The year is coming to an end and Boy, it has definitely been one turburlent ride.
I recall the day I sat at Ashby Station in Berkerly, CA and stumbled upon Lamentations 3:22-27, immediately thinking ” Oh Lord, Im confused enough, I dont need to hear another lament about his/her life”. Turns out, It was a word to me to wait on the Lord, which I only found out months later when I kept stumbling on this verse on others’ blogs.
22: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
I recall sitting on the Beach alone on New Year Eve Morning, 31/12/2011, in Mexico, watching the waves rush up to shore, wiping the marks on the sand clean each time the water goes back down, with the ringing thought ” God’s mercies and provision are new every morning, What I need for today I will have, What I need for the future, I may not have it now, but I will then” .
I recall having such strong desire to be back in Singapore, and knowing that only God would have put these desires to be back in the country where in previous years, I could not wait to get out by the 2nd day of arrival. I knew it was my season to be back in Singapore.
I recall being jaded, tired, lacking passion, lacking direction, aimless even though I knew that I wanted to be back , to be with family. Yet I knew I was to be back here, that God brought me back. I recall friends noting that my face spelled ” Stuck, frustrated yet not knowing how to get out “/ Friends telling me I am taking my frustrations out of them/ I was constipated emotionally, internally, for lack of better words.
I recall crying out ” God you brought me back, you did not bring me back to make me wander aimlessly, torture me” . I recall attending a new church. I recall finally knowing what it means to be set free from self effort and strive, finally knowing what it means that Jesus died for me ( I was believing in self effort “Read the bible well or you wont be blessed” . I was sleeping all these 23 years! ). I recall that I was not ready to really talk to anyone, that no one understands because personally, I could not understand, or make sense of or express what I was feeling underneath, I recall lacking fire in my eyes, lightness in my steps.
I recall wondering if it was because of how much I hated the job down under, the people and what they can be capable of, was it because of the rent I was paying to a foreign country or the fact I felt Unbelonged, I felt I was constantly struggling. Did those two years take such a toll on me? Was it the added 7 months backpacking trip that rendered me a walking exhausted skeleton? (although I would never change a single thing if I could turn back time, esp that awesome Americas Trip!). I recall wondering constantly, ” what is wrong with me?”
But I recall during these desert wandering days, I was drawing closer to God, especially after being back in Singapore. I knew probably it was a time to be refreshed and be restored. It was a time to heal from the hard years (OK, hard is subjective, but hey, it was hard for me). It was time to hear the Grace Message of God, to wake up from my slumber and live the victorious life. I recall seeking the Lord before making decisions (something not in my dictionary previously), I recall experiencing joy each time God reveals something in His word to me, I recall pouring hungrily through the bible now that I read it without the pressure of ” If you dont read it well, some sh*t is going down”, I recall being shown so many promises of God’s mighty, faithful, powerful Character, I recall finally acknowledging that I am giving up trying to know HOW WILL GOD SOLVE THIS (BECAUSE HE CAN BE ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS FOR LACK OF BETTER WORDS, BUT THE MORE RIDICULOUS AND IMPOSSIBLE IT IS, THE MORE I KNOW IT IS FROM GOD),but just knowing GOD WILL is enough. I recall the bliss and joy each time I get a revelation, though everything around was still the same, still uncertain. In retrospect now, God NEVER forsook me, NEVER left me, Drew even closer to me, was even kinder to me, gentler to me in the journey of the droughts, valleys and desserts. I enjoyed it, painful, but in the pain, there was a certain kind of joy I can’t explain, just the joy of being close to Him.
