By Elder-Elect Ronald Lim
When I was in school (and that was many moons ago), we were taught that whatever our teachers told us is right, and we were to accept and obey without question. I suspect that it is quite different in schools now, and students are encouraged to ask questions. At work, a statement like “Do whatever he/she tells you” would draw many negative comments like “what makes him/her think he/she knows best” or “you expect me to leave my brains at home and just be your hands and legs?”
The statement “Do whatever he tells you” is found in John 2, where Mary told the servants to do whatever her son Jesus told them when they ran out of wine at a wedding. As with the culture then (and also true today), wine is integral to celebrations. Running out of wine would dampen the mood of the celebrations and reflect badly on the wedding couple’s generosity and hospitality.
It is unclear what Mary expected Jesus to do. Perhaps she expected Jesus to go and buy more wine. Remember, up to this point, Jesus had not performed any miracles and this miracle where Jesus turned water into wine is believed to be the first public miracle of Jesus.
We can draw two lessons from Mary’s response.
First, she told Jesus the problem, but did not prescribe a solution or expectation. I believe that most people would have responded logically and told Jesus or someone to go buy wine. But Mary did not.
When we ask God for help in times of difficulties, besides telling Him the situation, do we also find ourselves telling God the solution we expect? Do we dare trust God enough to simply lay the situation before God and let Him provide any solution He deems fit? Bear in mind that God’s solution may be “wait” or even “do nothing”. Can we accept any response from God and trust that His answer is best for us?
Second, Mary told the servants to “do whatever he (Jesus) tells them”. This requires complete and unquestioning obedience and trust.
Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water. If I were one of the servants, I would be wondering how does this solve the problem of no wine? In fact, I would probably be thinking “the situation is already so bad, how can we afford to waste time playing with water?”. Are we prepared to obey God no matter how illogical His instructions appear to our limited minds? Do we really believe that God knows what He is doing?
Most of us find it challenging to leave it to God and to trust and obey Him. But if we were to remember who God is, His sovereignty and faithfulness, and what He has done for us throughout our lives, learning to trust in Him may be less difficult. I am still very much a work-in-progress, and I’ve found the following verses (and if you search the bible, there are many more) to be useful reminders that:
· Luke 11:11: just as our earthly fathers know how to give good gifts, God’s gifts are even better
· Psalm 139:1-6: God knows me better than I know myself
· Romans 8:28: God works things out for the good of those He calls
· Isaiah 55:8-9: God knows what He is doing, although we may not always understand
· Matthew 28:20, Deuteronomy 31:8: God’s presence goes before and is with us always
Next month, GPC will commission 2 brave young folks who have decided to trust God and obey His calling to serve as missionaries. They will be giving up careers in Singapore, move away from family and friends to serve God in foreign lands. Some would wonder why go so far when there are needs here in Singapore. These 2 young folks have decided not to question God’s calling but instead simply trust that God knows the needs to be filled and the roles they can play, and therefore obey His calling. They are doing whatever God is telling them.
What about you? Are you willing to trust and do whatever God tells you? Will you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you do whatever God tells you?