The following testimony is posted on behalf of an old acquaintance who wishes to remain anonymous. I am not the writer of this testimony, but I hope it encourages you as much as it did for me. x
I’m the type of person who needs to experience things first hand to fully understand the picture. More often than not, I let curiosity get the better of me and though this never used to be a trait I had growing up, when that stage of rebelliousness kicked in, this trait became a part of me that stuck on even after I outgrew the rebelliousness (not entirely but I’m working on it). There’s the saying that goes “curiosity killed the cat”, and my curiosity had led me down roads whereby I have made some very poor life choices. You see, I never quite understood a lot of things.
I never quite understood why people would intentionally physically harm themselves.
I never quite understood why people smoked and what they meant by their reasoning behind how they got addicted in the first place.
I never quite understood why people would drink until they got so drunk they couldn’t remember the events of the night before.
These are just some of it, but I never quite understood any of these things until I, myself did them; until I, myself was put in that position. Throughout the years, as I first-handedly experienced each of the things I questioned, then and only then did I understand why people did what they did.
I understood why girls would starve themselves because they didn’t feel pretty enough or they felt they were too “big.”
I understood the pain it took to stick your finger down your throat to have that delicious meal you just ate come back up and out into the toilet bowl.
I understood why people physically harmed themselves when it all emotionally became too much or when it was too little they couldn’t feel at all.
I understood what it meant to have the stress released through every puff you exhaled.
I understood why people drank until they couldn’t think straight and did stupid things.
All these things, all these harmful things to our physical being made me understand one thing; it was all associated with getting rid of pain, to fill a void, to feel something or sometimes nothing at all, to do the things you’re too afraid of doing sober. Pain is a powerful thing. Hurt is a powerful thing but above all this, the most powerful thing I have ever experienced is the love of God.
You may ask and be curious as to how someone who claims to love God still does all these ungodly things but I’m here to ask you, who are you to judge? I am not going to justify my actions and give excuses for why I did what I did, neither am I encouraging you to do or try any of these things because no, you should not and you should never let the world cloud your better judgement. However, this is not why I am writing today. I hope your heart still remains open to me and that you will continue reading what I have to say and what has been laid upon my heart. Though I have made a series of wrong decisions in my life, decisions I’m not entirely proud of but I am however proud to say that I wouldn’t change any of it because if I did, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t have felt God’s overflowing love time and time again and I would never have experienced how true it is that God never forsakes you.
Like I said, I’m the type of person who needs to go through something to understand the reasoning, and on a more spiritual side, I never quite understood what it meant by “break my heart for what breaks Yours” until the day God broke my heart.
This is not about a relationship that didn’t end well but this is about truly understanding the meaning behind that particular claim people would make and ask God to break their hearts for what breaks His. I truly understood what that meant one day when I was asked to pray for my friends. It had been somewhat of a roller-coaster-of-emotions kind of day for me but I did not expect what God was going to do in me.
The moment the words “Dear God,” left my lips, my voice broke. Before I could even thank and praise Him for the wonderful day He had made, I could feel the tears trickling down my face and the moment I prayed for my friends, I did not expect myself to end up in sobs, crying out to God on their behalf, crying out to God to fix their brokenness and mend their broken hearts, to fill them with His peace and calmness, to let them experience His unfailing love that would overflow in them just like it had in me. Praying in particular that my friends in time would come to know God and experience Him and to be as privileged as I have to be immersed in His love, my heart grew weary because I knew that I myself longed to feel His overflowing love once again.
I had felt His presence for weeks knowing He was there, but knowing He was there wasn’t enough because I needed to feel Him there and not just in church during worship but in every aspect of my daily life. God opened my heart that day and I recognised my own brokenness in my friends. My heart broke for them because I knew what it was to do all those things. I knew what it was like to be hurt so deeply. I knew how overwhelming everything felt that they resulted to doing things just to forget the pain they were going through. I knew how it felt because I went through them and at first I did not understand why I broke down when I have many times prayed for people coming to know God. Somehow or rather, this time was different.
You see, we live in a generation of the blind leading the blind; the broken people leading the broken people. Even in our own hardships and dark days, we still find the strength in ourselves to push that aside when a friend in need comes to us. We know the right words to say to the people who need it yet we do not apply it on ourselves. We tell people we love them yet we don’t feel loved at all. We fight other people’s battles, but who is fighting ours? Are we even fighting our own battles? But the difference of being a Christian and a non-Christian is that we have the love of our Abba Father. Not just the love from and of God, but from our Father, our heavenly Father who does not fail us nor does He forsake us in times of need and darkness.
He is the one fighting our battles when we feel like we’re in it alone. He is the one protecting and shielding you. Just like a father, He is always there to welcome you in His arms when you turn back to him. The parable of the Prodigal Son, which can be found in the book of Luke, talks about two sons, one of them who asks for his inheritance early and spends it all on lavish living. When a famine struck the land he was in at that time, he realised that at home, his father’s servants were treated better than the condition he was in, so he decided to return home. Upon returning, at the mere sight of him, his father runs towards him and embraces him. This was what my leader shared that day before prayer in which the emphasis was on how when the son returned, the father welcomed him with open arms despite what the son has done and regardless of the poor decisions he had made. His father did not look at that but focused on what really mattered; his son had returned home.
Similarly, the father in that parable represents God and the son represents us; me. Despite all I have done, every poor and bad decision I have ever made which pulled me father away from God, He still welcomed me with open arms when I went back to Him time and time again, He still filled me with peace when I cried out to Him in times of need and He still loved me despite all I have done. God, my Father still loved me even when I didn’t feel loved and that was exactly the type of love I prayed that my friends experienced.
It hurts me to see my friends hurting and to see new marks they have on their skin and it took me so long to finally realise that, just like me, God hurts too when He sees them on my own. His heart breaks for me just like how my heart breaks for my friend and He showed me that. While I was busy caring for others, God was busy caring for me; it’s just that I was too blind to see and realise it. All this while, He has been there, waiting for me and for my return. He was waiting for me to run back into His arms once again. God had to break my heart before I came to realise this on my own.
That day, I finally came to understand what it meant by “break my heart for what breaks Yours”. His heart breaks for me. He is hurt to see me hurt. He feels the pain when I am in pain. He cries when I cry. With everything broken, it takes time to be fixed and made whole again, just like myself and until the day comes that I am made whole again, I know that only more trials and tribulations have yet to come my way. But knowing that I am loved way more than anyone on earth could ever offer, I am comforted for He is my strength, my shield and my protector.
My earthly decisions did come with a great sense of regret and guilt when I finally came to my senses but my decision to accept Jesus into my heart, I have no regrets. Though I’ve grown up in a Christian home all my life, it was still a conscious decision I made to want to have Jesus in my life. He is the only thing you will never, ever regret saying yes to because like all things of the world that eventually will disappear, hurt you or let you down; God never forsakes you, instead He mends you and His love never fails you. Each time I ran back to God after a downfall, never, not once has He turned away from me or rejected me. He still accepted me back with loving arms and that is the kind of God I serve and worship; a compassionate God.
My prayer is that this generation will come to know the love of my God, Jesus Christ. That they too will have an encounter with Him that will change their lives and perspective of it; that they will have a mind-blowing encounter with Him that will leave you in awe of how truly amazing God really is. No longer shall we be a generation of the broken leading the broken but instead we will be the generation of the loved spreading and leading the broken to God so that they too will be loved and experience His love. It only takes one bulb to be switched on to emit light in a dark room, it only takes one person to step out in faith and share the Good News of God. If not now then when? It is our time to step up and rise up and to answer the call God has given us. We are the NOW generation.
“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2