I recall a job I did not enjoy, and when the contract was nearing the end, I asked God for my next step and I did not want a step without His guidance, and I got a message from Korat asking to cover teaching for 3 weeks. I recall me immediately going before the Lord to ask if I should go, to increase desires if I should go. I recall weighing the pros and cons with friends of going or not, of not having much desire, but more peace as the date neared. I recall God’s miracle provision of the airplane funds. I recall God’s guidance and perfect timing of placing people while I was in Thailand to help me, bring me around and see another side of Thailand’s beautiful scenery, which refreshed me greatly. I recall the awesome last day in Bangkok with friends and finally, remembering what it was like to feel inspired again. I recall being refreshed, feeling alive again and its been 2 long years of hiatus since I’ve had this feeling of inspiration, of not feeling “blah”. I recall while in Korat, while wondering about the next job and uncertainty yet again, God gave me a verse/story
2 kings: Story of the Shumammite Lady who escaped to Phillistine Land during the drought and when she returned, with perfect timing and divine appointment, She not only got her land back, but the income from the seven years the land produced. This lady did not work on the land , did not deserve the income, she even escaped to the enemy’s land, why should she get it back? Just because of God’s grace, and love for her.
I am not sure if I can take this verse literally, But I feel that It speaks to my situation: The Lord will not only restore me back my land ( A job) but the income from the land (the 3 weeks where I could have gone for interviews or gotten an income) .
Now, on the last Friday of the year 2012, by God’s Grace, I am now at a higher place, I am humbled yet joyful to say I’ve broken through! I raise my hands in praise, I’ve broken through finally, i do not have answers still, I still have uncertainty, I still do not know much about the next steps, but I do not worry as much about this anymore, all I need to know is looking back on my desert days, God never Left me. He never did, and He never will. He came through EACH time, He was never late, He never will be. He is already with me in the future. I do not need to know how, when, why. I know He will. Going through the pain of drought makes this break through a whole lot sweeter, especially knowing the fact that God never left me, and each time I had a sway, a waver in though, He gave me a verse, a promise, a revelation of his Character. It almost feels like I was building up a shield, defense, ammunition to stand on stronger, solid ground. It feels like my old thoughts were broken down and reprogrammed, setting me free. My prayer is that not only in bad times would I enjoy my walk with God, but in good times, my walk will be even closer, deeper, sweeter. I will soar even higher now I’ve broken through and feast from His table boldly.
Before I end, and before my journey through 1 and 2 Kings in the Bible comes to a close, God gave me another of his promise today and while I try not to take it out of context, it really spoke to me.
27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He did this on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month.28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon.29 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table.
I started the year like a prisoner, weary, tired & jaded. By middle of the year, I started on a journey of trusting in God, healing and restoration/resting in God. By the end of the year, I am glad I came back to Singapore, took the leap of faith and went to Korat, because I came back so refreshed, inspired, with lightness to my steps, peace in my heart and just the joy knowing that God has never left me and God has lifted me out of my valley and I am going to make full use of being out of the valley to soar onto higher grounds, I do not know when the next valley will come but now that I’m out, I am gonna grab on and go on this jubilant ride! ( My circumstances may be the same but I know I’m out, I am not the same ) . I am going to soar in 2013! I am actually excited ( I have forgotten how it feels like to be excited and to feel it again, bliss) and expectant for 2013 to be full of awesomeness! I have shed my prison clothes, traded them in and will now feast on God’s table of never-ending blessings and supply all the days of my life.
And what I would like to leave you guys with is this encouragement. Sometimes, you need valleys and deserts to walk through, to wait on the Lord. To prepare yourself , to heal, to be restored as you feed on his word. As you draw closer to God, God will reveal his character and his promises which you use to lay up and store as ammunition to fight this spiritual war. As your feet gets stronger while you walk in the desert, you are getting yourself ready to walk on higher grounds, to take on greater things. To rest before something greater and more awesome is coming your way! And the sweetest thing of all, is when God lifts you out of the Valley, you look back and realized God never left you especially on the darkest days, the hardest paths and turns you took. That he heard all your cry, He reassured you, He drew closer to you, was even more gentle on you, He probably was yearning to say ” Just a bit more my child, but you need this now” And the best thing too, your valley is not forever, but God’s promise to never leave you nor forsake you is forever 🙂 Amen.