(Featured image: Taken from the a restaurant where we had dinner last Friday. God never fails to remind me – “Take life one day at a time.” No worries! Cast all my cares to Him! His mercies are new every morning!)
I was thinking of skipping church this Sunday after being discharged from the hospital. There are days I don’t feel like going to church, and this Sunday seemed to be an opportunity to be absent. 😐
But then of course, I still went, because I know I should put God first. Sometimes it does feel like a duty. If only the worship service weren’t that early. 7 AM! On other days, I just really want to go. It is a blessing to worship freely with our church family. To give the honor due Him. To worship Him through songs, listen to His Word. But God is gracious all the time, whether I feel like going or not. I do end up going all the time, and I never regretted afterwards that I have attended the worship service and the fellowship right after.
The message today is based on the passage 1 Kings 18. It is about how Obadiah, the person in charge of the evil King Ahab’s palace, and also a devoted follower of the Lord, protected 100 of the Lord’s prophets from being killed by the queen Jezebel.
Through the passage, the speaker in the morning worship service shared that God shows His handprint of care by:
(1) Positioning people in our lives, as God positioned Obadiah in the service of the king in order to protect the prophets
(2) Orchestrating divine encounters, and not coincidences or mere luck, as God orchestrated Obadiah to meet Elijah,
(3) Securing us in His protective custody, as God used Obadiah to protect the prophets.
God shows His love not only in grandiose ways, but even in the seemingly trivial things. Do I see His love in all things?
I did experience all these the past week during my hospitalization. God led me to the right doctors at the right time, giving the right diagnosis and treatment. God protected me from further complications of DVT. God showed his care through the people who prayed for me during those times, and those who continue to pray for my full recovery.
And today, it was also God’s divine appointment that the speaker in our fellowship (after the worship service) spoke about her experience in waiting for a baby as she shared about rising above discouragements.
At one point, she said, “You do not know what it is like to go to the doctor visit after visit and seeing other patients get pregnant ahead of you one by one. You do not know what it’s like to have your period monthly when you’ve been wanting to have a baby.”
I wanted to say, I know. I know it very well. And I was seated in front, trying to stop myself from crying but I failed. Tears started to flow down uncontrollably, and when my husband handed me his handkerchief, I sobbed. It was embarrassing and awkward but I couldn’t leave my place, because I was the one in charge of operating the speaker’s powerpoint. 😐
The speaker shared how when she lost her first born son, born prematurely at 28 weeks, only days after he was born – how devastated and discouraged she was. How she struggled with it for a year and even asked God how this could all happen to her when all she had been doing was faithfully loving and serving the Lord. Just like the prophet Jeremiah, who after obeying the Lord, being faithful to Him, was “put to the stocks” / punished by being tied up between wooden planks. But our speaker was able to rise above the discouragement and shared how through Jeremiah’s prayer to the Lord:
S: Say to the Lord what is in Your heart. (Jeremiah 20:7-8) Be honest with the Lord. We can pour out our hearts to Him. It’s ok to be not ok. Deal with whatever it is in our heart, may it be anger, frustration, disappointment, with the Lord.
M: Make sure you obey the Lord. Though discouraged, Jeremiah continued to prophesy, to do what God wanted him to do. We shouldn’t be discouraged to continue to love and serve Him.
I: Immerse yourself in the Lord. (Jeremiah 20: 11-12) Seek to know Him.
L: Live in the glow of the Lord’s presence. (Jeremiah 20: 11-12) Dwell in His presence daily and share His light, bringing glory to Him.
E: Enthusiastically praise the Lord. (Jeremiah 20:3) Praise Him for who He is, no matter what the circumstances may be.
It was after years of waiting that she finally conceived. She waited too.
I spoke to the speaker afterwards to explain why I cried, and thanked her for her message. She prayed for me right there and told me that she is committing to continue to pray for us. She went through injections (for reasons not similar to mine) in her second pregnancy, and had to be on bed rest almost the whole time, was hospitalized also, and gave birth prematurely at 32 weeks. Her second child is now a teenager. She had been through more. And she made it because God is with her.
Her story was an encouragement and an affirmation, and truly, God’s hand of love is very evident today, encouraging me to be strong and to press on.
Thank you, Lord, for always taking care of me and Zara. May we always see your hand of love in all things, and may we always delight in knowing, loving and serving You.