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How to Fall and Fail Better

In my time writing for YMI, I’ve shared my reflections on my struggles with perfectionism, alcohol, and masturbation, among others. As this year comes to an end, I wanted to be able to proclaim that I have found complete victory over these struggles. But I haven’t. There were days when I didn’t do so well and days when I failed miserably.

Perfectionism is still something I’m grappling with. I’ve turned to drinking for self-soothing many times. Alcohol has often been a gateway to pornography for me, so I’ve sinned sexually as well. Neither am I entirely free from masturbation.

I thought for a long time about whether or not I should write this piece. If I share about my failures, would others think lesser of me? Would I let people down when they realize I am not exactly who they think I am? Am I ready to write so openly about the struggles I still feel deeply ashamed and guilty about? In my desire to be honest, am I being unwise in what I intend to share? Would it stumble others? What would be the repercussions of this piece? Is it pride or prudence that’s causing me to think twice?

But finally, I decided to go ahead and write about my recent failures and what I’ve learned through them. I personally don’t believe it’s healthy for Christians to feel like they can only share their stories when it’s a success story. I’m convinced that stories of ongoing growth—which necessarily include failures—deserve to be heard, too. I hope that I can encourage others who, like me, are still journeying through abiding struggles in their lives.

Through my failures, these are some lessons God has been teaching me this year. These are His opportunities of grace in the midst of my sins and missteps.

 

Accept God’s Forgiveness

One of my biggest struggles when I fall into sin in an area I’ve been struggling with for a long time is receiving and believing God’s forgiveness. “I can’t believe I’ve done it again,” I say to myself. “I’ve told God I won’t ever do it again, and yet, here I am again.” I’ve trouble believing how God can keep extending His forgiveness and grace to me when I’ve disappointed Him so many times.

The morning after I’d gotten drunk and turned to pornography and masturbation the night before, I felt really lousy about myself and I didn’t know how to face God after what I’d done. He spoke to me through Peter’s question to Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”, and the Lord’s reply, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22), which was to say, for as many times as it’s needed.

In the midst of my self-loathing and despair, I felt God say to me that He would not tell Peter to do something He Himself was not willing to do. It was as if He asked me, “Would I not forgive you that many times as well?”

I was very moved by His kindness and His grace toward me. Though I still struggle to always deeply believe and receive His forgiveness, I’m learning to hold fast to His promise of forgiveness and cleansing once I’ve confessed my sins to Him: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).

 

Ask for Accountability

Confessing to God is one thing: despite my insecurities, I know that He will not reject me. Confessing to others is another thing altogether for me.

When I’d sinned, especially sexually, my first instinct was to hide this from people who knew and loved me. I was already overwhelmed with how much I’d let myself down; I couldn’t bear the thought of others also seeing me as a disappointment. These are people who have walked with me, seen me do better for a while now, and yet, I’ve failed in those very areas that they’d journeyed with me.

Still, I’d lived long enough to know that as painful as it was to confess my sins to someone, the pain of not confessing was even greater. I’d hidden my sins from others before—resolving never to repeat them and hoping therefore that I wouldn’t ever need to bring them up to anyone—only for that to backfire on me. What it did was to make it easier for me to create a double life: since no one knew about my sins and I wasn’t accountable to anyone about them, I had lesser reason to think twice the next time I was tempted to sin, since even when I fell, no one would have to know or call me to account for my actions.

So I plucked up my courage and told my mentor what I’d done. He patiently listened to me, lovingly asked questions to find out more about what I was going through, and wisely shared his counsel with me. Instead of rejection and condemnation, I received unconditional love and support. His response helped to dispel my fear that people would only accept me when I did well, and if I messed up, they’d disapprove of me.

 

Admit Failure Humbly

The thought of telling others I’d sinned also felt humiliating. At first, I thought the humiliation had to do with feeling ashamed of myself for my long-standing flaws. While it did indeed involve feelings of shame, I realized that the root of the humiliation actually came from my pride—from my own false sense of superiority. I’d thought I was better than this, that I’d overcome all these weaknesses and I was much stronger. But now that there was evidence to the contrary, my prideful sense of self was utterly wrecked.

