Finally, done with the last session of bible study for the year. It was quite a journey, I would say. From discussing which book to study, to our first meeting in Baker's Cottage, changing of venues, changing of members and even until the changing of the book we were doing, from John to James. Not to forget, the occasional inter-faith sharing of ideas. I do not perceive the "inability" to finish the Book of John as a failure. John is a very long book, to start with and we only have a year. Next, it may appear to be very literal, straight-forward at first, but as we went through some of the chapters, it has proven to be much more than that. Hence I believe there are so much more in the Bible, waiting to be discovered, if only, we are willing to read it, and not just stop there, but to STUDY it. ( The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of God has been given to you, but to the rest it comes by means of parables, so that they may look but not see, and listen but not understand. - Luke 8:10) So yea, we, (or at least for me) have learnt to read beyond what the words literally meant, but not in a twisted kind of way of course. All those questions, answers, long-pauses during our studies have made me ponder a lot more, and many moments, I was in awe of how God, through the authors are trying to convey His messages to us. Not just any message, but the message to eternal life, to be closer to Him and the absolute, truth and answers to all our prayers. Therefore, I would not say the "effort" to finish John was in vain, rather, a fruitful one as well.
We changed to the Book of James after 6 months because out of the three of us left (Yuen, Nicholas and I), 2 of us will be finishing our course in Taylor's, just so to "finish a book", we have decided to change to James, a shorter book yet very concise and practical, easily applicable to our daily life. From having a confident stand in chapter 1, to compassionate service, careful speech, contrite submission and finally, a warning for wealthy and finding comfort in the words of a just, compassionate and merciful Judge that is coming, this book has indeed in many ways challenged and made me "think twice" of my faith in my Saviour. Is my faith genuine? Am I a hypocrite? Is my submission to Him complete? For whom/what purpose am I praying for? And the highlight of almost all sessions, pride. It is also through this type of "independent" bible study group, I have seen how hard is it to maintain the dynamic and the consistency of studying the Word together week after week after week, even when we all have other commitments and dead tired after classes every Tues/Weds/Thurs afternoon. No time? Learn to make time for God!
(Thank you very much, Chun Chung for facilitating us all the while.)
Milk, is the first and sole food for most newborns. Babies just wail, open their mouth and wait to be fed. They depend on it for survival, yet they do not know the importance of it. As they grow up, only then they would realise, milk is what keeps them alive and they can never wait to be fed for the rest of their life. They have to learn to search for food, ask for it and feed themselves, or the consequence may prove to be fatal. Same goes to our spiritual life. When we first hear the gospel of the Lord and believed, we were spiritual newborns. We depended on our "spiritual parents", pastors and elders of the church to tell us more about the Good News. All the advice, nags and sermons may seem redundant at first, because we do not understand it (good for you if you were aware of your thirst for this wisdom even at the very beginning). We listened, we learnt even if we were under force or obligations (eg, dragged to Sunday School). Then, we grew up, bit by bit until we realised the importance of the Word and have the urge of wanting to know more about the Father, like a child wanting to grow up. Though, spiritual growth is harder than physical one. It can be easily stunted, or worse, reversed. Of course, our faith, the faith of a worthless sinner, may waver many times under trials and temptations, but "perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:4) That one day, we can finally meet our Creator, not as a foolish little kid who may have a great philosopher in front of him yet laugh disrespectfully at his weird-looking beard, but as a servant who yearns to worship God forever.
It is almost the end of college. The following weeks, rather than a died-down, cooling period to all these hussle and bussle of my vibrant, eventful college life, I would rather say it is the peak instead. An abrupt stop after that? perhaps. It may not be glorious, glamorous in other people's eyes, nor a smooth-sail as I presumed it to be, but because I was more unprotected, "suffered" more than my previous high school times, I have learnt to rely not on anyone, or anything, but solely on God. This lesson is of course, not done yet, and it will most probably take a lifetime to be completed but yea, I believe this is a peek of it.
As I have endeavoured to put my college life into His hands, I will continue to do so to for my future. It is to thy will, my Lord.