Sunday, October 25, 2009

KK Hospital

Went for my medical check up the other day. Saw many little small things in the hospital which really encouraged and inspired me.

I really admire medical workers. The tireless dedication which they display, the love for humankind which drove them to their profession, all these are the traits which I really admire.

Also, the motivation of Christian love in several professionals whom I know are brothers/sisters in the Christian faith really impresses. Being attached to the same medical specialist for more than 10 years of my life, I have come to know each of them personally. That love which God had for His people, wanting to take care of their well being, of nursing them, of giving the gift of healing in their lives, these people had taken after Him.

I think God sometimes lets us inherit different aspects of His heart, which are really beautiful. Doctors and nurses take after His wanting to care for people, pastors and teachers take after His desire to shepherd people and guide them, engineers take after His intricate precision and details, artists take after His goodness and aesthetics, musicians take after His ability and desire to share the gift of music and to communicate through melody, etc.

Children were among one of the sights i saw at the hospital. Being KK Women's and Children's Hospital, people give birth there. Husbands follow their families there and share the joy or pain as they give their family manly guidance and protection. Older children watch as mothers give birth to new lives, lives that will share times of fun, joy, sadness, pain with their siblings.

Amazingly, I think God has blessed me with a special love and rapport with kids. Really love to be around them, watch them grow, sing, play, praise, be part of their lives. And also to enjoy their presence with their parents...thats truly something enjoyable!

Hospitals are not all dull and gloomy. They can be really fun and inspiring places to be. Places to witness love, protection, courage, bravery, patience and hope in times of affliction and loss, healing, grace.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Ultimate Cannot

Recently I've been musing, and I think penning it down is a good resolution in some ways.


a) About the validation of our faith - what is the substance that makes it valid, experiences that makes it valid, understanding that makes it valid.
b) About the time when we feel that our selves are incapable of doing anything good, pleasing, hopeful. I believe many Christians have come through this point of their faith and life where they have felt totally incapacitated, down and trodden, their faith wrecked. I choose to term this as The Ultimate Cannot.
c) And about how these 2 relate to each other.

By right, if we are born again Christians who have received the will and ability to live (and i mean the ability to live in a pleasing and right manner to self, people and God) as the Bible commands, why do we still go through such totally incapacitated times? Or, why does God still allow it, when knowing that we as His children want to live right with Him, allow such a moment of incapacitance to cripple our wills?

By the right of how things are supposed to progress, Christians should not face such total incapacity right? Yet, to say that Christians at such points are not saved, is not theologically sound too. Because if he/she were not saved, then how were he/she be able to have such a desire also? Have then something gone wrong in our faith, or is this brokenness part of the growing process?

In this process, I choose to believe that faith is sill faith, and that it is in essence something that cannot be tempered with, but only tested and trialed. And such incapacitance is the right of passage - the testing that should form up our faith.

My take on it is that if we allow experiences to validate our faith, it will not be an accurate measure. Personnally I have felt such cripplings, but these are also the very times when I desire the MOST to live in the joy of the Lord. If my faith is a faith that does not allow for room of experiencing such incapacity, then also it does not allow room to trust that God can ressurect even the most dead faith. What then, is the use of my faith? I must learn that my faith is not one that merely uses God to pelt me into a desirable life, but one that is His even in the most downtrodden conditions, even in the incapacity to look at Him.

It is in such paralysis that His attributes make sense : His love, forgiveness, patience. These are the constancy of His attributes, even in our deepest, most crippling paralysis. And it is in such paralysis that we develop a quiet confidence - a quiet confidence in Him to take us out of such a season. Quiet confidence because one cannot do anything, doesnt have any ability to do anything in this crippling Ultimate Cannot, but can only lie low and rest, wait for Him.

As my dad told me in a very trying time : "How do you know that He is not ALREADY helping you?"

Friday, August 07, 2009

National Day

Having gone through much of my national service, and almost due for completion, i have along the way gained new insights on the attitude that I have towards Singapore as a nation and a home.

Throughout these one plus years in the army, a pervasive attitude of cynicism persists among many of my peers, cynicism against Singapore as a nation and even a plausible place of living. In fact i myself have been part of this cynicism at times. Little wonder, given the fact that at this age, many of my peers and myself harbour dreams and aspirations, dreams of living the life that was meant to be, perhaps somewhere else to actually see how big the world is.

Many of my friends who have returned from overseas to serve are even more cynical, having already seen how big the world is and to return to serve a system they feel trapped in. Who would want to return to the tank when they have seen the ocean?

Yet, what I hope to really see in myself is the strength to withstand cynicism even in the midst of many stifling aspects of Singaporean system. Many times, we want so many things, not realising that we already have a space within which to grow, to learn, to develop and face our character flaws, have meaningful relationships, meaningful callings to work our lives with, despite how mundane they may seem. The most mundane can actually be a blessing. And to me, this place where my family, friends, relatives and where much of my history lies, where much of my struggles and also victories are, is where i'm pretty much content to be.

Sounds like a typical national day song/essay/lyric? Nope, that's where i want my conviction to be different. To love this nation and to see the joy of living in it, not because of exhortation from everyday influences or external efforts, but because of a perspective that I choose to adopt.

However emotionally something can pull at one's heartstrings, its ultimately the perspective that does the magic trick. Take for example the songs in this season. Do they try to force this sense of belonging into people that do not believe in such a sense, in the first place? I believe in fact that the people make sense out of the songs, not the other way round. Hence, if the song speaks to you, it will, and if it doesnt, it doesnt. Each has a different conviction about different things in life, hence each will hear differently.

