Acting like an athiest

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In the past few weeks, I’ve been evaluating the things which make me anxious.   I believe there are ungodly beliefs, and God is training me to trust in Him more.

Oswald Chambers once wrote that when disaster strikes or when pressure comes, a Christian will act like an atheist.  That is, they act as if God doesn’t exist at all.

In a short few weeks, it looked like God is opening the door for me to complete the Internship portion of my Masters of Divinity (M Div).  This process, which shouldn’t be so difficult, had been an arduous journey for me.

It started three years ago when I was in Baltimore with Wai Jia as she did her Masters of Public Health.  As I was completing my studies, I asked the church which we attended in Baltimore to see if I can intern with them.  They agreed and were welcoming.   I ended up running a session of the Alpha Course for them.  The only problem I don’t need to prepare anything to run the Alpha Course.  For my Internship, I need to develop materials to preach or teach.

Then two years ago, we went back to Canada, where I was the Assitant Pastor.  I thought, ok, this will be an excellent time for me to do the Intern as I will teach and preach.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I expected.  With Wai Jia expecting a second one, my firstborn becoming a toddler, and the position turned out to be administrative heavy, and I realized it was no possible to start the Internship and completed enough hours.

Last year we came back to Singapore, and I sat down with someone at church we attend here to discuss my Internship.   It will be a stretch, but it seemed to be possible for them to squeeze me in between cell groups, Sunday Services, and their adult classes.  As I take on the role of a stay-at-home dad and looking after two toddlers, I realized that I couldn’t divert my attention from them.  Plus, the church didn’t get back to me.

So that’s three tries and three nos.  In baseball terms, three strikes and you are OUT!

I was discouraged.  How can it be so hard to do an Internship?  

God is purposedly delaying the Internship for a reason.  He didn’t explain to me why.  Nor do I need an explanation.  God knows what He is doing.

So how should I act?  If I act like an atheist, this is what I would do. I will email every church in Singapore to see if I can intern with them. I can get angry at my church for not providing for me. I can jump up and down.

Instead, I waited. I wished I can say I waited joyfully. Nope.  My wife had to bear with my discouragement.

To keep the story short, God opened doors for me in the past month.  The rule with the Internship is that I must intern in one organization.  Because of the hard time I have with finding an Internship, my school supervisor allowed me to intern in multiple organizations.  Plus, because of COVID, I can use Zoom (webinar) and pre-recorded sessions as part of the Internship.

It sounds great.  Well, the last week, when I started the webinar registration, only one person signed up.  

Wow, is this how it is?  Once again, I felt anxious.  I really wanted to check my inbox all the time and see if there are any new sign up.

But this time, I am learning, and I am asking myself: if God can open the door for you to do the Internship, won’t He also provide those to come?  My ‘atheist’ mind will be spam everyone I know and hope someone will sign up. Or run ads on Facebook.  Why not?

The reason I do not do so is that doing so will not build my faith.  Doing so will only exercise my atheist mindset.  

If I believe God is in control of every circumstance, why can’t I trust Him in providing more people?  Even if it is just one, at least it is better than none.  

So why is my heart so anxious?

I read this on Utmost devotion the other day:

A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and the wisdom of God, not in his own abilities. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.

(Source: https://utmost.org/the-bewildering-call-of-god/)

It is so ironic. I can trust in God in sending us out to the mission field, YET I cannot trust Him for the Internship. 

We either trust in Him in the little and big things, or we don’t trust Him at all.

And so, with this Internship, I am learning, probably the biggest lesson of all is that those atheist beliefs in me got to go. 

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By Cliff

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