I found this unposted draft dated 29 March 2009.
This year, I started attending Every Nation Leadership Institute (ENLI) classes at church to be equipped as a disciple, and to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
I was initially quite reluctant to join because 1, it costs money and time I’d rather spend doing assignments, and 2, I thought it would be very dry and boring: I’ve read the bible cover to cover and I didn’t see why I couldn’t continue studying the bible on my own.
I’ve been proven wrong. I have learnt a lot through the sessions and it’s been exciting to learn about how God warned people about the Great Flood and actually gave them a long, long time – 969 years to be exact – to repent; why he destroyed the earth in the flood; the mistakes Abraham made and still lived to be called ‘righteous’ by God because he was full of faith. There were interesting discussions about inconclusive issues and it’s just been a fun time of discovering how the story of God’s grace unfolds. I never realized so many things reading the bible on my own. I also learnt how to do word studies using the Strong concordance and Greek and Hebrew lexicons to find out the deeper and richer meanings of the word. I’m certainly better equipped to be a student of the Bible now. What’s great about all this is not that I become a better historian, but that I am able to appreciate the dealings of God in a more tangible way and see His word come alive.
This morning, my dear friend broke down into huge sobs. Her mum is in the final stages of cancer and is currently in critical condition. Now, graced with God’s peace, my friend has been strong for many months as she watched her mum go through surgery after surgery. But as she collasped into a heap this morning, I felt pathetically helpless.
I don’t like to feel helpless, I like to be in control. I like to know that I have sufficient time to complete my assignments, I like to know exactly what I’ll be doing tomorrow, day after tomorrow, next week. We all do, to different extents – we look for jobs with security. We tighten our control over material things, plan meticulously about the future, and try to dictate other people’s actions.
But the longer we live, the clearer it becomes that not everything can be predicted or changed. Our world can crumble around us just like that. What happens then?
Yes I’ve heard the religion-is-opium-of-the-masses argument, that people worship in order to delude themselves into a false sense of security, and how some atheists think this is comforting but pointless. But I’m not interested in that (interesting) debate today.
When disaster strikes, how, really, do you react? Some of us seemingly overcome things on our own, but our heart hardens. We lose our ability to laugh and love and trust. Some of us succumb because we lack the strength. Do you have a peace that surpasses all understanding to carry you through your storm, so that you emerge better, and not bitter?
2 Chr 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
God promises to show Himself strong on behalf of you if your heart is loyal to Him. Ask God to grow that loyalty in you. Stand on this word, and hold God to it. He can turn every circumstance in your life into something that glorifies His name. And ultimately, He promises a day when He will wipe every tear away from our eyes.
* * *
What I’ve also realized since writing that (edited) post a year ago, is that an unwavering trust in God is not something you get just by listening to charismatic preachers or reading inspiring messages. I realized that events could pump and psych me temporarily, but my faith needed more than that to grow steadfast and strong. And I don’t really have it yet.