Happenings

My Grandson

Jul 2013    
The four generations of the Rev Dr Kang Ho Soon’s family. The Rev Dr Kang is on the extreme right. His grandson Joel is pictured near the top, in a red t-shirt with blue hemming. – Picture by the Rev Dr Kang Ho Soon.

IN LUKE 11:9-10, Jesus says: “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

This particular saying of Jesus has taken on a special meaning for my family and I as we weathered a crisis in our lives, which I would like to share with you.

Some of you have met my first grandson Joel. Many have been praying for him, “asking, seeking and knocking” on his behalf.

Joel was born seven years ago, in 2006, as a special child with many disabilities. Today, he is still unable to speak and to walk on his own.

He spent the first year of his life in hospital. When he was critically ill, I baptised him in the hospital ward in the presence of family members, godparents and loved ones. He was christened “Joel Jiang Huai En”.

“Joel” is a Hebrew name which means “the Lord is God”. His parents chose this name to affirm their faith in God. “Huai En” is his Chinese name which means “in the embrace of grace” or “in the bosom of grace”. His parents want to be reminded that Joel’s existence is by God’s all-encompassing grace.

The baptism service was short and simple, but a moving one for all. I began by recounting Joel’s journey in life.

When he was a three-month-old foetus in his mother’s womb, the scan showed that his heart was severely defective The news was announced to the couple on Maundy Thursday.

From Maundy Thursday night right through to Easter Sunday, his parents and extended family agonised and prayed for wisdom in their decision-making – whether to bring him to full term. We were “asking, seeking and knocking” at the door of God’s heart.

On Easter Sunday, the young couple was worshipping at Kampong Kapor Methodist Church. As they sang the hymn “Because He Lives”, their hearts were comforted and they decided to follow God’s will for Joel – to bring him into this world.

Joel was born on August 26, 2006. His prognosis was not good – he was not expected to live as his defective heart would not be able to sustain his existence.

On September 1, just one week after birth, he underwent open heart surgery. On October 11, he was discharged from Kandang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital after spending the first 46 days of his life in the hospital.

However, on December 10, Joel was re-admitted to the hospital. Four days later, he had two angioplasties done to his tiny heart.

He was scheduled for another major surgery on February 28, 2007 to fix his heart problem once and for all. But because of intermittent fever, the surgery was postponed.

When he was a three-month-old foetus in his mother’s womb, the scan showed that his heart was severely defective. The news was announced to the couple on Maundy Thursday.

From Maundy Thursday night right through to Easter Sunday, his parents and extended family agonised and prayed for wisdom in their decision-making – whether to bring him to full term. We were “asking, seeking and knocking” at the door of God’s heart.

On Easter Sunday, the young couple was worshipping at Kampong Kapor Methodist Church. As they sang the hymn “Because He Lives”, their hearts were comforted and they decided to follow God’s will for Joel – to bring him into this world.

Joel was born on August 26, 2006. His prognosis was not good – he was not expected to live as his defective heart would not be able to sustain his existence.

On September 1, just one week after birth, he underwent open heart surgery. On October 11, he was discharged from Kandang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital after spending the first 46 days of his life in the hospital.

However, on December 10, Joel was re-admitted to the hospital. Four days later, he had two angioplasties done to his tiny heart.

He was scheduled for another major surgery on February 28, 2007 to fix his heart problem once and for all. But because of intermittent fever, the surgery was postponed.

As I recounted Joel’s earthly journey during the baptism service, our eyes and hearts were filled with tears. After the baptism service, I invited everyone to join me in singing “Jesus Loves Me”, a song which I had been singing to him since the day he was born.

As soon as the singing began, Joel gave a big smile. He seemed to recognise the song and like it.

Joel has ushered my family and me into a profound experience with God. For me, I entered into an intense conversation with God which invariably touched my inner being. In my daily visit, as I prayed silently with Joel, and watched his fragile tiny finger clinging to mine, tears just flowed freely and spontaneously.

I agonised in prayer and shed tears in the privacy of my office and during my early morning quiet time.

On one occasion, as I was holding Joel in my arms in the hospital ward, accompanied by my daughter-in-law and her mother, I could not hold back my silent tears. They saw what was taking place and quietly moved out of the room in order to give me space to commune with God once more.

On another occasion, when Pat, my personal secretary in the church office, learned that Joel was going for yet another open heart surgery, she asked me how I was taking it. Immediately tears just flowed down my cheeks. She understood my need for a quiet cry and contemplation.

I asked… I sought… and I knocked… in the presence of God. I told God what was in my heart.

But did God respond? Yes, He did! I was reminded again and again that my God is good and His way is perfect. My Father in Heaven will give me “good gifts”. He knows best.

I asked for an understanding of God’s way of handling Joel’s condition; I sought for God’s will to be revealed in every decision we have to make regarding Joel; I knocked at the door of God’s heart, desiring to know His plan for Joel in order that we may be faithful servants in carrying out God’s will for Joel’s fragile life here on earth.

By Kang Ho Soon

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