Faith from young
1) From a very young age, I believe in God. Somehow, the seed of faith was planted in my heart, probably through the influence of my aunt. Although I believe that there is a God, my concept of God is a “helpline” – I pray whenever I need help. This carried on for years – a nominal Christian in name
2) When I was in pre-university, through a friend’s introduction, I started attending a bible study group. I decided to go because I felt that I should know more about God, what it means to be a Christian. And through it, I began to learn to relate to God as a personal Lord and Savior, not just as a faraway an unreal God. Through the bible studies, I began to learn what it means to love Him, to have Him as a partner in my daily life and to trust in His will and plans. Reaffirming the gratitude I have for Him, who sent his Son to die on the cross for men, for ME Even though my parents objected rather strongly to my involvement in church and there were always arguments about my “religion”, I was very enthusiastic with my newfound knowledge and this continued for several years as I remained active in church through the youth and campus ministry.
3) One important lesson I learnt about God’s love and provision was in my 3rd year in university. It was also a humbling experience. At the end of my second year, I was offered the honours program for another 2 years. Even though I wasn’t sure I wanted to do honors, I decided to just go with the flow. During my 3rd year, when the first semester results was released, I received the worst results (considering my academic background) ever in my life. I mean from the top 10%, I probably ended up in bottom 10%. I was asked to see the Faculty Dean to explain what exactly went wrong. I couldn’t. There was nothing I did very different. I studied as per normal. Maybe I was busier with ministry but I still studied. With such results, I decided to discontinue the honors program. I guess God made the decision making process easy for me.
4) After receiving my results, I stayed in my hostel room for the next 2 days questioning God. I mean, how am I supposed to tell my parents and frens? Especially when they know that I have been active in church? Where is the God I believed in in this situation? I was confused, upset and doubtful. During the time spent with God, I had no answer. But a voice spoke to me and I believe it is the Holy Spirit, asking me, “Do I trust and believe in God’s plans and will for my life? That His plans are good and meant to prosper me? And that He holds my future in his hands? Even if he did not bless me another day, would I still follow and love him?”
5) Those were difficult questions. For some reason, faith arose within my heart - afterall, he sent his Son to die for me on the cross, surely he desires the best for me! So, after much thought and struggle I told the Lord “Yes”. I prayed and asked the Lord for mercy for I believe that I can’t do it on my own. I prayed that even though I do not understand, he will help me keep my faith, that I will never ever forsake His way, His name.
6) However, in my mid to late twenties, I went through a period of running away from God. I was tired and began to be more self-centred. I started questioning why I had to serve God, why I have to do this, do that, sacrifice this and that. The desire on myself rather than God increased greatly. Satan put thoughts into my mind, that maybe I will be happier if I pursue my own desires, activities. I started to rebel and wanted to avoid anything with regards to ministry/God, thinking I would be happier and more carefree. But, I wasn’t. In fact, as I focus on myself, I was getting more and more unhappy with my circumstance, the people around me (including my family). Besides the unhappiness, there also seemed to be something lacking. For a few years, I just drifted and drifted further away from God. I chose to believe that I could hide from God.
7) But, I thank God that he is merciful and he kept knocking on the door of my heart, calling out to me to return to him. The emptiness in my heart, He knew only he can fill.
8) I believe God answered my prayer, the prayer that I made in my hostel room when I told the Lord to keep my faith in all situations so that I will not forsake Him.
9) I do not remember exactly when or what changed. But the desire in me to get right with God slowly came back. In addition, moving to Hong Kong, through the church and frens, God has strengthened my faith and given me a greater desire to love Him and his people. Slowly, he has shown me the joy of sharing as I learn to put Him first. And also, restored to me, something that I’ve “lost” and I miss, the prompting of the Spirit, experiencing his reality through His words (whether the bible, or his voice).
10) For me, I know that I can be a very self-centred person and I also have a lot of pride. But through my relationship with God, I believe that I have become less self-centred – more able to love and relying more on his love to be poured out through me.. But God’s work is not complete in me - I know I am still learning and changing each day and pray that I will continue to be changed into his likeness. One thing I learnt, when I start focusing on God, I experience more peace and love and joy than when my focus on self takes centreplace.
Looking back, I thank God for his provision and blessings – in so many aspects : my marriage, my job, coming to Hong Kong etc, He has blessed me so much despite my disobedience. As I journey with Him, I began to see Him unfolding his plans for me – although I can’t see ahead, I know He holds the future in His hands. And that's what matters.
My prayer still, is for my parents and beloved friends to also experience God and taste of his goodness. For indeed, He tastes like honey in the rock. And His love is so deep it is difficult to understand yet, everlasting in nature.