Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 3, 2011

Murugan and the Madman

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

One of the advantages of living abroad is the opportunity to see first-hand how and where other people worship. It’s hard to escape the number of Muslim mosques and Hindu temples and shrines in a place like Malaysia. My daughter Gina has visited several of these places of worship and is learning about other faiths by observing and asking questions. At the same time, she is gaining a deeper understanding about what she believes as a Christ-follower. This morning, Gina and I traveled by cab to the Batu Caves — a sacred place for the Hindus of Malaysia and one of the largest and most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. A golden statue of Murugan, a Hindu deity, stands at the base of the hill. Devotees and visitors must climb a steep flight of 272 steps in order to reach the entrance to the limestone caves where Hindus come to pay homage to Murugan, the deity that defeated the demon Soorapadam. After our visit, Gina and I had a conversation about Ecclesiastes 3:11 as we walked to the train station. This verse says that “God has set eternity in the heart of man.” Gina and I talked about our biblical worldview and mandate to share and to show Christ to those around us.

After purchasing our tickets, Gina and I boarded our train and found two seats facing each other. Within minutes the train started moving. Gina and I were enjoying the sights and having a pleasant conversation when all of a sudden we heard a scream followed by a hard thud behind me. When I turned to see what was happening, I saw a man sprawled out on the floor having an epileptic seizure. Immediately every person around him left their seats and moved away from him. The people behind Gina stood to look at what was happening. I went over to the man and held him to make sure he did not hurt himself. When I looked up, the people around me were looking at me as though I were a madman. Some were staring at me behind wide and fright-filled eyes, others were shaking their heads with a look of disgust, and one man told me not to help. I ignored them all and continued helping the man. When the man finally came to his senses, I picked him up and helped him back to his seat — my hands now covered with his slobber. Gina handed me wipes to clean the man’s face. Before we reached our stop, I placed a hand on his shoulder, looked him in the eyes, and said a word of blessing over him.

This evening I had the privilege of leading the Thursday night Bible study that meets at the house where Gina lives. Students from Germany, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Nigeria, and China attended. I spoke to these students about the two words that John chose to describe Jesus in his gospel. John said that Jesus was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). I told the students about the incident on the train and said that the thing that sets us apart as Christ-followers is demonstrating “grace and truth” in a world of hurting people. It wasn’t hard for me to help the man on the train because that is what Jesus would have done. As His follower I must do no less than to be His hands and feet, even at the risk of being perceived as a madman by those around me. As Gina and I walked off the train I thought about the admonition of Mother Teresa to look for Jesus in the distressing disguise of those who are poor and hurting and then to care for those individuals as Jesus would.

Today, Gina and I saw a giant statue of the Hindu deity, Lord Murugan. And we also saw a man having a seizure in the aisle of our train car. No one was there to be the hands and feet of Murugan. No one lifted a finger to help a man in distress except a follower of Christ, a madman who was willing to hold him until he came to his senses. I’m glad that Gina and I had an opportunity to help a man in distress today and to remind a group of students that we must be the hands and feet of Jesus, willing to do acts of kindness that the world may perceive as mad.


Responses

  1. A powerful witness and testimony, Omar.

    • Thanks, Pam. It was quite an experience. My heart goes out to the man who suffered the siezure. It took him a while to get reoriented, but thankfully he was not hurt.

  2. Omar, you ARE a madman! A madman for Christ. May we ALL be madmen and madwomen for Jesus! Your brother in Christ.

  3. A dangerous, madman for Jesus!

    Let us love with actions and truth!

    Blessings,

    Cynthia

    • Amen, Cynthia. Loving with actions and truth is the way to go.

  4. As the mother of an adult son with epilepsy, I find this story sad but not surprising. I have even seen similar reactions at churches and in the emergency room by professionals. People with epilepsy have electrical charges in their brain that are misfiring. They need love and compassion, not disdain or fear. I teach a group of special needs adults in our church and I hope and pray that when they have a seizure, they will receive the same love that Jesus would give to them.

    • Thanks for the insight, Kay. Very good word.


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