27 January 2019
When I went to China I had determined that I would visit home every two years. This for two reasons; one was financial but the other was the fact that I don’t like the cold. As the seasons in China are opposite to Australia, if I took my holidays when they have their summer holidays, it would mean three winters in a row. I could not envisage that, so i decided that I would come home in the shorter winter holidays when it was Summer in Australia.
This meant that my first trip home would co-incide with my mother’s 80th birthday.
I had no problem getting the dates I wanted because every Chinese knows how important the 80th birthday is.
All that settled, the next thing was to organize the Australian side of things. My mother was in a retirement village and there was no possibility of staying there. Furthermore, she lived in a rural setting which would make getting around very difficult. Many of the other members of the family were not in agreement with me being in China, and I doubted that I could ask them for accommodation for the duration of my stay. Anyway, they would assume that I would be looked after by the Church. On the other hand, the Church would assume that I would want to stay with family. It was a real predicament.
But was this my problem? Hadn’t Father God told me that he wanted me to work in China? Well, holidays were part of all of that. I needed to have accommodation at home.
I would be going in January and it was now October. One day I came to my senses. I got down on my knees and just laid it all out before Father God. I told him that he had sent me to China and that now I needed this accommodation on leave and I did not want to beg anyone against their will. I asked him just to organize it and I thanked him for doing so.
From then on, every time the matter came into my mind I would just simply say, “That is no longer my concern, Father God has it in hands.” I just got on with my work.
My airline ticket was for the 10th January. It was not until the 29th of December that I received a letter. (No e.mail in the early 90’s.) It was from a friend in the small group I had belonged to. She wrote: “We know that you are coming home for leave. We are not sure what you have arranged, but if you should need a place to stay, we would be happy to SHARE our home with you.”
My heart overflowed with thanksgiving and all I could do was sing God’s praises. Please note, she did not say, ‘Come and stay with us.’ She said, ‘Share our home.’ Those two are very, very different.
The result of that visit was that for the rest of the twenty years, each time I came home, their home was always available for me to stay in. This again proved that God is interested in every single issue that we face. It was very important to leave it in God’s hands and not meddle with the problem once I had given it to him. That was not always easy, but it was surely discipline worth practicing.