tender mercies; amazing God
For the last 2 weeks, since CS started work, my days have been spent largely on my own. Doing housework, reading, cooking, crafting, an hour of Oprah, transcribing sermons from tapes. And because CS has to bring his notebook to work, it means no internet connection for me during the day; hence, no MSN, no internet surfing, no emails. What I have was a basic desktop computer. When CS returns home from work, we’d catch up over dinner, and sometimes pop by aunt’s for a visit. And because the time we have with each other was relatively short, the last thing I want to do is grab his notebook, hook up to internet to MSN/email/surf during the night.
So from a hectic schedule back home (where I had to deliberately set aside time just for myself lest it be overtaken with church and social commitments) to the present schedule where I spend a huge amount of time alone. And so for the first time since coming here, I felt alone last Fri. (Not lonely, mind you) It was then I wished I could talk to someone, do something/nothing with someone; a privilege I’ve always had in abundance back home.
I was then listening to a sermon tape on Amos 9 and it was about the punishment of Israel due it cos of its unrepentant ways and its restoration afterwards. The pastor was talking about how we could never run away from God; that one day we need to face God for how we have lived. And then unexpectedly, he said:
“You know what? Even if you emigrate to Australia, God is still there with you.”
And at that point, he diverted from his sermon and quoted Ps 139 as an illustration of the above point; how we are never beyond God’s reach; that He knew our very being and thoughts. I couldn’t believe my ears! Here I was: feeling alone in Perth, 2007, listening to a sermon preached in 1970s by a Brit pastor and it was as if God had broken through time and space just to speak to me there and then. I cried.
During church service today, the pastor talked about the different levels of ‘God’s will’ – discerning God’s will; doing God’s will and delighting in God’s will. And to illustrate, he said:
“You may have moved to Perth cos you’ve discerned that is God’s will for you, so you’ve gone ahead and did it. But the challenge now is for you to ‘delight’ in it! The biggest challenge for us Christians is that we are not just discerning and doing God’s will but actually delighting in being in it!”
Once again, God has spoken to my inner being. I don’t regret moving to Perth but to be honest, it is challenging to be happy about it sometimes. The familiar sights and sounds aren’t there. Key relationships are left behind. Missing out on significant milestones in loved ones’ lives. No more hanging out @Starbucks. Having to speak proper English always else you risk being met with a ‘huh’ look.
Yet the amazing thing is God knows all these even though they remain largely unspoken till now. The stoic in me tries to bear it by myself. But God wouldn’t have any of that; thus the acts of tender mercies; amazing God.
Ps 139: 1-3
“O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am.”