We, as a young family, back in the mid-seventies, were blessed with a series of encounters with the Lord in quick succession and on different occasions. One significant impact on us was that of Psalm 119: 97, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” 

       A quote is apt in this context:

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries

                                                                                                                                                                                                               (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

It was by grace that we could see a common bush afire with God in most significant, day-to-day, in particular, difficult family situations.

Our second son Jude, then seven years old, started showing signs of muscular weakness. It was followed by days, weeks, and years of deep pain for both of us seeing him trudging along his daily routine of going to school, then cycling to college, carrying his bag, climbing stairs, coping with the demands of studies. We clung together in love and faith “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

We kept praying on our knees. Praise God! We saw him playing his roles in the family and as a student, with admiration. We celebrated our family times, particularly, our family prayer times. During prayer, he played the guitar.  Jude is no more, but his life was a witness to his love for the Word of God. He had highlighted a few verses in his Bible which became flesh in his life. Just two of them:  Mark 8: 34 - "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”And, Isaiah 40: 31 - “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”The first verse shows that he accepted his condition, while the second became his experience, evident to all. Jude lived his identity and purpose.

One day, our daughter, Shoba, came from school crying, ‘I am not going to school tomorrow; I hate my teacher.’ We sensitively listened and helped her to see how she could look at her teacher, accept her in love and act in love. Such experiences eventually gave her an identity and purpose that she could respond to her High School classmates in their difficult emotional times. Later, when she was doing her Ph.D. in IIT, Chennai, oftentimes at night her hostel mates got together in her room. Though the conversations started with ordinary stuff and laughter, eventually these friends found themselves sharing their difficult times and her colleagues felt ministered to by Shoba. She too is no more but her life of living her identity and purpose is documented by her High School class-mates as well as by her IIT hostel mates and even by a few of her professors. Thanks, and praise be to God.


Sunil, our eldest son, one day, when he was in BA class, early in his first academic year, came home and said, “Daddy, you know what? In my first test in Political Science, I got 35 out of 100.” A long but interesting and insightful dialogue followed. He took full responsibility for his life; educated himself by doing socially and politically relevant projects during the three following years in college. For example, he visited a village regularly and taught English to rural children in English without using the vernacular. His unique service was recognized by IISc. He lived his ‘Identity’ and ‘Purpose’. Incidentally, he also graduated with First Class! Sunil, now 50, lives in the US with his wife and two children. He works for Microsoft. He continues to live his ‘Identity’ and ‘Purpose’. A couple of excerpts from his recent letters. “God is gracious and steadfast. In the past 20 years I see God’s hand in all the roles and experiences I have had and how they have all been building blocks, perfectly designed to bring me to this point in my growth and maturity. The more I invested (first) in His Kingdom and secondly in myself, the returns have been greater than the effort would have warranted. In the process, God has blessed me physically, emotionally and spiritually, well beyond the applied effort. As a Christian, my world view is dictated by Scripture. This holds true professionally and spiritually.”

We praise and thank God for blessing us with such wonderful children

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Albert & Rosalind Selvanayagam