His Grace Is Great
My mother has taught me that women should marry well. When my sister and I were in the age of marriage, my mother focused on her daughter’s marriage. She wanted one of her daughters to marry a landowner’s son. My sister met him and decided to get married after 10 days. On my sister’s wedding day, I realized the next time is my turn.
After sister’s marriage, I told my mom that I wanted to live in Bali for a year. She accepted my request and told me to do what I wanted in Bali. But I had to come back and get married a year later.
I met many men when I was in Bali, one of whom is a Singaporean. He and I had been in touch for six months. During those months, I visited Singapore for a few days and I met him twice. I wanted to live in Singapore. I sent my resume to a Korean company in Singapore and got a job. When the Korean company asked me if I had any religion, I said, “I am Christian.” I really believed I was Christian because I was holding a cross and praying. The boss is a Christian, she hired only Christians. So, I was hired by her. I felt that God was guiding me to Singapore.
In Singapore, I met that Singaporean again. But, within a few weeks I found out that he was married. I had just come to a strange place. It was Christmas time, and I was alone. At that time, the woman whom I knew in Bali sent me a Bible passage. I read it and prayed with the cross that I had. I asked God to stop this sorrow. I kept in touch with this woman and talked about God. I trusted her words because she was from a family of celebrities and her brother graduated from a prestigious university and was a pastor in the United States. But she taught me many wrong things, and she was very materialistic. She told me that since there are many rich people in Singapore, why don't you go meet the rich? I started a relationship with my roommate’s boss. When I wanted to break up with him, she advised me that he was rich and I had to put up with it. Her advice prevented me from living normally. It was not just that. She told me that if you feel like doing something, it is because God made you want to do it. It is God’s will. I interpreted it as I can do whatever I want. She was like a snake seducing Eve. She used the Bible to make me commit a crime. I was getting crazy because of her advice. I stopped contact with her.
However, at that time I believed in money. I believed that people can change, but money cannot change. I trusted money more than people. But I felt I lived a fake life. I felt I was alone in the world. It brought fear to me. The fear drove me into a terrible panic. I was scared that I would kill myself. Nobody tried to kill me, but I was so scared. I realized I had nothing, and I was empty. All I could do was pray. I prayed for God to protect me. There was a miraculous response. That day I felt like God had promised me that He would protect me. I realized that God was the only way I could live. I must hold on to God. Otherwise, death comes.
After I was saved, I changed. Firstly, there was nothing left after I removed the materialistic values that I thought were important. But now I am filled with new values such as love, humility, and salvation.
Secondly, God kept showing me His grace. When I went back to Korea, my mother also had changed. Before, she did not go to church. But now she wants to think only of God, and vowed never to abandon God again. And my sister said she wanted to go to church on Christmas day. She bowed to Buddha not so long ago, but now she wanted to worship with her family. It was inconceivable that three unbelievers could be in such a happy service on Christmas day. It is great—His grace.
Thirdly, before salvation, I did what I wanted without fear, but I was afraid of death. Now I’m not afraid of death, and I fear only God. I believe that God will help me work for Him. 1 Chronicles 28:20 says, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.” Semi
Blessings in Suffering
My parents were Buddhist. I spent my childhood almost under the influence of superstitions and Buddhism. When I was in middle school, I read a book called “Is It Creation or Is It Evolution?” It was given to me by a Jehovah’s witness who was my mother’s friend. I thought then that creationism was more rational and scientific than the evolutionary theory that I had learned. There was so much that evolution could not explain.
When I became a college student, I started a democracy movement. I had to deny God when I came across socialist ideology, but I did not. I always said in those days that “there are gods, but they didn’t do anything for me.” So I said, “I would work hard and make the world a better place.”
Four years ago, I plunged into a serious depression due to the combination of financial problems and family health problems. I did not go out of the house for a month. At that time, I thought about death and was afraid. Suddenly, I thought that going to church would be better. I attended a Baptist Church. In the third week, the pastor talked about Paul meeting Jesus on the Damascus road. I had a strange experience listening to that sermon. At that time, I had a question in my mind (the other thoughts, worries, and anxieties I had vanished without a trace). The only question I had was “Why Paul? Why am I here?” After the service, I went to the pastor and asked this question. The pastor smiled and said to me, “The Lord loved Paul, and the Lord loves you, too. Is this your first time in church? Can I pray for you?” I began to cry the moment the pastor began to pray. I had no idea what it was but it was emotional and warm. I felt something comforting.
When I went back home, only this question was on my mind. I started searching about Paul. Paul wrote a lot of the Bible. I opened the Bible and began to read Paul’s writings. After reading, one other question came up. “Who is Jesus?” I started reading again from Matthew. I was confronted with another big question when I finished reading almost the New Testament. I thought the subject of the Bible is Jesus who is Saviour. But who is the Father in heaven? Jesus or Father of Jesus? I started reading the Old Testament. I read without a break—Paul, Jesus, the Old Testament. I didn’t even go out. I was holding on to the Bible for the whole week. I felt I had to repent, but I didn’t know what to do. But the Father in heaven led me. After that, I recovered enough to live my daily life. I came to believe in God, but I was back to the same old person. After a year or so. I realized that I had forgotten what I had learned, and things had gotten worse than before. I didn’t want to forget it again. My heart was passionate and peaceful then, but now I felt like I was in hell.
I decided to study the Bible and went to a Korean church near my house. This was September of 2017. Six months later, I was baptized. During the baptism period, I meditated for a long time the scene of the baptism of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew. I longed for the baptism of the Holy Spirit descending like a dove and I hoped to hear the voice of God, “This is my beloved daughter, in whom I am well pleased.” I did not see the Holy Spirit as a dove nor did I hear God’s voice, but I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.
For one and half years, I seem to be playing hide-and-seek endlessly. “Where is my father? Are you with me? Did I meet you? Am I born again?” I asked and asked. One day I was delighted that Father was with me. And on another day, I couldn’t work because I would be disappointed that Father wasn’t with me. I wondered, “Why I couldn’t change if I truly met Father.” But while I was reading my old diary, I saw my cries, numerous questions, conflicts and prayers and I finally found my Father who answered my prayers and answered my questions. My Father was guiding my thoughts and teaching me and leading me a lot which was what I needed. He made me pray for a vision for the church and He gave me a sincere heart for missionary work.
What I am most grateful to Father is that He has always given me thirst and urgency for His Word. It helped me to shine, repent, and discern. Now, I am studying to be a member of a precious church, precious school, and precious saints. I’m getting mature. I am learning to wait and have patience in my heart, which is filled only with passion. I am beginning to realize my blessings in suffering. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Ji Young
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