I was told about the intrigue and beauty of Al Kahf (surah 18, of the Quran) and so had been going through it. I have to say, I simply loved the depth and the meaning of the stories in it. One I want to mention here is of Moses and the Mysterious Man.
Moses wanted to gain more wisdom and so went in search of this Man who was called Khidr, which meant green, for his knowledge was “ever fresh and in contact with the life as it is actually lived”. Moses was to take a fish on this voyage which was supposed to disappear at the spot where he would meet this man. But when the fish does jump off into the sea, neither Moses nor the attendant remember to make note of it. As they pass on, the journey becomes more laborious, the stages become heavier and heavier and fatiguing; until they remember to turn back and look for the man again.
This story signifies that when we exhaust our old knowledge and require new knowledge we have a “feeling of uneasiness, heaviness and difficulty especially if we have passed the new knowledge by, without making it our own” The heaviness and discomfort felt is, in fact, an effort of the soul to search for the new knowledge, a knowledge we have to acquire, to make our journey of life easier once again, after being armed with the new knowledge.
The readers would be curious as to what was the new knowledge Khidr gave to Moses. Moses was told by Khidr not to question whatever he does but he could not refrain from questioning three times over, as he found Khidr causing a loss, being cruel and returning good for evil; all with no apparent reasons. Finally when Khidr explains, his reasons are found to be surprisingly very sound.
The lessons were-
“Often in life, when directed by higher impulses, a person does things that seem wrong or foolish by worldly standards. Only a similar mind can see why the deed was done, that it was from higher wisdom, in accordance with the universal plan; and so such a person may have to bear the blame and questions of the common crowd.”
“There are paradoxes in life-apparent loss may be real gain; apparent cruelty may be real mercy; returning good for evil may really be justice and not generosity. Gods wisdom transcends all human calculation”
Hence, wisdom is to trust in God's goodness, without questioning
This Sunday’s sermon reminded me of the above story and the lessons from ‘Green’. In the sermon was a mention of the famous writer Eugene who was considered a ‘good for nothing’, but his miseries made him express himself in written word, and eventually his writings brought him fame. I wondered as to how Eugene must have thought. He had indeed lead a miserable life, suffered from depressions; and I felt that “maybe he never wanted fame, all he wanted was a happy life; then why?”
From Khidr's lessons I feel that sometimes, things have to be as they have to be. Just like Moses, we may not understand why God does some things in our life. For instance, I never understood why God made a 'blindly trusting person' like me, become a religious skeptic; why he led me through treacherous roads, why he closed all options of talking my doubts out with someone of a like mind; so I would be forced to take up the pen, talk to myself and write and clear my doubts.
But this sermon was what I heard, coincidentally, on my birthday, the day when I woke up and opened my mail to see that my book (that dealt with clearing contradictions in various religions) was published in Amazon, a birthday gift from my brother. The sermon about Eugene made me think that maybe somebody would be helped by my book someday and that would make all my slogging and troubles worthwhile. My mind may disagree and say that I had actually wanted a normal doubt free happy life, but my heart says that maybe my soul always preferred something lasting, maybe it always wanted to leave behind something helpful. Our joys and miseries are momentary but what we learn and leave behind, are eternal.
I never wanted this! Why Lord! Can't you hear what I am asking from you? What the hell is this that you give me! These are lines that I, and I am sure all of us often say to God in prayer; and then like this sermon, something may make our minds finally reverberate to the words of this hymn that followed the sermon.....
Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mould me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still
Should the clay fight with the potter and say “.. Hey not like that!... Lightly not so rough!..”
It is the potter who has the final picture of the pot in mind, not the clay…In other words,
it would make life easier when we yield to the uncalled slaps of life and say…Uh Okay, I can't see the final picture Lord, You can......Have Thine Own Way …!