The journey and surrender
When I first discovered that I was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis through a routine urine medical check, I was in utter shock and disbelief that my condition was in the final stage. I had not experienced any early warning signs or symptoms.
Lying in the hospital bed, I felt helpless. There were times I wanted to give up the fight to recovery although I did not contemplate suicide. The emotional turmoil brought great strain. It seemed to me that I had to make the difficult decision of accepting my condition and low chances of recovery. However, on hindsight, resigning myself to the disease was not God’s intention for me.
In this time of turmoil, some of my friends felt a strong leading to share the word “regeneration” with me. The Scripture verse that was proclaimed over me was Ephesians 3:20 – that God is able to do super-abundantly, far above and over all we dare ask or think.
I held on to the belief that God can work miracles and somehow change my damaged liver into a healthy one without having to go through a liver transplant. I had heard of testimonies to God’s divine healing and I hoped to be a recipient of that, especially when the church emphasises the supernatural powers of God. Perhaps for me, my perspective shifted from “what God could do” to “what God should do” in my time of need.
However, He did not answer my prayer in the way I expected Him to. His ways are higher than our ways, and we should not limit Him to answer our prayers in certain ways. While the word “regeneration” can certainly mean that God is able to recreate my damaged organ into a brand new one, a donated liver can also grow to a large extent after the transplant. That’s another interpretation of the word “regeneration”.
Mine was a journey from an initial shock to giving up on life, to acceptance and finally to surrender. That was my turning point. As a young boy, I had been familiar with the hymn that says, “All to Jesus I surrender, humbly at His feet I bow…” (UMH 354). I have nothing and I truly live by His grace alone! It would have been a miracle had God showed me His tangible presence and healed me without any transplant. But He had a greater miracle in mind.
The miracle and resurrection
My colleague, Mr Ralph Chua, was prompted during his personal devotional time to respond to my need and donate part of his liver to me. It would have been enough if he were to pray or support me. But going beyond that, he acted in obedience and for God’s glory, “laying down his life” by donating his liver for his friend. Together with the combined faith, prayer and support of others, the greater miracle was experienced.
I am most grateful and give thanks to God for His divine favour and grace through my pastors, staff, leaders and worshippers at Paya Lebar Methodist Church, the medical team at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and National University Hospital, family and friends. The experience brought home to me that one does not need more to be thankful – one just needs to be more thankful.
Through this experience, I have tasted the resurrection power of God and His living hope which does not disappoint, with His love poured out all over and within me through the Holy Spirit and the family of God.
Miracles and signs and wonders still take place today. And we can be agents through which God brings them, as long as we stay obedient to the prompting voice of God, and act in faith and love. Each of us can be the sycamore tree that enabled the little Zacchaeus to climb up to reach their destiny. Will you be a tree that allows yourself to be used by God?
Editor’s note: Ralph’s gift to Andy was previously featured in a Straits Times story titled “Man gave the gift of liver and life for someone he knew only casually”, published on 25 Dec 2014.
Photo courtesy of Mr Andy Toh
Andy Toh –
works as a Ministry Executive at Paya Lebar Methodist Church.