In John 5:6 at the pool of Bethesda Jesus asked an impotent man, “Wilt thou be made whole?”. In today’s language Jesus was asking, “Do you want to get well?”

Last Monday’s appointment at NHU Cardiac Clinic was a referral from the Polyclinic for I was having chest discomfort. The first thing that the NUH doctor asked was not, “Do you want to get well?” but “What is wrong with you?”. After a few more questions, the lady doctor ordered an ECG test to be done before anything could be ascertained or what the next course of action was to be. The ECG was not revealing much and was not as telling. Another appointment is scheduled on the 30 April for treadmill exercise and intravenous dye procedure—hopefully a more detailed check to confirm any susceptibility to blockage of the arteries or a heart condition that was not in the past.

It is common to hear about some patients who are seriously ill and giving up the desire and will to live. But rarely do we come across a sick person who can get well if he wants to; who refuses treatment or shows no interest to co-operate with the doctor to get back to health and strength. In most cases, patients with serious medical problems will be anxious to be made whole and, for their improvement, look to the doctors for help. But the same group of people may not be keen to have the diseases that eat at their souls to be cured by the Lord Jesus Christ. What does Jesus intimates, “Wilt thou be made whole?”. It is for us to make spiritual application of this question, isn’t it? Our personal desire to be made whole is of great importance whether we wonder if we can really be what God wants us to be. But the real concern is “Do we want to be what God wants us to be?”

Spiritual healing is what must take place inside of us and it is God alone who gives to us the desire for spiritual wholeness and a heart to know Him. When the children of Israel were captives in Babylon, God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart”.

When David sinned against God, he expressed his desire for spiritual wholeness in the penning of his penitential song; Psalm 51, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”.

Brothers and sisters, are you discouraged by trials and depressed by sin; will you not look to the Lord and to His Word for encouragement and strength? Isaiah 40:29—31 “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” and Romans 8:37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Our constant prayer should be, Dear Lord, help me and give me strength and will Thou not make me whole?

Y is for YesterYears

My privy desire to revisit MediaCorp

Sometime in February 2010, Caleb and Joelson ascended Olive Road, which leads to MediaCorp, located atop Caldecott hill. MediaCorp was formerly known as Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC).

Significance of the locality

The author spent his childhood (around 4-6½ years old) at a childcare centre located within the boundaries of SBC. Having experienced a pang of nostalgia for some time, I had to satiate my urge to go back in time.

The journey to SBC

From home, at around 7.30 in the morning, Mother and I would board bus no. 23 (which travelled on a slightly different route compared to now). I recalled sitting on the upper deck during those journeys to gaze down at the road. I enjoyed seeing the cars, which looked so small! At times, though, the morning bus was overcrowded with other travellers, leaving no seats for us, apart from an occasional offer given by a kind passenger. Often, it was more than half an hour of an annoying need to stand. My frustration only compounded by being unable to hold the handles on the long black strip, as well as press the bell, both of which were attached to the ceiling. Of course, they were simply out of reach given my child-height stature! Upon alighting at a bus stop near Sim Lim Square, we would cross the bridge over Rochor Canal to board another bus (I do not bother to recall) that took us to the foot of Olive Road.

One salient cue that helped me confirm that Caleb and I were at the right place was the farm which sells flowers and plants, some which bore small oranges – no change. Back during my childhood, I wished I had a chance to taste one of those baby oranges!

The distance from the bus stop to the foot of Olive Road constituted about 3 quarters of the journey; after that, we exerted ourselves in ascending the hill. Infrequently, sympathetic drivers would pull to a halt to relief us with a lift. Most memorable of those rare instances was probably the prominent artiste, Huang Wen Yong (whose 3 children also went to the same childcare centre), stopping for us! The next checkpoint was the sentry, and Mother had to display her staff pass to the security guard. The remaining distance culminated with her walking with me through the desolate Street Scene, which had plenty of props depicting houses in ancient China, before I reached my destination – SBC Childcare Centre. Then she headed to her office for another day of work.

There were incidents outside the fences surrounding SBC worth mentioning. In 1991, Father, who was carrying me, had to flee with all his might from dogs chasing us to safety. Rev (Dr) Tow Siang Hwa, Senior Pastor of Calvary Pandan BP church, used to live within the periphery of SBC. One of the days that same year, Father and I saw him chauffeured in his car out of his house. I wish I knew who he was at that time, whom I now regard as my spiritual grandfather!

SBC Childcare Centre

In retrospection, some memories were brought to consciousness. Pleasant ones include:

* Excursions (the zoo, Botanic Gardens and Science Centre, etc)

* One of the visits to MacRitchie Reservoir (I wonder where the playground made only of wood and metal is now)

* Playing with toys in a pool (It needed be filled with water, and a ball-shaped stopper was used to allow water in or out through the drainage pipe; it was located in the open space between the main room of assembly and rooms for work/play)

* Toys (I had wished that I could own a toy-sized model of an SBS double-decker bus)

* Some of the meals served (Among the delectable variety of foods, I liked the chicken porridge most; second to that were sandwiches filled with eggs for breakfast – I was taught to eat them without allowing the mashed eggs to fall out; I was infamous in appealing always for a ‘second helping’!)

Less than pleasant ones include:

* Peers’ expensive accessories (Financially, my family was not well off and could not afford the accessories my peers exhibited extravagantly, causing me to envy them – more so for the attention those peers garnered; I was always sensitive of the benefits others had compared to me, feeling unfair even when another received a sweet and I did not! I was also distressed that I did not have a bathrobe compared to most of them.)

(to be continued—Brother Joelson)