walk to shelter on his own. Over the several next hours, with the injured man strapped to his back, his every step on the path became a prayer asking God for the strength to keep going. Finally, exhausted, Sadhu Sundar Singh spotted a light ahead. Anxious to lay his burden down, Singh stumbled over something just a few feet from the doorway. It turned out to be the frozen body of the monk who had abandoned them. Singh's life had been saved by the warmth of the man on his back.

An incredible spiritual man of prayer, Sadhu Sundar Singh years later was asked by one of his students, "What is life's most difficult task?" He responded, "To have no burden to carry."

Do we pray only for miracles or also for the strength to bear the burdens?

Z: when I read that, I knew I should share it on a Sunday; I hope you're blessed by it. I think burdens are horrible, myself :-) But, I surely can see when burdens are blessings.........or become blessings. Want to talk about it?

"—If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31.

Whatever is happening to us, God is for us — there's a purpose. Have a purposeful Sunday!



Average American said...

God doesn't give me more than I can handle, though sometimes it does seems that way.

sue hanes said...

Z - That's an interesting story.
Surely our burdens are blessings to us but we don't always see it that way - until maybe after.
Thanks for sharing this story. Maybe it will help us to get by with our burdens.

Have a great Sunday.

Ed Bonderenka said...
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Ed Bonderenka said...

As western Christians, we look to western "saints", for inspiration.
Watchman Knee, Singh, and many others can be a wonderful inspiration for us.
This story sounds like a variation of the Good Samaritan
Ecclesiastes 4:
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?

Bob said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post. I have never viewed burdens as a blessing, but as something to be overcome. In other words I don't go looking for burdens.

I can understand that many times, our problems, or burdens, can be great blessings to us. Looking back, even marital problems can be blessings for the longevity of the relationship.

However, I cannot see how the burden of losing a child or loved one before their time (whenever that is?) can be a blessing. I know this sounds selfish, but I have always had a problem with the Ecclesiastes chapter 3 scripture.

Sometimes, I think that death is-what-it-is. Maybe, this is one of my burdens.

Duckys here said...

Singh was a follower of Swedenborg, Ed. Be careful.

Anonymous said...

From Z of GeeeeZ:

Computer's on the fritz; hopefully, I'll be back on Monday after a hardware specialist has come by to see what's up...fingers crossed.

I wish you all well.

Ed Bonderenka said...

I'm not sure to what degree he was a "follower" of Swedenborg, but he was a follower of Jesus.
I had this discussion with some friends over dinner today after church, and I wondered if God is as strict with his entrance exam as we are.
By that I mean, if a man accepts Christ as his savior, and errs in his doctrine (relies on baptism, or an adherence to a set of rules on top of a foundation of faith in Christ), will his doctrinal error keep him from salvation?
I tend to think that God is a little more forgiving than we are.
We had this conversation in reference to Sadhu Singh before I read your comment.

Bob said...

Ed says, "... will his doctrinal error keep him from salvation?"

John Wesley said that as long as we adhere to the basics, all else most of everything doesn't matter as far as salvation goes. You might want to read some of the foundation documents of the Methodist Church. They are scripture specific, and can be found in the Methodist Discipline.

Bob said...

Gotta learn how to proof read my stuff!

Ed Bonderenka said...
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Ed Bonderenka said...

Bob,"John Wesley said that as long as we adhere to the basics, all else most of everything doesn't matter as far as salvation goes."
I buy that.

Ed Bonderenka said...

I gotta stop double posting comments.