I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous judge, shall give me at the day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7.
In April 11, 2004, the shepherdesses and members of the BWA (Bakti Wanita Advent), the Seventh-day Adventist Women's Department, from the whole Ambon Island held a meeting at Suli congregation. This congregation is known as the EWA congregation because most of its members are women. According to the schedule, that program would start at 11:00 a.m. The first program was worship, and the second program was a skills training program which would be presented by the BWA Skills Training Section and the Ambon Industrial Department.
We planned to leave Wayame at 10:00 a.m., since it takes about 45 minutes to get to Suli. Besides, we had to travel with several other groups. But, as we were getting ready to leave, unexpected guests arrived. We had to host them because there were some important things to discuss. Our travel was delayed and we arrived in Suli at several minutes before noon.
When we arrived, the BWA members who had been waiting for us looked disappointed. We tried to explain the problem, but some of the ladies could not hide their disappointment. We first started with the worship and went on with the skills training program.
The first skills training, making cakes, was easily followed and practiced by the trainees. The trainees enthusiastically practiced the recipes they had gotten from the first trainer. The second trainer then explained how to make plates using palm leaf ribs. The trainees listened enthusiastically and followed the directions given until they started to make plates on their own. At first everything went smoothly but they kept asking their trainer for help. However, as the activity went on, some of them stated that they had been left far behind or gotten bored. Several of them even left the place and went home with other excuses. I then noticed the rest of the trainees. Somebody asked her friend next to her for a further explanation, but she looked unsatisfied and consulted another friend beside her. I also noticed some other trainees who were standing in a line to ask their trainers. I really admired and appreciated the patience and diligence of the trainer to answer all questions asked of her. She sometimes had to break the palm leaf rib plates made by the women and rebuild them using the true steps. She kept on giving instructions though she had to say and do the same things repeatedly. Sometimes she had to direct the trainee's hand so that the person knew what to do. Finally, two women successfully accomplished this task. Both of them confidently showed their handmade plates to every woman and even to the men who were there.
Our spiritual life journeys are much like the above story. We might think that the relationship between God and us is very well-done. However, stumbling blocks suddenly appear in that relationship. We might have committed to do something, but when the results do not occur as what we expect, we start complaining. But remember this: those who neglect to build a good relationship with God would be considered late. There maybe times when we want to quit. Yet, we should not forget that we still have people around us who are willing to help us. Above all, just as the instructor helped the ladies in the story, God will surely help us. He holds us, protects us with His angels, enables us, and gives us strength to end this competition. Sometimes Jesus has to block our ways in this life because He knows that those ways are not the best ones. If we fully surrender to the Lord, we will have great joy just like the two women (the members of BWA) who successfully accomplished their work.
Sometimes we fail or do something wrong, but Jesus humbly and gently helps us improve all our weaknesses, as long as we always depend on Him.
Surely God will help us to finish the competition and have a victorious crown on our heads, along with all His chosen people. It will be our greatest prize. Amen.