A wise man once wrote, “It’s important to understand that at every point of opposition to who we are or to what God has called us to do, we are presented with the options of either conforming and giving in, or standing our ground and becoming stronger in who God has made us to be”.
The journey to fulfil our calling in Christ is not a bed of roses – it is filled with trials and tribulations. It is even filled at times with pain and agony. Many times I feel alone on this journey. Many times I cry out to God and hope that He will come through but sometimes He is silent and seems unresponsive. There have been times when I couldn’t help but feel that God had abandoned me, forgotten about me. I have been angry with God. I felt betrayed and cried out, “Lord, you have led me here, why have you forsaken me?”
In the past, I couldn’t understand why a good God would allow this to happen – to allow so much pain and anguish. Why would a good God reveal promises of His will for my life and then remain silent? Why would a good God strip me naked of everything in my life, simply so that I could fulfill his calling? Why did God seem like a tyrant, demanding nothing but my whole life? Why?
Initially in this journey of faith, I was able to hang on because I knew to expect trials and tribulations. That is what I was taught in church – obstacles and persecutions will come when you choose to follow God. I fought and stood strong – overcoming one obstacle at a time, expecting the break-through to be just around the next corner. Months and years passed and that break-through was still nowhere in sight. The obstacles seemingly rebuilt themselves each time I tore one down.
As the days continued to pass, I began to wonder if this was all a mistake. Had I heard wrong? I started to question God, His calling and His promises to me. To make matters worse, my loved ones started to question me because my circumstances were not evident of the way they understood God to work. I looked at my aging parents struggling to make ends meet, expecting me as their son to provide them support and I started to question myself harder. Didn’t God command us to honor our parents? If that wasn’t enough, I had creditors knocking at the door threatening to sue me for bankruptcy.
But didn’t God say go? Didn’t God clearly reveal to me that pursuing this calling was His will for me now? Didn’t He open up doors and direct my paths to the right opportunities? Why is my break-through delayed and my promises withheld?
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. (Exodus 13:17-18)
God led the Israelites through the wilderness for 40 years before bringing them to the Promised Land, when the direct journey could have taken just a few weeks. God did the same with Abraham, King David and the Apostle Paul. When we have limited vision of God’s plan, the fulfillment of His promises can seem agonizingly delayed.
As I study great men and women of the bible, I come to realise that God is not a tyrant or a demanding God. He is indeed a loving Father who feels our suffering as He puts us through the refining process. God’s ‘delayed’ promises are meant to test, train and prepare us for what is ahead on this journey in pursuing His calling.
God is molding us to be great warriors for His kingdom, so that as we go through fire and tribulation, we are tested and strengthened to fight a good battle. To fulfil the calling on my life requires a greater level of faith and trust. A level of trust that is in Him, instead of my circumstances. A level of trust to know He is bigger than any of the obstacles I face now and in the future. A level of trust to know He hears my cry and sees my struggles and yet loves me enough to allow me to be molded and refined into His image. A level of trust to know that my suffering was necessary to accomplish the will He has for my life. God is good yesterday, today and tomorrow. Even in the midst of my darkest hours and moments, He will never forsake me!
Yes! He demands my life, just as He demanded the lives of many saints throughout history and today who desire to embark on a similar journey of obedience with God.
As much as the destination is what we all fight for, at the end of the day – together as Father and son – it is the journey that matters the most. A journey fought alongside Him where tears and blood are shed, a journey together with brothers and sisters makes it all worthwhile. It is a journey not to turn back from when the going gets tough but a journey to stay on and to die for! A journey to leave a legacy…
Gilbert Choo has a vision for using media and technology to promote awareness of and fight for various causes, primarily the elimination of human trafficking and child slavery. He has founded two media initiatives – Insider Films and Knight on Donkey. His latest project, Knight on Donkey, is a media ministry which produces light-hearted and biblical values based films on issues seen in Singaporean society. With public screenings and collaboration with other NGO’s and ministries, Gilbert hopes his original homegrown films, tailored to an asian audience, will help achieve his vision locally.
Gilbert lives and works in Singapore. You can see some of his Legacy handiwork here.