I’m glad that my devotion has been published. I hope that my sharing can help others who are under pressure to find God’s comfort and love during difficult times.
During the final year of my university education, I sent out many application letters out to find a job. But as I mentioned in my devotion, my physical condition was totally crushed by stress—this meant it would be difficult for me to work full time in my fast-paced city. Frankly, I was devastated. I continuously prayed that God would open a way for me like God did for the Israelites to cross the Red Sea.
At that time, there was a call for admission to the Master of Philosophy program at my university. I applied for it, even though I knew my chances of getting accepted were slim and I wanted to begin to earning money. Part of me was also afraid that I would not be able to bear the academic pressure again. Yet, at least the program offered scholarships which would cover the tuition fee and cost of living. I prayed hard that if that was the way to go, God would let it be the only way open to me. Even though it was a slim chance that I would be accepted to the MPhil program, I thanked God that no companies asked me for an interview and I was admitted to the program as one of the five students.
The program did not occupy all my time. Thankfully I often only had half days at school, so I had plenty of time left to restore my health. Though sometimes my symptoms came back to visit me, my health became more stable. I also gradually gained back my confidence through constant reminders of God.
One such reminder came through an exchange with an old secondary schoolmate whom I had not seen for a long time. She asked me, “What do you do now?” I muttered grimly, “Can’t find a job out there. I’m still studying—an MPhil program.” She replied, “What are you saying? You know how many people would like to be admitted to an MPhil program. I applied too. I was very jealous of you.” Until that moment I had not realized how blessed I was and how much God cared about me—not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. God rebuilt my confidence.
Now I have been working for more than 10 years. My symptoms do still visit me regularly, even though I am on medication. There are still times when I am so down that I feel like I am the man lying for a long time beside the pool of Bethesda, wondering if anyone will put me into the water, and waiting for Jesus to ask, “Do you want to get well?” In my version, he would ask, “Do you want to recover and bid farewell to your old companion?” I feel like the bleeding woman who yearned to touch Jesus’ clothes for healing. I can only say with my little faith, “I do believe, help my unbelief.” I am still waiting—most times gratefully—though admittedly I sometimes feel a mixture of negative feelings too (God, please forgive my weakness with your boundless grace!). I know there is still plenty for me to learn. I am waiting, waiting. God will never disappoint us, nor will God abandon us. I trust God’s help. Amen.
Joining friends at The Upper Room in morning prayer on Facebook Live has been an anchor in the storm during recent weeks. In the chaos of trying to figure out how to do ministry in strange and uncertain times, it was a compelling call to stop, breathe, listen, and be in community with those who gather "where the world meets to pray." Join us each day for morning prayer.