According to His Bountiful Grace

 

Thank God! After more than two years of planning and a year of construction, the assembly hall that we have been longing for is finally completed. Today marks the first time we gather in this new building to break bread in remembrance of the Lord and worship Him. It is also the day that we dedicate this structure and offer thanksgiving on our eleventh anniversary. So the whole church must collectively render to our merciful and faithful God the greatest exaltation and gratitude, with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” (Psalm 126:34)

 

During the course of our construction, the church has felt deeply the guidance and providence of God, and the members who were involved in service have been permitted to personally experience the truthfulness of the Lord. Last week this writer had shared with you the faithful dispensation of God to us financially. Now I would like to share with everyone God’s command of time and His arrangement of underlying grace.

 

“….in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.…according to His good pleasure….according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will….” (Ephesians 1:7-11) The original purpose of this passage is to address the eternal will of God. This writer is boldly usurping it to demonstrate the precious will of God behind the building of our church, and has no intention of taking it out of context.

 

I’m sure we all remember that before the start of construction, while waiting for the building permit, we experienced the miraculous work of God. Then at the final stage of the project, when the assembly building had been completed, the exterior formation was delayed by over a month of continuous rain so that we could not proceed with asphalt paving. Finally the parking area was done, but by then it was less than 2 weeks to the thanksgiving dedication service scheduled for today. In the past 2 weeks, we were faced with barriers on approval of the occupancy permit by the city government – first it was the issues of a retaining wall and the drainage system for the agricultural area; then it was the inadequacy of fire extinguishers. In fact, we had always followed the instructions of our architect, consultants and government officials when building. Nonetheless, at the final inspection we were met with these unforeseeable obstacles. At that time, the church-building committee and the responsible brothers endured unprecedented pressure. On the one hand, we had these difficulties with our occupancy permit. On the other, the lease for our office was expiring at the end of February. With all the arrangements having been set for worship gatherings, and the invitations for the thanksgiving service already dispatched, we desperately needed to move into our new hall. Confronted with this dilemma, our faith and patience were sorely tested. Thank God! The brothers and sisters continued their fervent supplication. At last the city government officially issued a provisional occupancy permit on Friday, February 24, and the pressure upon us was swept away.

 

Because of the aforementioned experiences, this writer feels that God seems especially to bless our church. He commands the weather, time and human will, allowing us to face difficulties and obstacles, testing our endurance in the construction, so that the whole church will learn the lessons of praying in concert and sole dependence. Imagine that if the weather had not changed and delayed the construction, we would not have been in such dire straits. If the building had not met myriad large and small complications, the coordination of gifts and mutually committed spirit of the members would not have been displayed. If the project cost had not increased again and again, we would not have seen the faithful and miraculous providence of God and not known the love of local and overseas brothers and sisters for us. If we had not determined to start building our hall last year, based on property values and construction costs this year, it would have been hard to say if we’d have the financial means to meet the increased outlay, and perhaps even more unlikely to receive the support we had from members of the Hong Kong branch churches (because they are now also confronting with the need to purchase new premises). If we had not lost our bid to acquire the Jewish synagogue, we would not have bought this piece of superior property to build our church that affords us room for future expansion. The writer finds it hard to truly elaborate on them all, and even harder to explore the other perfect intent that God has designed and yet kept hidden.

 

At any rate, the process of church building helps us to better understand the precept of how in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. Everything that has been experienced by the church is according to the good will of God, so that we will learn the lessons of faith and prayer. Just as when God created all things, each was according to its time and was good, and that is infused with His abundant wisdom and grace. We must render the greatest thanksgiving and praises back to God!

 

By: Daniel To