“Lord, how can I repay” (5 Apr 2015)

Over the last two weeks, we saw the outpouring of grief of the people of Singapore as they saw the passing away of their nation founding father, Mr Lee Kwan Yew.  I have been watching and following the reports of the state funeral. The scale of mourning and the reactions from her people have been most astonishing. In the midst of the funeral week, I made some personal reflections over the life of late Mr Lee Kwan Yew and wanting to understand the sentiment behind the long queues at the Parliament House and also wanting to pay my last respect, I was one of the 450,000 who made a file-past at the state funeral at Parliament House.

I vaguely remember the events of 1965 when I was just a 5 year old kid.  Two flashes of events lingered clearly in my memory.  Firstly, I remember mum kept mentioning that we need to stock up food as there will be a curfew. And she kept reminding us that must not leave the house so we were all kept at home behind closed doors. And on one of the curfew days, a large rock was hurled onto our kampong house. I could still remember the loud sound it made. It sounded like a bomb to a 5 year old.  Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Many years later, I was told that a first-cousin of mine was killed during the curfew days of 1965.  His mum had  asked him to close the window on the second floor of their shop house at Serangoon Road.  He obediently did what he was told.  But in the process of doing that, he was killed when a stray bullet flying from the crowd, went through his eye he was reaching out to close the window.

On reflection, I am thankful to God for our late Mr Lee Kwan Yew. Without him, we may have to continue to live in fear.  Now, I can understand why there have been so much of grief being poured out for him and in full remembrance for what he has done. The Strait Times paper reported that the unprecedented national grief was also partly due to the fact that many had admitted that their perceptions of the late Mr Lee Kwan Yew were entirely wrong. And hence, showing their final respect was in a way to say sorry Sir!

As I looked back over the last two weeks and reflecting over the Good Friday message that we heard, it has dawned upon me these following thoughts:

–  We who are believers in the Lord, had the privilege and blessing to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord. We are so blessed to have a God who love us to the end. 

Ephesians 2: 4-7 affirmed this for us – “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ; by grace you have been saved, and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus”. 

How do I respond to the love that God has demonstrated to me?  How can I live my life in ways that reflect His glory? If ordinary Singaporeans can appreciate so deeply what his/her founding nation father has done for them, surely, as Christians, we can do far more to show the appreciation that God has done for us.

On Friday, we heard Dr Mark Chan’s sermon and closing song, “Lord, how can I repay”.  Many of us were touched and encouraged.  Today, as we ponder on the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will again be affirmed that we serve a Risen Saviour and be assured of  what He has prepared for us in the future.

May the Lord help all of us to respond accordingly as we ask ourselves “Lord, how can I repay”.


Elder Andrew Lim