Archive for April, 2007

The Generation of Light

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

I was watching the DVD that came with the new Hillsongs United “All Of The Above” album, and in it was a short half-hour sermon by Pastor Phil. It was titled “The Generation of Light”, in reference to us, the children of God.

We are that generation. We are that unquenchable light because Jesus is that Light, bringing light to shadow and shattering the darkness.

Watching all the videos they included in the DVD stirred something in me. It made me realise and remember that I do have a higher calling in Christ. I know that I won’t be satisfied with just a routine job, ekeing out a living to put food on the table or simply living out a meagre existence on this earth. As Pastor Lian said – I am uncommon. I am set apart. Just as all of you who dwell in our Father’s house are.

We are not who the world says we are. We are, instead, what the Word of God says we are. We are special. We have all been called to something grander. We can live the dreams of our hearts and see it happen before our eyes.

There is nothing ordinary about the children of God. Not when we have Jesus Christ. It has been promised.

I place my whole life in Your hands, Abba.

“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be a light to me.”
Micah 7:8

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The Thing About Trust

On Good Friday, after scaling the summit of Bukit Timah Hill, we were supposed to play a ‘game’ on the way down the foot of the hill. The rules were simple:

  • Pair up with another person
  • One person is blindfolded and has to carry a plate with a piece of beancurd
  • The other person leads the other person down the hill

I was paired up with Glen, and I was the one blindfolded with the plate of beancurd. I probably looked very silly, as did everyone else, but merely saying that would be beside the point.

What I really want to get to is what I felt while I was being led downhill by Glen. Eyes hooded by a strip of red cloth shorn from ZK’s old tshirt in a ineffectual parody of Dilios, Glen and I set off, eager to reach the bottom as quickly as possible.

It was not easy going at first. My right hand was perched on his left shoulder, with my left balancing the plate of wobbly beancurd. His voice was calm and soothing, reassuring me every step of the way – he told me that the way was clear, or if the slope steepened, when people were approaching us from the opposite direction. There were several times I either trod on on his heel, or felt that I was being dragged along when his pace started to quicken. We tried setting a marching pace but it was soon clear that it wasn’t as helpful as we thought it would be.

Only darkness engulfed my sight, and I felt a mild terror of falling or walking off a cliff to crash into the underbrush. It was a sense of vulnerability and fear of unexpected pain that I rarely, if ever, experience.

We eventually changed position; he suggested that I walk beside him instead of behind him. It was much smoother going after that – no more inadvertent trodding of feet, to begin with. However, my mind still rebelled against the idea of being led into the unknown. Being blind as I was, it didn’t matter to my mind that Glen was a friend.

It truly was a unique sensation, feeling my mind scream at me to wise up, rip off the blindfold and make the way down myself. It was in fact too easy to do that. I must say Glen was a godsend in this aspect; he talked me through the entire way. His calmness was reassuring, the tone in his voice confident and sure.

I had to force away the rebellious thoughts in my head and to truly let go of that uproarious survival instinct that seemed to be drilling right through my forehead.

Are you insane? It told me. You could be walking into a lamp post or railing, and there’ll be blood on your face. Nothing will prepare you for that.

Yet in the stillness of my heart, I heard it whisper above the din: Let go. Let go. Let go.

It wasn’t easy, and it was a battle in itself; far more daunting than the seemingly simple task of walking down a hill.

I slowly opened up my stride, as Glen continued to encourage me. He spoke to me every step of the way, telling me what was ahead. I slowed down when we had to. I watched my step when the slope steepened. We stopped when there were incoming vehicles.

I let go.

I allowed myself to trust in what Glen was telling me, and I found that as I leaned upon him and let him lead me, instead of I heeding the thoughts of my mind, the fear gradually left me. Before long we were bounding the hill, overtaking Hanyang and Lionel who were ahead of us. It was exhilirating.

