“If this is the day that God has chosen for me to go blind, will I still trust God?”: 5 Faith lessons from Pastor Lai Kai Ming
Do tough times challenge the "good" in Good Friday? This Holy Week, Salt&Light brings you stories of those who have "died to self", and in the process found Life in God.
Leong Sook Ting // April 5, 2023, 4:33 pm
Pastor Kai Ming with his family in 2019 enjoying a rare meal out. Despite some unanswered questions for God, the family has seen His consistent goodness to them over the years. Photo courtesy of Pastor Lai Kai Ming.
If you couldn’t change something unwanted that has happened, or is happening to you, how do you move on in the face of fear and uncertainties?
This has been Rev Lai Kai Ming’s situation for 11 years and running. Stricken by an undiagnosed and untreatable condition affecting his eyesight, the pastor of Barker Road Methodist Church does not know if or when his vision will be lost.
When God seems to be silent, how do we keep our faith? Ps Kai Ming shares with Salt&Light five lessons that God has been teaching him on his faith-stretching journey.
What if God is silent?
1. Take things one step at a time
When things are overwhelming, Ps Kai Ming shares that his faith, in tandem with breaking things down into manageable blocks, helps.
“If this is the day that God has chosen for me to go blind, will I still trust that God will provide for my needs?” he asks himself directly.
“Trusting God is to take the next step, then the next step, then the next, one day at a time. Live as normally as you can. Focus on what you are able to do, not what you can’t.”
Once in a while, Ps Kai Ming still prays for healing, but these days, it is more of asking God to sustain him.
“Trusting God is to take the next step, then the next, one day at a time. Focus on what you are able to do, not what you can’t.”
His daily prayers are practical: “Please grant me wisdom for ministry”, or “Help me not to fall sick, as I am preaching this week”.
He used to wake up and check his eyesight. Nowadays, he even forgets to do so, as he shifts his focus to the tasks of the day.
“We are children of God, and because of it, we should be able to rejoice every day. It sounds like a standard answer but it’s true.
“When you watch videos of children who have cancer, or are in dire situations, they can still be very happy. This may be because they do not realise their fate, but the other reason is that they trust in the people around them, in their parents or caregivers.
“Psalm 131:1-2 tells us not to be troubled by things that are beyond our understanding”.
Citing Hebrews 11:1 about faith being confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see, the simple truth in this profound verse can speak to us daily.
2. Find hope and meaning within the darkness
Hope and meaning are powerful forces that can combat despair.
“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing: Freedom to choose how you respond.”
When fears arise, Ps Kai Ming clings to Scripture, such as the reassuring promise in Romans 8:28.
“We must never forget that we can still find meaning in life even when confronted with a fate that cannot be changed.
“Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. What’s the worse that can happen? Just die lor! So long as we believe in Christ, in the end, temporally or eternally, all will be well.”
He quotes Viktor Frankl, a renowned Austrian psychiatrist, neurologist, and Holocaust survivor, who wrote the autobiographical book, Man’s Search for Meaning: “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing: Your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
3. Take comfort in God’s presence in the midst of lows
“God is mysteriously present,” said Ps Kai Ming.
The concepts of transcendence and immanence speak to Ps Kai Ming deeply.
Transcendence, to Ps Kai Ming, means that God is sovereign, taking care of things, protecting us even when we do not realise it.
In his life, for example, Ps Kai Ming has rather miraculously not sustained any falls thus far despite his impaired eyesight.
Immanence is where God is in the thick of every detail of our lives, if we would only recognise it.
Naturally his family has questions for God about his blindness, said Ps Kai Ming. But in the past 11 years of his failing eyesight, they have seen how God has been good to them, sending doctors, friends and strangers who have helped them emotionally and financially. For his wife Lesley, this journey has deepened her faith in terms of trusting God for His providence for the family.
It was as though God was telling him: “I’ve got people everywhere taking care of you.”
At the beginning of 2022, Ps Kai Ming was warded in a hospital for tests.
“I was very sian (Singlish for tired), but the whole process was uncannily peaceful and calm, despite the fact that it was still in the midst of Covid.”
When the nurse administered his injection, she asked: “Are you a pastor?”
It turned out that the nurse attended Barker Road Methodist Church as well and recognised him.
On another occasion, when Ps Kai Ming made a request to a doctor at the hospital, the doctor went the extra mile to help him, even though the doctor was clearly very tired that day.
Through these incidences. Ps Kai Ming felt favour from God, as though God was telling him: “I’ve got people everywhere taking care of you.”
He was also pleasantly surprised to have the chance to share the Gospel with a patient in the next hospital bed.
4. See your weakness in light of God’s strength
“Knowing our identity in Christ is key. In human weakness, God can still use us to be a blessing to others. Don’t be discouraged, just live day by day. That is sufficient.”
“Knowing our identity in Christ is key. In human weakness, God can still use us to be a blessing to others.”
Ps Kai Ming has experienced the joy of permitting others to be generous towards him.
“I’m learning that dependence is not a bad word,” he told Salt&Light. “Many of us are just too proud to receive help. What we don’t realise is that this stifles true community.”
He takes comfort in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Said Ps Kai Ming: “Through our own journey, we can start to have a taste of how our weakness can become a ministry or encouragement to others.”
5. Use your experiences to minister to others
In the last 10 years or so, Ps Kai Ming has been melted and moulded by God. He sees his aim in life as remaining faithful and useful to God despite his vision loss.
A recent milestone for him was the Pastors Summit in Malacca in January 2023, where he was one of the forum speakers. As an introvert, he admitted the busy Summit required him to get out of his comfort zone and make an effort to talk with people.
During the forum, he shared about his journey of going blind and, to his amazement, he later learnt that his sharing resonated with listeners. God could still use him in spite of, or because of, what he thought was his limitation.
“My limitations do not determine my future. God is limitless. God is bigger and more than able to redeem and restore.”
The verse 2 Corinthians 5:7 on walking by faith and not by sight has become literal for him.
“I realise that people want to learn about resilience and how to carry on despite weakness, disability, infirmities and great disappointments.
“God still blesses us no matter what our experiences.”
Read Part 1 of Ps Kai Ming’s story here.
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