Written By Mary Ann, Indonesia
I used to be a very ambitious person. In college, I enjoyed life and worked hard to get what I wanted—especially when it came to grades. I wanted to be the top student so that others would look up to me. This came at the expense of everything else: God, family, and friends. Things took a turn, however, when I started losing everything I had—my dream job, my boyfriend, and my health.
Right after college, the design company I’d always dreamed of working at rejected my application to be a graphic designer. As a result, I had to work in my family company as a sales assistant. It was difficult to talk about my job with my friends as they knew how much I wanted to work in that design company. It didn’t help that most of them had gotten jobs at reputable companies. To make matters worse, my boyfriend—whom I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with—broke up with me a few months later. I was heartbroken.
As I struggled through the break-up, past hurts and feelings came creeping back. I suddenly remembered all the times others had hurt me, and started feeling bitter about them. I became very aware of all my inadequacies and failures, and got angry with God for allowing these things to happen all at once. I lost sight of my dreams and passions, and felt like I was floating through life aimlessly and purposelessly.
So I started shutting myself away from family and friends, and staying in my room to cry and mope in self-pity and sadness. I struggled with the many voices in my head telling me that I wasn’t good enough for anything and that I’d never be a success.
Meanwhile, I tried my best to keep up with the Christian routine: I went to church, did my quiet time, and prayed . . . but all I felt was emptiness. I knew I was doing all these things out of duty, and not because I was genuinely seeking God. How could I when everything in my life seemed out of control? I was disappointed in God and bitter towards Him. Why did He have to take everything away? I had previously told myself countless times that God had everything in control and that He would never hurt me, but now, I found myself struggling to fully believe it when all I saw was bad things happening in my life.
One night, I even had a nightmare that I was being chased by an evil spirit. When I asked him why he was chasing me, the evil spirit replied that it was because I was “weak”. I saw myself run in the dream, scared and alone, till I entered a church to find refuge and safety.
One day, I woke up with a high fever, a heavy cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms lasted for an entire week. When I went for a check-up, the doctor told me to get a lung X-ray scan. That was when I found out I had chronic pneumonia. I was immediately hospitalized and put on medication.
That night, questions about death and life ran through my mind: what if I’d suddenly stopped breathing and died that very night? Had I honored God with my life? Was He happy with me? At the thought of this, I cried out to God, admitting my mistakes and shortcomings. It was then that I realized that I’d been chasing after the wrong things all this while. I had been trying to find happiness in my career and love through human relationships, and had lost the joy of following God. I had lost sight of the true meaning of life—to follow Him and long for His presence.
That night, for the first time in a very long time, I truly wanted God’s presence and love. As I prayed, I felt a sudden peace in my heart and heat rushing through my body. I knew at once that God’s presence was in the room with me and that He had heard all my cries.
After three days in hospital, the doctor said I could leave. I was discharged a few days later and given three different kinds of medication to take. When I went back for my final X-ray check, I was told I was healed. My chronic pneumonia was gone! I couldn’t believe it. God had heard my prayers and healed me completely.
I’m very grateful to God not only for healing me physically, but also for giving me a spiritual breakthrough during this dry season. I feel recharged and energized by His love and goodness in my life. I’ve learned to seek Him, desire Him daily, and to give thanks even through the dark seasons of life.
“He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”