GOD’S WAY IS THE BEST WAY – RECEIVING GOD INTO MY LIFE
Hallelujah, in the name of the Lord Jesus I bear testimony.
I was born in 1990 into a family in Sabah that worshipped ancestors. In 2006, when I was in high school, a schoolmate invited me to his charismatic church for one Alpha Course, which is a series of introductory sessions on Christianity. After a few weeks of listening to the message, I felt that I should become a Christian because I was attracted to the message of love that this religion preached. But there were so many different sets of teachings out there…. I felt that a church should follow what the Bible says, so I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover before choosing a church to attend.
Later, in November 2006, my parents suggested that I go to church with my relatives, who happen to be members of the True Jesus Church. At first, I was shocked by the mode of prayer, but after some time I got used to it and even went to pray for the Holy Spirit in front of the pulpit during Friday night services. I also learned that truth is only found in the True Jesus Church, so I decided to attend only this church. During a prayer session in a spiritual meeting in spring 2008, I was praying for the Holy Spirit with particular earnestness. Suddenly my body started vibrating. I felt as if someone else was moving me, because the movement was very rhythmic and I would never go off balance. I had no doubt that the Holy Spirit was touching me. Even so, I had not yet received the Holy Spirit, as I was not speaking in tongues.
In August 2008, I went to Singapore to further my studies. Soon after that, I really wanted to be baptized because I became more and more aware of the fact that God loved me and was waiting for me to accept His salvation grace. I wanted to be baptized in November that year but my father did not agree to it, as he wanted me to wait until I reached the age of twenty-one. One night in January 2009, during my evening prayer, I felt my tongue rolling. I immediately knew that I had received the Holy Spirit and felt very thankful to God. A few nights later, I had a dream, in which I saw a man who was tall and bright. I could not see His face, but I knew anyway that it was the Lord. He then stretched out His hands and hugged me. I immediately felt a warm sensation throughout my body.
Through these incidents, I truly knew that God loved me. I asked my cousin to talk to my father about my baptism but, again, my father wanted me to wait for some more time. Despite his answer, I felt that I could no longer delay, so I was baptized in May 2009 in Singapore. My mother especially came to Singapore to witness my baptism. She also told me to evangelize to my father, siblings and relatives. When I asked her, “What about you?” she merely replied, “Never mind about me.”
LEARNING TO TRUST AND RELY ON GOD
By the grace of God, I joined the church choir in September 2009. In December 2009, the church in Singapore held an evangelistic meeting, during which the choir was scheduled to present a few hymns. Shortly before the presentation that evening, I accidentally choked on a fish bone during dinner. I tried to pray and then remove the bone by myself, but failed. I didn’t want to see a doctor, because if I did, I may not have gotten back to church on time to sing. So I told the brothers who were sitting at the same table with me, and one of them suggested that everyone at that table should pray together in silence. After our prayer, I struggled for a few minutes—at first the bone seemed to have disappeared, but when I doubted, it immediately came back. Eventually I told myself to submit to God in faith. After that the fish bone just disappeared.
Although this incident may seem to be quite a small matter, it taught me to have faith in God.
Between January and April 2010, I had various illnesses. First of all, I had bouts of sore throat, which lasted for about two to three months. After seeing the doctor, I was given an antibiotic by the name of Amoxicillin. Taking that medication really helped, but later on I realized that I was allergic to it, as it caused rashes throughout my body. I then had to take antihistamines as well. Between the bouts of soreness, I had an unexplained loss of voice, flu, and pain in my gums caused by impacted wisdom teeth. Strangely, all these pains came one by one, never occurring at the same time. I did not have sore throat when I lost my voice, and I had flu only after I regained my voice. Only after all these did I have my wisdom teeth removed.
During this period of time, even the brethren around me felt that something was wrong with me. One day a brother asked me, “What have you done? You seem to have a lot of trouble.” I didn’t know the answer either. I started to think that God was chastising me and thanked God for that, although I didn’t know what I was guilty of.
One day, I could no longer bear the emotional burden that my constant illnesses gave me, so I prayed to God in tears. After that prayer, I casually flipped open my Bible and arrived at Psalm seventy-three. The following verse was particularly comforting: “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps 73: 26).
I told myself that God would surely be able to remove my sufferings, since He had removed the fish bone the year before. At the same time, however, I felt that God wanted me to learn how to endure pain and receive strength from Him while suffering. On that day, I truly realized that God is my refuge and strength; He is the One I can rely upon at all times. I have since learned to endure all sufferings with a joyful heart.
GRACE AND COMFORT IN TRIALS
In June 2010, I went back to Sabah to rest. When I first arrived, I asked God in my daily prayers to allow me to rest well, but whenever I put forth this request, my spiritual tongue would not be fluent. So I asked God, “What is the purpose of my return?” After pondering over this question for a while, I remembered that I needed to preach to my family, although I had been praying daily for their salvation. So I picked my mother to preach to, telling her about differences between various religions and denominations, as she seemed to be particularly interested in that. However, after some time, I realized that her heart was still hardened towards the truth, as she kept asking me the same questions without really listening to or accepting my answers. I then stopped preaching; instead, I only continued to pray for my whole family’s salvation.
