“Reflections on how God saved me out of darkness into His marvellous light”
Wasted years in the wilderness
When I started working, the world continued to appeal to my fleshly desires. I spent my nights at parties and barbeques with my non-Christian colleagues. I was a Christian in name, but not in practice. Upon looking back, I realised that I had shamed the name of Christ through my poor testimony.
I soon turned rebellious at home. I harboured bitter feelings against my father and hated going home. My relationship with my parents and siblings suffered as I resented all of them: “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways” (Prov 14: 14). Although outwardly I looked happy and carefree, I was miserable deep within. When I was with my non-Christian friends and enjoying their frivolous company, I was happy. But this happiness did not last. Inside my heart, a deep emptiness languished. Each time I got home, I would feel utterly lost and dejected.
In those wayward years, I learnt that the world could never offer happiness or comfort. All that is attractive and appeals to our flesh will only bring us misery. As a backslider, I could only “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb 11: 25). We can never find peace and joy except in our Lord Jesus Christ: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn 14: 27). There is safety when we stay close to the Lord. The moment we leave His side, we put ourselves in danger and our souls in jeopardy: “But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil” (Prov 1: 33).
Sometimes, when my conscience troubled me, I would pop into church. When I was asked to choose an area to serve in, I chose “Sunday School”, thinking that teaching children should not be too difficult. However, I was assigned “Evangelism” which was something I could not do. How could one who had sunk so low and had “no spiritual life” share the Gospel with another? What good news could I possibly share? How could I tell others of the joy and peace that only Jesus can give, if I was not experiencing it myself? Immediately, I turned down the assignment and continued with my sporadic church attendance.
I was “in the wilderness” for many years; I call these “the wasted years.” But our gracious Lord never forgot about me even though I went astray. One day, the Lord used my elder brother to speak to me. He had observed my misery and advised me to return to church and to the Lord. In desperation, I received his counsel gladly. Thank God for His timely intervention in restoring me and turning me back unto Himself. Since then, I have never looked back. Truly, the Lord has been faithful to keep me all these years in His path of righteousness. As I look back, I thank God for His amazing grace without which I would still be in the world, living to please myself and seeking its temporal pleasures which can never satisfy.
I firmly believe in the doctrine of the preservation of the saints. Truly, the Lord preserves those whom He has called: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (Jn 10: 28-29). Though I was wayward and left the Lord’s side, He never left me nor forsake me. He picked me up from the dunghill and restored me. Like the father of the prodigal son, He willingly received me back to Himself (Lk 15: 20-24).
Today, I serve in our church’s Sunday School ministry. In my lessons, I sometimes share my past frivolous exploits with my students, who find it hard to believe that their sober-looking teacher and pastor’s wife had for many years sought the world’s pleasures and vanities! I always end by warning them of the very real dangers of forsaking the Lord, and His straight and narrow path.
I thank God also for His work of grace in my mother’s heart. When I became a Christian, she was negative and opposed my church attendance. However, when she saw that this “contributed” to my good results in school, she would encourage me to “go to church to pray to your God”. When my grandfather passed away, my mother committed her life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Though illiterate, she loves the Lord dearly; she wakes up early to pray for all her loved ones and often shares of God’s wonderful answers to her prayers.
God’s amazing grace
I can truly testify that God’s grace is amazing. I cannot fully understand it but I have tasted of it time and time again. Once I was blind, but now I can see. It is all of God’s goodness and grace! Thank God also for His work of sanctification in my life. As the Lord shows me my sinful ways, I am learning to yield to the Spirit, to die to self, to put off unrighteousness and put on Christ. Like the apostle Paul, I can testify: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2: 20).
– Sis Helen Wee
(This testimony was written as part of the “Knowing Salvation” FEBC online course requirement – 16th April 2010)