As a newly wed doctor and a very young Christian back in 1991, Dr Peter Ng had the misconception that a person had to be ‘good’ before they could be a serious Christian. Christians are supposed to uphold high moral standards, Dr Ng thought, and he did not feel exceptional enough. However, a faithful encounter with a patient changed his mind.
“Haven’t you heard of the prodigal son? You don’t have to be perfect to be God’s child, you simply need to believe,” the patient told him. Encouraged by his patient’s sharing, Dr Ng got baptised and eventually put his medical skills into good use by volunteering at MWS Christalite Methodist Home. “But I had thought then that volunteering and doing ‘good works’ would make me a better Christian.”
Over the years, God would continue to expand Dr Ng’s heart for those in need through overseas mission trips, serving in the local church and the community. Through these experiences, Dr Ng came to realise that deeds born out of faith would not earn him salvation. Instead, service had a new dimension – “It is where Jesus’ teachings come to life!”
“All this time as a doctor, it did not occur to me that there was another way I could contribute to those in need. Just as Jesus had taught his disciples to help the poor and heal the sick, I now find that there is purpose for me to give back in this manner.”
While certainly fruitful, the journey was not always smooth sailing. There were times when Dr Ng faced rough seas in his career, personal life, and faith. One such instance was when Covid-19 first hit Singapore. As a general practitioner in private practice, Dr Ng struggled to keep up with the volume of Covid-positive patients coming to his clinic. His stress was further compounded by the administrative work he had to attend to. At his lowest points, Dr Ng struggled with loneliness, fatigue and thoughts of giving up.
Witnessing several of his colleagues burn out and leave the profession, he recalled, “The work load was so bad that in my heart I could understand why my colleagues left. But I held on because I believe God has a purpose for me. I turned to God each time and felt him prompting me that I do not have to be perfect, but simply to do my best. Doing this kept me from giving it all up totally.”
The testing of his faith and skills as a general practitioner over the years also allowed Dr Ng to provide sound advice as a member of the medical sub-committee of MWS Christalite Methodist Home. While there will still be new challenges and possibly even rougher seas in the days ahead, Dr Ng is confident that God will always be with him and not let any trial or experience go to waste.
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“I have witnessed how God uses all of my experiences to teach me to serve and love people better. Nothing is gone to waste each time I choose to heed the call to step out and serve. We need not be afraid. I believe that as a body of Christ, we are all placed in strategic positions with unique gifts to bless others,” Dr Ng said.
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27b (NIV)
By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team. / Photos and visuals courtesy of MWS.