ELDER LEONG KOK HO
I am now writing as a student of Singapore Bible College (SBC). I have just started my theological study (part-time) in July 2021, leading to a Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies. The course is expected to complete in 3 years. My desire to study theology began in 2006 and finally materialized after 17 years. This also coincides with the conclusion of my corporate life and the beginning of a new phase and chapter of my life at the age of 57!
I remembered sharing at the Glory Night on 31 December 2019 about the need for every child of God to end well. I was 55 years old then and reckoned that I only had about 15 productive years left. I reached a point in life that I need to think about how to end well in the last lap of my life. I hope I can be like Nehemiah, who at the end of his ministry, boldly and humbly asked God “Remember me with favour, My God” (Neh. 13:31).
Taking a step of faith has not been easy for me. In one of my devotional readings, the story of the battle of Jericho opened my eyes (Joshua 6:2-5,7). The Lord said to Joshua “… I have given Jericho into your hand … You shall march around the city…for six days…seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark...” (vss. 2-4).
What should the Israelites do on the seventh day?
“On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets … then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat ...” (vss.4-5).
What intrigued me is not the falling of the Jericho wall. It is what God wanted the Israelites to do on the last day. On the first six days, they marched one round. On the seventh day, they marched seven rounds and shouted.
If I may use the Jericho battle as an illustration – in our fifties, we are likened to have marched six days of one round each already. As we are moving to the last lap, it is likened to marching on the 7th day. It could be a time to slow down and smell the roses or continue to reap the harvest of one’s career heights. Yet God may want us to do something differently?
On the 7th day, the last lap, God demanded the Israelites to work even harder, requiring them to march another seven rounds and to shout in unison. It seems the last lap of my life journey is like the battle of Jericho! When my bones are tired, God wants me to walk another seven rounds. When my enthusiasm is low, God wants me to shout jubilantly. If this is what it takes to get the Jericho wall to collapse…I will step out in faith.
The decision making started in mid-2020. I am blessed with people who talked and walked alongside. I sought the counsel from Rev Dr Forest (before he joined GPC) as I had originally intended to study in Taiwan in Chinese. I told him I wanted to start studying when I reach 60 years old. He answered, “why 60 years old?”. He did not mean to ask me to go earlier. It was just a challenge to rethink. I sought the counsel of Rev He Tsu Yu (who served in Chinese Service years back). He told me to talk to God for 3 months. This was the most needed guidance. I also spoke with a few others. I am blessed with people who gave me a glimmer of guidance.
My wife was supportive and re-joined workforce on 18 January 2021, after being a home maker for more than a quarter century. She is now serving as a manager with a seniors activity centre. It opens her to a new path for her last lap too. She is now conversant with online meeting and organising activities. She is truly blessed as befriending the seniors gives her much joy and meaning in life.
I have only now taken the step of faith. What about you? We all have our own Jericho wall (Joshua 6) or Jordan River (Joshua 3) experience. Both require us to step out in faith. I hope you will also think about asking God to remember you in favour as you step forward in response to His call. I hope you are prepared to do the seven rounds and shout on the seventh day in your personal journey and service to God! May God bless you!