Inside MAI Blog: Thoughts on global publishing

For Such a Time as This

By guest blogger, Soo-Inn Tan.
Some recent disturbing news from Malaysia reminded me of a scene from the movie, "The Fellowship of the Ring":

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf:
So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.

Earlier this year, the State Muslim officials backed up by the police, had raided the Bible Society of Malaysia’s office in Petaling Jaya. The officials confiscated sixteen boxes of Bibles and took two leaders of the Bible Society to a police station for questioning. [They oppose Christians’ use of the word, Allah, for God in the Bible and other Christian literature. --Editor]

I was very disturbed when I heard the news. I feared it was only the beginning of more persecution of the church in Malaysia. And then I remembered the scene from The Lord of the Rings. We can’t choose when we will be alive. This was one of at least three points we can glean from the scene in the movie.

1. We can’t choose when we will live our lives.
Every time I gripe about the times we live in, I can remember my mum saying once that whatever difficulties we are experiencing today is nothing compared to what she and her generation went through in World War Two. Mum didn’t choose to be around during World War Two. We don’t get to choose when we will be around. Get over it.

2. We can choose how we will respond to the times we have been assigned.
I must believe that God in His sovereign wisdom had some purpose in mind when He placed me, and all who are alive today. So I must ask the Lord how He expects me to be a good steward of the time He has entrusted to me. Lord, You have said: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21 NIV). How do you want us to do that?

3. God is in sovereign control and working out His good though we may not see His handiwork.
We shouldn’t be too quick to call something “good” or “bad” in God’s bigger scheme of things. Joseph, for example, went through one setback after another. But this was his perspective on the evil things his brothers did to him.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20 NIV).”

Indeed, there may be bad things happening in Malaysia and elsewhere, but God is still at work and we do not yet know how it will all pan out in the end. The Cross of Jesus reminds us that He can bring the greatest good out of the worst evil.

How will 2014 unfold? God knows. But I am called to trust that He is sovereign and working out His purposes in history.
 
So thank you, J.R.R. Tolkien for reminding me of three key spiritual principles I need to face any year.

This guest blog is condensed and used with permission of Soo-Inn Tan, chairman of Graceworks in Singapore.



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