Listening to the U tube of the Wonderful Grace of Jesus brought me back to my high school days where we had a weekly Christian Fellowship meeting at our school no matter rain or shine, interrupted only by examination weeks . We used to struggle to sing the Wonderful Grace of Jesus (of course we did not sing as well as the choir in the U tube above) as the pianist tried her best to play the accompaniment on the school piano and we girls tried to sing in parts. Sometimes we ended with much laughter as we strained much to get the parts sung right.
Did it matter? Yes, for it spoke of the grace of God in our lives – for some came from heathen homes who knew the depths of spiritual darkness that could pervade homes and lives.
Since then, I am reminded of the fact that the Lord has also brought Singapore from a period of real national uncertainty after Merdeka (freedom) and the split from Malaysia to a level of prosperity not many third world countries have achieved. Reading the news of the last train leaving Tanjong Pagar train station (the only train end link between Singapore and Malaysia) about one month ago, after the handover of that premium piece of land back to Singapore from Malaysia after decades of use, brought our national history into focus as we approach Singapore’s National Day. I remember
- the economic uncertainties when Jurong Town was built for the multinational industries that would come to provide jobs for the new nation of Singapore in the 1960’s and 1970’s when our livelihood depended on the manufacturing factories set up. There was talk of much unemployment in a like doomsday scenario. I had to drive daily to work in Jurong when the roads and highways were potholed roads and it took more than one hour each way to and from work especially on rainy days.
- the Singapore defence force emerged from the headquarters at Dempsey Road and the first national servicemen (my male peers) were conscripted and underwent rigorous training and personal sacrifice under the Israelis and the defence industries were quickly set up. ( I was involved in the pioneer costing, accounting and auditing functions) We must appreciate the help from the Commonwealth forces when we were an infant nation.
- the Singapore school system and the rivalries and competition between the English and the Chinese educated. I was from an English medium all Chinese girls’ school and heard much about the competition and rivalry.
- the multi-racial riots which took place which we hope will never happen again. I took four hours driving from school to home when it should have taken just half an hour and had 8 passengers (unbelievable!) cramped in a small blue Triumph Herald through the curfew – we made it fearfully through Malay kampongs (villages) Eunos and Amber (where we were told beheadings took place) areas with one Malay school friend in the car among 7 Chinese girls! and the many, many red riot police vans on the road.
- the Indonesian confrontation when the Indonesians came across the narrow straits at night and the terrorist bombings and especially bombing at MacDonald House (where my office was located). We missed it thank God, because it happened outside office hours as I remember.
- the financial resources and buildup of Singapore’s assets with good financial governance ( yes I was involved in auditing several banks) and the growing of the second flank overseas (when I was involved in commercial corporate takeovers)
- the medical challenges of TB or tuberculosis, SARS (the personal risk and sacrifice of doctors and medical staff during that period), dengue fever. They are now involved with the most advanced state of the art treatments for cancer and myriad of killer diseases Yes we had prayers aplenty and financial donations too.
- the great squatter houses on fire at Kallang, which spawned the very well-known government subsidized high-rise housing program for the majority of Singapore’s population in land scarce Singapore.
I could relate more of instances of God’s grace on Singapore, but suffice it to say, the Lord has been in charge ( Romans 13:1 “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” )and through the government over the years, His grace has been manifested in our nation’s progress for there were many Christians (amongst others) among the leadership, nameless men and women of integrity who played their part to the call up for national service helping, by their commitment and loyalty to duty for the national interest to build up a country all Singaporeans can be proud of.
Our next level of service for the Christians must be to build up a strong regional hub for missions to Asia Pacific and the world. As the Lord has given much to Singaporeans so we must be good stewards of His blessings as much will be expected of us to share. May we be true and faithful to our calling in Christ Jesus to fulfil our roles in the universal body of Christ. Indeed we pray, as Singaporean Christians will unitedly pray tomorrow for the nation and the government, that the wonderful grace of our Lord will continue to be shed abroad in our midst and to the regions beyond through us Singaporean Christians. I want to be a part of this drive. May the Lord touch our individual lives and help us in wisdom and discernment. Glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Will you join us in experiencing the wonderful grace of Jesus?