Trustful Surrenderance to Divine Providence

Testimony By: 
Anil Israel
Wed, 2010-08-11
"So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows!” (Mt.10:31; Lk.12:7)
I grew up in a Catholic family in Baroda, Gujarat. Attending Sunday mass and praying the family rosary became a part of my routine. Life was sailing smoothly and I took almost everything for granted, including God. The prince of pride convinced me that it was good to have a big-fat-ego. My world circled around me, myself and I. God was somewhere on the periphery.
The smooth sail met the rough sea when I was struck with jaundice during the final exams of my final semester of Engineering. Extreme physical exhaustion literally pushed me to bed. But through the prayers of several uncles and aunties from the elders’ prayer group and many others whom I didn’t even know, I was blessed with just enough energy to appear for the exams, right before being hospitalised for slightly over a month.
I cleared with distinction and truly by grace. I was given 3 grace marks so that I could be placed in distinction. Praise God for His abundant love and mercy! For the first time I realised the power of prayer, but this was mostly other people’s prayers. Soon I was blessed with a job in a multi-national firm through campus placement and life continued to sail smoothly and God continued to remain on the periphery.
In 1999-2000, I happened to be the co-ordinator of our parish youth group. That year, JY prayer meeting was started in our parish and me being the representative of the parish youth group, was in a way required to be present for their weekly prayer time in the parish chapel. These 20 minutes of prayer were the most serene time in the year for me. The same year, I was blessed to participate in an initial retreat where I encountered Jesus in a close way. Thereafter, I started attending the weekly prayer meetings and I continued to look forward to such fellowships as I felt a sense of serenity from above in its midst.
At the turn of the new millennium, our parish planned to host a youth fest and I had a responsible role to play. As the event drew closer, I realised that everything was not falling into place as I had dreamt it to be. All the while I was trying to make things work my way. It was then that Shirley, a 7th batch fulltimer from our parish, suggested about surrendering to God and letting Him take control. I agreed to do so as I saw this was the only best alternative before me. I praise God for the marvellous way in which He took care of all things.
My job however, ensured that I was out of town most of the time and I missed the prayer fellowship, so much so that I longed to return to it whenever I was in town. I vividly remember the days when other JYs asked questions like, “How is your prayer life?” and I found it kind of strange as I could not relate with it. They also asked if I would be willing to take up weekly fasting for JY intentions and I promptly agreed finding it worthwhile. I am trying to be faithful to this Wednesday fasting ever since. My JY involvement then was limited to only passive participation in the weekly prayer meetings.
Years rolled by and life became a string of blessings. I was blessed to get Sunitha, an 8th batch fulltimer, as my wife and we are now blessed with two children. The first JY International Gathering during Köln WYD was my first major exposure to the vast loving family of JYs. Gradually, I gathered inspiration from quite a good number of people on fire for the Lord and soon, I too became a fire-brand for the Lord.
After marriage, my lifestyle completely changed. I started focusing on reading spiritual books rather than popular bestsellers. Bollywood movies got replaced by Catholic ones. Daily Mass and praying the rosary while travelling in public transport became a new way of life. Following the six pillars became a priority as we focused only on the Lord’s will in our lives. We witnessed many miracles in a German speaking land when we allowed ourselves to be used for His greater glory.
Last year I completed the allowed years in Germany for which one could work on deputation and it was time for us to either pack up our bags and return or to quit and look for a job elsewhere. It was in those delicate moments of dilemma that the Word of God in Lk.12:7 spoke assuredly to me, that I only ought to let God take control and He would take care of us much more than He cares for sparrows. I decided then and there to trustfully surrender the situation into His hands and if required, I became mentally prepared to give up the job, so as to continue to serve the Lord’s vineyard here. The very next morning, the head of another department where I was assigned to support for the time-being (before I packed my bags in the following days) approached me and the Lord paved a way for me to continue in their department. After 6 months, I eventually secured an internal transfer from my old department in India to this new department in Germany, within the same company, though it appeared that this was very unlikely to take place. This was something I had never ever imagined in my wildest dreams. Praise God!
I am reminded of an old hymn: “Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all the rest will fall in line; Give God His due and God will give back to you, Turn your water into wine.” The following words by Br. Colin from a JY training programme still continue to linger in my ears, “If not me - then who? If not now - then when? If not here - then where?”
God does not want our ability, only our availability. We only have to learn to let go and let God in. Jesus can do anything for us if we simply give Him a chance!