Finding Satisfaction in Christ
Testimony By YS Tsai in Manna 53 – Taiwan
Before I came to Christ I befriended drug addicts with whom I ate, drank, and partied. Then I also became a drug addict, and I started to lose direction in my life. I made many determinations to stop using drugs and even checked myself into a drug rehabilitation center. But all my attempts to get better failed.
UNDER THE CONTROL OF DRUGS
I remember one day in 1990, I was hanging out with my friends, drinking and chatting as usual, when someone took out a pack of heroin cigarettes. I had heard of them before—they are made of heroin wrapped in tobacco leaves and cured until dry. They look like regular cigarettes and you smoke them like cigarettes.
Even though I knew it was a drug, I wasn’t sure of its effects on humans. Out of curiosity, I tried some. My first try was unpleasant, so I didn’t understand how some people like using drugs. Wanting to know the answer, I gave it more tries.
Little did I know, after three to four cigarettes I became addicted to the drug, and my body and mind were deeply attracted to and controlled by it. After that experience, I fell into the depths of pain.
Although I knew that I shouldn’t take drugs, and that it is illegal to, once I got addicted there was no turning back. It is like smoking regular cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or chewing betel. Once you develop an addiction, even though you want to quit, it is still very difficult because of the unbearable physical pain and suffering from withdrawal.
Just like that, I was living under the control of drugs. Every day, I lived in ignorance and foolishness. I did not know what I was doing.
NO WAY OUT
I hid my drug addiction from my family for a very long time. One day, I received a phone call from my friend, telling me to pick up something (the “goods”) at Tainan. It just so happened that the Tainan police were investigating him. They were tapping his phone and found out where I was going.
On my way home after picking up the drugs, the police arrested me and brought me to a police station. They interrogated me past midnight before I could be bailed out. They also took mug shots of me and put them on file. This was my first experience of getting arrested.
After my mother found out that I was a drug addict, she tried to persuade me to renounce drugs. When her efforts failed, she would often say that I was hopeless and that she would give upon me.
I knew I couldn’t continue living like this; it was illegal, after all. Moreover, drugs damaged my body and drained my wallet—a pack of drugs that cost about $3,000 NT ($90 US) could only last me two or three days.
But if I didn’t use drugs, I felt lethargic—I would yawn, shed tears, and have muscle pain. I was in deep agony, but I didn’t know what to do. I could only live my life one step at a time, thinking that the worst thing that could happen to me is getting arrested and being put in jail.
I followed my friends in beating people up, but I had never killed a person. At this time, I deeply experienced the importance of choosing friends. Good friends will encourage me to change my ways and start anew, but bad friends will lead me by the nose.
Once I started taking drugs, I had no peace. I couldn’t sleep well at night because I kept on thinking about drugs. I tried listening to Buddhist scriptures, hoping to rely on religious power to help me change my path, but my heart was still distressed and turbulent. There was no way to cure it.
SEEKING THE TRUTH
I was introduced to the True Jesus Church through my next door neighbor, brother Huang, and my younger sister. They preached the gospel to me, and every year they gave me flyers inviting me to evangelical spiritual convocation. As a believer of traditional folk religion, I could not accept Jesus at once but I never opposed my sister’s faith.
Because of drug use, my head felt heavy and drowsy every day. All that I thought about was earning money to buy drugs. Thank God I didn’t get to the point of stealing.
At the time I was working as an exterior painter, and I spent all the money that I earned to buy drugs. If I didn’t use drugs, I was not able to control my body or mind and I could not work. In order to get enough money to buy drugs, I had to work. This cycle repeated itself every day.
One day, I accepted brother Huang’s invitation and went to church with him. I started seeking the truth in Tainan County’s Xishu House of Prayer. I was touched by the sermons that I heard but I didn’t know how to pray. I learned how to pray after brother Huang and his wife, sister Liu, taught me. They didn’t know that I was a drug addict.
