I started attending Youth Impact when I was in Secondary 2 and accepted Christ then. Growing up, I thoroughly enjoyed coming to church. When I was in my first year of Polytechnic, I lost my uncle to cancer. Months leading up to his death, I remember making daily trips to the hospital after school to spend time with him. The whole period was emotionally draining for my family and me. Ultimately, he lost the battle and passed away in 2014. This whole period, as well as his death, was very traumatic for me as I was very close to him. Over time, I thought I got over this period of grieving. But what I didn't understand was that this experience had left a hole in my heart. Two years later, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I was so afraid to lose her the way I had lost my uncle.
But more than anything, there was a growing anger in my heart.
I was angry that God would allow someone I loved to be taken away when He claimed to be a good and loving God. I didn't deal with the anger in my heart, slowly, it developed into bitterness. Soon, I stopped trusting that God would take care of me, my family or the Life Group I was leading.
As a leader, I felt that I had to ‘have it all together’ in front of my members. I constantly put up a positive front. Because I was not authentic and honest with my Life Group Members, I was not able to form deep connections with them.
What I believed on the inside affected my outward actions and speech.
What I believed about God in my vertical relationship with Him
had direct consequences on the way I interacted with people in my horizontal relationships.
It was only during one of the sermons on "Heart renovation", that God began to reveal the true condition of my heart. I remember that during one of my Mentorship sessions with our Youth Pastor Rebecca, she asked me a simple question, "Are there people that you need to forgive?" That question struck me greatly because I realised that I was harbouring unforgiveness towards so many people.
I realised that because God had forgiven me, so I also had to forgive other people who hurt me. I decided to forgive them name by name. When I did that, it was as though a heavy baggage was taken away from me.
The greatest breakthrough came when I was sitting in my room one day talking to God about the things I was angry about, and brought everything before Him, like a child to his Father.
At that moment, the Holy Spirit brought to mind the many instances in which I had reacted to people in an unkind and insensitive way. I suddenly realised what a sinful and broken person I was. My attitudes and motives were so selfish and damaging, yet Jesus died for me to give me a second chance. As I understood how much God loves me, and how He has forgiven me of my sins, I realised I could not possibly hold on to my anger any more!
God had canceled such a big debt of sin that I owed, so how can I choose to hold on to these small debts that other people owed me?
This changed the way I viewed the people around me. For the first time in a long time, I started praying for the needs of the people who have hurt me. As I prayed, God showed me that they were people who were broken and needed a savior, just like me. I teared as God gave me His compassion for the people He loved. Through this encounter with God, I chose to make forgiveness a lifestyle.
A few days later, God told me to go back to school. That was on a day when I had no lessons. God also told me clearly that there was someone who needed to hear the gospel and I'd be the one to share it. So I went to school, thinking that God would point the person out to me. But nothing happened.
Just as I was about to dismiss the thought as my own imagination, God told me to go towards a particular food court at my university, and specifically to sit right outside the “Cai Fan” store. I did exactly that. Midway through my lunch, the strangest thing happened. A stranger actually asked to share the table with me. This was in no way a coincidence as the food court was only 40% full, with plenty of empty seats. But for some reason, this guy decided to sit right across me, face to face. Instantly, I knew God had sent me there for him. I struck up a conversation and shared the gospel with him. Even though he didn't receive Christ, he told me that in his 22 years of life, no one had ever shared the gospel of Jesus to him.
But through this experience, God showed me something that I will never forget.
It is that He loves people so dearly.
God is not someone who sits on His throne, unconcerned about what human beings are doing, ignorant about our pain and suffering. It is very interesting that as I began to understand God's love and grace for me, I couldn't help but extend His love and grace towards others as well. And through this process of caring for others, God allows me to experience even more of His love. Our relationship with God truly cannot be separated from our relationship with the people around us.
There are many things that I still don't understand, like why my mum has to suffer from cancer. But God has used this valley to draw me closer to Him. As I look at Jesus and what He has done for me, I have no reason to doubt His love for me, or for the people I love. I now know that everything I go through is within the hands of my loving Father and that because He takes care of me, I can be at peace.