step by step the shepherd leads me
Ghee Siak and family were sent out to the field in March this year (2011). It took him many years to come to the stage where he could surrender everything to God and trust in His providence and protection. Ghee Siak shared with us the struggles and joys of leaning on God alone.
When God is not in our hearts, the world possesses our soul. I was once a man possessed by the world; ambitious in my career and my goal in life was to make as much money as possible and to have what everybody has. When I became a Christian, I struggled to give up what I naturally craved. But I was convicted that Christ had sacrificed Himself for my sins; in a sense He had invested in my life and I should turn away from covetousness and live in obedience to His will.
A year after I became a Christian, the possibility of becoming involved in missions was raised during a sermon. The idea of going for missions was frightening because it conjured up in my mind, people like David Livingstone and the sufferings he had to endure. What was most frightening for me was the prospect of having to give up my career. My initial response to God was; “Why don’t you ask someone else and what have I got to do with missions? There are many people more matured than me in the church, why don’t you call them?”
I went through a period of resisting God’s call and I felt like Jeremiah. Jeremiah said a prophet must proclaim God’s word and if he does not, it burns in his heart (Jeremiah. 20: 9). My heart was restless and each time I went for Sunday service, I dreaded to hear God’s voice prompting me to heed the call. I kept thinking of what Jesus said in Matt. 22: 14; “For many are called, but few are chosen.” After some time I decided to humble myself before God and to submit to His will. The restlessness within me immediately lifted and a sense of peace and joy came over me as I signed up for a short-term mission trip to Sri Lanka. During that trip I was reminded that the world has enslaved and blinded humankind and that we need to bring the light of God to the lost.
To prepare myself for long-term missions, I took up some part-time studies as I felt the need to be rooted in God’s word. I also went for short-term missions to have a feel of what it is like to share the gospel in a different culture and to a different people’s group. God was good; He gave me a wife who not only shared the same passion for missions, God used her to sharpen me like iron sharpens iron. It took me five years to reach a point where I was ready to give up my career as well as for my wife and I to go for theological education to learn more about God’s word. While in bible school, we experienced the joy of trusting in God’s providence rather than a monthly income to provide for our needs.
God in His mercy also taught us an important lesson on what it means to submit to His plan and purpose alone. It is so hard to remember that God’s ways are different from man’s ways. When my wife and I went for our first mission attachment, we had big plans of what we can do for God. We were ambitious to accomplish big things for Him. However, things did not turn out as expected on our first attachment. It was God’s way of bringing us down to earth and to face up to our short-comings and to see our human frailties.
God took us back from the field for a period of re-education and it was a humbling time. We learned afresh to trust Him when I served in a mission agency without much support, only the support from a small church and some friends. I learned the importance of praising God for His faithfulness, His grace and His providence regardless of our situation.
Jesus has promised that His yoke is light and through the years I found this to be true. We are not asked to do what we cannot do and obedience is the key to know God’s perfect will for us. God always prepares us before He releases us and He has a time for everything and we need to know His timing. The training of alertness to His call taught me to listen, to discern and to rejoice in His perfect timing.
We are moving from a place of security (employment, family, friends, etc) to one of uncertainty and insecurity. Many of our friends have questioned whether this is the right thing to do. My wife and I see this as yet another opportunity to grow in our faith, to know God’s faithfulness and to ‘rediscover’ God afresh.
Is life too comfortable for you? If such is your case, a leap of faith may prove that in God, there will be water to dive into or a trampoline to catch your fall because God never fails. As this is not our first venture into mission, God has and will again prove to us that He is God Almighty. Many invest their lives in their careers, in a comfortable and luxurious life but we choose to invest our lives in God’s plan. My son, who was apprehensive because of the cultural differences and loss of friends, has also come to see this move differently. As a family, we are united in this venture.
I did lose the world but I have gained entry into God’s kingdom. I lost a career but I have gained a Good Shepherd who protects and provides for me and my family. I lost ‘financial stability’ but have gained in abundance spiritually and there is always more than sufficient on the table. I lost my status in the world but I have gained the knowledge of who my God is as I willingly follow and walk beside Him. I have also lost my desires for material things and learned that in Christ I have more than I need. Whatever happens, God will be with us and will go before us to prepare the way for us. Amen.
Author: Ghee Siak (Ghee Siak and his family are now back in Singapore. They worships at the 8 am Sunday Service.)
First published in The Courier, July 2011.