What was, what is, and what is to come

Processing time before a new week of school begins … first of all am thankful that three papers were submitted on demand! And then:

  • Set aside homework on Thursday night for something called Life Group by my Sunday church (Saturday church is where I serve for my field education), basically a small group meeting. Oh boy, was it worth it. Though the meeting started with no agenda, it slowly but surely made its way towards addressing a shared problem — anger and forgiveness. Specially, what to make of Ephesians 4:26–27: “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.” Awed by what happens when a bunch of folks share of themselves courageously and submit to having their hearts searched by the word of God. For myself, I came up against the nasty habit I used to have of installing someone as my “nemesis” at each of my workplaces, a pattern that was only cured by the power of God. Thanks to a wise word by my pastor, I looked back to see if there was a particular quality shared by the nemeses, and realised that all of them were basically failed leaders. They weren’t at Boss level, but had been given a position of leadership which I perceived them as flubbing because of poor character. Perhaps this speaks of a deep-seated fear of being a failed leader myself. But I see now that I’d put too much hope in fallible humans; I’d yet to learn that people will always disappoint you, and even you will disappoint yourself, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when this happened.
  • Friday saw an immense talk on social justice and missions by a lecturer. The immensity was not just in the content — which started with John Stott’s question on the relation between the great commission and the great commandment, drove through Chris Wright’s statement that the greatest hindrance to world missions is God’s own people, and ended with the call to consider how justice and just relationships are what God first asks of us; there is nothing magnetic about us if we do not lead a lifestyle of justice and righteousness; we need shalom among ourselves if the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be seen as good news. The immensity was also in the context — the lecturer, a missionary and scholar, had intended to focus purely on the social justice aspect, but Scripture itself pointed deeper towards the spiritual blindness that is within the church itself, and he had the humility to surrender to what God’s word actually says instead of pushing the initial agenda. The message was all the more powerful for that. I pray that both sets of lessons will be driven deep in me.
  • Saturday was a mixed blessing. Learnt about human nature and the need to reflect God’s grace, but also learnt how wonderful it is when human potential is realised in Jesus’ name. Focusing on the positive: my field education supervisor gave a Rock-steady sermon on what it means to pray with faith — it involves having faith in God (not in faith itself, natural laws or yourself), praying in faith (when we pray in His will, which we know through His word), not doubting (which is the same as not having prayed at all, even if you’d prayed in faith), and believing rather than merely hoping (by not treating prayer like a lottery ticket — know the Father’s heart and pray that).
  • A week like this had to end in a Big Sunday, and it sure was a doozy. Got huge doses of truth all across the watchtower and awoke to the realisation of God’s perfect, impeccable, faultless timing, despite my best attempts to thwart it. No need for details here but suffice to say, in God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son are grace, mercy, peace, truth and love. Life is never dull when you get to see through undimmed eyes. Fill ‘er up with light!
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