Sermon Reflection

Sermon Reflection: Love Goes the Distance

Contributed by Wendy ML Tan • May 28, 2024

How is it Father, that for the past few weeks, You have been answering my every whim and fancies, my every prayer that is uttered aloud or silently thought of? How is it that you have averted me from any disasters or unpleasant situations that I could only imagine possible if You had not been present?

I could have suffered tearily if I had attended Celebrations at Dream Centre during the Mothers’ Day weekend. You caused that extraordinary torrent rain, preventing me from leaving the house. It only dawned on me when the cautionary message came in that our church was giving out real daisies to mothers. What a wonderful gift though for me, the thought of the aroma of a thousand pollen filling the auditorium air was exhausting. That simple photograph was also Your way of telling me to put on a face mask before Sunday’s Celebration at Puchong.

Then, there were the two occasions when I needed to buy cakes, on separate Friday nights, rush-hour, dinnertime, at Taipan USJ. And both weeks, with dozens of cars milling in and out the area, You led me to the routes where a parking lot would be made available for me. I could grab what I needed without hassle and be on time for Cell Group meetings.

Somehow, You made it possible for most of my Cell Group members, the GodChasers, to agreeably chill on Wednesday’s public holiday. Every dish, homemade or bought, was delicious. I was the last to put my name down because I did not know what food to bring, but You showed me at the grocer what I could put in a mini goodie bag for the 10 who turned up. You prompted me with two worship songs to play at the start of the gathering and gave me an idea of a simple welcome activity. The day went on so well.

Then, as I had the Friday night off, You provided me the opportunity to visit another Cell Group as part of my Zone Leader Internship training. You helped me discern which Cell Group leader I should contact. It was one in which I am familiar with the members, because they usually attend Celebrations or Bible Study in Puchong. I was at ease at the meeting even though they conveniently got me to answer many of their questions and pray for them.

Still, though. I questioned You. How is it possible? Can it really be that You are so good to me? I was doubtful of You. Where is the ticking time bomb – is it sitting around in a corner, waiting to explode? Because I know that I am procrastinating right now, on an assignment that I don’t seem to be able to get started on. I know my dear Father that You have given me insights on how to go about it, about what I should read or write on. And yet, that feeling of expectations returns again to haunt me. ‘What if I am not good enough? What if I fail this paper?’

I was thrilled to come to this weekend’s Celebrations. You know how much I enjoy listening to missionaries’ extraordinary stories of their divine encounters and miracles that are happening in all the places where they are posted to serve in. I was excited, up to the moment that I returned to my seat and as the worship leader began the first song. I couldn’t open my mouth to sing. It went on that way for the second song as well. I closed my eyes. I wanted to tell You that something was wrong, but before I could string a sentence, You said to me, “You are anxious. Let it go.” You were right. My hands were clenched. I had to consciously pull my hands apart. Only when I began to ease up, I could sing the third song together with the congregation.

Finally, Jemima took to the mic and began her sermon. I just love the phrase in her introduction – Let God love you. It really felt like the culmination of all that I have experienced recently, all the questions I had for You, all the uncertainties and all the little jitters and the glee of every answered prayer, have led to You, Father, to send me a messenger (who is usually stationed across the far ends of the globe) to come tell me to let God love me. That You are enough for me, and I for You.

The sermon brought me so much relief. There have been mornings when I wake up and say, “Good morning Holy Spirit, but I don’t want to ask You ‘what would You want me to do today?’” The reality is that sometimes, all I want to do is nothing for others. Sometimes all I want is to have the time to myself, or to just sit at Your feet. In a way, sometimes I should really just be like Mary, and not at all be Martha.

Father, though I can be independently single in this world, I shall depend on You. I can depend on You. You are enough for me. And I will just let You love me. I will just let go, over and over again, and let You love me. When I forget to, or when I start to doubt again, remind me of this young missionary, of all the things You have done (and will do) through her, and remind me again of her simple message to all of us, to “Let God love you.

I may not be sent where You have sent Jemima. I may not have as far-reaching sagas as she has. You led Jemima through one checkpoint after another, from smaller to bigger dreams to expand Your Kingdom. I may not know what You have in store for me but surely You have mapped out my paths. You see the beginning and the end of my life. In the jungle of my life, I may come across well-trodden or uncharted paths. There may be easy grounds or rough terrains to traverse on. There may be gentle streams or wild animals to come by. I can but, rely on Your presence and guidance through it all.

Thank you Father, for Your love, grace and mercy in my life. For always watching over me, going the distance and pursuing my heart endlessly. “Ku nyanyi Hallelujah, sungguh Kau hebat, ajaib perkasa, perbuatan-Mu Tuhan di hidupku.” Amen.