Faithfulness of God
I come from an upper middle class family in India. My parents were poor growing up but through God’s blessing and hard work they overcame poverty. Both my mother and father were Hindus growing up. Mom and Dad came to know the Lord through their personal experience. Dad in his early 20s through a vision and his Christian friends. As a result my father became a solid Christian and prayer warrior. Mom came to know the Lord through her family (when her older sister was introduced to Christ and miraculous healing of her brother’s abdominal pain) in her teens.
My dad waited on the Lord in prayer for 15 months to discern whether or not he should marry my mom. The good news, is that it happened! They had a Christian wedding in 1987. I came out after two years in 1989. My sister was born in 1991. My parents moved us to the city in order to send us to good schools. Starting at a young age, my father raised me with Old Testament parenting; he always shared scriptures with me-when I sat, slept and went out. He never let me sleep past 6:00 am and used to wake me up saying, “the birds are worshiping the Lord what are you doing sleeping?”
I was a rebellious kid growing up because I knew me and my family were Christian and therefore I didn’t get to enjoy celebrating Hindu festivals or watch movies anytime I wanted. Dad raised us with strict discipline, and because of my rebellion so my mom was to my rescue many times. My rebellion and sin increased in my teens which caused much pain to parents. I was a so called “good” kid from outside but loved sin inwardly. When I was 19, at a retreat I was treated as poorly as a street dog by a pastor. I had decided to watch Holy Communion from a distance. The pastor didn’t like it and asked me to leave the premises. I felt really sad because I was not even allowed to look at the breaking of the bread because of the fact that I was not in the saved category. I prayed earnestly the same night and a few days after pleading with to God to save me from my wretchedness and to make me part of His fold. I was saved that very night. Evidence was a dream and for the very first time I began to hate sin. I overcame much of rebelliousness after experiencing God’s work of salvation. Although I had the spark — but used to stumble in sin often times. Especially in the area of lust. I finished my bachelors in the city (Hyderabad). I’ve seen God rescue me time and time again; from an accident of hitting a pedestrian unknowingly, getting a corporate job in Oracle and many more other instances. In time, I moved to Bangalore for a job and that was my first time away from home. Life was not as great as I assumed after I got the job or the move out. I lived there about 2 years before deciding to pursue my Masters in US.
Life in United States:
In the Fall of 2013, I started the Master’s program in Business Analytics and Project Management at the University of Connecticut in Hartford. Since it was a new program, I did not receive any funding. I didn’t want to depend on my parents for living expenses. As a result, in my second semester, found a part time campus job which was 26 miles away to support my living expenses. While in Hartford, I attended a Puerto Rican church (Casa De Restauracion). I had enjoyed my time there as people received and loved me as their own. I didn’t want to depend on my parents for tuition for a longer time. So, I took as many credits as I could in one semester to finish the program in 10 months (normal duration to finish was 18 months). 4 months before the graduation, through God’s grace I found a job in Denver, CO.
I moved to Denver super stoked. I received a bonus from my salary and bought my first car (Jeep Grand Cherokee 2004 model). I enjoyed living in Colorado making friends and hiking in the mountains. Even though I had been in the country for a while, it was a culture shock to me still that American people in general don’t mean what they say in greetings. For example, things like “how are you doing?”, “thank you”, “appreciate it”, etc. During a performance review, when my manager asked for any concerns, I was honest in a blunt way by responding that I don’t have a good rapport with my lead sitting right in front of me. From that moment on, my lead conspired to fire me. Eventually, I lost my job. That day my world crumbled. I didn’t know what to do. Growing up I never had to struggle for living, my parents always made sure I was comfortable. I interviewed for another job and was rejected which crushed me even more and my world turned upside down.
I began to grumble at God and asked him many times “why are you doing this to me?” and sometimes even “why are you letting me live as a failure?” On an F1 OPT visa, I could not stay in the country without a job for more than 3 months. My parents were always very clear that I should not find deceptive ways to stay in the United States so I searched diligently for a legitimate way to stay. After 2 months I got an unpaid internship just to keep my visa status active. Within a day of landing the internship my car was totaled. I was like pissed off at God and cried “God, why are you crushing me and yet letting me live?” During this time, a friend offered me his car to borrow it for a while. This was an amazing expression of God’s love. I got double the amount (~$9000) for my totaled car (I bought it for $4700) from the insurance company. This was like “manna.” While I was in need, God provided. I used that money to buy a used Honda Civic coupe for $3700 and put rest of the cash in my pocket. Soon, the Lord provided me a job in California. Even though I was unfaithful all along, He was faithful and trustworthy.
