So, exactly eight weeks ago, I mailed a parcel from Vancouver to my home address. In good faith I decided to do without the tracker. After all, I’m writing my own home address – surely I can’t mess this one up. The lady told me it should take 4-6 weeks. 2 weeks later, I was home and the wait begun.
4 weeks came and went. Then 6 weeks. A sliver of panic rose. Maybe it had been delayed – that’s hardly uncommon. Just in case, I dug around for the receipt and to my horror, realised I had shredded it along with the others from my 6 month trip, thinking they were no longer needed. The panic rose just a little more – the parcel contained 6 months’ worth of souvenirs for loved ones and supporters. More than just a good sum of money, the parcel held intentions of love and blessings, now facing the threat of forfeit.
As usual, I started praying. It wasn’t long before the answer came.
“8 weeks. It’ll arrive by then.”
And if not, I’ll start calling my Vancouver friends for help as Plan B. But of course, I was really hoping Plan B wouldn’t be necessary. More than that, it was yet another test of this whole business about hearing God. ‘Did I imagined the answer? Did I misinterpret what God said?’ As I counted down to the end of 8 weeks, the questions raged louder and increased in intensity, battering the weathered door that is my faith. Every new day brought fresh rounds of fight, and I found my convictions wavering between belief and disbelief.
In the midst of all that, cling I did onto some faith milestones of past – ‘Father, You’ve always done what You said You will. Let not the frailty of my faith displease or discredit You.’
Sunday. No parcel. 8 Weeks have passed. What do I make of this? Still unwilling to give up, I wrestled in my personal time with Abba about the entire matter.
“You mailed it on a Tuesday, didn’t you?”
But of course, I did! And since Vancouver is one day behind Singapore, 8 Weeks ends officially only 2 days later on Tuesday. 2 days. It seemed puny compared to 7 weeks and 5 days, but I was willing to take a chance on God. He always does what He says He will.
Monday night. Bible study quiet time on Joshua 23. As I journalled, somehow it came round to this:
“Ave, you are more concerned about whether you are hearing Me right than communing with Me.”
As usual, being God, He’d hit the nail on the head. How subtle, how deceptive, and how damaging. I’d traded in the Giver for the gift. It has become apparent that such lessons require multiple learnings. I repented in dust and ashes.
Tuesday came. I was wrapping up things at work when the text message came from my dad.
‘Yan, your parcel has arrived.’
My heart leapt. What more was there to say? Abba had proven Himself again – should I be surprised?
I came home to the happy unwrapping of soap bars, accessories, pouches, notebooks and a few other assorted souvenirs. That night, I slept with the lingering fragrance of Bali soap in my room.
I learnt that hearing God wasn’t so much about the art of hearing itself, but the desire to draw near to the One who speaks. In the process, my puny faith in God was also challenged and stretched to the limit. A parcel may seem small in comparison to some of life’s bigger decisions, but I’m discovering that God can teach us lessons through things big and small, and sometimes, the harder lessons come in the small things. Or perhaps they’re just preparing us for the bigger (and harder) ones to come 😉