First The Natural Then The Spiritual: The Lord Prepares Me For The New Year


It’s the first day of 2016! Blessed New Year, everyone!

My New Year’s Eve was spent in a rather odd way. Just a day before, my trusty computer started acting strange and an error message kept popping up, telling me that I had run out of application memory space. As such, I had to keep force quitting applications before I could continue using the computer. And a while later, it happened again. It was most frustrating, to say the least. For the next hours, I found myself engaged with Apple Helpline as the various advisors guided me through the trouble shooting process, hoping to isolate the problem – to no avail. The last resort was to reinstall the OS, which was what I did, TWICE!

After the first reinstall, I restored my files from the backup and encountered the same issue. So, I had to reinstall again, and this time, I made it a point NOT to restore the previous User data as that might be the cause of the problem in the first place. It worked (and is still working)! The next step was to set up the applications again – one at a time – and then decide which data files should be copied back in. After all, no point reloading the computer all over again after clearing it out!

Not exactly the best way to spend New Year’s Eve! And yet, as I stared at the screen, waiting for stuff to load and for other stuff to be copied back, I found myself giving thanks for this inconvenience I had to go through. It sure wasn’t fun at all, but it was definitely needed! Deep within, I recognised the prophetic significance of this episode and what the Lord wanted to say to me by allowing this to happen – on New Year’s Eve.

For sure, it had been a packed and fulfilling 2015. [Read How Was 2015 For You? and 2015: A Season of Sowing] And like my computer, I was maxed out. Although things appeared fine on the surface, I was running out of application memory space. It was tough juggling the many developments happening on the various fronts, and I was multi-tasking beyond what I could handle. I found myself thinking all the time, and forgetting most of what I thought of. I was like a computer going on overdrive, partitioning and fragmenting. partitioning and fragmenting. It had been a year of keeping the balls up in the air, and there would be new challenges I can expect in the new year! How am I going to manage it? How can I take on any more? And the message came through very clearly: Start fresh. Start anew. Reinstall.

And after reinstalling, don’t go bringing back the old User settings, because that will affect the system again. After reinstalling, don’t go loading the old files that only take up memory space but serve no real purpose other than provide a false sense of security of having them there. Even worse, these will slow down and compromise the effectiveness of the system. Leave those old files, however meaningful and sentimental, in the external hard disk. I can always access and retrieve them for nostalgic reminiscing separately. But for the work ahead, I am not to let anything or anyone hold me back. I need to start fresh and start anew.

Just two days ago, at the end of my personal retreat, I was promptly reminded by the Lord, “Plan. But leave room for Me to move.” Those who know me as a planner and organiser will understand what a struggle this word is for me. Somehow, for the new territories and new frontiers ahead, I sense that the Lord will show me a new way to do things in 2016.

And then – this timely reinstalling exercise on New Year’s Eve! First the natural, then the spiritual. “Yes, Lord, I hear you loud and clear. I am reinstalled. Ready for You to lead me into this new year!”

God Is Into New Things!

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18, 19

It was on one of my evening runs that I noticed this tree in Bishan Park. It looked a little odd with the leafless branches sticking out on one side; and on the other side, a small bunch of green leaves sprouting. Quite immediately, Isaiah 43:18-19 came to mind!

Yes, at times, we may go through dry and seemingly barren seasons. There may be no leaves, no flowers, no fruit for a while. Does it mean that nothing is happening? Not at all! This could just be a time of recuperating, of resting and of realigning. God may appear silent but He continues to work in the background of our lives.

It’s easy to see the branches but no one sees the roots. Yet, that’s where the action is. Our part is not to focus on the outward but to continue to draw from the Source. There may have been disappointments and discouragements, mistakes and mess ups. That’s ok. Keep drawing to keep growing. All these, like the old leaves, will soon fall off and the winds will carry it far away. If we hold on to the past, we will not allow these to make way for new leaves, for new things, to come.

God is always into new things and we are to move forward with Him. How tempting it is to remember the former things, and that’s why the prophet Isaiah declares, “Do not remember the former things!” Let it go! Stop looking back with regrets! Keep doing that and we will miss what’s ahead. God does not wait for us to stop looking back before He begins a new work in our lives. It’s already started, He says! Do you not see it? Shall you not know it?

This is so exciting as I sense this is a personal word to me! The new season has already begun! A new wave has emerged in my life and ministry, and God is inviting me to jump on and ride it with Him that I may experience the abundance He has for me, my family and ministry.

Perhaps He is saying the same to you?