Looking back at 2017, it had been a rollercoaster journey for me – indeed, the highs and lows felt more like mountains and valleys. There were much pain and brokenness; many things stretched me to a breaking point. As a new graduate, I was adapting to working life and poor management at my workplace, driving 700km a week, dealing with stressful clinical situations, and also stepping up in ministry and leading. And on top all of this, I went through some things in my personal life. There were many times when I questioned, cried out and pleaded with God. But where I had expected deliverance there was often silence. Where I tried to step out and serve in obedience I was met with feelings of insecurity and worthlessness.

Through all of this, I had a deeper revelation of grace and faith. God’s grace is made perfect in my weakness. And though there are times where I cannot see the reason or answer, my faith is not based on what I can see but on the nature of who God is. Therefore, in all situations, I will have faith, because in all things God provides by grace, through faith. By grace I have already been given the gifts, abilities, and His Spirit within me to get through the grind; by grace, the blessings have already been set aside for me. But it is through faith that I access and receive God’s grace. And even though the silence my faith is deepened; in my lowest moments, grace is most evident.

God has been faithful, through this period I have discovered explosive growth the likes of which I have never experienced before. There was growth in my work – working at all six branches of my practice, learnt to operate a business, grew in skills and confidence and became a better clinician. In ministry – I had received many words, had encounters and revelations, the rededication of a close friend whom I had been praying for years, grown through opportunities like becoming an IGVO leader, mentoring, sharing and worship leading, and also in my personal life. Every one of these experiences was new and unique to 2017. Looking back, there were many victories! God had been there through every valley; with every stretch there was growth, every sorrow there was joy.

I have come to experience and walk with God in a way that I had not thought possible. And I want to encourage you that God is there at your lowest moments; some pain results from your actions and choices, some pain he allows to be felt. At other times, and for those whom he has called for a special purpose he will personally take hold of your life and apply pressure, just as a potter moulds jars of clay. Regardless of the reason, He will not waste a single moment of hurt.

I do not know what the future holds, but I know that He is faithful and that he will provide. Because in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and in fact, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him! So I will take heart, and trust that I will see His goodness in the land of the living.

Ian Tan
IGVO, Ablaze Service