Friday, March 21, 2014

My Reflection on MH370

It's almost two weeks since the disappearance of MH370 and our hearts and prayers go out to those suffering through the anxieties of not knowing exactly what happened and the fate of those missing. I wrote this article in DUMC's latest issue of Floodgates magazine as a reflection.
Ending Well by Pr Chris Kam (Issue 79 of Floodgates magazine)

In my last year’s article entitled “The Future is Now”, this was what I wrote: James 4:14 ‘What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’ I was reminded that life is short and whatever we do, for most things, we have only one shot at doing it right and the consequences, good or bad will have a rippling effect for years to come, not only on us but affecting many others as well.”

The buzz around the world while writing this is the tragic disappearance of flight MH370. It has certainly been much on our minds and prayers. What saddens our hearts even more is that amongst the victims of this tragedy are people that we know. The feeling of helplessness can only drive us to our knees to intercede for those who are missing and for their family members whose greatest anxiety is that of not knowing what exactly happened and their whereabouts. Apart from coming alongside to provide comfort and help where we can, the next best thing we can do during this time is to reflect upon our own lives and how we should live it better as we ponder the elephant in the room, of our own earthly mortality and its brevity. It is not a question of “if” but “when” and this certainly reminds us to cherish our loved ones and be certain of why we are here. The greatest good we can do is not to leave behind a trail of brokenness but the glory and grace of God in our lives and others.

Just last weekend, a young man in his early twenties, came forward for prayer at the end of our church celebrations. He asked me whether there is something wrong with him because he kept thinking about death, but not in a suicidal way. While a morbid subject, I assured him that Apostle Paul himself thought about his death often. I die every day. (1 Cor 15:31a) What Paul meant was that he no longer lives only for himself but every day he becomes closer to God by doing God’s will and not his own. He is also referring to the daily possibility of martyrdom.

Hence it is a reminder that we are living on borrowed time and that life is a gift. It is not a question of how long but how well. I followed a plan set forth in my early thirties by asking this question. “What will my funeral be like?” For many, it was strange to think about death at such an early age. But it was not a joke. I was thinking about death seriously. Not that I was flippant about life and death, but rather by thinking about how my life will end, I can live my life intentionally from that point on so that I can end it the way I envisioned it.

Do not get me wrong. It is not about me. John the Baptist succinctly puts it: “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30 NIV) or in ESV “He must increase, but I must decrease.” It is about living responsibly and intentionally so that through our lives, His grace may be prominent. I thought about what people would think of me at my funeral? Would I be leaving a trail of broken lives? Or would I leave behind a legacy of transformed lives centred in Christ? Will I be history or will I be a history maker?

While working through my funeral program, I wrote down what I would like my wife and sons to say about me. Those eventually include my closest relatives, some friends, colleagues and even our domestic helper. Of course I am not suggesting that it is my desire to have them speak publicly these things about me. It would not matter anyway as I would already be in the Presence of the Lord! However, if these are what I wish their thoughts will be at the point of my departure, I need to live out that kind of live henceforth. I don’t know how else to be more intentional and purposeful than that.

It is a strange exercise 20 years ago but as I look back now, I thank God that He prompted me to do what I did. I did “die every day” and I echoed the heart of Apostle Paul which desires to be with the Lord but willing to stay for the sake of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 5:8). I finally understood why he wrote what he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

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