For some, living in the present can be harder than remembering the past; while for others, it is vice versa. I have been looking over the past few months, and it is hard to believe just how hard it is to remember what has happened - it all seems a big blur.
Yet living a life worth remembering is not dependent on ourselves, or on our perception of either the past or the present. It is whether or not what we do mirrors what we say. Oftentimes, this is the biggest test of a person’s character, and how people view others and what truly matters. But living rightly is much easier said than done.
Journey of faith
I had a conversation recently with Mike Gore, the CEO of Open Doors Australia. Mike was an orphan in Madras, South India, who had been abandoned by his mother, who had given birth to him out of wedlock. Eventually, through an amazing series of events that can be described as nothing short of a miracle, he was adopted by a family in Australia and moved to Sydney. Despite facing a lot of racism during his early years, his adopted family, as he says, “simply accepted me”, as they supported him and helped him along his journey of faith as he began to grow.
After eventually starting his psychology degree, he turned to the music industry, where he spent a decade before getting married and having two amazing daughters. In 2009, after starting his own business, where his faith in Christ led him to do business in a God-honouring way, he heard about Open Doors and joined as their youth manager, and, as he puts it, “that’s where my life changed.”
Mike has spent a lot of time with Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, who is well known amongst the persecuted church for his commitment to faith despite numerous setbacks and struggles. Despite the hardships in many countries that have remained closed to the Good News, Mike has taken up the cause to take this Good News to those who do not yet have it, in countless nations around the world. In some of the toughest places on earth, including Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, China, Vietnam, he continues to visit the believers there and share life with them.
When I think of Mike, and many like him, who have literally risked their lives so that others can have the hope that we share, it strikes me that living in a way that seems right to us might not be the reality that others share, but they ought to. There are many injustices that we face in this world, but many more who face atrocities beyond belief, yet shouldn’t have to. For some, having a sense of entitlement is the norm, but for many, what they are entitled to is far less than what we consider less than.
Reflections of life
I was in Bangalore recently, in South India, where I was spending time at my Uncle’s place after several weeks of visiting different villages and speaking at churches and Bible colleges across the city of Hyderabad. We were asked to go around the table and say a word of encouragement to one another. One by one, we each said a phrase until it came to me. I thought of a cross sitting on my study table back home in Brisbane which bore these words, “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”. These words hold so much insight and importance into what it means to live rightly in a world that at times seems not right at all.
As my friend Mike put it, “we have become a people who say all the right words but leave Jesus out of it”. Our lives are often a reflection of what we feel inside, but sometimes, they become a facade of what we want to portray to the world, which isn’t necessarily a rosy picture of perfection. The belief we have within us ought to affect our behaviour, not the other way around.
Living rightly doesn’t mean we have a perfect life, but it does mean that we live in a way that is honouring to our Creator God, who loves us and desires us to effect change in others, as bearers of His Good News.
Joseph Kolapudi is a TCK born in Australia to Indian parents and returned from California where he was studying theology at Fuller; currently, he is working with a missions agency, continuing his love of writing by contributing to PSI.
Joseph Kolapudi's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/joseph-kolapudi.html