To: My son on his 21st birthday
As I pen this letter, you’re entering young adulthood, brimming with ambition and tenacity. Today is a special occasion on the tiny red dot we’ve affectionately called home: Singapore. Festivities are in full swing to mark our city-state’s 50th Golden Jubilee and with it all that we’ve overcome, every victory be it big or small and even the failures that ultimately set us on the right path. Looking back on these 50 years has inspired me to write this letter to you to prepare you for the next season of your life!
The country that you’ve inherited was not always like this. I’m sure you’re aware from the countless Social Studies and History lessons you’ve grown up with at school. However, let’s take some time to refresh your memory! A common man by the name of Lee Kuan Yew rose to the occasion in 1965. He chose to stand for what he believed in. Together with his team he shaped Singapore to be what it is today. There’s a lot to be grateful for. We might have inherited clean streets, a safe environment and a non-corrupt government, but unbeknowst to many is the price our leaders paid to lay the foundation for this generation. Growing up under Lee Kuan Yew’s leadership, I was exposed to his policies and structures for society. I can’t help but notice how many of his decisions stemmed from Godly principles. That’s why Singapore is blessed today!
There’s a universal principle in life where you reap what you sow. My son, the emphasis is on the preparation. It’s absolutely necessary to prepare; it is only then that we can expect a harvest!
“Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
Isaiah 49:1-3 (KJV)
Imagine yourself as the servant God is talking about in the passage above. What are the laws of preparation?
1. The calling & our response – Let me demystify something for you… All of us have been called! Wouldn’t you believe that? The defining factor, however, is our response to the call. People often forget that the onus is on us. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”. It must start with us. I’m pretty sure when Lee Kuan Yew rounded up some men in white to form the PAP, he didn’t foresee the weight of his responsibility. But if not him, who would have done it? You and I are as much eligible for such a position of impact. The difference is who decides to act on it and step up to the plate. The church is being restored to its original form as found in the book of Acts, not evolving into a diluted doctrine with no power to save. The only question is: will you be a part of it? It all depends on your choices today. For it is written: “Many are called, but few are chosen” Matthew 22:14
2. Sharpening of the Servant – do you know the Word? Singapore is run like a tight ship, labelled “a fine city”. We’re known to have clear boundaries with black and whites. Lee Kuan Yew ruled with an iron fist and did not waver based on popular opinion because he knew the doctrine he believed in. Likewise, our faith has to be built on the firm foundation of the Word – an absolute! Who is Jesus? What must I do to be saved and stay saved? What does the Bible say about marriage? What does it say about money? These are important questions! The answers can only found in the Bible. How can we help others if we do not know the Word of God?
3. Veiling of the Servant – training by the five-fold ministry. There are times when we are hidden in the shadow of God’s hand and it feels like nothing is happening. We feel like Joseph, given a dream of greatness but thrown into a pit then into a dungeon and forgotten for years. Yet this phase of preparation is essential to our growth. As the song lyrics go, there were times when people thought Singapore wouldn’t make it. Although we did, this success did not come overnight. It took patience and perseverance, step by step, making the right choices and keeping the right attitude.
4. Polishing the arrow’s shaft – character development. There is a process whereby the thorns and imperfections are removed from the arrow’s shaft, making the crooked things straight. A crooked arrow, no matter how good the archer, is dangerous. This polishing process can be painful but God is more interested in our character than our comfort. Wisdom can only be attained through real life experiences. Our fight of faith is this: If God doesn’t do it our way, will we get bitter or get better? Lee Kuan Yew had to face the disappointment of separation from Malaysia. He didn’t throw in the towel or allow discouragement to overwhelm him with bitterness. Instead, he rallied a nation together and made it better.
5. Hidden in the quiver – chosen timing. You are ready now – yet still God waits. Our plans may be good. But, my son, God’s plans are perfect. Stay submitted to God and trust in His timing. He knows what He is doing. Wait with expectancy and be ready for him to use you to glorify His name.
Looking at our city, we see ongoing construction everywhere! Singapore is known to be perpetually a work-in-progress because it has the potential to be greater, to be better. You are still a work-in-progress and there is great potential in you. You are the next generation and your children will be the ones to see SG100, if the Lord tarries. Strong homes, strong church, strong nation. What legacy will you leave behind? What will you do with your life? It all depends on what you choose to do in preparation today.