Growing up, I was strongly averse to the Christian community.
I was happy being who I was and doing what I did since birth, worshipping whatever I worshipped. I just wanted to be me and to be left alone. I had no interest in being preached a greater truth.
It might have been unjust and uncalled for, but that was what I felt then. Essentially, any form of outreach seemed presumptuous to me.
I didn’t see a point justifying myself or why my religious beliefs needed to be challenged.
CHASING AFTER THE WIND
It made me grow more defensive and loyal to what I believed in. Like a callus, my heart hardened over time – until I had dinner with a certain classmate while in university.
I was feeling particularly aimless at that point of time in life and in my exasperation, tried to illustrate my emotions via imagery and parallels.
“When I look at all that I have done and strived to achieve, everything is meaningless,” I said. “It was like I was chasing after the wind and nothing was gained out of it.”
That was when my friend, who knew the Bible well, shared with me in surprise that I had essentially just quoted from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
It was like I was chasing after the wind and nothing was gained out of it.
There I was, with a hardened heart, knowing absolutely nothing about Christianity, having just quoted from the Bible in my exasperation.
I was curious and confused. Given my years of disbelief, what was this book that spoke my mind? On my way home, I downloaded the Bible app and began reading Ecclesiastes.
Then when I was done, I started from the first page of the Bible and began my journey at Genesis 1:1.
Looking back, it’s so symbolic that I started the journey home reading my first words of the Bible.
By the time I reached Numbers, I felt troubled and sceptical. “God if you’re so good, so powerful and real then you prove to me la!” I proclaimed this verbally.
At nothing in particular – I didn’t know how to pray nor know how God would hear me. I simply angrily said this to the sky. And oh was I so “stupid” to not have expected this to change my life entirely.
Over the following couple of weeks, things got very crazy. I was asking for all sorts of tangible signs and I was purposeful in challenging Him with probability on my side.
I was blatantly challenging, spitefully counting scores, childishly prideful – wishfully thinking that I was going to prove to everyone that He didn’t exist.
“God if You’re so real right, then I’m sure you can make a person wearing red, then another person wearing blue and another person wearing green walk out from the corner in front.”
And behold three people walked out around the corner in a row, in the exact order.
“God if You’re so powerful right, then you stop the rain now lah! I’m stuck here.” And the rain almost immediately fizzled to a drizzle before it stopped.
The challenges grew increasingly silly and selfish (of which I am so ashamed to even name now), and with each bitter remark of mine, I grew increasingly fearful (I know now what a healthy fear of the Lord feels like).
It was as if there was a firm and almighty hand, strong and unwavering, yet gentle and loving that held me where I stood. Ironically, each time I ignorantly confronted Him, I was cementing the fact that I knew in my heart His realness.
I remember in particular, my final rebellion. During that time in university, I would always pass a piece of writing paper to a friend in one of my courses. By always, I mean always.
On a whim, I told God after I reached the lecture theatre that if He’s real, then my friend would bring her own paper that day.
And you guessed it – my friend arrived just at that moment and she proclaimed that she brought her own paper that day. When she left home, she noticed a stack of foolscap paper at her front door and she brought it along with her to lecture.
To think a random stack of foolscap paper would appear at anyone’s doorstep! And this would have happened even before I thought of this challenge for God.
That night, I knelt and prayed for the first time in submission to God. And I stood up from that moment of communion, feeling loved and excited to serve the God I had experienced so tangibly.
To this day, I still experience His tangible love daily and hope to share that outpouring of His love with all within His Kingdom. Like the prodigal son, I’ve finally found my way home.
Life has changed because I no longer live for me. The fact that I get the opportunity to journey with Him daily? It makes everything an amazing sight to behold!
Looking back, as someone who knew absolutely nothing about Christianity, those earlier encounters with Christians were painful and felt very unnecessary to me.
Years later, however, and I can see and understand now where these questions came from. They were not aggressive in nature, just unattractive to a hardened heart.
I can see why people were keen to share the good news with me because now I’m also excited for people to experience His love for themselves.
That’s the importance and urgency of the gospel. And I can understand their absolute confidence in the integrity of the Bible, especially for those who are well-versed in Biblical knowledge and history.
And personally, because of my journey and my initial encounter with Christ that changed everything – I understand the desire to plant that seed and share the gospel.
More importantly, I understand that all of it was done because of love and out of love.
- How has your experience with outreach been?
- What are things Christians can do better to rightly represent God’s message and character?
- Ever asked God for a sign? How did it go?
- Who is someone you can pray for who may be looking for God?
- How can you be a blessing to them this week?