Oh, blessed vacation!
Compared to previous years, my stay in the city at this time has been prolonged due to a recent trip to another city abroad — the Lion City, Singapore.
I prayed for a fun and Spirit-filled vacation. And God totally floored me. I was excited for the trip, yes. But my excitement proved no match to how He exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds!
So how did God surprise me? Here are seven ways:
1. By allowing me to enjoy everything FOR FREE. That’s right — everything was free for me. I didn’t have to pay a single cent. Not for the airfare, not for the board and lodging, not for the pocket money. God provided generously through various sources that I didn’t even have to ask for anything. All I had to do was pack and show up. And voila! — blessing upon blessing!
You know what? God gave me a message for this trip: Isaiah 55, the whole chapter. The title in my Bible reads, “An Invitation to Grace.” Grace is a gift; all I needed to do was receive. What particularly struck me was verse 1b which says, “You who have no money, come receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!” Then verse 2b says, “Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare.” And boy, did I!
2. By giving me the gift of childlikeness in Universal Studios. Kung Fu Panda was the first character we met upon entrance, and I was thrilled! (Perhaps even more thrilled than my five-year-old.) I was wide-eyed at the Madagascar Crate Ride. I greatly enjoyed the Jurassic Rapids Adventure where all eight of us got wet. (Eight of us being my husband, son and me, parents-in-law, two sisters-in-law and niece.) And my favorite ride — the Transformers Ride! So cool! A Sesame Street fan, I might have gotten a little giddy over the Sesame Street structures (only Sesame Street fans will understand…).
3. By letting me see things I’ve never seen before at Gardens by the Bay. “Beautiful!” I kept on saying. The moment we entered the Flower Dome, we were greeted with all kinds of trees, plants and flowers. BEAUTIFUL! Flowers I had never seen in my life lined the walkway. Red and pink roses among the other flowers were as big or even bigger than my fist! Massive trees stood like dignified soldiers.
Then we went to the other dome, the Cloud Forest. As the door opened, I felt a mist. Upon entering…WOW! Magnificent waterfalls gushing down from the circular building. While walking along, I started to worship God for such a wonderful sight!
4. By granting me awesome views of the city and the sky. These, via our room on the 25th floor of Somerset Liang Court in the vicinity of Clarke Quay, and via the Singapore Flyer — a huge ferris wheel where you ride inside this big glass capsule that slowly goes up and down, giving you a fantastic aerial view.
View from our room
View from the Singapore Flyer
5. By fixing our schedules so that everyone ended up happy. We only had one day — make that, some hours — to do our shopping. I deemed this day as a “day for our passions” — my husband wanted to visit some golf stores, my son wanted to go to a toy store and I wanted to go to Ikea. (I just had to go to Ikea. This was my plan even prior to the trip.) That morning, I prayed that the Lord would fix our schedules so we could go to the places we wanted to go to, and still arrive at the hotel in time to be picked up at 5:30 pm (we were to serve in a prayer meeting of our Catholic community’s branch there).
So off we went to Far East Shopping Centre, one of the floors being a golfer’s haven! Then off we went to Takashimaya in Ngee Ann City at Orchard Road for the toy store — happiness for my son! Lunch…then off to Ikea! (I only had about an hour to breeze through it.) The moment I saw the blue and yellow building, I got so excited — “There it is!” God answered my prayer, in the midst of traffic and a long taxi queue. At the queue, I surrendered to the Lord, saying, “Lord, bahala Ka na if we get to go to Ikea.” But we were able to, Hallelujah! God really wants to make His children happy. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will grant you your heart’s requests” (Psalm 37:4).
6. By meeting me in the company of community. Two members from Elim Singapore met us at the hotel and brought us to the venue of the prayer meeting. Us meant my husband, son and me, my two sisters-in-law and niece. My sister-in-law led in worship, my husband taught about “The Fear of the Lord,” I shared a few insights and sang, my other sister-in-law led in a prayer. Then the community treated us to dinner at the Singapore Flyer area, where there was a lot of food and fellowship. God was indeed among us that evening.
I am not in the photo as I am taking the shot :)
7. By speaking to me through the priest’s homily. We attended Sunday Mass at Sacred Heart Church. The priest and his homily were truly anointed. I could sense the fire of the Spirit in the priest. (I don’t even know his name.) Some of the things that he said that struck me:
· We have to change our mindset. We usually say that man has original sin. But since God breathed life into man out of love, there is also original grace.
· Therefore, to be human is to be divine. Because to be truly human is to love.
· I am excited for this year, the year of faith.
My vacation was so packed! Indeed, God is a God of surprises!
Have you noticed His surprises? How has He surprised you lately? J