A Top Priority Question

Wednesday, April 1, 1998

Acts 22:10 – I asked, "What am I to do, Lord?" The Lord said to me, "Get up and go into Damascus, and you will be told everything that God has determined for you to do."

Between the late 1920s and the 1950s Madame Chiang Kai-shek was a lady greatly revered in Christian circles around the world. Her husband was both the political and military leader of the National forces in China until his defeat by the Communists in 1949. He then took refuge on the Island of Formosa, now Taiwan, where he set up his Nationalist Government and remained in power for many years. During those years we had several missionary friends who had to flee China during that Communist Revolution and some went to Taiwan. From them we learned of the great influence of Madame Chiang Kai-shek as a Christian leader giving strong support to their missionary work and all Christian concerns. Her husband Chiang Kai-shek became a Christian too, no doubt aided by her influence.

I relate all this for one reason. Very recently in a hospital waiting room, as I was thumbing through a magazine, I spotted the name Madame Chiang Kai-shek and with it a quotation that immediately fascinated me. It read, "I used to pray that God would do this or that. Now I pray only that God will make his will known to me." As I reflected on these words it occurred to me that perhaps in her earlier days when the Nationalists became the strongest force in China, life would be more normal without the severe pressures of the later period. When the struggles were not intense, she could pray for many things; for this and that. Later on, however, when the pressures were on and survival itself was at stake she could have made the change. Now her prayer was a single request that God would make his will known to her. In desperation this was the only prayer that would really matter.

I remembered then that the apostle Paul's first question to his new Lord was precisely the same. "What am I to do Lord?" The answer came directly. "Get up and go into Damascus; and you will be told everything that God has determined for you to do." If that was the most important question for Christ's greatest servant in the first century and one of the great ones in our twentieth century, surely it is the top priority question for all of us, whatever our situation.

Prayer: O Lord our God, in the wonder of your ways we believe that you have definite assignments for our lives and even for each day. We need to ask you what you have for us to do. Please keep reminding us of these responsibilities and marvellous opportunities. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

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Grant Muir

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