Four Epiphanies

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Pastor Chris was so animated and excited with his sermon today and with his excitement and message, he has brought up in me four points of epiphanies.

Firstly, he told us about this video. It opened my eyes to see what was happening in other parts of the world and that God can use just anybody for his purposes. It reminds me of this: “to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away” (Luke 19:26, NLT). If little kids can be used by God so marvelously, what excuses do we have?

Secondly, it was confirmed in my heart what I think I am to do as far as evangelism is concerned. I will post this at length when I have further thought it through.

Thirdly, Pastor reminded us that there is a reason why we are where we are. The reason why we are in this church is obviously not our doing. Yes, I knew about the church being near our home. Yes, I suggested to SH one fine day to go visit. Yes, we made the decision to stay on with the church. And yes, we made the decision to transfer our membership – which we have done during the recent Easter service. But it was God who put us here. I felt that God has picked us up from where we were not used to a place where he can use us, and be a blessing to others.

Fourthly, I think I can finally confirm that my question on prayer is quite settled. Needless to say, I have been struggling on the subject for too long a time, not so much on “how and when to pray?”, but “why pray?” – since God is all-sovereign and whatever we ask, we ultimately seek his will be done anyway. This was again brought up during bible study on Friday and the group were so gung-ho in wanting to pray for me – that I find answers and start praying fervently. It is not that I do not pray, I do but I can do better. The answer came by unexpectedly yesterday. I was googling for something and chance upon Vitali’s blog. After reading what I googled for, I scrolled down and viola! There before me was a post entitled “Why pray?” God does have a sense of humour, doesn't he?. Vitali said what I needed to hear:

"Why pray if God knows what you will ask him before you actually do? Moreover, God will only grant your request if it is according to his will, but if it is according to his will, he will do it anyway even if you don’t ask him".

What I learned when preparing for the study is that this question keeps been asked again and again and again. I have heard it been answered by people whose teaching I really respect, e.g. Tim Keller, Don Carson, etc. So what's the answer?

There is none.

There is no answer. Any explanation you will try to give will not make sense in one way or another. The only way to understand it is that while our prayer has appearance of us asking God for something and trying (in a way) to change his mind, the only thing that changes in prayer is us.

What did this discovery did to me personally? After a few days of struggle, somehow, I feel liberated. I have struggled with prayer for a long time, but now that I know there is no good explanation for why we should pray, I feel free to pray simply out of obedience to God's Word. And, somehow, I feel humbled by the fact that not everything can be understood by our limited minds. Well, I knew that already, but this time this understanding (that I can't understand everything and must rely more on God) came really home to me.
There is no answer. It is indeed liberating for me. While God is sovereign, we can still change his mind, only and only if he remains sovereign. Sounds impossible? This is our God we are talking about here.

pearlie

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