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From The Pastor’s Desk – 18 June 2017

By Pr Evangeline Cheong

There was a time in my life when going to church and Christianity was anything but enjoyable: Obeying God’s laws felt burdensome, sitting through service a chore and let’s not get started about praying. I did not understand why my friends in church seemed to enjoy being Christian. So I thought to myself, I must be missing something and needed to try harder. Or sometimes I would think that perhaps the life on earth is not supposed to be enjoyable, and that we have to wait till we get to heaven to enjoy ourselves without all the hurt and pain of this world. How can there be real enjoyment as Christians in this world? It perplexed me for a long while.

But, as I look at the Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) I realised that “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”1 It was to enjoy Him. Enjoy God. It does NOT tell us to enjoy what He has given nor enjoy time in church. But to enjoy Him.

It was then that I realised that those years ago that I could not enjoy God because I did not know Him even though I knew a lot about Him. For many years, even in church, God was a stranger to me. How can one enjoy the presence of a stranger?

Thus, when God showed me what He had done for me, I was drawn to know this God who loved me (Rom 5:5,8), chose me (Ephesians 4:1), saved me (1 Cor 1:18), and changed me (Rom 12:2). He was no longer a stranger but my Abba Father (Rom 8:15).

Now prayer is my daily conversation with my Father. Bible Reading is Him talking to me. Coming to church was to care for the family God has given: Hearing His voice through them and speaking out for Him to them. I could now understand my friends’ conversations about how great God is, as I now know Him that way too. Going to work was enjoyable too as I was just exercising the gifts and talents God gave me in the job He provided for me. The enjoyment of God is not dependent on the situations in my life. Through all the ups and downs of life, I can still enjoy my God who is ever with me. The One who promised to “never leave me or forsake me” (Hebrews 13:5). Every day is an enjoyment of God – His presence, His provisions, the enjoyment of Him. The way He made us for.

“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73:25–26

1 Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 1 “What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”