God had to humble me to make me aware that apart from Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5) and I have no good thing (Psalm 16:2). And He did this out of His love for me. As long as I held on to any illusion that it was I who achieved my own victories, I was dangerously depending on myself and my strength, rather than on Him and His power, to walk the Christian life. God was protecting me from fostering pride in my heart, which would easily lead to sins of self-reliance and rebelliousness against Him.

 

Acknowledge that Sanctification is a Messy Process

This year, I had to reckon more honestly with what the journey of sanctification looks like. Even though I’d known in my head that I wouldn’t just stop struggling with my sins overnight, I’d secretly hoped that that would somehow still happen for me.

Of course, it didn’t. I had, through repetition over a long period of time, reinforced these habits of sin, so it would also take a period of time for me to unlearn these unhealthy habits and to learn new, healthy habits.

And I’m actually glad that these changes don’t happen instantly, because it is through wrestling with these issues in the trenches that I can cultivate the skill, strength and steadfastness of developing and maintaining godly, healthy patterns in my life.

A few days after I’d shared my struggles with my mentor, he texted me this quote by Gandhi: “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” I understand that sanctification is a messy process which involves making the same mistakes over and over again, and that’s part of the process of developing the strength to walk out the journey better.

In his novella “Worstward Ho,” the Irish writer Samuel Beckett wrote, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” What makes the difference is what I do when I fail. Do I mope around in shame, guilt and self-condemnation, hiding and running away from God? Or do I use them as opportunities to learn how to “fail better”—to struggle better and more faithfully before God?

 

Always Fall at the Foot of the Cross

I once read in a devotional this wonderful line: “When you fall, fall at the foot of the Cross.” The author explained that when we sin, we have to make sure that it doesn’t cause us to fall away from God. Rather, when we fall, we are to draw even nearer to God, to seek His forgiveness and restoration because Jesus has made that possible for us at the Cross.

At the foot of the Cross, I’d found God’s unconditional love and acceptance, grace for my mistakes, and the removal of my guilt and shame. The Cross opened the way for me to always be able to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

And because of the Cross, God accepts me not because of what I’ve done or haven’t done, but because of what Jesus has accomplished on it. One particular evening, when I was wrestling with my fears of being disapproved and disqualified by God, I heard Him say to me, “I don’t only want you when you’re successful.”

He reminded me of something the American pastor Sy Rogers said. Rogers pointed out that God already knew all the mistakes we’d make before He saved us. And yet, He came for us anyway, because God would rather have us messy, than not have us at all.

Isn’t that the Gospel? But how easily I forget this precious truth in my moments of failure. What I’m learning this year is to go back to the basics of the Gospel, to rediscover what it means to receive and rest in God’s love and grace.

So instead of seeing my failures as occasions for self-condemnation, I’ve come to see that I can lean into them as opportunities of grace to cling more closely to God and to depend more desperately on His strength. I’m learning in a deeper way what it means to experience His forgiveness for my failures and the perfection of His power in my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).

This is the Father’s prodigal love and perfect grace for a broken but recovering, a messy but growing, child—for me, and for you, too.

The Time I Attempted Suicide

Pills and broken glass, tears and blood, fear and despair. It was one of the darkest nights of my life. I didn’t want to do it yet I couldn’t see how to face the next day. The pain of ending everything there and then seemed lesser compared to the pain of going on. I lay down in bed, waiting to bleed out and knock out, to sleep the last sleep. I was 19.

Two years before that night, shortly after I entered junior college, I lost interest in my studies. It was a very stressful time for me. My grades took a nosedive, which made me even more unmotivated. I slept a lot and my mood was low most of the time. There were times when I’d cut myself. I thought that experiencing physical pain was the only way to express and cope with my inner pain. I didn’t know why I was feeling that way.

A few months after my A-Level examinations, I received a letter from the Ministry of Defence informing me of the date of my enlistment into National Service (NS)*. That’s when my world came crashing down.

You see, I wasn’t an athletic or sporty kid growing up. So my parents often told me that if I didn’t build myself up physically, I wouldn’t be able to make it through the rigors of NS. I understand now that that was their well-intentioned way of motivating me to be more prepared, but all through my teenage years, I took their comments to mean that I was inadequate for, and so would not survive, military life.

Since secondary school, I also struggled intensely with not being able to fit in with the other boys in class and I realized I was attracted to guys. So the idea of being stuck in a hyper-masculine military environment with other guys terrified me and I was worried of what might happen if they knew I was gay. All of my worries added up into a deep fear of enlistment.

