Sermon Reflection

Sermon Reflection: Faith Unleashed: Turning Life Right-Side Up

Contributed by Adeline Ting • May 28, 2024

I have always thought of myself as a compliant person, submitting to laws and regulations quite effortlessly, like a duck takes to water. I have never had any run-ins with the law, I follow traffic rules even when no cars are on the road (and no CCTVs), I dot all my i’s and cross all my t’s in any official government forms, I put my seatbelt on in flights even when the seatbelt sign is off, I stand in queues without being asked to, and follow dress codes, pay my taxes, and the list goes on. In fact, if I am given a checklist on compliance, I guess 99.9% would have been ticked.

So, why am I squirming in my seat as I reflect on this sermon?

Because honestly, I struggle with trusting the government. I thought of all the times that I am left puzzled with certain government policies, the civil servants I have crossed paths with, and the mind-boggling red tapes to get certain things approved. Some of these experiences really stood out. When I was a student, I had to learn Bahasa Istana, bahasa kiasan, read multiple copies of Dewan Pelajar and Dewan Siswa, just to ace the SPM Malay Paper because it is a requirement to pass the Malay Paper to be awarded the full SPM certificate. And eventually to find out, none of the things I learnt in SPM Malay Paper is applicable today other than conversational Malay language. So why make it compulsory to pass this to get the full SPM certificate? And then I remembered the civil servants I have encountered. They are very compartmentalised when it comes to work that a question on anything beyond their scope of work equates to a run-around through the various departments which is extremely time-consuming and sometimes frustrating. And each person will give you a different advice at each different time that you meet them. It is a recipe for utter confusion! And the red tapes to get approvals from governmental organisations is equally frustrating. A single document for approval can take up to 6-12 months as it works its way up the various meetings to approve it. And after 12 months, the application may be returned with a note that a revision is required, which could have easily been spotted in the early stages.

But despite all these, I still pay my dues, obey the laws, and do my part to live responsibly to maintain peace and order. I can obey authority, because it is the right thing to do. But at times, I do struggle with believing and trusting this government fully, especially when colourful stories on Malaysian politics surface every now and then. I remind myself everyday that I shall keep my eyes on God and learn to always place my trust in God’s sovereign plan and His establishment, whether good or bad. But this is my Goliath, and I have to find courage and wisdom to overcome this.