I was probably five or six when I first knew him.
As a kid, you don’t exactly remember how people come into your life. One day they just do, and you simply become aware of their existence even if you don’t really know them.
But what I did know was that he was my cousin’s friend. And that my parents disapproved of him. Somehow, that rift ran deep but I didn’t understand why – I just assumed my parents were right.
So over time, I forgot about him.
The next time I met him was when I was in secondary school. Coincidentally, he was a friend of my classmate. She invited me to her church and I almost couldn’t recognise him, to be honest.
He was so different from what I expected and remembered. So… charismatic. I wasn’t comfortable with the unfamiliarity, and coupled with what my parents had instilled in me about him, I got scared.
I furiously texted my classmate afterwards, warning her never to set me up with him again. And she didn’t.
You’d think that would be the last time I’d hear of him, but it wasn’t. After my O-Levels, my cousin arranged for a few meet-ups. And given that it was my cousin who asked, I decided to show face – even when she asked me to attend church.
So I showed up at her church services week after week until one day, I had enough. It was a waste of time and I was risking my parents’ anger. I resolved to put a stop to everything the next time she asked me out. I even had a script. It went a little like this: “Look Abby, I know what you’re trying to do. But I’m not interested. Stop asking me out every week.”
The next Sunday, I attended the service – and slept through it – with the intention of coming clean with my cousin afterwards. After the service ended, we gathered at the pantry to have pizza for lunch. And before I could say anything, someone asked me: “Do you know the bridge diagram?”
I shook my head. And that’s when they properly introduced me to him, the one whom I had been trying to avoid for years, the one whom my parents disagreed with – Jesus.
“Do you really believe non-believers go to hell?” I asked after they shared the bridge diagram. Yes, they replied.
I should have been angry. How dare they say this about my loved ones? Who are they to say that my non-believing friends and family will suffer in the afterlife?
Instead, I cried.
“If you really want to help them, you should know God first and slowly help others to know Him too,” they said. To me, it sounded so wrong on so many levels and yet, somehow, I still said yes to Jesus.
I had been blindly hating on Jesus.
Was I aware that I had arrived at my answer while heavily emotional? Yes. Did I ever question my decision after that? All the time.
But something shifted in me after that day, and I was suddenly curious. Who was this Jesus? Why was I so hostile towards him in the past? And why does it feel like everything has changed?
That was my first glimpse of how I had been blindly hating on Jesus. And it was my chance to gain some clarity.
It’s been 10 years since and each time I look back, God reminds me about how He’s carried me through my journey of faith.
I once stopped attending church because of my parents’ disapproval, only for God to find me again at a course I had enrolled in at school. The course wasn’t even my first choice, and I was clueless about it aside from what I read on the brochure.
On the day I received the course confirmation, I considered quitting it. But I thought to myself: “God, if this is where You want me to be, so be it.”
When I look back at my life, I see how God has been chasing after me.
It turned out this course was exactly where I needed to be. It was there that I met a coursemate who would bring me back to church. This turned out to be the same church that my secondary school friend had invited me to – the one I had vowed never to return to.
Ironically, that church would eventually be my home church for the next decade.
My attendance in services was also incredibly irregular earlier on in my journey because of my parents’ disapproval. And frankly, I was tired of getting into trouble with my family with my newfound faith that I was this close to giving up. Sensing my tepidness, my leader would try all sorts of means and ways to make me come for cell group at the very least.
I learned later that he was shocked at finding out I had somehow not only remained in church, but also risen up to take on leadership roles. Sometimes I wonder what my leader’s reaction would be if he knew that I was now working in a full-time ministry called Thir.st with my parents’ blessings.
Even this article is a personal reminder of God’s goodness. Our team had wanted to feature Christmas stories of people coming to know God. That was when I remembered that I had accepted Christ 10 years ago in December!
God was the one who brought it to my mind that I had never actually written this story for the site – even though I often felt I had run out of stories to tell after being here for three years.
When I look back at my life, I see how God has been chasing after me. I’m so grateful that God didn’t give up on me.
And the more I think back to that fateful moment where I accepted Christ, the more convinced I am that my tears were God’s saving grace. If not for that momentous emotional interruption and the many divine occurrences thereafter, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I see now that God has been waiting for me in each of the turning points of my life. And after many twists and turns, He has brought me Home.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else,” C.S. Lewis once wrote.
It’s the same for me as well. Because I once was blind, but now I see.