I began to desperately plead with God to engineer a miracle to get me out of this situation. I made bargains with Him. If only He’d take this away, I promised to do certain things in return. I spent nights lying in bed with fearful thoughts and frantic prayers, crying myself to sleep, and getting up again in the middle of the night to beg Him to make this go away.

But the days went by, and nothing happened. I met up with my closest junior college friends for the last time, I researched quick and painless ways to die, and I wrote my final letters to my family members. All through that time, fear was building up in my heart and intrusive dark thoughts kept running through my mind. On the one hand, I didn’t want to end my life, but on the other hand, I believed this was the only exit from the situation I dreaded so much. I struggled with troubling questions of whether God would forgive me if I committed suicide. Was it a pardonable sin or an act so heinous that I’d be condemned to hell?

Then came the day before my enlistment. There was still no miracle. I waited at night until all my family members were asleep, and carried out my plan. As I laid down in bed, I was banking all my hopes on the pills or the bleeding to get the job done. I wondered what I’d see on the other side of life. Would I see God?

When I opened my eyes, the first person I saw was my mum crying hard at the foot of the bed. I gradually realized that I was in the hospital. My first thought was, “Oh, shit.”

I didn’t succeed. I was still here. What was going to happen now?

The love of the Father

Well, what happened as I recovered was that I found out how much I was loved. Sure, I was aware before this that my parents loved me, but that was not something that I knew in any deep, experiential way. When I saw my mum crying her eyes out, I realized she cared for me much more than I’d believed. And I’d never seen my dad and grandma that anxious and heartbroken before.

A close secondary school friend came to visit. She told me that the medical team had to pump the pills out of my body. My tuition teacher visited, and I was surprised to see her burst into tears. She read Psalm 121 to me to assure me that God would always watch over me and help me. After I was discharged, all my relatives came over, showing their concern and sharing their counsel in their own ways. I never knew the people in my life cared this much about me.

I remember the day my family took me home from the hospital. We didn’t talk much on the way back. I went to my room and sat down on my bed. A moment later, my dad came in with a paper bag. It contained my journals, in which I’d written what I’d meant to be my last words to my family members. He handed me the bag and said, “Let’s take it that this never happened.”

I understood it as an act of grace, of mercy. Perhaps it was the tender and quiet way he said it. Or perhaps, it might be how he offered that statement to me as a gesture of kindness. He laid there before me the gift of a clean slate. That, perhaps, was the miracle.

What my dad did was a small yet significant reflection of what my heavenly Father did for me: God offered to forget my sins and give me a clean slate, if I would accept and believe in the gift of His Son, Jesus. The particulars of my story may or may not be similar to yours, but the love and grace of the Father for you and me is the same, regardless of our present struggles or past mistakes. God is eager to heal and restore; He’s in the business of resurrecting lives.

I saw a psychiatrist for two years after that. He helped me to recognize that I had been clinically depressed since my junior college days, and my depression had worsened as my enlistment date—what I’d deeply feared—drew near. Over time, with medication, counselling and a supportive Christian community, I got better.

My enlistment date was deferred until several months later. During my time in NS, I experienced how God was faithful in bringing me through those years. I learned to know Him more truly as the God from whom my help comes (Psalm 121:1–2), the One who constantly watches over me and carefully keeps me from harm (Psalm 121:3–8).

Today, you can still see scars, but much faded now, etched on my left forearm from that dark night. But because of the lavish love and merciful forgiveness of God, shown to me by the wounds of Jesus at the Cross, I can look at the scars of shame and see instead the marks of His grace (Isaiah 53:5).

 

* National Service (NS) is compulsory duty in the uniformed services for all Singaporean males upon finishing their tertiary education (but before any higher education). This usually includes two years of full-time service.

Is Masturbation Your Master?

“The M word.” “McDonald’s.” These are some of the words I’ve heard people use to refer to the act of sexual self-stimulation, otherwise known as masturbation.

My earliest memory of it was when I was around five or six years old. I must have discovered by accident that touching my private parts felt good at a very early age, and I was hooked on it since.

Even though I’d accepted Christ around the age of nine, no one taught me what the Bible said about it. To me, there was nothing wrong with masturbation because I couldn’t see any harm in doing it.

