He has lived as a tenant in my rented apartment for 12 years. Tonight he is leaving my apartment for the last time to return to his homeland in the west, on retirement, to pick up and build up his family life with wife, adult children and grandchildren whom he saw once a year through the years on his home leave or when they visited him here . Such is the life of many single status expatriates in Singapore who have regional responsibilities, which require them to travel all over the Asia Pacific during the week and return “home in Singapore” for weekend respite, recovery, R&R.
I did not communicate much with my tenant over the years, save for an occasional air-conditioner or plumbing breakdown or renewal of rental contract. He was an ideal tenant. No news meant good news. This week we have taken time to talk more as the final handover of the apartment drew near and it happens tonight as he leaves the aprtment for the final time even as this blog is posted, at 9pm for Singapore’s Changi airport for “home” at last. I could not allow him to get away without sharing the gospel with him so we had our little chats over this last week. He grew up in Wales in a mining community. He enjoyed attending a church run school where every morning there was a school assembly where praises were sung and prayers were said to God. It was a close-knit community. He enjoyed singing as a choir boy but never personally got to a personal relationship with God. God was just there to hear and occasionally answer prayers. There was no great need then to know God personally.
Then it happened suddenly on a fine, bright blue morning … a roar and sudden landslide which buried the school and took away all the innocent children at school assembly. He was not there ! How could a good God take all the children at once when they were praising and praying to Him, and be taken away from their loving families? He lost all his friends in one fell swoop . Is God really good? Why didn’t He take them seperately while playing, not praying? My tenant just side-stepped the conclusion and travelled alone without God all these years.
Next day we met, he said, after our initial chat and while alone and packing his things, he thought about his childhood. He remembers the words of some of the hymns he sang and still like them. They are meaningful and perhaps he would go to the church, during his retirment In the past his family had only been to church for weddings or funerals. Perhaps it is time for him to turn his thoughts to God. I shared my faith with him and my experience with God during my travels in Asia Pacific, although he said he has now certain views of God from his life experiences, both bitter and sweet with the aircrashes he had to attend to as an airclaims adjuster. He witnessed life and death through the years. What is life was the perennial question. Should we allow one incident to cloud or hide our vision of God? Of interest was – how is God different from man and our treatment of both?
God is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipotent. Could He have prevented the landslide? Most definitely. Why didnt He? He says in His word that He has plans for good to us in love if we would notice it everyday. Can the impacts of “bad news” on lives be turned for good? how do we overcome grief? how can faith in a God we cannot see, help us get over the loss and grief that confronts us everyday? Is God for real? How do I know?
I would not succeed nor try to convert my tenant within a week, a man with 60 years’ life experience and still asking questions, but I could turn him God-ward and remind him to “Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you upon him while he is near” Isaiah 55:6. As my tenant closes a chapter of his life without God I pray he will open a new chapter with God. I told him I would pray that he will find God. “Does He answer prayers?” he asked and I answered “He sure does. I know He does.”
Dear Reader, if like my tenant, you still have many questions. Just get on the plane of faith without needing to know all about how the plane flies. Your faith in God through Jesus Christ will grow daily as you experience the love of God and as you fly higher in faith. The Lord speaks Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die?’ Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Isaiah 58:9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, Turn from a life without God and without meaning. Turn to your God in Jesus Christ with healing in His wings. Today He will heal your dry, broken spirit and make you alive unto Him and His purpose. God bless you.
If you are a Christian, then will you please breathe a prayer for my ex-tenant who is enroute to England now, that the Lord will speak to him and that by the grace of God he will find the Saviour, and then through him, his wife, sons, daughter and their spouses, and grandchildren too will find the Lord. Thank you.