My faith is something very close to my heart. As C.S Lewis puts it, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
I enjoy reading others’ testimonies, and I guess it’s about time I shared mine.
I began to truly own my faith when I was about 10, thanks to uncles and aunts who brought me to Sunday school. I read the NIV bible cover to cover when I was 11, not that I understood most of its true exegetical meaning. My parents professed to be Christian, but didn’t actively impart their faith to me, nor attend church regularly till I was 15.
Christianity became particularly real to me one day, when in the midst of secondary school stress, it hit me that ultimately, how the world viewed me did not matter – my worth was founded upon my faith in Christ. I was of great worth in God’s sight. This was intensely liberating, in Singapore’s culture of extolling the pursuit of material success. This realisation was to gird me comfortingly, throughout my tumultuous identity-forming teenage years and beyond.
In my twenties, I dug deeper into theology (systematic, biblical and reformed), as well as read up more on other religions, exploring Islam in particular, and being exposed to theories from books such as “Ishmael, My Brother”. What I learnt from this wide pursuit of theology strengthened my faith, even as I grappled with, before becoming convinced of, doctrines such as predestination. I realised that there’s just one story after all, and that was of grace. I had become gripped by the grace of God.
|All heaven declares the glory of the risen Lord|
I see the hand of God most undeniably in the awe-inspiring mountains, gorges and landscape, mostly overseas. Yet, even a simple small leaf, veins made translucent by the rays of the sun, inspires praise. How a chubby caterpillar turns into the most gorgeous lacewing. How a baby forms and grows in the innermost parts, the dark depths of a womb, then emerges forth to grow into a very distinct human being. How a child learns to speak. How each day our heart pumps and we breathe. It just takes a minute’s reflection for us to realise – how truly marvellous it all is.
So for this year, my aim is to be constantly aware of the glory of God, and hold this scripture close. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” I’d like to not take so much wonder for granted. To have a heart filled with gratitude at every turn. To see the littlest things around me with the fresh awe of a child. For indeed, how marvellous is the sustaining grace of God.
These days, I try to live out my faith in an unobtrusive manner, since I’ve heard of too many cases of friends who have been completely turned off by those constantly shoving their beliefs down others’ throats. I do not expect everyone to hold the same values as me. I have friends who are LGBT, or co-habit, and my stand is that whilst I might not agree with you, I am still your friend. I can respect what you have chosen, just as I ask that you respect my choices.
Lately, what gets my goat up is this growing intolerance for mainstream belief. The vocal minority (e.g. those agitating for the repealing of Section 377A) act as if they have a right to put down others’ beliefs, and anyone who disagrees with them is “intolerant” or “bigoted”. The irony is that such folks are now behaving as if they have the monopoly on absolute truth, and others do not have a right to differing views.
I believe in absolute truth, as opposed to the maxim that you can have your truth and I can have mine (it is logically dishonest if not naïve to say that all truth can be relative and still co-exist as truth). However, I believe that we can agree to disagree whilst adhering to our individual beliefs. As I do not force others to ascribe to my beliefs, all I ask is that you return the favour.