This Paradoxical God

When I first came to India, I was full of ideas and dreams.  These dreams included a lot of me, a tinge of adventure, visions of dozens being rescued and redeemed, and a good God writing a sweet story with many happy endings.

I knew I followed a God who redeems, I knew I had training in nursing and tropical medicine, and I was expectant of great things.

But God has rewritten those longings and taken me down a much different road.  It has been a road that has seen much bitterness. It is a road that has emptied me of my futile dreams of me bringing redemption to any nation or any person.

In honor of this new skin on the old blog, I’m throwing an open house. For the month of July and into the first days of August I am going to introduce you to some others in my life who have their real stories of how He has used the seemingly “bitter”  to create new space for Him (and sandwiched in between I’ll have some of my own writing). Though I could write a whole post about each one of them, I’ll let their stories speak for themselves. 
Today, I introduce you to Jessica Paulraj. The internet, with all its flaws, affords us connections we wouldn’t — we physically couldn’t —  otherwise have. Jessica is one of those. Nearly every time I read parts of her story, I am overwhelmed by God’s heart displayed in this one woman. We’ve never sat together over a cup of tea, but we share a hunger for Him that makes her feel like a true sister to me.  {Though I’m still holding out for that cup of tea with her.}

It is a road that has brought me to the throne as the needy one, rather than to a nation, to save the needy.

This journey has left me broken and famished for something deeper.  For you see, when mere man arrives with dreams that include much of himself, God must intervene.


He intervened and wove my life with the lives of 32 children in a 4-room concrete house in crowded Delhi. They were children robbed of childhood by poverty, addictions, and prostitution. Their needs were beyond what I could have dreamed of meeting.

So He taught me how to meet their needs by intercession to the only able One.

This One, God, delights in both feeding the thousands and in sanctifying me, His broken daughter filled with delusions of grandeur to change the world.

He met their needs beyond my imagination and He met me, famished, at His throne.  I learned to feast on Bread of Life and Water, Living.

As my eyes became blinded by the bitter realities of this world that prostitutes children and breeds corruption, I was left empty of solutions but full of Him.

I began to taste the sweetness of a blood, Holy, that was poured out on behalf of those 32 children and the bitterness they had walked through.


He intervened and brought a young girl to live with us, long after the time when my hands could have saved her body from pain.

You see, I had read the statistics of childhood marriage and trafficking … but God stretched eternity and skin over those numbers and statistics.

He brought them in the form of a beautiful girl who needed help, and had scars to prove it. She needed dressing changes, hours of listening, and she needed healing.  Most of all, she needed to know Light existed outside of the darkness she had walked thru.

What she needed was beyond anything that I could provide. So, again, He brought me, broken and empty, to the throne above.

And as the bitter reality of the life of women in India left me nauseas and void of solutions, He led me to streams of living water and He gifted me with endless supply of the Bread of Life.

His pierced hands dripped of the sweetness of a blood, Holy, that was poured on behalf of this girl and me.


He continued to intervene. He grafted in Adam, a newborn baby, disfigured and abandoned, on the eve of my 6 month wedding anniversary.  Adam was seen as a curse at birth.  He had no eyelids and his fingers, they had never formed. His face was empty of a mouth and his legs were fused together.  Yet God has taken this bitter birth and made it sweeter than honey.

He is the same God who makes beauty from ashes.  He says to be first, you must be last and He takes foolish things to shame the wise. He gives life thru His death and He invaded our world, as a King, thru a scandalous birth into a young family, in a feeding trough of all places.

This God invaded that hospital in rural NE India, with a sweetness of honey that was harvested in Heaven.  This was a honey not local to a broken world.  For it tasted of sweetness only Heaven’s glory could harvest.


He transformed mine and my husband’s heart to look away from our dreams of how to transform a community.  Instead, He turned our gaze to the offensive and paradoxical reality of a cross of wood with a broken Savior King splayed across it, who gave His perfect self to save a broken world.

Three years have passed. That little life that was deemed a curse is now our son, and that life predicted to live 2 months, is about to turn 3 years old. The little boy who was predicted to be blind is a spectacled, dapper boy. Full of life. He watches videos with his little brother and darts across the floor to grab his favorite toy.



This paradoxical God, who makes bitter things sweet, has moved mountains on behalf of our son. Fourteen surgeries have been completed and Adam is leaving us all spellbound by a God who can weave such beauty and life from such chaos and death.

And the 18 yr old me who came with delusions of grandeur to see brokenness restored throughout India? Well, I have seen redemption. But it has not been as I thought it would be, with me at the front-lines rescuing many from the brink of destruction.  Instead, it has been with Him at His throne, as I wrestle for answers to injustice and ask for wisdom to know how to care for this little life, unformed, but known and created by a loving God.

Our God brought me this little one, unformed, so that my mind and heart could be formed into the likeness of Him.

He brought me hungry to Himself so that I could be filled with that blood-red nectar that poured forth from His side on the Cross. Because that blood-red nectar, spilt from that God man from Glory land, is the only sweetness to salve the bitterness of this world.

photoJessica Paulraj was raised on Florida shores, but she now makes her home in North India with her husband, Raja, who is a psychiatrist. Jessica came to India as a nurse with a passion for women’s health and the right of the girl child.
She was teaching nursing in a nursing school in rural India when her son Adam entered their life thru the glorious ransom of adoption. Adam was joined by his brother, Elliot, 2 years ago and now has a newborn brother Rohan. She is convinced that a steaming cup of chai is remedy for any peril a day may bring and she loves exploring India by bicycle.
She and her family are about to move back to the States for a season. You can stay up to date on life with 3 boys and her desire to see Light pierce darkness thru her blog