Friday, May 27, 2011

Don't Feel Guilty About Not Doing Anything

Yesterday, my wife just had her very last radiotherapy session. I thank God that through it all, my wife suffered only minor discomfort. For those who are not in the know, they would not even realize that my wife is recovering from breast cancer when they see her. She looks strong and healthy, so healthy that she has even put on a little extra weight since her operation.

To relieve her of some housework, I have become the "Ironman" of the household; I have been ironing the family's clothes everyday for the last two months and will continue to do so. While doing the ironing in the kitchen every morning, I would be listening to NCC's sermons at the same time, at least initially, but for the past month, I have not been doing that. Then one day, about two weeks ago, as I was ironing, I suddenly caught myself and thought, "Am I being ungrateful by not listening to the sermons anymore now that my wife is recovering very well from breast cancer?" I suddenly felt guilty, as if I am neglecting God after I have made use of Him.

However, God is very kind and reassured me that it is exactly what He wants from me - to rest, to trust that He has completed His healing in my wife, to not do "spiritual" things like listening to sermons or praying as rituals to "please" Him in order to ensure that He continues to heal my wife.

A few days after I had that guilty thought, my wife and I attended Sunday service and Pastor Lawrence was the one preaching as Pastor Prince was enjoying his birthday that day. Pastor Lawrence shared his personal testimony on his wife's first two miscarriages, how he stopped watching TV, prayed every two hours and confessed God's Word constantly, all in an effort to move God to save his unborn child but alas, in vain. However, he later had the revelation that he need not have done all that to move God because God has already moved, at the Cross, and he just needs to rest.

Then last Sunday, Pastor Prince preached on what is earnest prayer from the passage in James 5 and 1 Kings 18 regarding Elijah's respective prayers for drought and rain. Contrary to ordinary thinking, Elijah's prayer for rain where he knelt down with his face between his knees and prayed seven times is not earnest prayer. Instead, Elijah's prayer of faith, a simple declaration that there would be no rain in Israel is called earnest prayer in James 5.

It seems that it is our natural inclination to want to earn our blessings instead of receiving them in grace. So for us Christians, in times of distress, we like to do a lot of "spiritual" things like listening to sermons, praying, declaring God's Word, taking Holy Communion, etc to move God to move for us.

Actually, there's really nothing wrong in doing all those things, if they are done with the right perspective. We do all those things not to move God's heart but rather to move our own hearts, to the place where we know that we know that we know that God's heart is always for us and that He has already moved His hand on our behalf.

Once we are at that place, we can stop doing all those "spiritual" things and just rest. Pastor Lawrence mentioned in his sermon that he counselled two families facing challenges to take a break and watch a movie together as a family, to just rest since they have already prayed and trusted God for deliverance. Thank God, He is faithful and He did deliver them out of their challenges.

So my friend, after you have prayed the prayer of faith, don't feel guilty about not doing anything. You are "doing" the right thing.