Yes, my season in my present self-chosen place of market-place ministry has come to an end. This is not the end of me serving God, but a siesta, a much needed break, like a tree preparing for change by first going into a period of rest, the best part is "undisturbed by the harshness of winter".
I've a certain winter melancholy attached to entering this season of rest, having to let go of my charges halfway. It seems halfway to me because they are still so immature in Christ, and yet I've to let go because I've finally come to realize that my time in their lives is almost up.
Looking back, I know that I've done my best, but with hindsight, wouldn't do some of the things I'd done. Yet, there is no such a thing as time travel, no benefit of hindsight, which means even if God has allowed me to return to the past to start all over again, I being me, would have made exactly the same mistakes because I wouldn't recognize them as such. But the greatest comfort I have here is that my God is so powerful and creative that He can and will make ALL things work together for good! In this, I rest my soul.
Through it all, I've learnt that it is necessary for ALL believers to come out of their comfort zones to serve God. We have to go into the battlefield. Christ has loved us to death, and we have to love Him enough to leave our comfort zones. We've read the Bible, God's Word talks of taking up the cross, denying yourself, being a living sacrifice and so on. I've to admit that such 'talks' are a turn-off, especially to new believers. We gravitate towards the love, joy and peace parts. But at some points in our lives, believers will come to a place where you'll crave for a higher purpose, a sense of significance, about making your life counts, for God and for His kingdom.
For me, it wasn't about the crowns, jewels or mansions that attract me, but the gratitude to God when one day He suddenly spoke, "I've allowed you to do what you want with yourself all along, now how about doing something for Me for the rest of your life?" That's true, I've had my fair share of dreams-chasing, money-chasing etc. the offer from God was attractive, to do something of significance, something that'll last eternally... thus my entry into market-place ministry, with the focus NOT on earning an income, BUT on introducing lost souls to Christ.
Something became obvious right from the beginning of my ministry, that it is going to COST! It'll cost my time, effort, money, labour and the sacrifices extend to being misunderstood and persecutions sometimes from the very ones you've learnt to love and serve. It was a bitter-sweet experience, watching people you've laboured over turn to Christ, and being disappointed with them over their growth. Then I learnt that I was impatient, again MTJ said, "Jesus reminds us in the parable of the tares that there is no need to pull them up before the harvesting occurs. That is our tendency; removing what we believe is unnecessary" which was MY PROBLEM, being too impatient with their spiritual growth, adding unnecessary pressures on them, and causing conflicts.
My conclusion from this episode is this, that though spiritual warfares abound, the show must go on, the ministry must continue. For my ministry with these two young persons, I've prayed to God that, "Jeremiah's time is up Lord, please send Elisha". For me, maybe He won't fetch me home in a fiery chariot yet (I'm so tired and burnt-out that I really don't mind though), but I shall rest, wait and watch, the labourers are few, and God will soon enlist me into service again.
Let me end yet with another advice from MTJ, "John the Baptist said of Jesus, "He must increase, I must decrease." We must learn to trust God with others, He will do what we cannot and should not".
Being human, which God allows :) :) , I am grieving over leaving my charges because they have become so dear to me... and to leave them now, the pain is almost unbearable... The pain is borne out of the knowledge that they are not my own children whom I'll always have, and can always watch over. They are instead, people whose destiny I'll have no control, and if they should be tossed to and fro in their own worlds of choice and circumstances after they return home (they are foreigners), they would be beyond me to help and guide..................... I know this is where faith plays its part, that I can do nothing but entrusts them to their faithful Creator.