Photo taken by Becky Roberts
Written By Agnes Lee, Singapore
Three years ago, I was involved in a family dispute. My willful, unforgiving, and prideful character deeply hurt my family and it reached a stage that I eventually left home.
During the worst of the crisis, I often asked “Why me?” or “Why is life so unfair?” When I did not get any answers and finally realized the problem was too big for me to solve, God did the most wonderful thing in my life. He humbled me and began a period of sanctification in my life. He taught me many truths, showed me that He was working in the situation, and redeemed me through this crisis.
Rely on the Bible
Living on my own was very lonely. I missed the good times when I would return after work to a spacious home filled with people who loved me. After I moved out, I was confined to a small room with only my own company. My landlord was very kind and allowed me to use his living room as my own, but it still did not feel like home, and so I confined myself to my room most of the time. I sometimes even worked late to avoid the loneliness. Outside office hours, I had a lot of time for reflection. I shed many tears on my own, and those weak moments ultimately drove me to God.
In those desperate times, I ransacked the Bible and found many of God’s promises. I memorized many verses that comforted me, and I treasured them. God’s word kept me from sinking.
Through reading God’s word, I learned to process my emotions in a healthy biblical manner. Becoming familiar with God’s word helped me resist the temptation to hurt myself and others when overwhelmed by emotion (Psalm 119:11). By hiding His word in my heart, I was not destroyed by negative thoughts.
Though I was bitter against the people who in one way or another triggered the crisis, God’s truth set me free from my hatred. God assured me that all things happen for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). I was chosen. I was set apart. I felt God’s love and assurance.
As I read the word of God, I began to shape my thoughts according to God’s truth. I slowly learned to exercise faith and to preach to myself. During the crisis, the Bible that I had once found boring and hard to understand became the book that held my greatest interest.
Rely on fellow Christians
Faithful believers reminded me during those dark moments “to cling onto God”. Fellowship with believers was very important during that time, because they reminded me over and over again that I was not alone. They reminded me that God was with me, and that God would work things out.
Church leaders gave me tremendous emotional support and treated me as family. The pastor and his wife reached out to counsel me when they learned about my situation. They gave me the love that I was lacking. They shared in my burden and made me feel better. The pastor’s wife became my spiritual mentor. She taught me to pray about the situation and ministered to me through bible study to deepen my faith. Whenever I went to church, I no longer felt alone.
Members of the small family church I attended showed a lot of care and concern for me. During the Christmas and New Year festive period, I avoided my own relatives since I was not prepared to face their questions as I was still hurting inside. I felt lonely since it was the first time I had to spend festive season on my own. But the Pastor and his family invited me to their home. It was a sweet and memorable gesture. The support I received grew my faith and showed me how important the body of Christ was and how faithful believers could aid in my healing.
Sing worship songs
Just like how King Saul found relief from David playing the harp (1 Samuel 16:23), I was also lifted up by songs. I especially loved the song “Be Still and Know”, which reminded me to be still, and became a comfort to me during those times. I began to appreciate worship songs, and learned to lift my hands in praise to the Lord even while going through difficult times.
The songs I listened to also taught me to give thanks, and reminded me the importance of thankfulness in all circumstances. Burdens become strangely lighter when we enter God’s sanctuary with thanksgiving in our hearts.
Through this crisis, I learned to read the Bible and find comfort in the word of God. I learned that being in fellowship with other faithful believers helped me stay strong in the faith. I learned the importance of worship in all situations.
By the strength of God, I found healing and courage to approach those who had in one way or another caused me hurt. Just like me, they had emotions and needed love and acceptance too. During one of my devotions, God showed me 1 John 4:18 and assured me that perfect love drives out fear, the one who fears is not made perfect in love. Hadn’t God showed me His love in the darkest night? Wasn’t it His love that sustained throughout this time? What did I have to fear? Even if I were to get hurt again, my God would be with me. As I pondered this verse, my fear of getting hurt again seemed irrational. My heart softened and I was finally able to let down my guard to draw near to people who had hurt me in the past to seek reconciliation and show forgiveness.
Today, I no longer feel the hurt that I once felt. I no longer feel that bitterness that once consumed me. Although the house no longer has room for me, I appreciate staying alone for now as it gives me more freedom to seek God’s face. There will come a day when we will stay under the same roof again in God’s perfect timing. For the time being, I have learned to cherish the solitude.
Had it not been for Christ, I believe I would have slipped into depression during the crisis. But what could have led me astray, Christ used for good―that I come to know Him. In Philippians, Paul says that nothing surpasses the worth of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8).