March, 1999

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How I Came To Know God

I believe very much in simple truths, and my early knowledge in God really stemmed from two such truths.

Essentially, I grew up in a non-Christian family, my parents being atheistic in fact. However, even though both my parents were chinese-educated and free-thinkers, my dad recognise the value of an English-based education right from the very start. Such that when he was still a student, particularly in his University days at the then Nantah University, he bought hundreds of english classics, and painstakingly read through every single one of them (you can still see the notes he scribbled in pencil on each of these classics). When the three of us at home were born into the family, we had a mountain of English books to read, and my dad didn’t stop there either. During our childhood, he bought hundreds more, such that we amassed the entire collection of books by Enid Blyton, Ladybird, and a number of other authors and publishers. We all devoured and read every single of them. One could say that we grew up on the old western classics and ideas of virtue, God, integrity, honour towards women etc..

Somewhere before I start my junior education at the Anglo-Chinese School- pre-primary if I remember- it dawned on me the first truism that I still hold onto today- that life cannot create in itself. It can reproduce, and change form, yes- but someone, somewhere out there had to have initiated the first spark of life in this world of ours. The world had too many things right for me to believe that it was a simple matter of evolution- e.g. the natural balance of flora and fauna on earth, our intelligent ability to think, perceive, and remember, the fact that this planet is the only one in our solar system that sustains life albeit such normally adverse conditions. That’s when in my little mind, it came to me that things in this world was too perfect to have been human-initiated. And that’s when I realised that there had to be a divine authority watching over all of us.

For some reason, I’d never been able to convincingly believe in idol worship- God was too great a being to be contained in a device of human making- and it helped a lot that I knew the western perception of the divine, and that I was going into a missionary school which strongly profounded the existence of a loving God. That was about the time when I came to know Christ, and how it all finally made sense. I remember saying my first serious prayer when I was in primary three: I’d lost a library book, and the date of return was drawing very near. I’d search high and low and nowhere could it be found. Here was when the second truism that I still hold onto came into my life: it comes from the autobiography of Vince Lombardi (a famous American football coach in the 1960s) I read while I was still a child. Just before an important match, a football player once said to Vince: “I pray we win this match.” Vince replied (or something to this effect):

“Son, you never pray to win. You pray to do your best.”

That was it- the second very important truth in my life. I got on my knees on the sofa, and I remember asking our Lord that I’d lost an important book, and that it would be great if I could find it again. But if I couldn’t find it, and had to pay for the price of the lost book (parents had to, I mean), I would accept it as I knew it would be an incident that God would want to take place in my life, and for me to learn from.

After the prayer, I felt a bulge in the sofa I had been on kneeling on. I got up, removed the cushion, curious to see what was underneath it. The missing book was right there.

That was one of the first times in memory where I felt our Lord’s will working in my life.

So that’s really my story- the rest of it is history. I’m not about to claim that living the life of a Christian is anything easy- I failed a lot of times in the first 27 years of my life, and will continue to. But my belief in these two simple unshakeable truths have made much of my life easier to grasp and understand. There would be many, other truths that I learnt in my life, all of which I owe to our Lord’s revelation.