Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 (New King James Version)
I was participating at a retreat back in India back in 2005 and the preacher goes loud about a message she just received from God: “There is an 18-year old boy from Singapore in this auditorium, and God tells me that all of you must learn from his humility, meekness and temperance”. I am not making this up. This really happened.
The first thing that came to my mind was that I was not 18 but I was almost done with 19 then. So I concluded that either she wasn’t talking about me or she did not get the message from God. Meanwhile, the spiritual reasoner in me tried hard to interpret that message by making up reasons as to why she (or God) made a mistake about my age.
My mom was an active member of the group that conducted a retreat and she knew the preacher very well & personally. After the retreat my mom came to me and told me how the preacher called my name out during the afternoon prayer session. She told me that the preacher was truly inspired by God and was not recalling it from her acquaintance with my mom. And she told me the most suspicious thing I’ve ever heard from my mom: She hinted that preacher may not remember or even know that I am a student in Singapore. I told her she had my age wrong and that if she had truly been inspired by God she wouldn’t make that mistake because God should have known my age.
My current explanation of what happened: The preacher knew beforehand that I was back from Singapore for the holidays. May be she found it from my mother or may be she got it from an indirect social acquaintance. I used to be a very gullible & religious person back then. She hoped that by shocking me into belief, I would describe it at the end of retreat during the session when people were asked to describe the miracles they experienced. She also hoped that the resulting social recognition and acceptance I would get for being a humble and meek kid even after going abroad (kids at my place, usually become very arrogant & pretentious after going abroad for studies) would motivate me to describe the miracle to everyone on stage during that session at the end of the retreat. Had I described the miracle I experienced to everyone, it would strengthen everyone’s faith about how God. So the meme of faith has a high survival value.
(To be continued…)