It was a night I wouldn’t forget. Dad came back home after having tried to dissolve his sorrows in liquor…it was the only time I could recollect him ever having visited a bar. I was the cause of his frustration and anger. In fear and shame I stayed put in my room. But I could hear his voice booming through the walls of the house as he shouted at mother saying, “Failed in every subject, not just one or two but in all! He has ruined his life! After doing so much for him, this is how he thinks of repaying us!”I did not have the courage to step out. I had failed in all my subjects in my final year degree examination. I felt completely shattered.

It was hardly a case of unwarranted expectations! The fact remained that I had been a good student throughout, scoring cent percent in Mathematics in the 7th grade and almost repeating it in the 10th with 97%. God had gifted me with a fair amount of intelligence that helped me easily excel in school academics, Sunday Catechism, music, singing, etc., without having to work too hard for the dozens of certificates I had collected. My friendly nature and even temperament had won me the post of a class leader in high school. I was getting everything too easily and my 10th grade results filled me with so much pride that I began to overflow with over confidence and arrogance. And it was this pride that came before my fall!
I began to love the carefree attitude one usually dons after coming to college! Making new friends, moving from adolescence to adulthood, the charm and dreams of the glamorous future at hand were all too overwhelming! Instead of being focused and disciplined in my academics, I was relishing the company of new friends. It was only a matter of time before my carefree attitude started to reflect on my academics. I was barely scraping through my exams. I became the common pick for criticism of the lecturers. While all my fellow students were scoring in the 90’s I was fighting to stay afloat at 25%! It reminded me of how drivers on the fast lane curse, sneer and jeer at the slow poke on the road.
With my childhood ambition of pursuing an engineering career going down the drain, I ended up having to settle for a B.Sc. Further disasters followed as I began to fail my subjects. It was in my third year that I decided to call it quits. Just after Christmas, I broke the news to mom. She was stunned and asked why! I reasoned out that there was no hope of me completing my graduation and even if I did in a couple of years, who would offer a third-class pass graduate a job in any part of the world! She wept bitterly, begging me to change my decision and just complete the final year. I would not relent. I saw no hope in going back to college. I wanted to take up a technical course in film-editing or sound recording at Pune or Mumbai. I wanted to grab the bull by its horns and take control of my life.
Mom however did not give an ear to my pleadings. She took me for prayers and counseling to priests and nuns. It did not help a bit. I remained adamant and she ended up feeling very discouraged. On New Year’s Eve, after days of desperate pleading and saddened by the grief of my mother and sister, I turned to our LORD and asked him for an answer.  I felt a nudge that was prompting me to “complete college, not for your sake but for your mother’s sake. Else she would break-down in sorrow and grief that she would never be able to handle.” I too did not want to grieve my mom, who has gone through a lot for us and I felt she did not deserve any of this. I opted to continue my college but gave no assurance of clearing the exams. Mom was relieved and my sister was happy too. Nevertheless, the inevitable happened!
For weeks after hearing the final results of my exams, dad hardly spoke to me. It was during that time that I attended a youth retreat at Mangalore. That five-day retreat was very comforting for me. The theme was “GOD’s Unconditional LOVE!” and I truly felt myself immersed in His love. At the end of the retreat very late in the night, when everyone had left the place, I went straight up to the altar. With a heavy but sincere heart, I prayed, “Lord Jesus, I know you love me, You accept me the way I am, with all my faults and failures, with my past and my present. You love me more than anyone else in this world would ever love me. But Jesus, at this juncture of my messed up life, what should I do? I am helpless without an iota of hope. I cannot even take up a salesman job for I don’t know the local language. No one would even give me a factory job. Who would offer a job to a failed degree student? I want to support my mom and dad who have blessed me and brought me up with so much love and care. I want to take care of my sister and support her in her education and get her married in a few years’ time. I want to be the ideal son, the ideal brother as I had been until high-school. What went wrong LORD? I have not taken to smoking, drugs or bad company. I have been learning the WORD since high school and have a true desire to do Your will. I supported and counseled my friends who were suicidal and desperate. I am so loved by my family and neighbors. Today they pity me. Why LORD? I used to be the pride of my parents, but now…My parents deserve better than this, LORD. Do not punish my parents and my sister for my sins. Have mercy on me, oh LORD, have mercy on me!”
