A long-overdue post. As a Chinese celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year, it is a privilege that feels like we can have a second chance to take time to reflect on the previous year, to make some resolutions for the new year or reset some things in life.
It may sound almost boastful about how restful a year I had while some good friends of mine were suffering in pain trying to fight against time and buzzing around like bees with great responsibilities. It did not quite make sense to me too with what I was feeling as I look back over and over again. In all God’s ways, He provided work and new work for the year. My engagement with the clocked-in work hours easily exceeded the shimmering days I had in the corporate world. I was flattened almost after every end of each work day. On top of all the chaos with new work arrangements, we were sent out! I was crazily planning and coordinating for a mission trip for a team of 14 from scratch for first half of the year and God so mercifully allowed the pain I have had for years for our annual children’s outreach camp to grow into a passion burning to raise up our younger generation to take up leadership roles that God has so given each and everyone of them. Without realising, on top of work, I was running full swing for the next half of the year with new Kpop dance interest group, camp, cell multiplication, short mission trip to Batam and Christmas. All in all, God so graciously used the giftings and connections He had given me, new works were up and running and new relationships formed. It felt like every minute that God had given me for 2017 was multiplied effectively and efficiently. So much had happened, so much done but I feel rested. I am grateful that I participated in what God has done. I enjoyed the fruits of our labour and it was good.
Soon and very soon, I began to feel restless out of the restfulness. I needed to find the missing piece of puzzle to appease my huge appetite for order-there is a reason and purpose to everything that happens. It was good and I need to find the cause to bring on the same effect. It was too good to let it just happen by chance.
I started to realise, we, the weary souls, may all be familiar with this passage in Matthew but far from grasping the Truth that is hidden from the wise and understanding-as we may like to think of ourselves as.
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
~Matthew 11:25-30 ESV
I think I have found the missing piece of jigsaw puzzle to complete twenty seventeen-a very good year that the Lord has given me. It feels like I have found the very key to unlock the gates to heaven on earth.
We have to first become a child. We have to first become a child of God, in order to find rest, the eternal rest. God allowed me to have a taste of His goodness as I was preparing myself as His messenger to deliver His Word during the mission trip, consolidating the chains of events in my life, revealing His Truth. It was a peak of my walk with God, with much realisation of how much He has been with me even when I know not, through the pains and darkness, ups and downs, I found my Peace, my identity in Christ, a child of God. As a child of God, everything around can be chaotic but the ground I am standing on is solid Rock. I was no longer afraid because of His love. I didn’t realise then, it was all good because of this identity in Christ as a child of God.
It isn’t quite enough, at least not for me. This solid ground I found was very quickly shaken. This love I have found disappeared too fast. My heart was shaken. I was distracted. New pains arise from conflicts and disagreements with people, old pains that I thought I had dealt and done with resurfaced. The anger out of helplessness and self-condemnation almost consumed me into the darkest pit once again. I needed help and God reminded me that I needed to put on the new self as Colossians 3:1 says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” In order to have the Peace of God to work out Colossians 3:2-14, I need not only to be the child of God but I need also to see the people around me as children of God. People can become nasty, situations may turn against us, even when oceans rise and thunders roar, we can let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, to which indeed we were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
Yes, I want to be thankful. Regardless of how situations have turned against me, how people seems to have failed or how much of a disappointment I have become, I want to thank God. I can only continue to enjoy the restfulness that I had a glimpse of in twenty seventeen, as a child of God, seeing others also as precious children of God, all to be embraced as one body in Christ as Revelations 21:4 says,”He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Maybe, it is just so-to let heaven as it is on earth.
His beautiful & relentless love makes a soul relentlessly beautiful.