12 March 2019
Thus says the Lord: ‘As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.’
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:
‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.
‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him
Earlier this year, I made the difficult decision to leave a job I enjoy and a team I love. It was a decision I came to after considerable discernment – I knew that I was called to leave my workplace, but it was not clear to me where I was called to next. Submitting my resignation brought immediate relief to the inner dissonance I had experienced for a while; yet I was overcome with a tidal wave of emotions. I had taken pride in building up a good-quality service for our clients and a cohesive team of mission-driven and capable professionals, people whom I had come to see as family. Did I make the right decision to leave all this behind after two years?
I did my best to ‘finish well’ to distract myself from my impending departure. Even though I took pains to prepare a comprehensive handover, I fretted about not finishing all my work before my last day. The thought of extending my notice period crossed my mind even though it would only prolong the inevitable.
In a bid to hasten my discernment process, I also spoke to several people about my journey, and these conversations opened up many new possibilities. Some of these presented as exciting opportunities, and I was eager to get started on this new chapter of my life. The only problem was that whenever I prayed, I was met with deafening silence from God – He who supposedly called me out to the wilderness. Upon reflecting on the readings, God’s non-response was, in reality, an invitation to embark on an inner journey to encounter Him more intimately, particularly in this season of Lent.
I had been too preoccupied with ‘doing’ when I needed the sustenance of the Holy Spirit to lay bare my inadequacies. While I would like the incoming manager to do well in taking over the team, I had not made space for myself to grieve the loss of my team. By God’s grace, I managed to finish whatever I could, trusting that others would handle any outstanding matters. It also struck me that my relationship with my team members had evolved from a working relationship to one of friendship. I am thankful for what I have gained in terms of perspective — instead of rushing headlong into the next thing on my agenda, God is holding space for me to lie fallow and wait. In this journey of faith, I trust that He will provide a beautiful beginning.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Seet)
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You meet us where we are at and know exactly what we need. Teach us to come to you with a patient and trusting heart, knowing that You will give us what is best for us in Your own time and way.
Thanksgiving: Thank you for knowing us more than we know ourselves. Guide us in this Lenten journey, and send us your Graces such that we may continue to walk in faith, especially through uncertainty and uncharted waters.