By Magdalene Wong
Life is full of problems, challenges and uncertainties. The following two verses affirm this fact:
Job 5:7 Yet a man is born unto troubles, as the sparks fly upward.
Job 14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
We would be naive to expect a trouble-free life on this side of eternity.
As I reflect on the past few months, I was definitely not spared of troubles and trying circumstances. There were moments when it seemed too much to bear and it was as if I was walking the tightrope of faith. The familiar verses from Proverbs 3: 5-6, to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart . . . and He shall direct thy paths”, were difficult to embrace and even harder to live out.
Over the Circuit Breaker period, I was burdened with several issues, including family matters, and my helper’s desire to return home for good. However, the greatest challenge I faced was in helping my sister return home to Guangzhou. She had been in Singapore since January, as her stay was unexpectedly extended by the travel restrictions due to the global pandemic. Flights were limited and the chances of finding my sister a ticket home were slim, to say the least. Even as I continued my efforts, further worries flooded my mind, including the additional complications that might arise if my sister fell ill here—be it Covid-19 or the increasingly rampant dengue. All these anxieties and concerns took a toll on my mind, even though I remained confident in the truth and promises of God’s Word.
One Saturday morning, as I stood by my bedroom window and poured my troubles to God, I caught sight of a pair of black sunbirds flying across my neighbour’s roof. I was reminded of the sparrows mentioned in Luke 12:6 which says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God.” Yet, not even these ordinary birds fall to the ground without our Heavenly Father’s knowledge. So how will He forget us, who are of greater value than all these birds put together? My heart was immediately uplifted and encouraged as I rejoiced in the truth of this promise.
There was a glimmer of hope when our government established a “green lane” with the Chinese Government in May for travel to and from China. This prompted me to contact the China Embassy which eventually led me to secure an inordinately pricey ticket on a flight on August 4. One week before departure, I was informed of a possible compulsory Covid-19 swab for travellers to China. Meanwhile, I maintained close communication with the airline personnel for updates on travel regulations and medical status for my sister.
On the late evening of July 27, I was prompted by the Spirit to contact the airline personnel as I still had not received an e-ticket for the flight. I sent her a text message around 1030pm. The personnel contacted me the next morning at 9am to inform me that the flight on August 4 had been cancelled. On hindsight, if I had messaged the following morning after 9am, the airline personnel would have missed my message as she would have been suited in a PPE at the airport to facilitate check-in. She kindly shared that there was a flight departing on that day (July 28), and advised me to take a chance and just head to the airport to wait for a last-minute cancellation. Shortly after, there was a follow-up to confirm that there was indeed a seat available due to cancellation from another passenger. My heart was thrilled! After sending my sister off, I was filled with relief. In retrospect, I could see God’s divine intervention. He was the One who connected all the dots to make all things possible and work out for His glory and for our good. Roman 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
In times of dire need, sometimes our fears and anxieties overwhelm us, and we become doubtful of God’s word. John Piper has a long list of different manifestation of sin, one of which is “the faithfulness of God not trusted.” From a recent Bible Study on Genesis 6, I was reminded of how easy it was to fall into this sin. Before sending the rain, Noah was instructed by God to build an ark, to bring his family and a pair of every creature onto the ark. For the next few months as Noah waited for the floods to subside, he must have longed for the release and relief from the confined space. He must have also felt the emotional distress, not knowing when the rain would stop, nor the state of the new world awaiting him. Just like Noah who must have felt trapped and anxious on the ark, I too felt a sense of entrapment during the circuit breaker with the challenges I faced.
Looking back, even though it was only a short few months, it felt like an eternity. No one enjoys the season of waiting. However, God is at work as we wait. We are told that God remembered Noah, his family and the animals. Do we trust that God remembers us, even while we wait? Can we still worship and praise God even if we cannot see His answer as yet?
As we know, Noah waited faithfully until God told him to leave the ark, with his family and all the animals. One takeaway that I had is that Noah possessed God-given faith that produced dependence on God and courageous obedience. Noah trusted God to keep His promises. Do you?