“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth — Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:2 – 3
We are now at the tail–end of our study of the book Esther, and I am simply out of words at how God has used this study (once more) to reveal fresh truths in my heart — in my life. It has helped me look at how God has shaped me over the years granting me more than enough grace I needed for each trial and triumph. Indeed, it has been an exciting walk with my God.
One of the questions we talked about during our study was: What differences has Jesus made in your life that are outward signs of your new identity as a member of the royal priesthood?
This made me reflect on my own journey with the Lord, on how I have grown in my relationship with Him, and on how He has continually reshaped my own view of the world. So, I started to make a list of the differences Jesus has made in my life that are not only outward signs of my new identity in Him, but are inward evidences of the work He is doing in me signifying that I am His child.
I have a desire to know Him more in my life and to make Him known.
I grew up in a religious family, and so I always knew and accepted that there is a God. I regularly went to church and prayed, but only because I had fear that I might be punished for not doing so or for fear that God’s hand might be against me if I don’t utter a prayer to Him. My view of God while growing up is that of a guy who controls everything from a distance, and I better get Him on my side or I would be in trouble. But all that changed when I personally met Him during a life crisis in my college years. Life, for me, definitely made a huge turn-around. The hunger in my heart to know Him more and to make Him known became increasingly intense. He sought me out daily, and I couldn’t help but respond to Him. This has never ceased, but only became stronger each day.
I have a desire to pray for people and a burden to share the Gospel.
Growing up, I have prayed — at least a hundred times — over and over again the same prescribed prayers at church services or church-organized activities. I was not really taught how to pray to a loving God who is a Father, and I never really knew how to relate to Him especially since I did not grow up with my own father. So in a way, I would pray mechanical prayers. I do, however, remember praying in my own words during my high school and college years. Mostly, I prayed for my classes to get good scores on tests, for asking stuff that I needed then, or for asking him to keep my family and friends safe in His hand. But even with those prayers, I did not know for sure that I could pray for them. I just, somehow, said them in my prayers. I know now, for sure, it was God who has prompted my young, impressionable heart to pray for those things on my own.
Now, God has placed a burden for me not only to pray for myself or my family, but to pray for other people who may not even be my friend; strangers to me personally, and especially those who have not yet accepted Him in their lives. He has placed these individuals in my heart, and He has given me a burden to pray for them and to share to them the gospel. This inclination to pray for these people is, unmistakably, from Him. Only He can give me the heart to love others, for I know I am more inclined to loving my own.
Lastly (for this writing), but certainly not the least and definitely not the last on the list of the differences God has done in my life, I have the desire to be in fulltime missions.
Working and earning independently are things that I learned early on in my life. I started selling stuff in school when I was 10 years old. I was taught early on what income, expenses, and profit meant. I knew how much I would price my items to get enough to cover what I spent on the items I sell and enough profit so I can at least see some earnings. In high school, I continued selling stuff — better stuff. And at the same time, I would sometimes work on the catering business of my aunt to prepare hundreds of lunch boxes and to also serve hundreds of lunch and dinner plates. I would be exhausted, but I would be overwhelmed with joy when I get my wages. In college, I still sold stuff; and again, better stuff than what I sold in high school. And I also started working part-time at fast food restaurants. I would go to school during the day, and work through the night. And when I graduated, God blessed me with a teaching job two months after. And even with my teaching employment, I still ventured out and sold stuff to earn more.
My life has been defined with work and earning. I don’t particularly like asking people for anything at all, let alone money. So when God called me to the mission field, I was not jumping up and down with happiness. I was instantly thinking about the savings I have and how I can use that so I can go to missions without raising funds. But even that, God took away almost as fast as I thought of it. He wanted me to rely on Him. And, I did. The next thing I knew, I was flying to China fully funded. I was beyond humbled with how God worked it out for me despite how uncomfortable I felt with raising funds. He wanted me to trust Him and not my seemingly capable hands. I know I could have not raised the money I needed if He was not behind all of it.
The desire to stay in mission work stuck with me after the China trip. And I knew, then, He wanted me to go fulltime. I had to give up working and earning. He wanted me to fully trust Him for what I will need daily. And ever since, He has never failed to provide for us through people who have given to my husband and me sacrificially. And we are always grateful; always humbled for the generosity of these fellow brothers and sisters and for how God has touched their hearts to partner with us in His work here in Thailand.
When I look back, I know I am not the same girl who saw God as a distant being who controlled people’s lives. I know I am not the same daughter who thought she could never experience having a father to cry out to. I know I am not the same woman who used to think that she could only trust herself to provide for her needs.
I am a member of the royal priesthood. I am a covenant child of God. I am blatantly identifiable in robes of righteousness and garments of salvation (taken from Beth Moore.)
I am God’s.
This is all because of Jesus, and what He has done on the cross for me.
February 26, 2013