I guess Allan and I are still very much city folks, even though we have been closer to nature since we settled here in Perth.
It still fascinates us when we spot animals like horses, cows, sheep… which is fairly often as it is still a modest farming region where we live.
Buying vegetables at the grocers’ or markets also brings fresh revelations of the actual forms of the produce before they become food on the dining table.
This reminds me of those childhood days when I used to go marketing with my aunt at the wet markets. There was a fascinating corner where hens… very much alive… were kept in cages. My aunt would pick one out (not sure how she chose), tell the hawker her choice, and he would retrieve it from the cage and go behind somewhere. As a kid, I had an inkling as to what had happened to that unfortunate hen, but wouldn’t dwell too much on animal rights especially when my aunt was such a good cook. The pots of chicken curry, the chicken rice, the deep fried chicken wings… sedap!
These days, I would prefer to buy meat that doesn’t look like their original form… better still if it comes diced, sliced, minced or even marinated. It still bothers me to see remnants of feathers on drumstick and wings… oh can’t these be plucked more thoroughly?! It’s also easier to buy vegetables in packaged or frozen form, hence eliminating the hassle of having to wash and remove traces of soil and bugs, and then to trim, chop, slice, julienne, dice, etc.
So yes, there is a tendency to want to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labour without the corresponding recognition of or interest in their origins.
Both our parents worked very hard in their youth and led a frugal lifestyle in order to give their next generation a better life. Today’s environment may be tough, but just imagine those days when Singaporeans had to grapple with great uncertainties and unknown challenges that loomed ahead of the new-born nation. Up till now, despite a much improved financial situation, our parents continued the same simple lifestyles and would not bear to lavish creature comforts, good food and expensive holidays on themselves. It gives them more joy to indulge in their children and grandchildren. We are definitely enjoying the fruits of the pioneers’ labour.
I think about the origins of Evangelites who grew up or are now growing spiritually through the ministry of the church. For example, in the 80s, many teenagers and young adults came to the Lord through the ministry of Evangelism Explosion and the stirring two diagnostic questions.
Most did not come from a Christian family background. But we were brought back like lost sheep to the Good Shepherd. We had prayed to God that our parents would understand the decision we made. Raised on Godly principles and discipline, thriving on a healthy diet of the Word and exercise of faith, the young students and adults of those years saw the continual increase of God’s goodness and favour in their lives. We had prayed to God that we would pass our exams, with flying colours if we dare to ask for more. We had prayed for God’s wisdom to choose the right jobs. We had interceded with fervour for God to bless us with a spouse. We applied for a HDB flat, we started a new family, we continue to stamp our mark in this world…
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Do you ever wondered how differently your life might have been if you had not taken the first step of accepting the Lord as your Saviour? Or how things might have changed if you had decided to stop being a follower, but to go your own way back into the world?
I just cannot picture how I could independently live a life that can be so easily rocked by life’s circumstances. How does it feel to rely just on my own resources to get through problems and issues, not knowing or being able to put one’s trust in the Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent God?
Not sure if it is a sign of our age, but Allan and I reflect a lot more these days. Evangel has done Reflection as a CG group, and it’s a beautiful to see people deep in thoughts, meditating on the Word and their lives.
We retrace some of the footprints behind us by going through past diary entries and old photos and compare these to the present. There is also a thanksgiving “scroll” on the fridge to record our gratitude and thanks to the Lord for His blessings and divine intervention. It never fails to make us marvel at how we have progressed and how God has positioned us in His blueprint in such amazing ways.
We did not start out as finished and flawless products. We were but dust. We have a sinful nature and we were meant for destruction. But despite this, God redeems us and restores us to His original design. His faithfulness and goodness continue to follow us all the days of our lives. This definitely gives us confidence in moving forward for the future.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Genesis 1:26 to 27
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,
rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught,
and overflowing with thankfulness.