As I grew older, out of curiosity, I started to read up about the Christian view on masturbation. Most, if not all, of the articles spoke against the act, noting that it was accompanied by lust, brought about by sexual fantasy or pornography. I concluded that the main argument against masturbation was that it easily led one into the sin of lust, so I thought that as long as it didn’t result in lustful thoughts, there wasn’t anything to be worried about.

Though I did not fall deep into pornography—which I’m extremely thankful to God for, because that would have made it doubly addictive—I had developed the habit of sexual fantasizing. I tried to break the habit on a few occasions, but because I wasn’t quite convinced that it was that wrong, I’d return to it soon after.

In 2014, God began to break my bondage to sexual brokenness in several areas. One of them was masturbation. After one particular Sunday in April that year, my desire for the habit suddenly decreased significantly, without me doing anything about it. God allowed me to experience a period of supernatural freedom from that habit for a few months.

But after a while, the desire returned to the level it was before. However, having known what freedom from masturbation was like, I now realized that God was showing me that it wasn’t part of His will for me. I knew it was an act that could neither glorify God nor edify me—even if it wasn’t accompanied by the lust of sexual fantasy or pornography.

I am now on a journey of unlearning this habit, and I’d like to share what I’ve learned.

 

It can be an addiction

Through my years of struggling with sexual brokenness in this and other areas, I’ve discovered that sexual desire is like an appetite—the more I feed it, the more it grows. Masturbation had become addictive, and ruled over me as my master. I was no longer able to say “no” to it; instead, I helplessly obeyed its beckoning whenever the desire came.

This certainly isn’t a picture of the freedom and fullness of life Jesus intended for me to have (Galatians 5:1; John 10:10).

 

It can erode self-control

My habit of masturbation led me to think that sexual pleasure was within easy reach whenever I wanted it. It eroded my sense of self-control over my sexual desires. Why wait to experience sexual pleasure when I can have what I want immediately?

The Bible says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control” (Proverbs 25:28). The danger of having no self-control was that it left me vulnerable to being attacked by unhealthy or ungodly forces.

The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of “self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7), and one of the fruit He produces is “self-control” (Galatians 5:23). How can I be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) if I don’t let Him empower me to have self-discipline or cultivate the fruit of self-control?

 

It can be a way of avoiding deeper issues

When I looked back on the times when I was drawn to masturbation, I realized that those were often the times when I had an underlying pain or discomfort I didn’t want to deal with, or when I was feeling lonely or deep sadness, and craved the comfort of sexual pleasure.

Other times, it was when I was feeling frustrated, stressed out or angst about something, and I wanted to numb myself with a sexual high, to momentarily forget about what was bothering me. And there were times when I was simply bored, and sought a moment of exhilaration.

But it was a vicious cycle. Whenever these issues weren’t addressed in a healthy way, they continued to build up and cause me more distress—which in turn drove me to masturbation and other unhealthy means to cope with the pain even more. But each time, the pleasure was temporary and I was left having to deal with a sense of guilt and emptiness afterward.

As part of my journey out of masturbation, I have to remind myself not to turn to it as a means of quick relief again. Instead, I’m learning to talk to God about what I’m feeling, so that I can process my thoughts and emotions with Him, asking Him for His perspective on what’s troubling me and then standing upon His truths.

Over time, the more I experience God’s reliable comfort for the underlying issues that bother me, the more I’m able to turn away from the false, short-lived comforts of masturbation and other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

 

It misses the mark of God’s best for us

The Bible doesn’t call masturbation a sin, but I believe it’s one of those things that we are called to throw off because it can hinder us from running the race of faith well (Hebrews 12:1-2).

American author and speaker Dannah Gresh, in her book What Are You Waiting For?: The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex, makes the case that God’s intended design for our sexuality is for us to know and be known, and to be deeply respected by the person with whom we are in a marriage covenant. Therefore, she believes masturbation misses the mark of God’s ideal purpose for our sexual desire.

I agree with her. In all my years of being caught up in the habit of masturbation, it taught my mind to think that sexual pleasure was all about taking instead of giving, and it trained my body to be accustomed to experiencing sexual pleasure in a certain way—mine. This way of living out my sexuality doesn’t help me to know and be known by another person.