In that desperate cry I heard a strong and firm voice, “Oliver, surrender to Me everything Son!” Assuming it was my LORD’s voice, I answered back, “LORD, what shall I offer you? I have nothing of my own to give you. I am totally wasted. All I have is a failure’s marks card.” To which I heard that same voice again, “Oliver, you offer me your failure’s marks card and I will raise you up again!”
Out of the depths of Sheol, I cried out to my LORD and He answered by plea! (Jonah 2:2)
I felt my Divine Coach cheering me on to take a second shot at my exams just when I was ready to throw in the towel! Incidentally at the age of 21, John 21:6 was leading me! As Peter obeyed Jesus’ word to cast his nets again into the deep, so did I. I not only made up my mind to complete my graduation, but also decided to get another degree in software engineering at Aptech. I truly put my heart and soul into my studies. In my first semester at Aptech, I secured the first place across all batches. That was the first glimmer of hope for my family in years. The surprising result not only brought back happiness into my family but was also the much needed catalyst to break the ice between my Dad and me. After months Dad finally broke the silence and asked me, “Son, on completion of this course in computers, what are your options?” I replied, “Dad, I will pursue a career in computers. I am good at software analysis and design. I feel I will get a decent job in Bangalore or Mumbai in two to three years’ time.” On hearing this, Dad was back to his normal self.
In 1996, I was led to make a retreat at Divine Retreat Centre to mentally and spiritually prepare myself for the future. On my return, I was offered a job at Aptech as a lab assistant and I got my first pay check of INR 1,100/- . Dad was overjoyed, not at the pay check, but that his son had finally got on his feet and started earning. He found comfort in the fact that his only son was back on track and finally taking care of his life. Nevertheless, Dad very well knew that I was earning peanuts and it would take a long time before I truly became the family’s breadwinner. Dad went to Kuwait for another stint for our sustenance. That’s when I also decided to attend two semesters in parallel as I was working at Aptech. So I was studying for my 8 papers, working at Aptech for 8 hours and simultaneously attending two semester classes, one in the morning and one late at night. I was literally eating and sleeping at Aptech! In June 1996, I had cleared all my 8 papers. I had finally achieved my parent’s dream of becoming a graduate! Not only that, I secured a fourth rank in my III semester at Aptech Karnataka State Level.
Our LORD is true to His word! He raised me up so I could fly like an eagle!
So in just about two years I had not only completed the four year diploma in software engineering but also secured distinction across all eight semesters with honors. In 1998, I took a flight to Dubai and our LORD truly blessed me with a successful job in a European company. It was here that I blossomed and grew to reach greater heights. I received unimaginable accolades and appreciation from my superiors and in 2004 was promoted to a managerial position. My ambition to become an engineer was realized as I received all the benefits and perks that were only destined for a management or engineering graduate.
This so-called hopeless case from a sleepy town of Mangalore has so far sojourned across 22 countries making friends with more than 60 nationalities. Many of them are today witnessing the story of my life that rose like a phoenix- from ashes to beauty. In 1995 when all hell broke loose against me, I was given a wild card entry by our LORD! My mark-sheet had so many red marks on it that it could halt an express train! But for GOD, that was just the beginning! Yes, He literally took the same useless marks card and turned me into an engineer! Yes, friends, my work visa for the 13 years I have worked in Dubai read as Öliver Mascarenhas, Occupation – Computer Engineer! That’s the power of our GOD, an AWESOME GOD!
As for me, Jeremiah 29:11 was destined to come true and I am living the will of my LORD. What about you my friend?
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”



Aggiungi commento
  • Nessun commento trovato
Powered by Komento