God’s Grace Surprises Me posted by Yuen Woh Voon on May 14, 2012
When I first started out to plant our church in Seremban some 22 years ago, God had to teach us about the greatness of His grace. Mary (not her real name) was the first person whom we shared the gospel with and she accepted the Lord! We were really excited because that had happened in the first week that we had started our church. Church planting was off to a great start.
We weren’t ready for what happened next. Mary’s husband forbade her from attending our church (which was only 5 persons at that time) and she landed up following a relative to one of the largest churches in town. We were devastated. Why God, did you send her to this large church? Surely we needed her more. If this was the way it was going to go, church planting was going to be a long, long road.
Months later, a pastor friend of mine remarked that we had to give away our first fruit. Although his statement didn’t seem to make the pain more bearable, it did teach me to surrender to God’s ways which are beyond our understanding.
Some years later, I was invited to speak at this same large church and after the service Mary came up and introduced herself. You know, I was real glad to see her and to discover that she had grown in the Lord and she asked me to pray for her husband.
Still some more years passed by and one day, Mary visited me at our church with her husband who had by then accepted the Lord. What a pleasant surprise! I need to also mention that in the intervening years this large church had twice donated new equipment to our church, again surprising me. More importantly, unknown to them, they had “returned a favor” when on more than one occasion, the pastor referred people to our church.
We kind of like to control things – including God’s grace. We have no right to say Mary belongs to our church. Her salvation is God’s grace. God is free to send her anywhere. That’s what grace is. Bearing in mind that churches in some towns can be competitive, we have no right to receive gifts from another church in the same town. But this is what grace is. Unearned and undeserved!
The prophet Elijah was discouraged because he felt that only he alone was faithful to God. God reminded him that He had 7000 believers who had not worshiped Baal. God was greater than what Elijah had thought (1 Kings 19:14-18).
The apostle John once saw a stranger casting out demons. This man was not one of their team and John had told this man to stop. Jesus rebuked John and explained that His kingdom was much greater than John’s perspective. (Mark 9:38-40).
My friend, God is much bigger than you think! Work hard, serve Him faithfully and diligently, but leave the results to Him. He probably will surprise you! Life is kind of exciting, no?