I believe that God’s intent for a marriage covenant is for a man and a woman to be giving and submitting to each other out of love (Ephesians 5:21-32). This applies to their sexual union as well—husband and wife are to devote themselves to giving the other person sexual pleasure out of their love for each other. In their giving, they receive as well. However, if each person is focused on taking sexual pleasure from the other, the mutual joys of their sexual union would be diminished. That’s hardly a picture of mutual submission—it’s of one or both dominating over the other.

For this reason, I don’t believe masturbation bears out the will of God for my sexuality, even if my singleness were to be lifelong. When I miss God’s mark for my life, I also don’t experience God’s best in my life.

 

There is hope

You might be in a habit of masturbation and want to find freedom from it. There is hope, because God delights to bring restoration into our lives.

If you’ve been masturbating to (visual or emotional) pornography or sexual fantasy, reducing and eventually removing these two things in your life is a good start to decreasing the addictive power of the act.

I’ve found that the more I spend time with the Lord—worshipping Him in song, reading His Word, praying to Him, building relationships in a Christ-centered community, ministering to others, etc.—the more I’m able to turn away from the urge to masturbate. This, for me, is how I have learned and applied the wisdom of Galatians 5:16-17 in my life: “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.”

If you, like me, have been using masturbation as a coping mechanism, I encourage you to examine the deeper issues you’ve been trying to avoid. Dealing with them may be uncomfortable, even painful, but I’ve seen for myself that it’s worth it because the cost of not addressing them healthily is even greater. God is there to examine these issues with you, and He will provide the comfort and help you need as you courageously take steps to seek His restoration.

I may stumble now and then, but I still hope to finally find total freedom from masturbation. Will you join me on this journey of experiencing God’s freedom in this area of your life?

Letter to My Past (Gay) Self

Dear Raphael,

I am you in 10 years’ time. Before I say anything else, I want you to know that you’re deeply loved by God and you’re very precious to Him. You are the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8).

I know you don’t feel this way right now—not when God just told you to stop pursuing a gay relationship. You feel like your only hope at happiness has been crushed. There’s pain in your heart and you’re crying out, “How can something that feels so right be so wrong?”

I get it. It does feel right and natural. Since you started having romantic and sexual desires, it has only ever been for guys. It’s all you’ve ever known, and it feels like a natural part of you. It feels like acting on these desires can lead you to a wonderful relationship that will finally make you happy.

Oh yes, I remember, Raph. How can I forget the first major crush you had in junior college on that guy the minute you laid eyes on him? Your heart would leap whenever he so much as glanced in your direction and you’d long for him to hold your hand one day.

I remember your first boyfriend, whom you met four years later. I know how happy you felt with him.

So you’re wrestling with lots of questions now. You’re asking, “How can all of this be wrong? Why would God forbid me from pursuing happiness? How can God be so cruel? What kind of God would tell me to deny something that’s so natural to me?”

You will find this hard to believe right now, but I want to tell you that it’s precisely because God loves you that He’s calling you out of homosexuality. Far from being cruel, your Father is acting out of His love, grace, and mercy for you. He cannot bear to see you wrecked by a life of sin and brokenness.

Please hear me out. I finally saw the truth of what God was doing after 10 years, and I want to share with you what I’ve learned—what you will eventually come to see for yourself.

Being gay is not who you are. When you became a Christian, you became a child of God. That’s the deepest truth of your identity, and that’s how your Father always sees you. He calls you “son”. Yes, you experience attraction towards guys, but that’s what you have, and not who you are: you have gay desires, but you are not gay. You are—first, foremost, and forever—God’s beloved son.

I know this attraction feels natural to you. They still do to me. But God showed me—as He will show you—that these desires aren’t as natural as they feel.

Remember how you always wanted an elder brother to show you the ropes of life when you were growing up? In upper primary, you looked up to this older boy in your class as a kind of big brother and wanted his attention. Do you also remember how you hated your secondary school years because of how much you wanted to fit in with the guys in your class, but couldn’t? You didn’t think these two things were connected, did you? Well, God showed me that they both stemmed from a longing to be taught by a man on how to be a man.

It wasn’t a coincidence that just when you were struggling intensely with not belonging with the other boys, you started to have crushes on some of them. Your desire to be like these boys, during the sexual awakening of puberty, turned into a desire for them.

