By Robert Clements
Read the headlines this morning, in one of the dailies, that one of those who had masterminded the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai, and who is now in a prison in the US, has had a chargesheet filed against him by the Indian government. Hearing this, my mind immediately went back to that terrible night, when the attacks were organised at different places which the terrorists had chosen, or randomly decided to strike. Two of the places they assaulted were the CST Station and a little farther, the Madam Cama hospital.
Between both these places where hundreds lost their lives, as the terrorists sprayed the areas with machine gun fire, was the Press Club, and in the press club, I was having dinner with the editor of a Chennai newspaper, where we were discussing terms for my column in his newspaper.
And suddenly terrified reporters were running in with the electrifying and terrifying news that hundreds were being shot dead on either side of us, just a few metres away.
Till date, I have no idea how these shooters didn’t enter the press club and kill all of us, which I am sure would have been the biggest achievement for them, as the club at that moment was crowded with we journalists, supposedly mouthpieces for the nation.
But it was not to be. We could not go out of the premises, because the killers used that very road, killing among others four top police officials, whose jeep we heard speeding down the very road we were holed up in.
The press club was actually a sitting duck. It was new, it had all its lights blazing, and would have been a shooter’s delight, and would have been one time when the gun might have been mightier than the pen.
But we were spared, and it’s the act of being spared I would like to address today. All of us at one time or another have escaped major and minor catastrophes and calamities. It could be minutes away from a pile up, or the missing of a plane, or even slipping but not having a major fall.
Have you ever wondered whether there’s a reason for the same? Someone up there says, “I’ve got a purpose for him, let’s protect him!” And our purpose in life after such a ‘protected’ experience is to surrender to the Protector!
After reading the news report that talked about the wanted terrorist this morning and which brought back memories of 26/11 I heard a recording on the word, ‘surrender’.
It was apt. If those same fellows had entered the Press Club with their Ak-47s, we would have been on our knees pleading for our lives and surrendering ourselves to their mercy.
But in being spared, isn’t ‘surrender’ still the password? That we who have escaped, whether it be a bullet or an accident, surrender our lives and actions from that day on to the One who saved us?
Think about it, and you’ll find a purpose for living appearing, with the knowledge of what the One who saved you, wants you to do from now onwards..!
I thought deeply about that word ‘surrender’ this morning and since I spend my time also with the scriptures even as I spend time with the newspapers, I decided to see what others who had escaped with their lives, like King David of yore, had to say about surrender.
David, as you know, spent a lot of his life escaping, often by a hair’s breadth from the attacks of King Saul. Once, King Saul, with no reason, except that he was jealous of the popularity of David, threw his spear at David, which would have impaled him to the wall, but missed him by an inch. And it was David who had something to say about surrendering oneself to the One who saves us from death or a major disaster.
King David says, ‘Surrender yourself to the LORD, and wait patiently for him. Do not be preoccupied with an evildoer who succeeds in his way when he carries out his schemes.
Let go of anger and leave rage behind. Do not be preoccupied. It only leads to evil.
Evildoers will be cut off from their inheritance, but those who wait with hope for the LORD will inherit the land.
In a little while a wicked person will vanish. Then you can carefully examine where he was, but there will be no trace of him.
Oppressed people will inherit the land and will enjoy unlimited peace. The wicked person plots against a righteous one and grits his teeth at him. The Lord laughs at him because he has seen that his time is coming.
Wicked people pull out their swords and bend their bows to kill oppressed and needy people, to slaughter those who are decent. But their own swords will pierce their hearts, and their bows will be broken.
The little that the righteous person has is better than the wealth of many wicked people.
The arms of wicked people will be broken, but the LORD continues to support righteous people.’
Look at that, just look at that, surrendering here does not end with submission and annihilation of oneself, but surrendering means the giving up of oneself to a stronger person who takes over our fight. Surrender doesn’t mean subserviency to becoming a slave, but on the contrary it means someone stronger than we are fighting our battles. “Now let me take over your life and battles,” says a God above and with that comes an unending stream of victories!
After that night when terror came knocking nearby and even before that when in a hospital bed I was told I wouldn’t last the night, I’ve found that the easiest way to live is through ‘absolute surrender,’ and certainly as David, maybe the most remembered king in history found out, it is the best way to live..!
(The Author conducts an Online Writers and Speakers Course. For more details send a thumbs-up to him on WhatsApp 9892572883.