Courage and Calling:
Pranitha and Me

While attending the 2012 Global Leadership Summit, I heard Pranitha Timothy of International Justice Mission in Channai, India. Her bio in my Summit notebook says, in part:

  • Led over 50 slave rescue operations, serving as the chief legal witness in court
  • Developed IJM’s pioneering aftercare strategy for restoration and reintegration, successfully serving thousands of freed slaves
  • Designed and established holistic child development centers in remote parts of India
  • Considers herself “a voice for the voiceless”

These are the thoughts I recorded after hearing Pranitha’s story.

It’s encouraging to hear dramatic stories of courageous saints who are
facing danger,
overcoming injustice,
rescuing people,
saving lives.

But what about the small stories?

Ordinary people just being…faithful—is that enough?

Does there have to be drama, risk, peril?

I hear Pranitha’s story, and I see how calm she is in the face of danger, how accepting she is of the possibility that she could die

how aware she is that her life is not her own.

And part of me wants that.

Part of me thinks I should be doing that, living like that.

Shouldn’t all my activities and interactions be marked with such an awareness of life and death?


But Monday morning I will wake up and resume my own story—
choosing between eggs or a protein shake for breakfast,
checking my email,
stopping at Walgreen’s for a pack of gum,
spending a day in front of my keyboard, wrestling words into meaningful arrangements.

Is that enough?

Is that a life?

Is that my calling?

(I believe it is.)

is it “right” for me to be dissatisfied with my own life
when I hear about Pranitha’s?

What should my reaction be?


8 thoughts on “Courage and Calling:</br> Pranitha and Me”

  1. You asked great questions Mellanie! I think it is always good and healthy to be challenged by other people, particularly from other parts of the world. often our tendency, particularly as Americans, is to pursue comfort and a life of ease. while our calling may not be for great risk and peril, it is good to be challenged beyond our comfort zone. On the other hand, we don’t want to belittle our own calling in light of someone else’s. most of life, even in the lives of great heroes, is pretty mundane. my thought is to make the most of every opportunity and the unique calling that each one of us has. the temptation is always to compare compete or complain, but my thought today is to make the most of every opportunity.

  2. Just like David, I love your questions, Melanie! I have asked them myself after reading or hearing of great stories of courage and calling like Pranitha.

    Of course I can’t and shouldn’t tell you what your reaction should be. :) For me, it’s becoming more obvious with each passing year, that my “life is not my own.” So my goal each day. . .
    –with many ups and downs
    –with the ordinary and the extraordinary
    –with the mundane and the special
    –with joy or sadness
    . . .is to do as the Westminster Confession suggests:

  3. Your questions make me think of Jesus’ conversation with Peter in John 21. Jesus had just reinstated Peter and then given him a picture of the life of suffering and hardship that was ahead of him. At that point, Peter saw John standing behind them. Peter questioned Jesus about John’s future – “What about him, Lord.” Jesus gave him a big “Nunya” (ie. none of ya business) : “Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” My point is that we are called to follow God’s plan for OUR lives, not someone else’s. No, God does not want you to be dissatisfied with where he has you because that is where He wants you.

  4. hi Melanie,
    your questions are great and I think you anyone who reads the answers will benefit. I wanted to affirm all that your friends have already written. What I do comes naturally to me because that is God’s call for my life and I look at your call and know that I could never do that.

    Another truth I know is that I can be brave, courageous and obedient to God’s call in the hard and difficult things but struggle to do the same in my everyday life. A friend of mine who encouraged me greatly during my brain tumour recovery days was a quadriplegic and was confined to a wheel chair for 35 years before he succumbed. He always reminded me “sister Pranitha, you have stood strong through your surgery like an oak tree but the mighty oak tree is brought down, not by a strong storm because it can withstand it but it is brought down by the termites that slowly eat away from inside. The termites are discouragement and discontentment in everyday life.” I know this is very true! I can gather courage to challenge criminals but struggle to be faithful eachday in being obedient, forgiving, being content…etc.

    • Thank you for this encouragement, Pranitha. I am delighted that you found my blog and stopped by to comment!

      Your friend’s words are right on target for me: In my situation, termites are a greater threat than storms. And, actually, strengthening myself against termites will help prepare me for storms! Thank you for sharing this imagery.

      Continued blessings as you follow your call, my sister!

    • Hi Pranita – so inspired by your testimony – would love to invite you to address leaders and youth at a conference in Dubai… I came to Christ from a Hindu background 12 years ago…

  5. “mighty oak tree is brought down … by the termites that slowly eat away from inside. The termites are discouragement and discontentment in everyday life.”
    That is a powerful, powerful word and word picture, Pranitha! I love it and am convicted and challenged by it. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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