By Melanie Mar Chow
Freedom comes in knowing God’s voice. In listening, we will hear God’s invitation to experience His life for us and others. Vacations, holidays, or extended times of quiet can help us develop the ability to know God’s voice, and momentarily set aside the other voices that vie for our attention.
For me, it comes in a simple beckoning, and it is often quiet and persistent. It came again last month while I was sitting at my desk, busy with ministry preparation. I heard, “Melanie, pray for this friend.” Without hesitation, I responded and prayed. A day later, at the same desk, God said, “Melanie, call him.” In the past, heeding God’s voice opened opportunities for me to help others, so naturally I called. Then I heard, “Ask him about yesterday,” so I said, “Yesterday, God told me to pray for you. What was going on?” Sure enough, the prayer had been timely and affirming.
This is why time with God is important. It is an invitation to a life of freedom to live in His ways. Jesus invited his disciples to “come away” many times in the gospels. In Mark 6:31, Jesus said to the disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while,” at a time when there were so many people coming and going that they didn’t have a chance to eat. Jesus sometimes speaks to free us for even our personal needs.
God Himself rested in Hebrews 4:9-11: “There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.”
After following God all these years of ministry, I have been more open to do the things He asks because I’ve found the ability to live in His freedom, instead of being bound to my own ways. How is God inviting you to live in His freedom?
“Let’s never forget that God, who invites us to be His servant, who mobilizes us into ministry, does so only after He has radically impacted our life and has proven to us that He loves us and has given us a new lease on life for the future and great significance and nobility. It is out of the context of His relationship with us that He invites us to be bondservants of Jesus Christ.” -Daniel A. Brown
Rev. Melanie Mar Chow serves God through Asian American Christian Fellowship, the campus ministry division of the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS). She has been an ordained American Baptist minister since 2004. A Pacific Northwest native, she currently lives with her husband and daughter in Southern California.