To top it off, I just want to be thankful for this place, the people in this place, and the experiences in this place. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday, I received an sms from my mum's friend. A very meaningful message which read :

To Vivien (Tan Weilie's mother) :
Wishing you a happy mother's day.
A mother's day message to all pretty mothers:
A mum is a rose whose petals are soft
A mum is a lily whose stem is tall and strong
A mum is a person you should love forever
Trust her, believe her and never doubt her.
May God bless you. Jesus loves you :-)

Coming to 20 years of age, I think my journey of growth has been a perilous one, but also one with divine protection and guidance. At this point of growing up, I admit that i do face alot of confusion and fear. Fear from nagging issues, of what the future holds, but God says that with Him my future is secure.

It is also in this meaningful year that I want to think of my relationship with my mum. I believe many teens have their own struggles, believing that they have messed up so badly, but in light of this I want to thank God for a very important blessing in our lives - mothers. That no matter how badly we mess up they are still there for us, because of a divine innate bond I believe God has created in mothers. A love for their child that is stronger than iron or gold.

I think God placed mothers in our lives not only as guiding hands who mould us, shape us and protect us, but also to let us know something important. Many will remember the days of childhood - and i mean early childhood - times when we were utterly dependent on our mothers. And i say, that utter dependence, utter trust, is sweet indeed! Drawing upon our mothers for strength, upon their wisdom for protection, upon their tolerance for forgiveness and upon their firmness for discipline (although at that time we did not really see discipline as something we really needed). That was a time we did not need to really worry about much, only knowing that our mothers guided our lives. What a blessed, beautiful assurance, a sweet season of life.

As we grow up, we then begin to see on a different level. We realise that we cannot share every single view with our mothers. Not only that, but we begin to realise our mother's faults and imperfections - we become angry and complaining, because sometimes we see these faults present in ourselves and our lives. We blame them for not letting us go because we think we know better. And we come to a realisation that our mums cannot protect us from everything in life - knowing that, sometimes we are spiteful, and we question not only our mums, but also God. For this, we blame them for not being able to protect us from everything.

But I have come to a meek realisation, one that I'm still grappling with : that God makes our mothers as such, having their own limitations and unable to protect us from everything in life, because :

1)We still need God.
2)We must learn to love our mothers despite their flaws and weaknesses, and our struggles with them and within ourselves
3)This love is the force that will make us, as well as them, more whole as a person.
4)Our relationship with our mothers is a beautiful reflection of our dependence on God. God created this beautiful bond...let us not confuse the roles of God and mothers in our lives,
5)but to see the beauty that each one so wonderfully displays when given His/her own role to play in our life
6)that our life becomes beautiful as well.

The next time you watch an advertisement on milk powder/diapers/baby supplements, watch intently as you see the mother - child bond. Each time, the main point of the advertisement is this : that the mother will never stop until she can provide the best and only the best for her children (and hence that product, but you get the point).

Pray for me as I struggle and learn and grow stronger on how to love my mother and know her unceasing care, love and concern for me, never stopping at anything but to provide the best for my benefit.

Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Hope

Was just thinking about this verse,

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (NIV)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (ESV)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. (NKJV)

Many times we treat the Proverbs as great advice on how to approach people, how to interact with them, practical ways to live out our lives, principles to understand to experience abundant life. Rightly so!

However this verse taught me something new - that such a verse can tell us about the character of God as well.

Okay the logic is as follows. The Bible is divinely inspired, hence it can be said that God wrote the Bible. With this, definitely God, who is the author of all things good and wholesome, knows the principles of life that will bring about goodness and wholesomeness (He Himself is the author of life). He knows the workings of life inside out, how life works, how things such as emotions, functions, thoughts work out.

Hence when God writes something like Proverbs 13:12, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life, he truly knows that such is the working of the human heart : that hope deferred REALLY makes the heart sick, a longing fulfilled REALLY is a tree of life. This might sound like a no brainer, but really...it makes alot of difference! Think about this statement:

GOD KNOWS THAT HOPE DEFERREED MAKES THE HEART SICK. HE KNOWS THAT A LONGING FULFILLED IS A TREE OF LIFE!

He knows that this is what we humans go through.
This is not only interpersonal advice on how to treat another person. It is also not only a principle or direction to live life. It is about God understanding us!

It shows that God understands the fact that we as mere human creatures faint and grow weak without hope, especially timely hope. He knows that it will bring us great joy to see a godly longing being fulfilled, that we will experience abundant life. And because of this, we can trust that at the time when we cannot hold on any longer, He will give us strength and refreshing times to carry on. And ultimately He will fulfill the longing within us that results in a tree of life!

God is a merciful God, an understanding God. Even though sometimes circumstances tell us otherwise, our struggles tell us otherwise, but the Bible still says that God is an understanding God. Such a verse is an example. Though it doesn't directly say : "Hey, God is merciful and understanding", but the fact that He wrote this shows that He is.

Anyway, just met Joey and gang for dinner and prata. Joey said something striking "What we are going through now and what we are hoping to experience in the future may seem unrelated. But trust me, God has a way of linking stuff together. When you read an article, you never expect it to come out in an exam right? In a similar way, what you are going through now may have direct bearing to the future."

Hmm....chewing on that. God bless!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The love of God,
Has been extended to a fallen race,
Through Christ the savior of all men,
There's hope in saving grace.

The love of God,
Is greater far,
Than Gold or silver ever could afford,
It reaches past the highest star,
And covers all the world,
It's power is eternal,
It's glory is supernal,
When all this earth,
Shall pass away,
There'll always be the love of God.

It goes beneath the deepest stain,
That sin could ever leave,
Redeeming souls to live again,
Who will on Christ believe.

The love of God,
Is greater far,
Than Gold or silver ever could afford,
It reaches past the highest star,
And covers all the world,
It's power is eternal,
It's glory is supernal,
When all this earth,
Shall pass away,
They'll always be the love of God.