We recently made a trip back to the US after 2 years of living in Singapore. It was a refreshing time to see family, friends, and churches that are near and dear to our hearts. During our time in New York, Joe’s sisters took us to see One World Trade Center.
After an epic elevator ride to the top of the building, they show a “teaser” video across the entire wall of the building, sharing the history of NYC. And with great pomp and circumstance, the video ends and the screens suddenly lift to show an amazing view of the NY skyline.
…except it was a cloudy day. When the screens lifted, all we saw was white.
Sprawled across the ground floor were warning signs: “ZERO VISIBILITY TODAY”. So, we all knew what we were getting ourselves into. When the screens lifted and the crowd saw cloudy white, we all gave applause for the “theoretical” view: we knew what we were supposed to see, so we were cheering for the idea of it all.
Confession: I’m not a fan of the “show me a sign, Lord” prayers, but I did lift one up. Before our ascent to the top of the building, I prayed, “God, please part the clouds as an encouragement for our return back to Singapore”.
I’ll admit, in my optimism, I was hoping that when the walls lifted, we’d see a spectacular view and sign of God’s listening ear. So when I saw clouds, I clapped with half-hearted appreciation and a twinge of disappointment. Our group then made our way to the main floor which shows a 360 view of the entire city. For the first 10 minutes, we made a valiant attempt to see something. The guys in our group pressed their faces to the window to try to see cars passing. After a while, I think we (or maybe just me?) were resigned to the fact that we weren’t going to see anything. So we sat there and just spent time with one another, enjoying our time together and with Judah. The best view for me was seeing everyone together, playing with our son, and cherishing him.
Then after a LONG time, the clouds began to part. Not in any dramatic sort of way, just in a “hey! we can see a sliver of the skyline!” kind of way. The entire floor rushed to the same area to see a glimpse of the tip of a building. A while later, the sky parted and revealed a larger block of skyline. And a while after that, we started to see more of the city.
It was not dramatic nor immediate, but it was amazing. The clouds slowly, yet steadily parted. And every single person appreciated every growing inch of visibility.
And that was exactly the “sign” I needed. That God works and opens the skies the way He wants, at the rate He wants. That God will build our church – prayer by prayer, story by story, person by person – the way He wants, at the rate He wants.
It’s been a few months that we’ve been back in Singapore, and I can confidently say that clouds have been breaking. And I appreciate the view I see infinitely more than the “immediate and dramatic” change that I had asked to see when we first moved to Singapore.
To those who have been praying for our country, for our church, steadily and faithfully, thank you. The sky is parting. Wait a bit longer and enjoy more of the view.