In Matthew 5 Vs.37 you find these words of scripture:
”Just say 'YES' or 'NO' - anything else you say comes from the Evil One.”
This verse not only convicted me that I should be firm in my decisions, but opened the door of my curiosity into discovering what MY HEAVENLY FATHER had in mind when He gave us this verse! Over the years I had often consulted the Lord, much to the amusement of my husband Donald. Knowing me, he would never interfere whenever I went into this exercise of literally asking the Lord for the right decision. Very simple mechanics actually…. I write a “Yes” and a “No” on 2 little pieces of paper - pray for the Lord's direction and just pick one. You might ask - hey is that allowed? drawing lots? Sounds sacrilegious doesn't it?
May be the following verse will assure you that this is no big deal really! ….
Acts 1 Vs.23-26: “ So they proposed 2 men Joseph who was called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed “Lord You know the thoughts of everyone, so show us which of these 2 You have chosen to serve as an apostle in the place of Judas who left to go to the place where he belongs. Then they drew lots to choose between the two men and the one chosen was Matthias who was added to the group of eleven apostles.” If you ask me, what is good for the apostles is certainly good for me!
But then again if you are still not totally convinced, please read on ……
It was sometime in February 1998, I was working as a Confidential Secretary both to the Executive Director and Project Manager of the Malaysian Japanese Airport Consortium (MJAC) located in Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia. The Consortium (of 5 companies) was the main consultant in the construction of the KL International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang. The construction of the airport was almost complete then and we were given the sad news that our contracts with MJAC would expire in June 1998. Of course by then, most of the expatriates who worked on the Project had gone home, including the Manager for Operations and Maintenance Mr. Melvyn Funk and his wife Meg who returned home to Australia in August 1997.
During my 3 years of employment at MJAC, Mel and Meg became more family than friends to Don and me and they kept in touch long after they had gone home. Our e-mails usually updated each other, especially on the Charismatic Renewal which I introduced to them, while they were here in Malaysia. We used to meet occasionally then, to pray together or attend talks and sessions by anointed speakers and be truly enriched on our spiritual journey together. Now that they were back home, Don and I turned reporters as to what is new and what is happening in our church in Malaysia. It was a standing invite that Don and I would be welcome to visit their home at any time in Nerang, Brisbane, Australia.
Now, coming back to the fate of the last stragglers in service! With the departure of the Project Manager and the Executive Director, I was assigned to provide secretarial support to a group of architects. They were beautiful people really. No matter how they hated each other's guts, they always remained committed as a team. Thus it was no wonder that when one of them chanced upon some real cheap airfares, he shared the good news and the whole office bustled with activity on holiday plans. In trying to include me, they discovered much to their surprise that I was one of those who had never traveled anywhere in my 47 years of life, at least not on a plane. Ironic isn't it - here I was working in a Company involved in the building of the prestigious KL International airport and never sat on a plane!
At first I shied away from further discussion, then on second thoughts I asked myself why not? Don and I could take this opportunity of cheap fares to fly down to Brisbane to holiday at Mel and Meg's. Grand plans? Let me see… out came my two pieces of paper with a “Yes” and a “No”. What were the odds? I didn't quite care at least not until the lot fell on “Yes”! What? Yes? - I can go to Brisbane Australia? Me, who never ever got on a plane? God… You do have a GREAT sense of humour…I thought!
Once the panic settled, I paused to reflect on that little piece of paper again. I clutched it tightly, just too afraid to take a second look. Now that I got the BIG YES, which was the last thing I expected, what am I going to do about it! Just then I had a vision of my very first hurdle…. Donald. How do I convince him?
First things first! … that evening I brought back the flyer on “cheap air fares” and in a matter of fact manner started about Mel's invitation and now that there are cheap air fares… unfortunate for me, Don was more astute than I thought … he stopped me short right there …” Excuse me, don't you remember that you will be out a job in June? And you want to take a holiday in April?” Alright , I agree that it was fair comment , but….. He just didn't want to hear any “buts” or “ifs” on the matter and I let it lie low for awhile.
A few days passed and I decided that perhaps this mountain would move if I could come up with the price of the air tickets. I meticulously wrote down all my limited resources and tried to follow through but sad to say, all attempts failed. Of course, I could borrow from friends or family but how do I explain to them, that I need the money for a holiday? And just 2 months to unemployment? Well I made a last attempt by requesting a friend of mine who owed me RM2,000/- to return it earlier than scheduled. When even that failed , I resigned myself to the inevitable - just surrender!
Although my hopes dimmed, I never lost sight of that precious piece of paper and the promised “Yes” from God. On hearing my predicament, my friends at work sympathized with me. One of them Mr. Paul McKee even suggested “ Madonna, Why not take a flight to Singapore - instead of Australia - after all that is a plane ride too?” In my heart I was adamant - the Lord said Australia not Singapore! A couple of weeks passed and then came the final “whammy”! On Holy Thursday - 9th April, 1998, after mass at the Church of the Visitation, Seremban, I met one of my good friends Catherine Philip who informed me that there was going to be a big charismatic rally in KL the next Sunday and a bus was being chartered from Seremban to KL for the purpose. Would I be interested? We were suddenly interrupted by “No she cannot…. She is going to Australia!” Don snickered. There was a moment of silence and absolute embarrassment, as my friend excitedly tried to fish out more details on my so-called trip to Australia. She couldn't believe it, neither could I, at the rate things were piling up against me.