During that same period, I happened to look into the mirror while bathing, and saw a lump of the size of a table tennis ball on my neck. I went for an autopsy, which reported a benign tumor, but my family decided to have it removed anyway. When this decision was made, I asked God if I could avoid surgery. But at the same time, I also asked God to do whatever was necessary.
On August 04, 2010, I had the first of two surgeries, both of which were done in Singapore. On August 20, my mother and I went for a review with the surgeon. I felt happy that day, thinking that God had prepared me to endure a surgery, and that the suffering was finally over. Unexpectedly, however, the surgeon told us that I had papillary thyroid carcinoma. We were extremely downcast, especially my mom, who could not even speak properly upon hearing the news. It was then that she started to learn how to pray. Miraculously, after a few days of prayer, my mother and I felt comforted. Two weeks later, my mother was moved by the Holy Spirit and started to vibrate in prayers; less than another two weeks later, she started praying in tongues.
As for myself, I was dumbstruck when I first knew that I had cancer. I had seen acquaintances suffering from cancer at this age, but when it happened to me, I really had a hard time accepting it. So when a local preacher knew of my condition, he encouraged me with Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I put this verse in my heart, hoping for something good to come out of my illness. When my mother received the Holy Spirit, I believed that all my sufferings were for that purpose, and that I would be healed once God’s will had been executed.
On September 29, 2010, I underwent a second surgery to remove the rest of my thyroid. Before that, I still asked God if I could do without surgery, but I also asked for His will to be done. The surgery was successful, but was followed by a lot of problems throughout the following two months. First of all, I had unusually high blood pressure after the surgery, and had to be put in a high-dependency ward for one night. After two more nights of hospital stay, I was discharged.
A few days later, I was readmitted for a serious wound infection, which required intravenous administration of antibiotics. The doctor had wanted to use Amoxicillin for this purpose, but when I told him that I am allergic to it, he used another antibiotic instead. During this time, I also lost my voice. When I was again discharged after two days, I had to carry a machine with me to remove excess pus within my body for almost two weeks. During this period, I also had to frequent the hospital for wound management because the wound had reopened and could not be re-stitched.
When the wound finally healed, the doctor saw another small growth in my nasal cavity, so he plucked it out with forceps and sent it for biopsy. Thank God, the biopsy returned negative, but due to the way in which the growth had been removed, I bled profusely that night, and was readmitted yet again into hospital. End of November 2010, I was hospitalized for the last time, as I had to be isolated for a few days for a dose of radioactive iodine treatment.
Thank God, I generally felt peaceful throughout my illness. However, sometimes I wondered if I would really survive the ordeal and would be given more time to further prepare myself for heaven, as I didn’t feel ready to meet the Lord. One day these doubts and fears became so strong that I almost broke down. It so happened that I looked at a card that some brethren had handmade for me. One of the verses for encouragement read, “A bruised reed He will not break…” (Isa 42:3a). Thank God, these words really gave me comfort and hope. In fact, the slightest bit of concern matters to the weak and sick. Hymns, cards, a simple gift or even a short text message can go a long way in motivating them to keep believing in God’s power.
GOD’S WAY IS THE BEST WAY
Throughout almost the entire duration of my treatment, my mother stayed with me in Singapore to take care of me. Whenever there was a service and whenever I wasn’t hospitalized, I would take her to church to study the Bible. My mother used to tell me not to be too engrossed in religion. But when I was first diagnosed with a benign tumor, she started to believe in God’s power to protect me because I am a Christian. Later on, when she learned that I had cancer, she proactively asked me how she should pray to God, saying that she would pray for me. Once she started to pray, she felt a sense of peace in her heart and truly began to believe that God exists. Finally, when she received the Holy Spirit, she was touched by God’s love. Thank God, my mother was baptized just before my last admission to the hospital in November 2010.
In early 2011, I resumed my studies in Singapore. A friend told me that he had already seen a lump in my neck around March or April 2010. Initially I thought, “Why didn’t you tell me earlier…” but later on, I understood that God’s time had not yet come. If I had discovered my illness at that time, I would not have been prepared to accept it; so God didn’t let me know until I was ready. This was indeed God’s plan.
In July 2011, I went for another checkup. The results showed that all cancer cells had been eliminated. Now, I only have to consistently take medicine and do periodic checkups.
I truly thank God for guiding me and preparing me for these trials. First, He allowed me to understand that all things are possible with Him. Then, He taught me how to take pain, preparing me for the increasing pain and suffering. He also allowed me to know what I’m allergic to, so as to reduce my suffering after surgery. Most importantly, however, He brought my mother into His fold.
In conclusion, all the sufferings that I went through have shown me that God’s way is the best way. Although things may not look easy or desirable at first sight, all things will turn out well if we submit to God and let Him decide what is best for us. He will also comfort and guide us throughout the process, and allow us to witness His beautiful will unfolding through our sufferings.
May all glory be given unto the Lord.