It was a precious time to meet colleagues, reunite with friends, and pause to reflect upon our first term of service in Singapore. We had time to process our comings and goings and even to grieve and lament then things that many of us wrestle with – our personal sin, broken relationships, unfulfilled dreams, those lost without hope, family dynamics, spiritual battles, doubts and fears, and cultural misunderstandings.
Our daily devotions* focused on three ideas: look forward, take stock, and look forward. I wonder if some of the ideas shared with us might be useful to you as you pause to ponder your own comings and goings and your griefs and laments.
Look Back: As we process what we have “accomplished” the past term and look to tell others of our work completed, do we seek to emphasize the value of what we’ve done, or do we see what we have NOT accomplished? Do we focus more on our failures (or successes!) or on the faithfulness of Christ?
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4: 1, 2
Take Stock: In humility, can we acknowledge the losses without feeling that all is lost?
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4: 7 – 18
Look Forward: Are we willing to look beyond this life of trials and pursue a life of holiness, knowing that when we see Him, we shall be like Him, for then we shall see Him face to face. What a promise of hope yet to come, even as we anticipate our next season of walking with Jesus!
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2
Are you, like us, in a season of transition? Pondering what you are about to lose and anticipating what you hope to gain? In the messy middle where you don’t fit here and not yet where you long to be?
Can you taste with longing the new you you are becoming?
May the Lord grant you sweet times of refreshing as you pause to reflect.
… that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3: 20a
*Thanks to David Sheahan for leading our daily devotions. The thoughts I’ve shared here are gathered from his messages delivered during our time together.