Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. (Psalm 27:10)
A young woman is about to have her first child. Her entire family, wanting a baby boy, has offered countless sacrifices to the gods. Every Indian woman knows there is nothing more precious in life than her husband and son. Her husband is the one who earns the money that will support the family her whole life, then when she and her husband are old, their son will support them in their old age. Because of this, throughout the ages, all women fast and pray to the gods annually to bless their husbands and sons so the days of their lives will be long and cloudless. She knows if her men are happy, she too will be happy – as a wife to one, and a mother to the other. “Oh gods, I beg you, give me a son!” the young woman cried out to the mute idols. She constantly dreams about the future – she sees her baby boy growing, wobbling his first funny steps, she even hears him babbling. Although he is small in stature, he attends a prestigious English school where he is, of course, valedictorian. Next, she sees a handsome young man who has graduated with honours from an expensive university and is earning lots of money working for a foreign company.
Now she sees her son wearing a tall red turban. He is sitting next to a very young scared girl whose neck and wrists are draped with heavy yellow gold. It is his wedding. There is no doubt they will be absolutely happy – it took all their relatives ages to choose the proper bride for their son. The young couple belongs to a high caste – a caste of priests. Both had an excellent education. According to ancient custom, the father of the bride had to pay a large dowry (payment) to the groom’s family. The fact that this is only the second time her son and the girl have seen each other is normal. Didn’t she get married the same way just last year, as did her mother and grandmother many years ago? This is the way it has always been done to even a thousand years ago. And it’s right. The young couple will have plenty of time to get to know each other later – they will spend the rest of their lives together.
A cry broke the stillness of the night. Finally, after countless sacrifices to idols, the child is born. Of course the family would have been much happier if it had been a boy. The gods had decided differently. It was a girl. They named her Meena. It is a pity, but maybe next time the gods will bless them with a son. The young mother looked at her baby girl with love, knowing exactly what her future would be: first school, then college, then marriage. She would care for her new family in her husband’s house. Only a few of her responsibilities would be bringing daily sacrifices to idols, teaching her children sacred Hindu books and the ancient customs.
This was the pattern for her mother’s life, her life, and now it is Meena’s turn to follow the path familiar to every woman in India. Her life will just be routine, nothing special, she only needs to survive, as all people do. Then they die and are reborn as a cow, tree, man… the object depends on the karma (destiny) which the gods have prepared. It is an endless circle, there is no way out. No one can break this cycle, not even the “all-powerful” gods…
One day Meena tuned into a radio station “by chance” and heard a program about a new God. His name was Jesus. She began listening to that program regularly, becoming more and more attracted to this unknown God. Coming from a caste of priests, it was surprising how easy it was for her to accept the fact that idols are meaningless. This sixteen-year-old girl took off her necklace with a pendant bearing the image of a god and hid it. The circle was broken. Now even the “all-powerful” gods could not change the situation. Suddenly this new God, Jesus, became much more precious to her than the centuries old worship of wooden and stone idols.
Years later someone gave Meena a Bible. This new Book was so different from the Hindu Books she had grown up with! When her mother discovered she was reading the Bible, she was relentless, “Meena, you must choose – the Bible or our idols!” A new powerful faith sparked in Meena’s heart. Trembling with fear, she stretched her small hand toward the Bible.
“How can you dare choose this foreign God? None of our ancestors worshipped Him!” Filled with anger, her mother threw her out of the house. This defenseless girl, now completely alone and unprotected, saw her dismal future before her like a black hole. It seemed to her that fear and pain of rejection would be her constant companions. However, her new God, Jesus, whom she had so bravely chosen, never left her alone.
Years after Meena was disinherited, she joined the church, and learned that the One whose Word she had boldly chosen when she was a child had prepared a great future for her. The more she entrusted her life to the Lord Jesus, the more her decision to serve Him only was solidified.
Meena’s mind often wanders back to the day she reached for that Bible, forever severing the way back to darkness. That day her future seemed full of uncertainties, but now it didn’t frighten her at all. Instead she has great joy which gives her wings to fly. She will serve God, now her closest Friend. She has great happiness knowing that through her ministry many others trapped in the same hopeless circle will find freedom through the Lord Jesus whom she has found. She is now confident she can reach new horizons, before unimaginable, through trusting her life to the Lord Jesus.