Navin Saigal is a 19 years old Punjabi Singaporean. He loves soccer, playing musical instruments like the drums and key-board and is an avid reader. Navin is serving his National Service in the Army with the Singapore Combat Engineers. He attended Anglo-Chinese Primary School, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Anglo-Chinese Junior College. Navin is a man after God's heart.View all articles by Navin Saigal
I was born into a Christian family. Naturally, my spiritual journey began while I was a child, as I read '365 Bible stories for children' and happily attended Sunday school each week. During my preschool and primary school years, I cannot recall growing spiritually or in my relationship with God. I only remember growing in knowledge of Bible stories, Biblical facts and moral lessons. I would later realize that, though seemingly unbalanced, such a start was not exactly a disadvantage.
With secondary school came my introduction to my local church's youth group. It was an exciting adventure the first year, as our youth leader, Uncle Pritam, made me feel very welcome, and took a personal interest in my walk with God. However his leadership came to a rather (I felt) premature end with his departure for Canada, and I was never quite as challenged to progress after that. Not many people know, but I languished in the spiritual doldrums for the middle part of my secondary school life.
Things only changed in my last year of secondary school, when I had done so badly in school, especially A Maths, that the principal said I would have to stay in boarding school. This was an extremely low point in my life, but when I look back now, the words of Romans 8:28 are written all over it: "And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
My depression during the first few days in boarding school lead me to turn to God for help. I started having a daily quiet time (something I had not been doing before), both on my own, as well as every morning with a group of students and the school principal before school. I also made some strong Christian friends in boarding school and occasionally played the drums for the boarding school chapel service on Thursday nights. I never realized how much fun boarding school could be, and in hindsight a seemingly hopeless situation became one of the most enjoyable in my life. It was through this experience and my miraculous O level results that I saw the hand of God in my life, and felt the favor of God upon me.
It was also at this time that I began to play regularly in my church's worship team. This brought about a new dimension to my spiritual life: worship. I had not paid much attention to this part of church, treating it more like a concert and not really involving myself. But playing an instrument, especially the piano, changed my whole perception of worship and injected a renewed enthusiasm in me to develop a relationship with God.
Finally I have arrived at this point - the decision to get baptized. Why it has come so late, I myself cannot answer fully. I guess I just had a lot of inertia to take this step of declaring my faith, since I thought I knew that even without baptism I was already saved. Yet I do not regret not having done it sooner, because after all my experiences I know for sure now that the God I serve is alive and guiding my life. I can go into the water now with full confidence in what I am doing.
To me, more than anything, God has been a helper. He has helped me when I've asked, and even when I have not, especially during my national service. I have lost count of the number of times circumstances have turned around to favor me. Also, I will never forget the church camp of 2004, when on the second night, the speaker, Rev Theo, suddenly asked me to come up in the middle of his sermon. I hesitated before walking up to the front, but he prayed for me and had a word for me that spoke volumes deep in my heart. He told me, "The favor of God is upon you" and repeated it many times. Never have I felt so reassured or felt so optimistic in my outlook on my life.