Today we share a jewel of Faith and Trust from a person who is very close to us: Martin Chung.
Martin Chung is Chinese, born in Macau. Martin and Queenie Leong were married two and a half years ago. Both are Catholics. I baptized Martin in 1999. He is now in pursuit of his PhD in Political Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. They have a small daughter, Tin Yin.
Two years ago, while waiting at a bus stop, a truck went out of its way, hit a post and the post hit Queenie on the head. She was 5 month pregnant. She underwent open head operation and many trials. A few months later their daughter was born with “holes in her heart”. Thus the following testimony of Martin.
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Others see a chain of bad luck and suffering, we see a test of faith – and a blessing awaiting blossoming.
In less than two years, between my wife and my 1.5-year-old daughter, there have been 5 surgeries, on the head if not in the heart. And more are still on the horizon, as there are still holes in my little daughter’s even littler heart to be fixed, some in a most complicated chamber that even the best surgeon in Hong Kong (and Asia) hesitates to venture.
Why me? Why us? I imagine others would have long begun questioning their Fung Shui, their birthday’s compatibility with the year’s celestial dignitaries, the potency of their patron gods that are gathering dust somewhere on some shelf – or the darker part of their past that may be responsible for the karma.
But no, this is not the way we take it. As Christians – that is, trying-to-be followers of Christ – we have long been prepared to shoulder our share of the Cross. Sometimes it means persecution for our beliefs, like the ordeals of Stephen’s (Acts 6-7) and Paul’s (Acts 21-28), sometimes it means simply being close to somebody special, like Mary as the mother of a suffering son, like parents like us having a “special” child.
Looking at our daughter as a special – rather than a sick – child helps. For what is “sick” or what is “normal” are but human categories. We’re all “sick” in some way – just that some are more obvious, and some less. As parents to a special child, we are called to walk a special path – one that is particularly onerous, to be sure, but also, just because of that, particularly rewarding. I remember listening to a friend feeling some sort of loss because both her birth-giving and child-rearing had been “too uneventful” – thanks to the marvels of “painless birth” and “hands-free mothering”, which are not at all unaffordable nowadays.
Ask Mary, knowing full well what would happen to Jesus and how much pain it would cause her (i.e. what the greeting actually meant), if God granted her a second chance, would she choose to retract her “let it be done” in Luke 1:38?
Ask us, if God now appears, a “perfectly normal” baby on his left hand, will we surrender our less-than-perfectly-normal daughter in exchange?
Ask again, God willing, we can go back in time to less than a few weeks of pregnancy, knowing full well her future heart problems, will we go for abortion?
Ask finally, Heaven forbids, if our daughter should ultimately reunite with God ahead of us (now I can hear my Chinese within me shouting: Dai Gut Lai Si! – or something like How dare you utter such misfortune! – as if mere utterance will bring it about), despite all our efforts and tears and prayers, will we wish that she had never been born?
Our answer to all these: a resounding No.
No. No. No.
Like all tests, the test of faith has its questions. Some are fairly easy to answer. Some we don’t even dare to ponder. But unlike the tests of fate, its passing brings peace amid fear, a bit of light above an ocean of darkness. Fear and doubt are there still, menacing as ever, but they no longer look the same.
After all, it is not a mean-spirited, man-playing God that we believe in, as many self-proclaimed rationalist Chinese do – as when they say: Tin Yi Nung Yen, or the Will of Heaven is but to make fun of Man. It is our creed and our bread: There is one God, with him everything is possible, and he loves us like no other.
Do we need miracles to “prove” his existence and his power, so the “success” of Christians can help gain converts? Never.
Like Jeremiah says, or something to that effect: God is. That is enough.
And a family we are, here at this moment, and forever in eternity as well.
That is enough.