Belated amens & retroactive hallelujahs

Dug up this phrase from message 2 of the 2016 Summer Training. I was considering sister R’s story of how her husband was out of the church life for 11 years. She said something that I’ll never forget, along the lines of “If I had known he would eventually be recovered, those 11 years wouldn’t have been so full of suffering”.

That’s the problem, isn’t it? We don’t know. We don’t even know tomorrow, let alone 11 years into the future. So we struggle. We’re bewildered. We ask “Why, Lord?”

I like Jeremiah 48:11 because it explains —

Moab has been at ease from his youth;
And he is settled on his lees
And has not been emptied from vessel to vessel;
Nor has he gone into exile.
Therefore his taste remains in him,
And his scent is not changed.

It’s a sad thing to be settled on our lees, to have our scent unchanged. It’s a mercy when the Lord doesn’t leave us “at ease”. His emptying-from-vessel-to-vessel hand is His transforming and conforming hand. When I pray for my taste to be changed to the flavour of Christ, my scent to be changed to the fragrance of Christ, the Lord is faithful to answer that prayer. He empties from one situation to another situation, from one person to another person, from one matter to another matter. It seems like “things come up” non-stop — that’s because there’s yet another vessel to be emptied into, yet more self to go out and more Christ to come in.

It’s never easy in the situation. A situation like not having our listing sold after nearly 3 months and 2 price drops. But, after the fact, it’s all so clear: “Wow, the Lord really knew what He was doing.” And so come the belated amens and retroactive hallelujahs.

The funny thing is, we forget so quickly. After having witnessed the Lord’s marvellous hand time and time again, I still am of so little faith. Oh Lord! I don’t want Your lessons to go unlearned. How I need You to make known to me not only Your acts but also Your ways (Psalm 103:7), so that I would worship You and Your ways — not just after the fact but before I see the end.




J’ai juste fini d’écouter le cinquième message de la Formation ITERO récente, en français. Frère MR a beaucoup accentué le grand point II, à propos d’aimer notre Seigneur Jésus Christ dans l’incorruptibilité (Éphésiens 6.24). C’est quoi, aimer dans la corruptibilité ? C’est, par exemple, aimer dans l’orgueil (comme Pierre), aimer dans l’ambition (comme Frère et Jacques et leur mère). C’est simplement aimer en moi-même, dans ma vie naturelle. Cet amour est du “miel”, qui ferment et devient du levain.

J’ai déjà une expérience de ceci. LL, qui je connais depuis mon temps à Edmonton et qui était ma companion à la Formation, a commencé à m’ennuyer à cause de son “flakiness”. Elle semblait de vouloir un rendez-vous, mais elle ne répond jamais jusqu’à j’ai déjà fait des autres projets. Elle doit me rencontrer pour me donner le carte de SL, mais elle ne répond jamais et semble vouloir le garder le plus longtemps possible. Et, juste comme ça, je ne peux plus l’aimer comme autrefois. Si ce n’est pas de miel, alors c’est quoi le miel?

O Seigneur ! Mon amour pour les saints — et même pour Toi — est tout à fait conditionnelle, naturelle, inconstante. Je voudrais savoir ce qu’est aimer dans l’incorruptibilité, dans Ta propre nature d’amour. Fais-moi le même que Toi dans la vie et la nature — pour que je n’abîmerai pas Ton bâtiment avec du bois, du foin, du chaume.

God causes the growth

2 weeks ago, CH received the Lord at PS’s place — the 2nd time I brought him there. I really considered it sovereign of the Lord to remind me out of the blue to contact this classmate. Not knowing how to take care of this “newborn” but wanting to practice one-on-one nourishing, I began to send him a paragraph from the HWMR “Topics for New Believers” every morning. Over the past weekend, however, he said that he’s “not that into this stuff”. I guess that broke my heart a little, despite my knowing in theory and from experience that new ones aren’t generally born with big appetites.

PS’s fellowship with me over the phone was basically to take all pressure off. If he’s hungry, that’s the Lord’s mercy, and we do our part to feed. If he’s not right now, there’s no pressure. Don’t put a time limit on someone’s growth — e.g. “before I head to the Training”. We can’t cause the growth. Let the Lord do it.

That was a hard word to take because it savoured so much of passivity. But I needed the reminder — that “it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy” (Rom. 9:16). Lord, I honour and worship You as the Selector. It’s purely of Your mercy that I seek You, love You. Save me from overstepping Your sovereignty. I ask for Your mercy on these ones You’ve put around me — have mercy on them even as Your mercy reached me.

