By Chan Lim
My testimony for Pastoral Care School (PCS) begins several months prior – when God got my attention through back pain brought on by what turned out to be multiple disc tears and herniation. Still on my gradual road to complete recovery, I praise Jesus today as my Healer and Sanctifier.
In my pain the Lord told me one early morning, that everything we experience in this life, including pains and pleasures, joys and sorrows, was a tool He lovingly used to draw us near to Him. Jesus parted the clouds and told me personally, with as much love and mercy and compassion as I have ever experienced, that His back, too, had hurt as He carried His cross. All so that I could approach the Father in glory, no longer behind a veil.
On that quiet morning I became convinced that Oneness with the Father was no longer a means to an end, but the End itself; when the Lord brings us out of suffering, or gives us favor or blessings, the object of our praise and thanksgiving is not relief or a shift in circumstances, but that Abba drew us near, and we felt His warm breath as He whispered into our ears; we felt His steady, strong heartbeat as we lay our heads on His chest. This is our only objective in life, and what we desire more than anything else. Any powerful ministry, any witness or work we can offer onto Him, then, just becomes the effect, the end result, a follow-through of the main goal: our intimacy with Abba.
Jesus came from Oneness with the Father; His entire mission was to bring us to Oneness with the Father; our final destination is the New Jerusalem, where the Bridegroom comes to make us One with Him. Jesus prayed for you and me personally before going to the cross:
I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.
May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.
May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.
– John 17:20-21
My morning Time with Abba (TWA), my time of intimacy with the Father in His Word, then becomes not a tool to set me up for a successful day, but my whole life. The Old Testament prophets came alive, Jesus’ voice was tender and close, and His praise and wisdom through Psalms and Proverbs became a delightful feast. If we take Abba at His Word, that we live on His Word for sustenance, then a poor diet of His Word will lead to starvation and malnutrition.
I took hold of His robes and begged Him, pleaded with Him that this revelation may never pass from me, that this would not be just another cycle of closeness before another season of drifting, that the fire may never die. He led me into the fellowship of (very appropriately named) Fire on the Altar (FOTA), where a community of sons and daughters worship and pray the Word of God back to Him. PCS, by that point, became a foregone conclusion, especially given that it was hosted right in our backyard in Burlingame: five whole days dedicated only to spend with my beloved Father, I couldn’t imagine any vacation better than this.
We were blessed to have our whole family attend (with children ages 5, 3, and 1) for both PCS and Children’s Nazirite School (NS). In the mornings leading up to PCS, Abba told me, “I can’t wait to spend this time with you — I have been waiting and planning for our special date.” It should have been no surprise that on the first night of PCS, I was blessed with a priestly prayer where the same words were spoken over me, almost verbatim. My only response was to worship.
There was no session wasted, no time wasted at PCS, as sons and daughters were filled with the Holy Spirit, confessed their deepest sins, and experienced healing, deliverance, and freedom to live a life of intimacy with the Father, for now and forever. We sat in His presence; we worshipped at His feet. If you hear His invitation, answer.