This little game taught me about trust. It was about not placing our trust in what our heads told us, which spoke fear and withdrawal, but placing our trust in the person next to us, who had eyes to see when we did not. The person who saw the road ahead and made the pathway clear for us to walk easily upon.

It’s all too easy to talk about it in words, but being in that situation where I had to experience it firsthand was something I had never undergone before. I had never sensed that feeling of complete vulnerability.. of being utterly open to harm, and not being able to brace myself for it. What I failed to realise from the beginning was that Glen was never going to allow me to stumble, fall or come to some manner of harm if he could help it.

But I learnt as I made my way down the hill. I saw the proverbial phrase ‘Let go and let God’ in new light.

Truly, I believe this was the intention of the organisers for this innocuous game – to make us realise what trust really meant. How many times have I leaned upon my own understanding, upon my own strength to navigate the way before me? How many times have I succumbed to fear and defeat when I listened to my head instead of my heart?

The game made me question how I trusted in Abba. Did I trust Abba to lead the way, when push comes to shove? Did I trust in Abba’s quiet whispers of encouragement as I traversed the turmoil of the world?

I am thankful for the game, so humble and simple in itself, to teach me such an important lesson. Wasn’t the part where I decided to let go and stride down the hill so much more enjoyable than how I approached it from the beginning, my mind full of fear?

And if I enjoyed being so carefree, oblivious to what was before me, how much more this journey with Abba? I do not know what next week will bring, or even the next day. Even our most carefully laid plans can be rendered unto dust in a moment’s notice.

So I will place my trust in You, Abba. For You know the way as I do not. You would never have me come to harm for You work all things to my benefit.

“You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”
Isaiah 26:3-4

I have perfect peace when I trust in You. My mind will not be consumed by fear, but wholly turned towards Your face.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2

It is when I trust in You that I shall see Your salvation in the situation. You are my strength, and a song praising You will be upon my lips, for You reveal the victory won by Jesus at the cross.

Teach me Lord, to always place my trust not in men, but in You alone.

No Place I’d Rather Be

Today is Good Friday, and there are many things I am thankful for. For I know how valued and treasured I am in Christ; that I am no longer the old man, but have been brought into a deeper, higher place. My soul transcending the pull of the world, transformed by the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus, granted entrance through the very gates of Heaven itself.

It is a place where I call God my Father, and I am embraced as His son.

Thank you for Your sacrifice, Jesus. As Joe Purcell said today after dodgeball, “We would not be where we are today if not for Him.” Again, I felt the sense of rightness about it all as he shared. It was a wonderful moment for me, as I considered how we, sons and daughters of our Father in heaven, precious and beloved people all, gathered there to remember the single most important day in the history of all the world.

How beautiful we must have been to our Abba! Coming together in a circle, shoulder-to-shoulder, under a sky a more brilliant blue than any other day in creation, with the sun blazing hot on our skin and all sense of discomfort fled. Remembering together the One who had made it possible for all of us, so different in our unique ways, to meet like this.

How else, other than through Jesus, would have that been possible?

So even after two weeks of being in a mode of stasis in writing, I find the words coming effortlessly to my hand as I type this. Because You refresh and renew me when nothing else can. Jesus, I remember you. I remember the scourgings and incomprehensible pain and torture You took upon yourself on my behalf. I remember Your shed blood, pouring and seeping from wounds beyond number, to wash me clean.

I remember Love that died for me.

Love that has been expressed in so many ways; in all aspects of my life, be it studies, work, family or friends. Thank you for the people You have placed in my life that have been such blessings to me. Thank you for a Coach that has been so amazing and such a mentor and influence to me. Thank you for a CG leader that constantly reminds me to keep my eyes turned to You, disregarding any cost to herself. Thank you for brothers in Christ who allow me to be open with my weaknesses and encourage me still in the midst of them. Thank you for a CG that has allowed me to learn so much about Your goodness.

Most of all, thank You; because today, I remember You.