In recent years, God helped me to understand that what I really craved was male identity and intimacy, which I should have received from Dad when I was growing up. What you long for, deep down, is Dad’s attention, affirmation, and affection. I know he wasn’t perfect, but he was the best father he could be. (We’ll talk about working on a better relationship with Dad in another letter.)

And because your gay desires aren’t a natural part of you, pursuing a gay relationship won’t actually bring you true happiness. In fact, it would bring you further away from your real needs. What you actually need is learning how to develop a secure masculine identity and to receive male intimacy in healthy—non-romantic and non-sexual—ways.

This may all sound rather abstract and foreign to you at the moment. Maybe I can put it another way. You know how you’ve been looking for that perfect relationship with a guy, but never seemed to find it? How you’d think a guy you’d met was the one, but when you got to know him better, one thing or another would make you feel he wasn’t the right guy? How your heart was broken over and over when your hopes were dashed again and again? It all seemed so elusive, didn’t it? Have you ever thought that maybe the reason no guy ever seemed to be the right one was that a guy is not actually what you need?

In fact, hasn’t that search thrown you into frustration and despair many times? In your moments of intense loneliness and longing for intimacy, you’ve often turned to alcohol to numb the pain, and to one-night stands. You knew they gave you little more than short-lived comfort and a shadow of what intimacy was, but you desperately wanted whatever scraps you could get. Then the guilt and the shame would come, and you’d plead with God for His forgiveness and promise Him you wouldn’t do it again. But it wouldn’t be long before you fell into it once more. I understand the pain you felt going through that cycle, and how deeply regretful you were each time. I know you’re so sick and tired of going down that spiral again and again.

How about the many nights when you’d cry yourself to sleep? I remember that one night when you cried so badly because you were struggling so much with loneliness. You just couldn’t see how you could be happy. Do you remember what God said to you that night? He said, “Trust Me.” I know that for years after that, you didn’t think He could be trusted to bring you the happiness you want. I’m here to tell you that God is faithful. He came through on His promise—just not in the way you think. He who knows better will give you far better.

God will show you that there are many other Christians who have gay desires, but who choose to obey Him by not acting on these feelings. There is a better way to live. He will also bring into your life Christians who can walk with you in this journey. I assure you that, even though there will sometimes still be struggles, there is much joy and peace in living a life being obedient to God and His life-giving ways.

He wants to bring healing to all those broken places in your heart that ache for love and intimacy. Getting into a gay relationship will not make you feel complete; it will only deepen the wounds you have. Trust me, I’ve been there. So I recognize now that God is merciful and gracious when He calls you to stop acting on your gay desires—because when you do, you’re only hurting yourself. How can a good Father do nothing and let His child keep throwing himself into what will bring him more pain?

Instead, God wants to heal your broken heart and bind up your wounds (Psalm 147:3). But in order for Him to do that, you have to stop injuring yourself and stay still long enough for Him to bandage you up. Be still, and know that He is the God who forgives and heals you (Psalm 46:10, Psalm 103:3).

Yes, I’m still attracted to guys, but I’ve decided not to act on my same-sex desires anymore. I don’t have to always give in to them helplessly. But you know what? I am much happier and at peace now than I was back then, when I was looking for a gay relationship. You do not understand this yet, but believe it. Or at least, believe me; I’ve gone through this long enough to know. God is very trustworthy, Raph. Trust in Him with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. When you acknowledge Him in all your ways, He will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5–6).

Hold on to God, because He holds on to you. In the coming days, you’re going to feel like Jacob as he was wrestling with the angel of God (Genesis 32:22–32). Don’t let go of the Lord. Don’t let go even when you feel overwhelmed by the struggle, not even when you feel so weak that you want to give it all up. The wrestling will be worthwhile. As God did with Jacob, He will also bless you through this struggle.

As you hold on to God, you will get to know Him up close and personal. You will come to know that God isn’t uncaring and unreasonable, but He loves you so fiercely that He wants to pursue you relentlessly. He cares for your well-being and wants to give you His best. He’s a loving Father who is willing to let you, His precious child, hate Him for a season when you didn’t understand His ways, so as to save you from more pain and anguish.

So don’t misunderstand God’s heart. He isn’t cruel at all. Through His divine intervention in your life, He is actually showing you His love, grace and mercy by calling you out of brokenness into wholeness, out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

Will you trust the Lord? Will you hold on to Him? Will you let your Father bless you?

 

God’s faithfully,

Your Future Self