Thursday, 30 December 2021
Title: Reflections on 2021
By Dorothy Teoh
Be still, and know that I am God …
As the year draws to a close and we look back over the year that’s been, what thoughts are uppermost in your mind? For me, thanksgiving for God’s protection and grace are certainly at the top of the list. So many lives have been lost during this pandemic that just being alive is reason to praise God.
Along with the thanksgiving though, there is also regret. Regret at the things left undone, the plans and resolutions formed at the beginning of the year that I have not managed to fulfil, or the words left unsaid.
My biggest regret this year is that I did not speak with my aunt, my mother’s only surviving sister in Singapore, before she contracted Covid in October and passed away just days later. I had been meaning to call her for the two weeks before that when she was still well but kept putting if off for various reasons, or just plain forgot. And now she’s gone. As I told a cousin, I shall always regret it. All the more so because she was not a believer.
In the midst of my regret and self-recrimination, a friend shared a virtual card through Whatsapp. The words of the card said: “The original Hebrew root of Be Still doesn’t mean ‘be quiet’: It means ‘Let Go’ and know that I am God. Surrender to what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be.” (From 5 Minutes with Jesus.com.)
Sometimes, words like these can seem like a cliche but that morning, they resonated with me. And just as if God knew in advance (which of course He does) that I needed to know He cares, He put it in my heart to turn to a website that I occasionally use for my morning devotion. The first words of the daily prayer for that day? “Be still and know that I am God.”
It is possible to be overcome by regret at our own failures and shortcomings. While I was still grappling with regret, not just at my aunt’s passing but compounded by other matters that had been stirred up, I listened to Pastor Mark Tan’s sermon on Matthew 1:1-17 on December 5.
Genealogies are understandably not the first choice for inspirational sermons, but two things struck me. The Jesus who was of royal genealogy, who is real, came to redeem: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba – all fallen women, or women with a past. Yet they are named in the royal genealogy of Jesus, and their names are inscribed for posterity. I am sure they had much to regret, but God used them all in His marvellous plan of redemption.
The other thing that struck me was the reference to Philippians 1:6 at the end of the sermon, that “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I am an unfinished work but I trust in Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith who will bring this work to completion. And it is completion, not perfection. But I rest in that promise because completion in God’s plan is better than anything the world can offer.
As we face a new year with all its uncertainties, are we weighed down by the cares, memories or regrets of this past one year? 1 Peter 5:17 says: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
The past 1¾ years of this pandemic has shown me how much God cares for me. He cares for you too. We have just celebrated the birth of our Saviour at Christmas. It is because God cares that He sent His only son to redeem us, set us free from sin and eternal condemnation and offers us abundant life in Him. So let go, and let God.
Dear Lord, our hearts are filled with thanksgiving as we look back over the past year. Thank You that You care for us, and the gift of Jesus shows just how much You care. Thank You that You still our regrets of what could have been, or is not. Help us to offer all our cares to You and go forward into the new year knowing that You will be with us every step of the way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
今年我最大的遗憾是我没有和我妈妈在新加坡唯一的至亲（姐姐/我的阿姨）说话，她在 10 月份感染了 Covid几天后去世了。在那之前的两周里，我一直想打电话给她，当时她还好，但基于各种原因一直推迟，甚至是忘记了。现在她已离世。正如我告诉表弟的那样，我将永远后悔。更大的原因是她还不是信徒。
在我后悔和自责中，朋友通过Whatsapp分享了一张卡。卡片上写着：“Be Still 的原始希伯来语词根不是‘安静’：它的意思是‘放手’，知道我是上帝。臣服于现在，放下过去，相信未来。” （来自网站）
对自己的失败和缺点感到遗憾是可能的。 当我仍然在为我的姑姑去世而感到遗憾，而且还被其他事情困扰时，12 月 5 日，我听了 Mark Tan 牧师在马太福音 1:1-17 上的讲道。
彼得前书 5:7 说：“你们要将一切的忧虑卸给神、因为祂顾念你们。
过去 1¾ 年的疫情间让我看到了上帝顾念着我。祂也顾念着你。我们刚刚在圣诞节庆祝了我们救主的诞生。因为神顾念我们，祂差遣祂的独生子来救赎我们，使我们脱离罪恶和永远的定罪，并在祂里面赐给我们丰盛的生命。所以放手吧，一切交托给上帝。