Life is hectic in Singapore. Whether you are a student, a working adult or a stay-home mum, each day is an endless flurry of activities from the time you get out of bed to the time you get back into bed at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter whether you are working in a secular organisation or in a Church or at home, we are all equally busy with different demands and commitments that come with the job.
Each day we find ourselves rushing from one appointment to another; attending to one assignment to another or from one meeting to another. It is like a never-ending stream of activities throughout the course of the day. This is made worse just before you go on leave for an annual holiday. It is always a mad rush to try and get everything done before you leave on your annual vacation.
This was the situation I found myself in just before I set off for this year’s church camp. How appropriate it was that the theme for the Church camp was “An Unhurried Life in a Crazy Busy World”. It is a theme that would definitely resonate with many of us.
There is no running away from the hectic and busy life. The demands on our time and attention will always be there, but we must learn to keep Jesus in the centre of all that we do. We must take time during the course of the day to reflect on the things that we had done earlier and how we had conducted ourselves during the course of each activity or how we had responded to a particular situation. The purpose of such an exercise being to ensure that we are conducting ourselves in a way that is pleasing and acceptable to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, and that we are aligning our will with the will of God. To ensure that we are properly managing our time and resources, we must learn to be discerning in what we do and the projects that we take up; prioritising what is truly important and giving up those that are not essential. We have to accept that we are not indispensable and that God will bring along the right people to carry out the work.
What I found particularly helpful was the creative exercise on day 3 where we meditated on Isaiah 43:1-7. The first three verses of this passage spoke to me. It contains wonderful words of assurance. It reminds me that God created me. He who created me and formed me says “Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” It gives me great comfort to know that I have been redeemed by God; that I no longer live but Christ lives in me. Therefore, the life that I live should be lived for Jesus, who paid the price of my sins. Many of us do not experience the power of God in our lives because we have not totally surrendered our lives to Him. Paul exhorts us to be a living sacrifice – meaning that bit by bit, we learn to surrender and give up the different aspects of our lives to God. It may be to learn to surrender our ambitions to God. Or it could be to learn to trust Him for our kids’ education. It may be to learn to be contented with what He has blessed us with (after all, we are only stewards of what God has entrusted to us). The surrendered and sanctified life is a works-in-progress as we learn to wrestle with our sinful and selfish nature and turn it over to God.
In verse 2 of Isaiah 43, God specifically assures us that “[w]hen [we] pass through the waters, [He] will be with [us]; and when [we] pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over [us]; [w]hen [we] walk through the fire, [we] will not be burned; the flames will not set [us] ablaze.” Whatever stage of life we may be, we will encounter struggles and challenges. Each of us will have to “pass through the rivers” and “walk through the fires” of our lives. I will not escape the challenges and trials of my life, but I am assured by Isaiah 43 that I will not face my struggles and challenges alone. God will be with me through all (not just some, but all) of my struggles and challenges. I will not be harmed. I will be kept safe. I accept that God allows me to go through challenges and trials to strengthen and build up my faith in Him. They are given for my good but only if I put my faith and trust in Him and allow Him to teach me through these trying situations. And when I get through them, I would have matured spiritually and would have deepened my relationship with God. If we desire to mature in our spiritual life and grow closer to God, we must not be afraid of the challenges and trials that God allows into our lives. Instead, we should take heart that God is always there with us and He will see us through our challenges and trials.
Finally, in verse 3a, God declares that “I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour”. This is an extremely powerful statement which many of us often take for granted and overlook its significance. God is the one true God. There are no other gods except Him. He is the creator of the heavens and the earth. He is sovereign. He is almighty and all powerful. He has conquered Satan and conquered death, He has the power to save. God is more powerful than the situations that we find ourselves in. If He has conquered death, then He is able to do things that are beyond our imagination. Yet we have so little faith. We act as though God cannot do anything about our situation and we often take things into our own hands. We are men of little faith. From this day onwards, let us not belittle our Lord. He is sovereign and we must claim His sovereignty over our situations and over our lives. By doing so, we will begin to experience His power in our lives.
So what kind of life do you want to live in this crazy busy world? With God as our Lord and Saviour, we have all that we need to live a victorious and glorious life despite the crazy busy world that we live in. All we need to do each day is consciously surrender and dedicate our lives, our situations and our relationships to Him.