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Friday, December 30, 2016

Looking back at 2016

Hey there! I apologise for the unannounced hiatus and the lack of updates the past few months. This is the last Friday of the year, and I thought that it's a great time to reflect what this year meant to me. This year has truly been a roller-coaster ride, but there are always reasons to thank God for.

Thank God for healthy bodies. Although I have been through common ailments like flu and the occasional fever, there are no other major bodily complaints. Having a healthy body allows me to do things. A lot of things, that more often than not, we took them for granted. Waking up to the aroma of coffee, the chirps of the birds (and sometimes the quarrelling of my parents), the ability to stretch and get out of bed are examples of things that we take for granted. Imagine a day, just a day, when you lose your sense of sight, that you are not able to see your loved ones, or when you lose your sense of smell, perhaps from a blocked nose, that you are not able to smell the scent of the chicken dish your mum is making.

Thank God for Mondays. Those days that I have to struggle to get my ass off the bed for work. Speaking of which, thank God for work, which I have gotten shortly after submitting my 13,000-word thesis. Now that I have an income, I can at least get the things I always wanted and save up for the future. T.G.I.F is a common phrase, but not only do we need to think God for Fridays, we need to thank Him from Mondays to Saturdays too - just because every day that the Lord made is a good day. Complaining about your 8-5 job in an office cubicle? Do you know that people are actually dying to have your job? That people are starving in unfortunate places because they are not exposed to education and job opportunities? Own a degree and a job? Give thanks.

Thank God for hard times. University was an arduous 3-year journey, but one that is worth it. Bad things happened, but God has reminded me, again and again, that I can always rely on Him, that everything happens for a reason, and that we just have to trust in Him. Thank God for tough times, because tough times shape tough men. Difficult times are times for growth - emotional, psychological and spiritual growth. To be honest, it is no easy feat if I were to rely on my humanly strength alone. As Psalms 61:2 says,"From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Come to think about it, I don't think that I will fare as well if I did not pay my tuition fees myself, or that I will grow as much, in terms of maturity. 

Thank God for relationships. This year is a year of broken, new, and restored relationships. Long relationships were being let go of, with unfortunate reasons, yet these relationships served as needed lessons, to cherish the times we have, or teach us life morals and values - the hard way. Looking on the brighter side, new ones were forged. God is faithful in His ways, and He provided me opportunities to meet new people, and especially my partner-in-crime Lydia, the Harley Quinn to my Joker (for the record, I did not constantly try to murder her). Although problems in relationship exist because of different natures, striving to be better people, better lovers, and stronger believers should be the real #relationshipgoals. Because of my lovely partner, I started attending another church and was brought into a new cell group. New friends were made, and a renewed spiritual passion was found in my faith leading to a stronger relationship between myself and God.

Thank God for forgiveness, for forgiving us our sins. As humans, it is inevitable that we will fall short of His glory (most of the times), but God is faithful, that He will restore us so that we may stand righteous in heaven. Well, like I mentioned, bad things happened, but I found the courage to forgive the person who hurt me. While preparing my testimony for a mission trip, I came upon the definition of forgiveness. Forgiveness in Aramaic means to "untie" - when we are hurt, a lot of times we found ourselves being emotionally bonded or tied down to a certain problem or person. As time progresses, we spiralled down into a valley of depression, we hate ourselves for not being stronger, or why such things happened to us. By forgiving someone that hurt you, you are actually doing yourself a favour, you untie the past that shackled you and stumped your growth. By forgiving someone, you found a renewed sense of hope and faith in humankind, and that you are stronger than who you think you can ever be.

Thank God for Him. Because without Him, the Thomas today will never be the same. Through adversities, I find myself able to give thanks. To be honest, I still complain. After all, I am still a living flesh (a Singaporean some more hor). With Him, it doesn't mean that there are no more worries or problems in your life, believing in Him means that you will experience true joy and peace.

I truly hope that through these words, you will be greatly blessed. Wishing all of you a blessed 2017 ahead.

To God be the glory.