Friday, December 7, 2018

God’s Times

I was asked why God allows the wicked or the less righteous to rule over the ones who are more righteous. I answered that the longest reign was 55 years by King Manasseh who was considered the most wicked king ever to rule Judah. Why did God allow such a long time before Manasseh met his end? There are no simple answers except to say God’s times are inscrutable and His ways are not our ways. Habakkuk complained about this many centuries ago. Elijah thought he was the only one righteous in Israel when King Ahab reigned. Most of the prophets were written in times of great apostasy when the prophets themselves were marginalised if not persecuted out right. They rarely lived to see God’s promised restoration. Even Abraham who lived hundreds of years did not live to see the fulfilment of God’s promise to him but welcomed it as from far. Ezekiel was constantly criticised that his visions were too farsighted and a distinct illusion. But for humans whose years are at most 80 years if healthy we are asked to count our days and present to God a heart of wisdom so that we do not live our lives in vain or let it slide into oblivion and insignificance. I too need to count my days.
In the past few months having exceeded 30 years of working life and it was more than 30 years ago I was my own boss before I was 25 years old. I was never my own boss for God was and still is. I am reminded that I could launch into the deep trusting only in Jesus as I did when I practised as sole proprietor and the Lord blessed my legal firm abundantly. I too now have to look to the Lord and again be my own boss but it is not I but the Lord. If deducting the 4 years in postgraduate study I have served and completed 20 years of active ministry on the field both as pastor, administrator and lecturer. From when I was 30 years I have done 20 years of work for the Lord just like the priests of old who were appointed at 30 and had to retire at 50. I guess it is not just God wants youths but in all practicality it is difficult for priests when they are over fifty to climb up ladders to clean the wicks of the menorah 🕎 in the Holy place. As for me, I am way past 50 it is no longer easy to drive for 2.5 hours up and down past the highest mountain in South East Asia week in and week out. For 4 years I have done my dues and I have travelled tens of thousands of miles into remote areas. In fact a friend asked me just recently. I was having coffee with him in an upmarket cafe and if he did not know me well there is no way for anyone to know that I am a missionary to the indigenous peoples of Borneo living among them and travelling to their villages preaching God’s Word to them. Amazingly in these short 4 years I have travelled to some of the far away places in the State twice over. Twice to Entilibon near Kalibatangan river in 2016; twice to Kudat (2015 & 2018); twice to Pitas (Dec 2017); twice to Mendolong as far as Long Pasia (2016; 2017); several times to Sandakan some 6 hours drive. Yes, Lord perhaps my times as priest are over but my times are in Your hands, O Lord.

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