First it was a friend going off to Melbourne for a five-month student exchange. Then I received an email telling me a church start-up has moved their Sunday service to Little India. Before I know it, that familiar feeling crept up all over again last night…
It is that desire for change. Something new: new place, new people, new activities. The feeling that I need to go somewhere new and do something else. But you know when you are 36 weeks pregnant, you ain’t going anywhere any time soon.
Then there’s always that furtive thought: maybe I can join a new church? More consistently gospel-centred preaching and planning and more like-minded leaders. A kid’s spot before the sermon looks pretty helpful for teaching the Bible to our children. Plus services are at 430pm in the evening.
You see, two years ago I learned this about myself: I can go on a mission trip to China tomorrow if you ask me, but I cannot imagine serving the same people in Singapore for the next 10 years. God knows all these and he said, “You stay.”
When Graham and I got married, I seriously considered changing church. But by then, what the bible says the church is — a gathering of God’s people around Jesus, a community, a family — has so convicted me that I can no longer naively act on my own impulse. God wants me to be faithful to these people I have known for 10 years. And again, the same conclusion: “You stay.”
When I received the church emailer, I thought: “Well maybe I can just visit them one weekend? It’s not like I am really going to move out.” This was the real battle in my heart: Am I going to do what I want or am I going to obey God (and for now, that means — you got it — to stay!)?
“I’m not done lovin’ these people,” God seems to be saying to me. And for me, that means I have no business going anywhere else except to stay and build his church wherever he wants me to.
So here I am, God’s servant with a wandering heart, a little unwilling like Jonah, but by God’s grace taught to obey.