The seminarian brothers used to jog to Sentosa, Chinatown or around Mount Faber when we were staying in Church of St Teresa. These jogs were kinda part of our fellowship, a few of us would spend our personal recreation time together, just to explore around the church and getting to know one another more. There were also times where we would spend our evening walks together around the estate, just behind the church. Having moved to our new home here in Church of St Joseph (Bukit Timah), the ‘custom’ continued. Over the past four months, we have been discovering the new surroundings during our recreation, be it community or personal. I have the privilege of exploring this new area with my seminarian brothers.
I recalled one episode where one of the seminarian brothers suggested visiting a quarry nearby, during our recreation time. He said there would be a bit of an upslope but it would be worth the run, as the view is spectacular. I was a bit hesitant as I remembered him saying almost the same thing when we were back in Church of St Teresa. He said there would be a bit of upslope around the Mount Faber but it would be worth the run. I almost ‘fainted’ after jogging there. However, since he said the view at the quarry is spectacular, I decided to buy the idea. Indeed, the road from Church of St Joseph to the quarry was really upslope both physically and spiritually. The feeling of the evening sun scorching over you, the humid dampness on your skin, the little overwhelming breathlessness, the familiar fauna and flora that reminds me of army field camp. I was grumbling all the way there and kept asking him if we are reaching the place.
Upon reaching the quarry, we were greeted by the beauty of the whole place. It was as if we were in a different country, no concrete jungle. We could hear the birds chirping, the gentle breeze caressing, the stillness of the water, and freshness of the evening air. The whole quarry was so idyllic. There were just a handful of people there, enjoying the spectacular nature of the quarry. Some even brought their huge cameras to snap pictures of the fauna and flora.
As we were appreciating God’s creation in the nature, the magnificent rock formation surrounding the quarry reminded me of the magnificent love of God, the rock fortress embracing and protecting me (Ps 18:2).
The road to the quarry is likened to our spiritual life. There are times where we feel exhausted running there and just the thought of going to the quarry already exhausted us mentally. Similarly, our relationship with God can be experienced in the same way. There are times where we don’t feel like praying because the thought of being restless or spending time in prayer seem to be of a lesser priority, than our other seemingly important things to attend to. There are times where having a more intimate relationship with God seems so difficult. As much as we want to grow closer to God, but our flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).
Our relationship with God needs to be nurtured and it takes time, just like any other relationships with one another whom we can see, hear and touch, simply because it is a life, “alive”! Of course, nurturing relationship is never easy, much the same as the road to the quarry. The road is filled with temptations to go back to the comfortable starting place, to walk instead of jog, to take a bus or to even ride there using the electric scooter.
Similarly, our prayer life (our relationship with God) can be filled with temptations to just be comfortable at where we are at, postponing our decision to follow the Lord, or compromising our surrendering to the Lord so as to have certain control to what we give to God, or just to give up all together because it is too difficult to have/deepen our relationship with God. It is easy to walk the wide and spacious way with negligible obstacles or be comfortable with the obstacles that we have encountered before or to give minimal to the Lord, but it is more rewarding to walk the narrow way because we persevered (Matthew 6:13), no matter how difficult it takes. Our relationship with God cannot be stagnated, it has to grow and it can only grow with some hard knocks, just like how we experienced some hard knocks in life. Are we open to the hard knocks that come along the way as we grow in our relationship with God, because the treasure ahead is going to be spectacular? Are we “alive”?
God knows our needs and challenges; He will always send someone to challenge us to grow and to accompany us in maturing our relationship with Him. On a similar note as my seminarian brother who suggested jogging to the quarry, the Lord is inviting me to encounter Him differently physically (through appreciating the nature despite the elements) and spiritually (by being “alive” and open to growth).
If not for my seminarian brother’s suggestion, I would not have experienced the allurement of the little treasure in the North-West of Singapore, encountered this little reflection of my relationship with God, and just jogged the usual route.
So putting all these elements into a master art-piece like the quarry, the Lord is inviting us to experience the little treasure that He wants to give us. The road is going to be a bit of an up slope and a few hard knocks, but worth the run, as long as we persevere. The Lord will always send us that one person to help us to experience the splendour of His little treasure and all He asks is to trust Him.