Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Come, and do ordinary things

Revival meetings were in vogue among the churches in Malaysia during the 1990s. The charismatic movement swept through the land and there was much talk about prophecies and visions and tongues. My friends attended many of these revival meetings, and I wanted to go as well.

But my parents said no.

My parents felt it was unsafe to send their naive teenage daughter to sit under the teachings of strangers. I obeyed them, though I recall there were some tears. My friends spoke enthusiastically about their mystical experiences, and some even received "words of prophecy" about their futures. I told my parents that I, too, wanted to know God's will for my life. My parents told me to read my Bible.

They were so, so wise.

Twenty years later, the questions that used to trouble me as a teen are no longer so weighty: will I continue my education, where will the money come from, will I marry, will I be a missionary doctor, etc. The Lord faithfully answered. There were some yeses, and they were some nos. But all things worked together for my good.

New questions came, new concerns for the future. My prayers now include questions about our children, our sisters and parents, our friends, our church. The list is long. My parents' words still ring true: Read your Bible.

So, Pa and Ma, I am reading my Bible. And I see that God's guidance came in two ways:

1. God's guidance came to people when they cast themselves at his feet.
God came to people who were seeking after him, blind beggars who called out to him, a man who climbed up the sycamore tree, a barren woman who wept at the temple, a sick woman who touched Jesus' cloak. These people knew they were desperate and in need, so they came to him.

God wants us to come to him. He is constantly calling us to return, repent, and come. He has given us the way, the truth, and the life through Jesus Christ. He has equipped us with prayer, communion, baptism, fellowship, and his Word. In order to received grace, we must come. We must cast ourselves in the way of grace.

2. God's guidance came to people when they were doing their ordinary, everyday duties.
God called people who were doing what they were supposed to be doing, a farmer who was farming, fishermen who were fishing, a shepherd boy who was shepherding. When we faithfully carry out the small duties that are set before us, we are preparing ourselves to know and accept the will of God.

You might be thinking that you are just doing the dishes or your homework, just going to bed early, just waking up when the alarm rings, just going out for a jog, just typing the Power Point presentation for the worship service, just disciplining your children for the sixth time in one hour, just making food for friends who are sick — you are not. These thousands of decisions, thousands of tiny moments are chiseling away at our souls, shaping and teaching us to obey, and to sacrifice.

In words of Amy Carmichael, "A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in little things is a very great thing."

Between writing this post and making a birthday breakfast for Hans, the toilet overflowed. Perfect timing. Because there is no duty more ordinary than toilet duty.


Thomas.Laura Tsen said...

Amen! Ling. God is so good! Thanks for sharing this inspiring words. Yes, indeed, in doing our ordinary things in every ordinary day we can see and experience a lot of extra-ordinary things that happened in our ordinary God's given life. Praise be to the Lord!!

Julie said...

I always find here precious words and good encouragement. Thank you!

Irene Sun said...

Dear Julie, as you might have noticed, your encouragement to read Elliot continues to bear fruit. Praise be to God. Thank you.

estherogen said...

Thank you Lord for daily bread, in the dailiness of our lives. I need Thee, o I need Thee, every hour I need Thee.

Thank You for my sister/friend/teacher Irene, for staying with us when the day is spent.