After a period of truth seeking, I went to Tainan city’s Nanmon Church for service. On our way to church one Friday night, brother Huang asked me why I was still dressed in long sleeves when the weather was so hot that we needed to turn on the air conditioner.
At that time, because I had the word in my heart, I was moved to roll up my sleeve and show them my arm that was full of needle marks from drug injections. Sister Liu was shocked. That is how they found out that I was a drug addict.
TRANSFORMED BY GOD
Gradually, brothers and sisters in church knew that I was addicted to drugs. But they never looked at me strangely, nor did they alienate me. Instead, they encouraged me, accepted me, supported me, and prayed unceasingly for me. This feeling of being one family in Christ touched me greatly.
People outside of church are different—once a person is addicted to drugs, they think that he is hopeless. I was accepted in Christ, but rejected outside of Christ; the treatment was as different as the day is from the night. I was greatly comforted by the acceptance that I received. Therefore, I made a determination to rely on prayer to quit drugs.
At that time, what moved me the most were my experiences in prayer.
When I was in drug withdrawal, my cravings for drugs came in cycles. Five to six hours after I awoke from sleep, I felt low-spirited, my eyes started watering, and I kept on craving drugs. I prayed to God, “O Lord, I really want to change my old ways but my body is weak, please help me.”
Miraculously, every time I prayed, my heart was filled with peace and comfort just like what the Lord said. “‘Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’” (Mt 11:28).
I sought the truth for about half a year and the grace of God gradually transformed me. During that period of time I relied only on prayer and attending worship services to cure my drug, smoking, and alcohol addictions. God’s power and love are truly great and powerful. He saved me from the clutches of drugs. I am also thankful for my younger sister who has been praying for me ever since she found out about my drug addiction.
I had invited a friend who did drugs with me to seek the truth. But he rejected my invitation because he believed in a different god. About a month after I started truth seeking, he lost his life to drug addiction.
God’s grace is truly abundant—less than a month into seeking the truth, He gave me the Holy Spirit and my heart was filled with joy. Half a year later, in April of 2001, I received baptism and became God’s child.
God’s power and love are truly great and powerful. He saved me from the clutches of drugs.
HEALED BY GOD
After my baptism, I went with a deacon one day to visit a brother’s electroplating shop. The brother mentioned that he was hiring and asked if I was willing to help with plating pistons and cookware. I happily accepted his offer because I thought I should find a stable job now that I was baptized. I believed that God will provide. The deacon and his wife also encouraged me to go for the job.
I started working the next day. The omnipotent and omniscient God knew my worries and opened a way for me. He arranged this job for me and I am truly thankful for that.
In October 2002, I hurt my spinal cord at work and as a result was limping as if my legs were of uneven lengths. I immediately went to a hospital for a CAT scan. The doctor said that I had a herniated disc and that an operation was needed to correct that problem. My surgery was scheduled for April 6, 2003.
I stayed at the hospital the night before my operation. A doctor who was looking over my X-rays came to my room and introduced himself as my surgeon. When he saw that I could still walk, he did a quick checkup on me.
He asked me with great surprise what medicine I took that allowed me to walk freely. I replied, “Thank God, I am a member of the True Jesus Church. The Lord Jesus has healed me!” That same night, I was discharged from the hospital and didn’t need surgery anymore. Thank God. My limping, after continuous prayers and petition, was also healed by God.
Before I came to Christ, my life was black. I lived under shadows and was taken over by sin. Neither my body nor soul had peace, and my dream of having a good and beautiful life disappeared like fog.
After coming to Christ, by relying on God’s spirit and power, I have the courage to turn my steps away from the wrong path. Now my soul is satisfied, full of joy, and has the hope of going to heaven to enjoy eternal life.
I deeply experienced that when a person is trapped in sin, there is nothing that he can do besides letting his weakness take over his mind and soul.
But the Lord Jesus came as the Word in flesh to be crucified, so that through His precious blood, our sins can be forgiven. And through His blood we can have salvation and the hope of entering the kingdom of heaven.