i need to do some work right now. but my mind is elsewhere. it makes me feel a bit guilty. while others are concentrating on their jobs, i, on the other hand, am wandering in the realm of questions. and unless i get some answers, i will continue to be restless.
at compassion, there has been a lot of talk about the vision to be accomplished in the year 2020. during the staff retreat on february 14-16, we did a couple of workshop sessions focusing on the strategy and measurement of the expected results. we discussed about the role of the churches and how we, as Christ’s body, are to take part in reaching for the goals – 1) the churches will become a leading force to bring transformation in our society and 2) there will be a community of leaders who will bring about the spiritual movement and transformation in our society.
it was a tough time for me. during the 3 days at the retreat, i had to force my mind to make sense of what was being said. the vision is bearing “good fruit and much fruit” – quality and quantity. through partnering with churches worldwide, we will be able to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. this is the compassion’s mandate.
at the end of the retreat, we were given time to reflect on what we had learnt and to pray for God’s direction in our personal journey as a part of the bigger picture. as we were dismissed from the meeting room, i snuggled into a couch in the corner of the room while others silently walked into the garden or sat by the pool. a war was raging within me. i bowed my head, closed my eyes and opened my lips…to the utter silence of soul.
i was in a void. i forced my brain…mustered my strength to think of what i learnt…to pray. but all i got was a list of questions.
while others seemed ready to leap, i was still learning how to do it. it was a time of confusion for me. the vision seemed too great for a person like me to grasp, let alone accomplish it.
i am struggling with the questions. i am trying to find a foothold in this great journey towards the great vision. i am battling against my flesh and the lie Satan uses to tell me that i’m not going to make it.
we are in a fierce spiritual warfare. how one is going to make it is through abiding in Christ alone.
the good news is God NEVER leaves their children alone.
on the 1st day of the retreat, dr. bambang, the asia region vice president, shared with us the stories of nehemiah and daniel. as doubt spreads in my heart like tumor spreads in a body, the scriptures given assure me that if the Lord is set on getting things done, it will be done in spite of resources and people.
nehemiah 1:4 says, “when i heard these things (how his fellow jews were in great trouble and the walls of jerusalem was broken down), i sat down and wept. for some days i mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”
dr. bambang said that he fasted, not because he didn’t want to eat, but because his heart was so heavily burdened that he couldn’t bring himself to eat a thing.
in daniel 10, we learned that daniel had been fasting for 3 weeks because he saw the great vision that “turned his face deathly pale” and his strength gave way. the angel that was sent to him spoke, “do not be afraid, daniel. since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and i have come in response to them.”
the Lord brings help to people who sincerely seeks Him with humble heart.
the vision that these 2 guys received were difficult. it concerned their nation – God’s nation. the israelites were in disgraceful state. and they were to be the ones who brought restoration. two simple men, how could it be possible?
the 1st message God conveyed to daniel was, “daniel, you who are highly esteemed” – the reaffirmation of our identity. when God gives us a vision, our 1st intuition would be the sense of inadequacy. when i learnt of what compassion was moving towards; of the 4 million we are trying to reach out in 10 years and of how i am expected to play a role in it, i shrunk back. i remembered feeling like fleeing…escaping this too-big-for-me scheme. it took compassion over 30 years to reach 1 million. how is it going to be possible within 10 years?!
but the Lord reaffirms to us our identity and calling. the way God sent His angels to approach daniel was distinctly similar to mary’s situation. they were the ones found “highly favored” or “highly esteemed” in God’s eye. that was the reaffirmation of their identity in the Yahweh. He told them that they were worthy to be His tool.
the 2nd message brought to daniel was, “do not be afraid,” – the reaffirmation of God’s power to make everything possible. when given the vision, apart from shrinking back and feeling like fleeing, i also thought, “this vision is too big for me. who can do this? who will pay the price? am i supposed to? it’s too big. i can’t do it”.
but look at these conversations took place in different eras and see how similar they are to one another:
“…,‘do not be afraid, daniel. since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, you words were heard, and i have come in response to them…now i have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.
while he (the angel) was saying this to me, i bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and i opened my mouth and began to speak. i said to the one standing before me, ‘i am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and i am helpless. how can i, your servant, talk with you, my lord? my strength is gone and i can hardly breath.’
again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. ‘do not be afraid, o man highly esteemed,’ he said. ‘peace! be strong now; be strong.
when he spoke to me, i as strengthened and said, ‘speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”” (daniel 10:12-19)
“the angel went to her and said, ‘greetings, you who are highly favored! the Lord is with you.’
mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. but the angel said to her, ‘do not be afraid, mary, you have found favor with God. you will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. he will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. the Lord God will give them the throne of His father, David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end.’
‘How will this be,’ mary asked the angel, ‘since i am a virgin.’…
‘For nothing is impossible with God.’
‘i am the Lord’s servant,’ mary answered, ‘may it be to me as you have said.'” (luke 2:28-38)
the pattern was repeated: angel sent by God came to bring the message; the human’s utter devastation to bear God’s presence (even when brought by the angels); the sense of inadequacy and doubts (how can this be?); the reassurance of faith (do not be afraid; peace!) and the submission of selves.
it is often easier to write than actually do it. i have kept asking myself how my personal goal/ vision related to compassion’s. then another question came up, what am i doing at church to make an impact? last sunday afternoon, while watching a tv program with youth group, i asked myself, “what am i doing, mink? is this what you would like Jesus to find you doing when He comes back…watching tv?”
there must be a balance to everything. but i haven’t found it yet. i’m now living a guilty-ridden life because i am not sure where i fit in this greater picture. my vision is to serve the karen people, especially those who are by the thai-burma border. but is it related to what i am doing here at compassion? how the Lord is going to shape me through this stage of life where convenience is a big part of me?
restlessness – this is what it is.
but eventually, i will need to submit myself to Him…just as daniel and mary did. philippians 2:13 says, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”
i continue to struggle until today. sometimes the burden of this vision is too great for me that i have to sob out loud. i don’t know what the Lord is working in me and how He is going to deliver me. but i don’t want to miss the great revelation.
in order to do be there on that day, i need to die to myself and let God work in me to will and to act according to His purpose right now.