When we arrived in Varanasi, we were warned by veteran missionaries about the spiritual darkness and wickedness we would encounter. As we stepped onto the banks of the Ganges River, which is lined with temples for the thousands of gods which are worshiped by Hindu people, we understood of what they were speaking.
Every evening, thousands of Indian people (as well as other Hindus) gather along the river to worship. We watched as these people rigorously pulled at strings on bells in order to wake up their idol gods. They chanted and sang to the river god as Hindu priests performed a ritual that involves waving burning lamps around the deities. Offerings floated in the filthy water, which is believed to have healing power, as young and old waded in to wash their sins away.
It was all so very troubling. I wanted to run away but my feet and my fear wouldn’t let me. Thoughts raced through my head faster than the children running to the waters. “Don’t they know these gods have no power? Don’t they know these gods can’t hear?” It reminded me of this passage in Psalm 115:4-8.
their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands,
They have mouths, but they speak not.
They have ears, but they hear not,
Noses have they, but they smell not.
They have hands, but they handle not.
Neither they speak through their throat.
They that make them are like unto them;
So is every one that trusteth in them.
I sat there silently wishing I could instantly absorb the 3000+ languages spoken in India so that I could tell these desperately needy souls about my God- the ONE true God. The God who hears. The God who redeems.
I didn’t purchase any souvenirs, nor did I allow the street children to mark my forehead with the symbol of Hindu worship. Rather, I left with two very different things: a greater burden for the idol worshipers of northern India and around the globe, and a revived heart of thanks as a child of the God who hears.
As a result of this experience, I am encouraged to pray like I have never prayed before simply because He hears me! It’s not that I didn’t know this before, but it wasn’t until I was confronted with an alternate reality that could have easily been mine, that I truly cherished the gift of a living God!
I am also encouraged to pray like I have never prayed before for the people of India and all other countries of the world who are entrenched in idol worship and waste their days calling out to lifeless, powerless gods. I am so thankful that God would use my family to share the good news of Jesus Christ with those who have been deceived by satan for so long. He may wish to devour them, but the Almighty God wishes to deliver them! It is my heart’s desire that He would!
I’m excited to see how the living God can change India! I would also love to see how His power could work through Christians who would truly grasp this concept and take advantage of the ultimate blessing of a living God who hears our prayers.
Let’s pray like we never have before for every need, every trial, every lost soul, and every desperate longing according to His will. Let us also plead His power for every nation around the world that is enslaved by idolatry, asking always to reveal how He will use is to reconcile these to Himself.
“I love the Lord because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.”