Assurance of faith

Someone said something to me today to the effect of, “Are you sure the Lord wants you to go at this time?” So I thought I’d better write down the experience before I forget.

Before I contacted Dr. CR on January 8th in request of an appointment to re-discuss the possibility of a LoA, I asked for the saints’ prayer in this way: “If this is His will and timing, may the details be worked out and my parents be at peace. If not, I’d like to accept that without any disappointment.” So it was different from September 2016, when I begrudged the Lord for putting me through an arduous process but not letting it go through. It was an opportunity — the last within the 4 years — and I just left it up to the Lord to open or close the door. The refrain in my heart was, and still is,

She took opportunity / To love You, Lord, with her best.

Dr. CR was supportive as always and observed that I had “clearly thought this through”. She did mention, however, that the special phenomenon this year of reaching class capacity could happen again next year.

I took some time to consider whether and how to write my letter to Dr. AS; my draft was reviewed by Dr. CR on January 17. The approval came only a day after I sent my letter, on the 19th. I took this as a confirmation from the Lord. In hindsight, I wonder whether my request was the “solution” to a class capacity issue.

The next hurdle would be my parents. Sr EC and br WSC suggested that I ask for a “guarantee” in writing that I would be able to return in 2019, which could further reassure my parents. This, however, was not to be borne: Dr. AS wrote back within minutes to say that he could not make such a promise. This was January 23rd.

At the moment of seeing that response, one could say that my faith “deflated”. I was instantly filled with all kinds of fears of the worst possibilities. I wrote to sr Esther: “I feel that I don’t yet have the full assurance of faith… Especially yesterday I felt the enemy was throwing a lot of doubts at me. I need the Lord to speak a definite word if He wants me to take this step.”

Well, the Lord knew how deep of a pit I had fallen into because, funny enough, right around that time br PD responded to my message from the night before asking whether I could call him.

That fellowship was my salvation. I’ll never forget when he asked along the lines of

If I gained the world and lost my Saviour / Were my life worth living for a day?

But I was just so fearful. When he asked “What do you want?”, I could say nothing except “…I don’t know.” Looking back, that felt like my Peter-denying-the-Lord moment. Br PD said, “If everything is perfectly smooth-sailing, then what need is there for you to contact the Lord?” And that’s how I later looked at it, but it didn’t convince me at the time.

But then my precious brother/spiritual father led me to pray-read. Romans 8, of all places.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery bringing you into fear again, but you have received a spirit of sonship in which we cry, Abba, Father!

The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God.

And if children, heirs also; on the one hand, heirs of God; on the other, joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed upon us.

For the anxious watching of the creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God.

By the end, even my heavy-running tears couldn’t hold back my released spirit. I’m a son of God! Why should I be brought into fear again? God has made me His child, and He’s making me His heir! What in the present time could be worthy to be compared with that coming glory?

That was faith-infusion at its best. I then went into my “private room” and wept, more for my lack of faith in the faithful One than anything else. He then gave me these verses:

“Behold, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been manifested what we will be. We know that if He is manifested, we will be like Him because we will see Him even as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

“We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

“And the grace of our Lord superabounded with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 1:14)

Oh, what a God He is, and how I need to see Him as He is! This One loved me — otherwise how could I even dream of being for Him? Where fear formerly abounded, grace has superabounded!

And, very honestly, my anxiety about not being able to return just dissipated. I knew I still needed to talk to my parents, but I was no longer inside the “suction vacuum” of the enemy’s well-woven lies. Two days later, on the 25th, I wrote to sr Esther: “I’m much more at peace now. 2 Cor. 5:7 we walk by faith, not by appearance. This is an opportunity for the Lord to increase as faith in me. Praise Him, He is the Author and Perfector of our faith!”

Talking to my parents was, of course, my biggest anxiety. The shadows of the hurtful things that had been said in May and September of 2016 still hung there. I was in a bit of a limbo because I thought I had plenty of time to wait before being “ready” to have the conversation, which almost made it harder because the thought would linger at the back of my mind.

But then, the Year 3 track results came out.

(to be continued…)






Source article here. Key phrases in red.










在人际关系里面,成熟的人就是「take the first step 」采取主动的人。夫妻两人吵架,吵完以后,谁会先去跟对方讲话?那个成熟的人!那个不成熟的人就摆一个臭脸。我们跟父母之间的关系也是一样,如果我们要成熟,我们就要主动。

















This is one of the articles KL sent me way back in 2014 — I’m only just reading them now, and my next few posts will all be from that thread. This one isn’t directly relevant to our fellowship at the time, but it is about choices…

See article source here.