In early April, I went back to physical church for the first time in 25 months! It was a strange surreal experience, like travelling back in time. A contrast to those lockdown months of a hundred virtual encounters, of faces lined up in rectangular boxes, muted and unmuted, only to disappear after an hour or so. The landscape has changed, the tree in our front yard has grown, providing its own shade now, the children are taller than me – as most of them are anyway, haha! Being there in flesh and blood is so refreshing; it is real, it is not a dream. This is my beloved family in Christ!
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing.”
The Word of the Lord that Sunday was impactful. It was a Kairos moment, telling me “it’s time to stop wallowing in unproductive grief. Come, let the gifts of grace arise out of the ashes, out the depths of your sorrow, let your mourning turn into dancing!”. It has been 2 years since I lost 3 people whom I love dearly. It is time to let to go, to let them fly! It was good to hear that Word.
And all the above happened because I had diarrhoea! My trip to Ipoh that weekend for the Ching-Ming festival, to visit the gravesites of my dearly departed was curtailed due to the runs, and saw a detour to BLC instead! This was followed by yet another Kairos moment: a long-lost friend, LK, came to BLC that Sunday for the first time, to look for me and to check out the church. LK is a returning missionary, whom I last saw 18+ years ago at Ipoh Wesley Methodist church, and we got reconnected that fateful Sunday!
Rama’s recent article on Luke’s tale about guidance, mentioned Paul’s vision and the consequent detour / reversal of direction, ‘a reversal which will lead to the gospel entering and spreading in what we now call Europe’. My diarrhoea had caused me to change my plans and re-directed me to fruitful eventualities, the refreshing joy of physical church, the kairos word, the reunion, and yet another miracle. That week-end brought a chance meeting with an old friend, who connected us to the best carer-companion for a common friend recovering from a major stroke. What can I say? Do not despair as good old diarrhoea and other unexpected diversions can bring about its own adventures, as we allow the Lord to direct.
And now for the final diarrhoea saga, a nerve wreaking one that took place in Taliban-land some 25 years ago. One serene Spring morning in March, my co-workers and I woke up to the floor shaking, and glass panes imploding onto our beds. An ammunition dump containing 200 metric tons of explosives had exploded nearby, sending ten thousand ordnances erupting all over the city. One of them, a rocket shell, came through our mud roof, landed onto our guest room, after wrecking the ceiling and some walls. We were expecting a counsellor guest the previous evening, but she couldn’t come because she had diarrhoea!!
That, I think was a divine disaster diversion! I would rather have the runs than deadly falling bricks! Perhaps like Paul’s admonishment in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we should rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances (in loose or hard times – pun intended), for …
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
His Ways (and Waze) are definitely higher than ours.