One thing which I find lacking in evangelical (Protestant) churches is the regular testimony of answered prayers. The typical evangelical churches will usually try to argue that it is not good to base our faith in God based on our subjective experience compared to objective truth found in Holy Scriptures.
While it is true that all teachings in Holy Scriptures can edify us, there is something seriously wrong about saying that our faith should based only on Bible. First of all, there is probably none of us who presume first that Bible is true before we are adult and becoming Christian. Typically, your Sunday school will try to argue that Bible is true by appealing to rule of logic, common sense, archaeological finding, the testimonies of ancient people and so on. Those things are based on cumulative knowledge and experiences which are used to then validate the statement ‘Bible is true’ to the children. So, in a way, experienced truths are actually preceding the Bible.
The second problem is that knowing Bible is true does not generate strength nor conviction to live based on written commandment. I observe that evangelical churches tend to treat God and God’s commandments as an object which should be studied, analyzed and understood or even worse: the demanding tyrant who is obsessed with controlling every details of our life in this earth without any visible sign of rewards for our obedience but eternal life in heaven.
Having said so, I still think it is not good to point people’s mistakes without correcting it. Hence, in this post, I would like to share three of my answered prayers to strengthen the faith of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
1) My education subsidy was not revoked when it is supposed to be
As I told my readers in previous post, I am currently taking part-time course in Energy Engineering. Although I have many reasons as mentioned in that post, the bottom part of why I decided to do this is that because the course fee is still affordable for me since as Permanent Resident (PR) here, I am entitled to get 60% subsidy fee. Or, so I thought.
In the university website, it is stated the eligibility for this subsidy. That is, we can only get this subsidy if this is our first time part-time diploma). And when I registered to this university, there is also a question asking me whether I have taken subsidy before. I have previously taken the scheme called Tuition Grant from my previous university in which the university provided 70% subsidy of school fee in exchange of 3-years working contract in Singapore-based companies. However, that time, since the wording in website is not clear (it was written that only those take first-time diploma and not first time subsidy), I decided to say no.
Several weeks later, my application is approved and I was required to come to university for document verification. They required me to fill in additional form and the similar question is repeated again (whether I have taken subsidy before). Disturbed by my conscience, I decided to ask administrator whether Tuition Grant I have taken from Ministry of Education (MOE) during my undergraduate course in Computer Science is considered subsidy or not.
Unfortunately, they said yes.
I was disappointed and I tried to argue with them that if it is needed to pay full course fee, I cannot afford it and probably should withdraw from this course. They said that it is up to my decision and they will verify with MOE about my Tuition Grant and will come back to me if I am required to pay full course fee. But after that, actually I do not much hope. That confession (that I took Tuition Grant before) is almost the same as I am initially lying and that now they need to revert their previous decision.
The day after document verification, during the journey back to Indonesia, I prayed to God about this problem. I said that I have said the truth (although probably I should not, since it jeopardize my chance to get this course) and my motivation for joining this course is not primarily based on self-interest but to improve society and hence I asked God to help me so that I does not need to pay.
So until now, I have not got the news that I am required to pay full course fee. The course has started and it seems that there is no notification I need to pay additional fee. I have taken that as answer to my prayer. Not very miraculous one unlike my healing from stomachache or recovery of my cell phone, but still answered prayer.
2) The critical bug was solved the day before my leave
The previous day before the document verification for my Energy Engineering course, I have a problem in my software development work. The delivery deadline is set to next week. Our development team is supposed to set up all critical executable and schedulers on the client site by next week. However, until that day (Friday), they are still not working.
The day before (Thursday), I come from afternoon to client site. However, it was not fruitful. I still do not know the cause of this error and began to get anxious since I have taken my leave to go back to Indonesia next week. Hence, we would not be able to meet the deadline if this problem is not solved. Additionally, it means that I am not doing my job properly and it would be irresponsible for me to leave my colleague with half-done program and setup.
I prayed sincerely to God that night that He will give me wisdom to solve this issue. And amazingly, tomorrow, I am able to identify the source of the problem although I just spent previous day without any meaningful result (and even found more bugs!). All encountered bugs were subsequently resolved and I was able to go home to Indonesia peacefully.
Initially, I still refrain to post this as answered prayer, since it is possible for my colleague to call me if there is any problem left behind (as I also have called him during his leave previously). However, in this case, I do not get any call from my colleagues.
I count that as an answered prayer.
3) My maid was found in the airport when I thought I have lost her
The incident occurred in the airport when I was about to go back to Singapore. After I have finished to check-in my luggage, I went to noddle restaurant in the airport and waiting for my mother and her maid (who was carrying cake to be brought back to Singapore).
For some reasons, my mother was not in the good mood that day. She said to me she tried to repeatedly call the maid but no body picked up the phone (although there was a dial tone) and she said she had searched around airport lobby several times and was still unable to find her. She began to speculate that her maid ran away and many other nasty things.
And then she began to blame me not to take the cake from her and she said that in the public place with rising tone. Of course, I was surprised and angry. After all, I was not the one that tell her maid to hide or not to pick up the phone and now, I was scolded for someone else disappearance. So, we had a quarrel there and people in that restaurant were watching us (since my mom talked with rising tone and I also smacked the table as a response). In the end, she left to look for her maid again and left me felt bitter.
So, I also tried to find her maid and went to the same place I saw her last time. I did not find her there. So, I begin to walk across the lobby and praying to God that this problem can be solved, I can be reconciled with my mom and there will be peace before I left to Singapore.
So, probably around 15 seconds after I finished praying, I heard the maid called me. She appeared at the same place last time I saw her. She said she was waiting there all the time and not even went to toilet. We later also learned that she left her cell phone inside our car and hence that was the reason my mom was unable to contact her.
To cut the long story short, the problem is resolved and I was able to bring back the cake to Singapore.
Now, some skeptics are probably ready to rationalize this as coincidence (as they always do, since they have initially assumed that there is no God). However, the answered prayers do not necessarily always supernatural. The most important thing is that it will strengthen your faith and give you strength to stay faithful to God.