I drove from Colorado to California, meaning that in the 2 short years of being in the United States I had lived in 3 states. In the Bay Area, I began to have a great time with work, church and friends. However my spiritual life was lacking. I still had a desire to follow God but I was lukewarm. After about a year and 2 months after moving to California, I was told that my contract at work was going to end. This time my job situation was scarier than the first because now I had less time to find another job with a work visa sponsorship. This time, however I did not grumble at God. Because I’ve seen Him work in life before. I wasn’t faithful either. Within two weeks He provided me a job. A potential employer rolled out a job offer, however I couldn’t start the job because my work visa application was only approved from the previous company. My visa was tied to that specific employer. This situation was like there was food on the table but I could not eat it. I had less than one month before I go out of status. During this time, there was another blow. While I was driving, my car engine broke down. Taking it to the mechanic, the estimate to repair it was about $3500 which was pretty much of same value of the car. Somehow with my gut feeling, I went in with the repair not knowing if I would be in this country after a month. I’ve applied to 100s of jobs and had few interviews. Nothing seemed working out.
I began to tell myself, how stupid I was for squandering opportunities that were right in front of my eyes. Not being able to get a job and utilize time in the best possible way. I prayed to God, “you will always be my God but I want to be mellowed down and just do my thing after going back to India.” Meaning I wouldn’t be interested in speaking to anyone about Christ and I want to live my life and do my thing. I saw that there was no way that I was going to stay in the US. S0, I visited Colorado as it was dear to my heart, thinking it would be my last time in the US. While I was there I met an attorney friend at a church in Denver who wrote a letter to my potential employer explaining how a new work visa can be applied and a transfer would be possible. That employer contacted their attorney and on September 23rd I receive a call saying, “We want to pay you $7000 for your work visa would you mind flying to New York on your own as It would be easier to get approved there compared to the California visa center.” I was like, “Heck yeah, I would do it.” So, I packed up and moved to New York City. Within 7 days my visa was approved.
I got to experience absolute divine miraculous providence of new job with a new work visa. I went through a lot; job loss, new job offer not working out, car breakdown, not knowing what tomorrow holds, running around making lots of interview calls, trying to decide whether to stay in the US or go back home to India.
At every turn, God came to my rescue and delivered me. I’ve three lessons from these trials:
1. To lose your life is the way to LIVE (I had to stand for truth and conscience even when everybody else is telling me to do anything in order to stay in the country. In a way I chose to lose the so-called opportunity “American Dream.”)
2. Our God is a zealous God, He shall never ever give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8)
My friend, helped me setup an onsite interview in Chicago. I thought this was it. This was my last shot to stay in the country. But it didn’t happen. I broke down in tears. But God did not leave me. Had I got this job, it would have been for my friend not God. So, as always glory belongs to Him and Him alone.
I wouldn’t trade these trials for world. It was so worth it!!!
I ended up living in Jersey City and commuted to NYC every day for a month. It was a breath of fresh air to my life and God was so real every day of my life. I hung out with the homeless guys and street preachers. One of my Street preacher friends introduced me to their ministry and helped me connect with a friend in Berkeley, CA. I moved back to California where I was actually hired for. God transformed me from being lukewarm to “Burning Hot,” wanting to live and die for Him.
After moving back to Bay Area, CA in Nov 2016, and connecting to this new brother in Christ I started doing evangelism with him. I began to sense a new kind of absolute joy by serving the Lord. I got pumped after reading books like “Jesus Freaks” and “Tortured for Christ.” God has been gracious in my life and I have felt like He’s calling me deeper; to not be shallow but get deeper. He is calling me to walk with Him and to be blameless.
God is faithful time and again. He always provided and He always will. I cannot deny His presence in my life. It was like He parted a red sea in my life giving me an opportunity to stay here in the US. He promised me:
I will provide and I will let you live :)
Thank you so much for reading this! I encourage you all to stay true to the God of our salvation when things are great and when things are falling apart. To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen!