Small Wood 2022-08
There are many Christians who like to quote Romans 12:1 to encourage each other, and I am, of course one of them.
Nevertheless, how could this kind of transformation of mind that is “able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” be revealed in daily life? How could it be not only the ideology of others or myself to receive but the experience in reality?
It is especially crucial when we may transition the living from decades of working life into simple and ordinary ones in old age. Thank God for His Word, which is not a fairy tale; instead, we could work it out in our life.
Romans 12:9-12 shows us the process of mind transformation that is the ‘LOVE’ in our daily life. I would like to share with you verse 15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” I hope this may arouse resonance or even more profound reflection.
Since I had retreated from the ‘goal achievement’ working life into a ‘follow-my-heart’ mode, I no longer focused on what was gained or lost. On the contrary, I will lift my eyes to people or things that surround me; and I became more conscious of some significant issues in different parts of the world. The world is full of political and economic instability; thus, strangers on the street would sometimes bring various feelings. Now that I have more time to examine them through the conviction of my inner core values thus becoming less ignorant due to the tiresome work environment. Also, I could use a ‘pure heart’ spectacle to view them. In a broad sense, facing tribulations of humankind as poverty, natural disasters, or human catastrophes, we may shift from the focus of ‘WHY’ as an onlooker to ‘HOW’ personally. Most of the time, we will be upset to see these heartbreaking scenes on TV or on social media. ‘Mourn with those who mourn’ – we may not understand the truth fully, but we could feel the desperate and helpless sadness. However, we may change this helplessness ‘under the sun’ into action by focusing on our Lord of wonders. Through prayers and acts (sometimes not feasible), we have unceasing passion instead of a temporary emotional reaction. On the one hand, we may keep concerning the issue; on the other, we may act out of the heart with financial support or participation.
A year ago, I joined a non-profit organization that creates a pen-friend platform to contact prison inmates. Since I live alone, I may understand how they feel to a certain extent. They have no relatives or friends to visit, so some may feel the preciousness of friendship. Through the process, I understand more of God’s presence. And it is amazing that the inmate is a foreigner and also a Christian (I don’t know when he became a Christian). I realize more about “what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We may taste the joy and hope amid the mourning circumstances.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice” is also a fantastic process in daily life. Thank God I have the opportunity to visit Cambodia as a retirement visitor. I visited some church members, missionaries,
graduates who had stayed in the dormitory before, and I also joined some activities with them, such as outreach or visitations. Cambodian Church is mostly still under hardship and difficulties, and especially many pastors are bearing heavy burdens and insufficiencies. However, I can smell the fragrance of Christ through some faithful servants and maids. Their humble submission serves to bring absolute joy to their lives. This joy may not come from success but the change in the human heart and the work of God.
I am also encouraged and shouting joy to God ” What is man that you are mindful of him,…”. Psalm 8:4
There is always ‘companionship’ with God before ‘rejoicing’ with readily help. Not only is the partnership, but it is also the pipe to let
God’s blessing flow. Joy is not always triumphant but the affirmation and experience of faith in God, especially in a tough time. We may have lots of ‘joy’ on earth, but we also have even more ‘mourning.’
At the stage of retirement, I comprehend more of ‘What is a Man? ‘ or, put it straight ‘Who am I? ‘ By facing the ups and downs of life, I don’t think it is about gain or loss but about the God of creation who reveals His beauty and goodness, pleasing and perfect will.
If we are only concerned with self-interests, it may not be the real meaning of ‘joy’ and ‘ mourning’ because we cut off the relationship between God and others. The fruit produced is only personal gain and loss. Psalms 133 states, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.” In these dark ages, to fulfill God’s pleasing will is to act as God does with the heart as that of Jesus.
May the Spirit of Truth grant us wisdom and mature faith in His kingdom with compassion and love.