Anyway, on Good Friday (10th April, 1998) morning, as I knelt down to pray, I surrendered to the Lord all the disappointment and sadness in my heart. There just wasn't even a glimmer of Hope for His “YES” to become a reality. As I ended my prayer, my eyes fell on what was written on the white board next to our altar. Don and I used to write verses on the board for our children, whenever we spotted a verse we liked in the Word of God. The verse on the board written by Don was Proverb 16 Vs.3 “Ask the Lord to bless your plans and you will be successful in carrying them out.” I looked at it and said “Lord I claim Your Promise in Proverbs 16 Vs.3”. With that I never thought further on the whole episode until Holy Saturday evening, when Don and I and our 3 girls arrived at my in-laws. My mother in law greeted us with news that Mel and Meg had called earlier and that they would be calling us again after their Easter Saturday mass. Donald - the alert one, immediately reminded me that I should answer the call, because he was certain that they would be enquiring when we were going to visit them. After all I was the big mouth who started this whole trip issue in the first place, so I should be the one to answer.
Well believe me it was palpitations when the phone rang just as we were getting ready to go for the Easter service. Don was ironing his shirt and listening to the conversation. Mel was on the line wishing us a “Happy Easter” and as foretold by our house Prophet of Doom, Mel enquired how our plans were coming along for the trip. I stuttered and muttered an apology that we were still in the process of planning the trip, at which point Don turned round and smiled. Planning indeed!
As we continued, Mel informed me that when he was working in MJAC, Malaysia he had a very good travel agent, a good friend, Mr. Seelan from Global Lite Travel. He said that this Mr. Seelan gave him excellent service and perhaps I should take his number down. Little did Mel know that the travel agent was the last thing on my mind at that time. As I faithfully jotted ithe address and phone number down, he said “ Now on Monday (13th April, 1998), please give a call to Mr. Seelan and collect 2 air tickets for you and Don. This is our Anniversary gift to both of you as well as your birthdays.” For a moment there was silence - I just couldn't believe it! I thanked him profusely, put the phone down and jumped off the chair in a merry dance! Don who heard the conversation nearly dropped the iron when I shouted…”We are going to Australia! Praise God!” For once he was all out of words! His mind raced at once on how to get the passports ready, we had less than 10 days to arrange everything. I could only think of a wonderful God who STOOD BY HIS “YES!”. Our dear friends Mel and Meg had no idea that in an uncanny way, they were God's instruments to fulfill His “Yes” to me. By the way, Easter Sunday 12th April, 1998 was our 18th Wedding Anniversary, 3 days later April 15th was Don's birthday and mine on May 12th. My heart rejoiced in the Lord that AGAINST ALL ODDS He had provided ! A free holiday to Brisbane - a 2 weeks stay, which no doubt was the most memorable in our 18 years of marriage.
Don was stumped for words - he knew right then, when I shared with him God's promise in Prov.16 Vs.3, how POWERFUL the Word of God is! But of course he wasn't going to be outdone. He proudly claims half the credit every time that I share my testimony …. If he hadn't written Proverbs 16 Vs.3 on the white board, I would not have been able to claim God's promise! At that point in time, I really didn't care who took the credit… all I could think of is A MIGHTY GOD, my Father, who fulfilled the longing of my heart in His own special way. Yes, the Word of God certainly has NO EXPIRY DATE!
When we visited Mel and Meg at their home in Nerang, Brisbane, Australia from 25th April, 1998 to 10th May 1998, we had THE MOST MEMORABLE AND BEST holiday ever - IT WAS INDEED A DREAM COME TRUE! I can well understand why they call it “God's Country”. Wow the scenic landscape and beaches … it was like touching a piece of Heaven! Throughout our stay we went sight seeing, visiting churches, during the day with Mel but every night after dinner, we spent hours on bible reflection and singing God's praises till the wee hours of the morning. Don brought his guitar along and we had special moments of insight into God's promises and the WORD CAME ALIVE for all of us.
Six years down the road, we still keep in touch with Mel and Meg. Do we still write verses on that white board? Yes, we do! But this time around it is only for ourselves. Our eldest daughter Denise Antoinette (23) is now pursuing a Degree in Broadcast Journalism in Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, our second daughter Clarissa Valerine (21) is doing a Diploma in Music at University College Sedaya International (UCSI), Cheras, Malaysia and Claudine Tabatha (18), our youngest is with Clarissa in UCSI pursuing a Degree course in Mass Communications. They may all be far away from home, but they have no problems whatsoever in being committed to daily reflection on the Word of God and writing their verses, because they have come to witness the POWER of GOD's PROMISE in Proverbs 16 Vs.3!
Incidentally, till today I do consult the Lord for direction and like Abraham….
Romans 4 Vs.21 “He was absolutely sure that God would be able to do what He had promised”
BELIEVE in HIS “YES” or HIS “NO” in many decisions! People may consider this exercise of mine childish but I beg to differ ….. I believe it is being CHILDLIKE!” which has its ultimate reward and I quote:
“Didn't I tell you that you would see GOD's GLORY if you believed?” (John11 Vs.40)
God Bless you on your faith journey!
--- by Madonna Egbert
Church of the Immaculate Conception
Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia