That First Year Feeling

Although it is only a little over a year since I came to know Christ, so many changes have taken place in my life, that looking back at them now, I can’t help but marvel at the way the Lord had orchestrated my life, calling me out of darkness into His marvelous light.  From a strong Muslim background, God had called and showed me the only way to everlasting life—through His Son Jesus Christ.

As recently as two years ago, I was a typical Singaporean young man, an avid competitor in this mad rat race and very much bound by materialism.  I had ‘everything’—a good job, regular pay, ‘good’ buddies, so there was no reason to complain.  The world was my home.

Looking back now, I realized how corrupt my world was then.  But how great the Lord had been to me!  For as my sin abounded, God’s grace did much more abound.

In early December 1986, I attended the Toa Payoh Mission service at Eng Hong’s invitation.  That was my first experience of the Christian faith.  As I have never been to any other churches, I am in no position to sit and ponder over the differences in the doctrines preached.  But I am thankful to God, for I now firmly believe in the truth of the Reformed Faith.  I realized now that by the grace of God, I’m saved through faith and that not of myself; I’m nothing and He’s everything.

After the first visit, I began to go more regularly to Toa Payoh Mission, enjoying the warm fellowship.  But more important, going there pleased Eng Hong—that was what mattered, or so I thought.  But I did not grow spiritually.  There was no conviction in my heart.  I became a ‘Sunday’ Christian.  Then suddenly, something wonderful happened to me.  God spoke personally to me.  While browsing through several cards, pamphlets and books, I kept coming across a verse in the Bible (John 3:16) which constantly reminded me that God sent His only begotten Son to save me.  From then on, my Christian faith seemed to gather momentum.  I attended the June camp, which opened up a new way for me to grow and get to know more Christian friends.  I was so convicted after the camp that I resolved to come to church regularly.  I quitted my job which was detrimental to my spiritual growth and a few weeks later, I joined the Catechism Class.

It was during this time that I began to see God’s guiding hand working in my life.  I got a new job which gave me time for personal devotion and allowed me time to attend church on Sundays.  I began to yearn for His Word, looking forward to every Sunday morning and evening.

But deep within me, I was still struggling, my faith was still weak and I continued to covet the things of this world.  I guess the real issue was that my conversion was a secret that I kept from my family.  I was grieving every day.  With each passing day, the burden in my heart grew heavier.  It got to be such a state that I began to question myself whether I was a true child of God or a fake.  Was I just someone who enjoyed the benefits found in the Church?

Although I enjoyed Catechism Class, I began to dread, with the passing months, the coming of baptism.  My conversion was still a secret.  I began to question my faith and sincerity and the old struggle came back.  I was struggling to convince myself that God had called me by His grace and I was not doing this for anyone or anything else.  But as before and always, God showed me the way.  Through much encouragement and prayers from everyone in CERC and FERC, I finally managed, by the grace of God, to pluck up courage to confess to my family.  What followed was something quite unpleasant and bitter and will continue to be that way for some time, but my heart is light now and all the burdens are gone.  Though I shattered my parents’ world, I was strengthened by God’s grace.  I had taken the lighted candle from under the bed and placed it by the window so that the world may see the light.  Throughout those times and now, God continues to sustain me, carrying me through each day with new confidence and joy.  Now my prayer is that my family would come to know the wonderful God, my Father.  Today I’m of good cheer for I know Christ has overcome the world.

At this stage of my Christian walk, baptism is something that I’m really looking forward to.  It thrills me that I can become a member of the Reformed Church and give whatever gifts that I have for the furthering of God’s kingdom.

I’ve come to the end of testimony—my first year feelings.  My prayer to God is that others reading it might find encouragement in my sharing.  I am what I am today only because of the wonderful grace of God.  Amen.