When I was a child, the god I knew was a god whom my mother had fully dedicated her life to and expected us to do likewise. We were required to chant day and night, and follow many religious rituals regularly in order to please this god and to get our prayers answered.
After becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, I was truly liberated to worship this God who was willing to reach out to me, just as I was. He was not a god who demanded holiness through “sacrifices” and “offerings” just to please Him. He has never turned a deaf ear to my cries. He has never turned a blind eye to my situations. He was a willing God who reached down from heaven. He was willing and is always willing to extend His outstretched arm to “rescue” me in my life situations. As I grew to know Him more, the more my heart overflowed with thanksgiving.
When the leper came and knelt before Jesus and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus willingly reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” (Matthew 8:1-3). Jesus was willing to heal the man, He was also willing to touch an unclean man. Just imagine when was the last time the leper physically came in contact with anyone? Never in his mind did the leper expect that Jesus would do such an outrageous act. Jesus was not only able, but He was more than willing to extend His love and compassion to anyone who desired to come to Him. Jesus did not require the leper to beg profusely before He healed him. Without a moment of hesitation, Jesus reached out to him willingly. Jesus was not only physically reaching out to the leper, He was simultaneously reaching out to his heart to bring love and restoration. Are we willing to do the same? Are we willing to do to others as Jesus did for us?
About a month ago, I walked into a crowded MRT, I was delighted to find an empty seat. Happily, I sank my tired body onto the seat. I soon realised that the one sitting beside me was a man suffering from neurofibromatosis. His face and body were covered with tumours. Despite there being many other tired passengers, none choose to sit beside him. He must have desired to be treated normally as any other passenger. I was thankful that I sat beside him, albeit unintentionally. Perhaps now he would feel less awkward about being avoided on such a crowed train. Initially, I was still very conscious, and tried to take a glance at him. I could have left my seat like those around me to avoid this person. However, I chose not to. Eventually, I felt so at ease that I fell asleep in my seat beside him!
Would I have chosen to sit next to him if I noticed his condition? I think I might have hesitated. I thank God that through my ignorance, the initial barrier was broken and I exercised my will to continue sitting there, beside him. It made me realise that it cost me nothing to sit beside him, but it might have brought him a great sense of normalcy that we all take for granted.
Let us continue to respond to our willing God, as a willing channel of blessing to the needy in our midst.
By Serin Chng, Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 22 September 2019)