Thank you all for all your emails, sms-es and even calls. Whee Ling and I appreciate all the care and concern shown by many of you. We are so blessed and have received so much love from the body of Christ at large in Singapore and all over the world. It is a time, a time in our lives where we are learning to receive God's goodness and blessings through you. Initially, it was a little difficult, especially for us leaders who are so used to so-called giving. But learning to receive is important as well. I believe,God is using this time to refresh our spirits - especially having served in the ministry for the past 15 years for me in the pastorate without any sabbatical.God is also calling me to a season of rest in Him.
Today, I want to share with you 2 things that God is doing at this time of my life:
As I sought the Lord, I believe:
1. God is calling me to a season of rest/Sabbatical in Him.
2. God is doing a great work in my family of origin.
1. Season of Rest
You know resting is tough. Singaporeans are busy people. We run from place to place to run errands; meetings and even shopping. Especially for men. Men find great significance in our work. It reveals our great dependence on what we do for our identity. Everybody wants to do well and finish life well. And success is so important to us, especially in this little small country called 'Temasek/meaning small' that tries to be significant int this huge world that we live in.
Stepping into the world of cancer changed my whole life - my outlook in life and my lifestyle. It is very strange - it's all in the mind. Suddenly you find yourself viewing life from a very different perspective - especially in the light of eternity. Because I know that one cannot bring anything into the box when one passes on - our wealth/possesions and our work/positions. Nothing! But it is real.When faced with life's traumas or critical losses like failing health or loss of wealth; job or even important relationships, one is forced to rearrange his whole lifestyle. Such changes affect men deeply at his ego and being.It affected me.
That's what happened to me. While I know that God is Sovereign, the waiting upon Him has not been easy.While God has spoken since the beginning of the illness from Psm 27:13-14 - that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the living,it has not been easy trying to learn to wait upon Him; waiting for the healing; waiting for His will and His purpose to unfold. The waiting for everything to be over. The waiting to soar like the eagle. In waiting, I felt lousy that my whole life is 'on hold'. And soon my heart became weary - weary of just focus on looking after Josh the whole day and just doing all the so-called mundane things at home. Weary because I do not have the strength to do many things during the day as I can be very tired by late afternoon. As a result, I began to deel insignificant that I have become ineffective ang have to let go of many things that I was doing and planned to do, especially in the new church that I started in April 2003. Loosing a position feels like a small death though I know in my spirit that this is God is at work in my life.By the grace of God, He used Phil 1 verse 18 to enable me to let go. Paul was in jail and there were people who began to preach Christ out of wrong motives and selfish ambition. But Paul, the Apostle, who is definitely Spirit-filled, said "But does it really matter?". That helped me to understand that nothing belongs to me in this world.
A few weeks before I was hospitalized, I went to the beach at Bedok Jetty-the usual place where I take my morning walks before fetching Josh from the school at 11am. Usually I will walk, and as I walk, I talk to the Lord and allow Him to speak to me. Then I will stop to ponder on what he has spoken to my heart - very often bringing back scripture/s that the Holy Spirit brings to rememberance.(John 14:26)
That morning, I told God many things that were long in my heart. I told him the cries of my heart.Then He spoke to me. The Holy Spirit brought John 17:3 to my mind. I said, "I know all about this verse. It's about eternal life right - that is to know you, the true God". I said," knowing You has been my desire, but about now, I need to know what you are up to. I am getting listless and tired."
Just then, the Lord spoke this Rhema word to me. He said, "I am your Father and Know me as a son and I will show you how to father Josh as I father you." Wow! That was profound. Jesus came primary to reveal His father to His disciples and the world.I learn that my main role is to reveal God the Father to Josh. Fathering is one of the most important tasks on the face of the earth. That's an awesome task. Suddenly, my spirit was awakened by this word. It's a great job! A good job too!I told God that I want to be the best father I can be to Josh as He fathers me.
You know, many of us have seen the children, especially the sons, of many pastors who have gone astray because we've spent too much time in the ministry. To me, I can try to save the whole for Jesus, but may loose my very own son. That's not sacrifice. That's neglect.In the end, one has to do more curative work, rather than preventive. So, I am thankful for the word from God - to pour all that I am and I have on Josh and let God impart upon Him all that He wants josh to become. Now that I got heard from the Lord and the facts into perspective. I realized that position or posessions do not define who we are. I learned that even if a man does not have position, there is something more significant - his personal influence.While it is true that position; performance; power or posessions can weild influence, the influence of person ( who you are) is the most valuable. While influence may be lost once your postion, power, performance and poseesions are removed, who you are can be never.God can us me to love,influence and place a special impartation of God's blessings upon Josh and to influence the hearts of many for His glory - especially in sharing the goodness of God thru this illness and what God is doing in my family.
Therefore,I covet your prayers for me in this area - that this season will be a time for deepening my walk with the only true God and father and that I will father Josh with His great, undying love.It's all about intimacy with my Father above and my son here on earth.
" Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the Only True God,and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." John 17:3
2. Family Prayer Meeting:
My family of origin/Ong family meet monthly to bond and to pray for each other. We have done this for a while now. What used to be an awkward time for many of us has become a place where we see the transforming grace of God do a great work in each one.
In this meeting, we worship together as a family. In this place, we share our needs and pray for each other. During this time,we intercede for those in our family that have yet to come to receive Jesus as their Saviour and Lord. By the grace of God, many in our family have come to the Lord. I am glad to inform you that the children of our youngest sister are attending a children ministry where they are enjoying themselves as they learn the things of God.
Also, a 9 year-old nephew of mine brought a friend his age to join us in the gathering. At the end of it, he told us that his friend wanted to believe in Jesus. We are all very happy to share with you that Jeremy had the opportunity and priviledge to bring Rose to the saving knowledge of God personally that night. It's happening! And we know that God is in our midst and will continue to work a wonder in this family.
Finally, we were so blessed to have an American,lovely couple who came to encourage us. They are the directors of a missionary organisation. And had come to share the joy of what God is doing in our family all these years. They also encouraged us to release my youngest brother and his family to return to the mission field where he had been a tent-maker for 3 years. We believe God will use him and his family to serve and build many families there and enlarge God's territory in the families in that land.
God is at work in the Ong family. He is at work in us and will answer the prayers we offer to Him - especially that of reclaiming the souls and salvation of those in our immediate family that have yet to turn their hearts to Jesus.
Well, so much has been shared. Thank you for bearing with me. I simply pour out what's in my heart to share with you this journey that God is bringing my family through. It is our prayer that God will use this blog to encourage and stir your heart to keep looking to our Amazing God as we learn to look to Him in all our circumstances - especially in bringing your own unsaved loved ones in your family.
Thank you once again for praying with us.
"All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him,
for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations".
Psalm 22: 27-28