The FISHERS Magazine (Issue 226)
Perfect Peace When We Trust in God
I grew up with my parents, five siblings, grandparents, two aunts and an uncle – all under one roof. In such a big family, conflicts were inevitable. I watched and listened, not able to comprehend why adults squabbled and relationships were so fragile.
Being a quiet and compliant child, my mother would bring me to temples on certain days of the month. There she would instruct me to stand by a corner of the temple while she slipped into the thick cloud of burning incense to worship. Religion to me was keeping to these rituals and children being punished by kneeling in front of the altar for being disobedient to parents.
Soon my family moved out to live just two streets away from my grandparents. Our immediate neighbour, Mr Goh, a Chinese language teacher, often rang our doorbell on Sundays to invite us to his church. Mother quietly instructed us children to follow him to church with the intention of improving our Mandarin! Being compliant, we went. Well, I must say that I enjoyed the singing and Bible stories in English because it was a bilingual church. This marked my first exposure to Christianity. We stopped going to church when Mr Goh moved out of our neighbourhood and by then we were in our teens and we need not be too compliant to oblige anyone anymore!
For me, teenage years were a rather unhappy stage of my life. The emotional baggage just got heavier. School was no better. All those six years of primary education I had with good academic achievements were just not good enough compared with those secondary school girls who were smarter and prettier than I was, with my low self-esteem and a deflated ego.
The turning point for me came when my eldest sister became a Christian at a mission junior college. She sat me down one evening to share God's love for me. This time the three words 'Jesus loves me' which I recalled singing in Sunday School made an impact on me. I began to see that my sin of pride, envy and anger could all be forgiven by a Saviour who loves me enough to die on the cross for my sins. For the Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus my Lord” (Rom 6:23). At that moment I wanted to receive God's gift of eternal life. Jesus can give me a whole new meaning to living in this relationship. My sister prayed with me as I confessed my sins and received Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour and Lord. I entrusted the emotional baggage that my mum and extended family were carrying to the Lord. I understood that true faith is not just a religion but a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ.
Spiritual growth was gradual for me. The Lord provided opportunities for us to grow our faith and Bible knowledge through the Navigators Conferences and a church just across our house to worship and fellowship with other Christians. That is how my sisters and I started attending The 'Fisherman of Christ' Fellowship in the late 1970's.
Fast forward to my adulthood – I married my husband Shyh Lai, and we entered into parenthood two years later. My faith was severely tested when our firstborn son was hospitalised for a rare illness, Kawasaki Disease, when he was eight months old. Yet through the ordeal, God taught me to trust in Him, my sovereign God, and to recognise that He is in control of good and bad times, and my faith was strengthened.
Our son’s persistent high fever and ulcers in his mouth needed quick attention. On that heart-breaking day, he went into anaphylactic shock – an extremely life threatening allergic reaction to the drug administered to him. He was turning blue! The paediatrician arrived in time to pull the drip off immediately.
Yet the heart-aching ordeal was not over. His platelet count was getting lower each day and that was not an optimistic sign. He received blood transfusion that evening in 1990 when most Chinese families were having New Year's Eve reunion dinner. It had been a month long stay in the hospital but despite his suffering, my boy remained cheerful. “He is a fighter” I told the Lord. I had stopped crying to myself but turned to the Lord and cried to Him to preserve my son's life. It was comforting to know that loved ones back home and the church family were praying for him. We appreciated their love and concern for us. Through it all, the Lord's promise for me to cling on to was, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isa 26:3).
God watches over and protects us not because He is obliged to do so, but because He wants to. In His sovereignty He assured me, “'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isa 55:8-9).
I did nothing to deserve His love. He saved me and my son – both physically and spiritually. In gratitude I say, “Thank you Lord. To God be the glory!”