Thursday, December 4, 2008

an email from dr. alvin ang as he turned 40

This year America is celebrating Thanksgiving Day on my birthday, 27 November! They have made my birthday special as millions are celebrating with me. This year is also doubly special for me as I am celebrating my 40th birthday.

As a young boy of 11, my father died and my mother just turned 40 years old then. I heard many people consoling my mother and telling her life begins at 40. As I reach that age today, I do not believe that life begins at 40. Nonetheless, I still see 40 as an important year to remember. It is a milestone that needs to be "monumented." I see the age 40 from the perspective of how God shaped Moses to be the leader of His people. Moses lived up to 120 years old, Deuteronomy 34:7 says – "Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone." His life is a model of how God can shape our direction and purpose.

Like Moses, I see the first 40 years of my life as preparation. Moses encountered the Lord in the burning bush after he turned 40. The first 40 years was preparation for the big rescue that he was to lead. Similarly for us, God has allowed different situations and conditions these past 40 years (for those of you above it) to ensure that we are ready for the big work. This does not mean that before 40 we did not do what He wanted, it is simply a shift of phase and further deepening, a better focus, a mature heart and a special way of understanding of things and situations.

Most of us have invested time and resources to build up our earthly positions before 40. In my birthday devotion today, the Lord led me to the verse above – the second phase or the second forty years, the focus is no longer on the discovering the relationship with God with the bias for the self, but a deepening of the relationship with God with a bias for others. This means that life with God has phases instored for us to discover. He does not make it monotonous. He makes sure that we enjoy every minute of it. The verse above tells me that I have completed a phase of preparation, now – I must no longer worry about building for myself, I must now start building and expanding for Him. Moses led the Israelites during the next 40 years of his life. These years were the time he was used by God to do great and mighty miracles – most of all these years were the time he personally saw and experience God. What an exciting time!

The next 40 years will mean also a time of preparing the next generation – my sons – to be the Solomons of their generation, to build God's kingdom in their lives. This is also a time to build up the body of Christ by being a mentor to others – friends, relatives and people in my influence. This is also a time to re-enliven and refresh my relationship with my wife and allowing God to bring it to new heights.

I would like to end by saying that God gave me a wonderful gift this day as His affirmation for the next 40 years. You see I am typing this letter in a hotel room in Hanoi, Vietnam fronting the West Lake. God brought me here for an all expenses paid conference to have a lakeview experience with Him. I actually dreamed of having a big thanksgiving party for this day. God made it possible with a hundred people in attendance in a beautiful hotel and an evening dinner cruise in the West Lake of Hanoi! Allow me to thank you for being a part of my first 40 years, I am sure that you will very well be in the next 40 years. Friends, my prayer is that we will all see our phase in life according to God's plan. I am looking forward to enjoying Him for the next 40 years so I can enjoy everything He has given me! Come, join me!

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