My life has been blessed from the beginning thanks to my lovely parents who were both Christians. I always was surrounded by Christianity throughout my childhood. I knew what it meant to accept Jesus as my savior but never did because of the relentless resentment I had toward him. You see, around 2 years ago, my father, who is a pastor, was diagnosed with cancer for the third time. I was in disbelief and blamed God for all the hardships my family was facing. I was confused, afraid, and angry. Instead of praying, all I could comprehend in the heat of the moment was that God has forsaken my family and especially my dad. Someone who dedicated himself and served God tirelessly is suffering. Is this the plan that God had for our family?
I actively tried to stray from church. I skipped HC and Sunday worship and made up all sorts of excuses not to attend. I worked long hours on weekends and Fridays as a way to escape. I was lost and didn’t know what to do or who to trust.
Around August of last year, I started coming to Ishmael HC for the first time. I even started coming to church again too. And it was the Brothers and sisters from this congregation who kept reaching out to me. House church members asking me if I’m coming to house church this week. People asked me to have lunch or dinner with them. People that I ignored still kept me accountable and kept me in check despite not talking to them for weeks or months. I couldn’t understand why the people around me who I’d been trying to push away kept getting closer and closer. Oftentimes I was overwhelmed by the care and love that I received.
My father started to recover and I was coming back to church and was a regular attendee of house church. And before I knew it, I was attending my first-ever ANF retreat. The sermon that PD shared at this retreat was about how we perceived things and I really had to take a step back and reflect on the past year of all my actions and my wrongdoings. I realized when I thought God was ruining my life, he was instead blessing me with everyone around me. And the endless amount of support that I experienced started changing my perspective. I felt so much conviction when I started taking time to self-reflect. Soon after, I accepted Christ as my Lord and savior who I can trust with my all on Nov 20th, 2022 during the commitment song at Sunday service. I knew what it meant to dedicate myself to Christ and through the conviction I felt on that Sunday worship, I made that decision solely.Although I had this resentment towards God, in the end, he saved me and showed me that through my brothers and sisters of Christ, he works in ways using people. I want to dedicate myself through this baptism to be more like Job from the bible. The first chapter talks about how Satan tests him by taking away his children, his possessions, and his health. Even then Job didn’t concede to sinful acts or lose his faith in Christ. Job chapter 1: 20-22 reads “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Like Job, I don’t want to be stirred when hardships fall in my journey of being a Christian. I want to have the strength and tenacity that Job had when Satan was testing his faith. Job chapter 13:15 says Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. I too will dedicate myself to not stray from my faith in Christ and will hope in Christ and Christ alone. Thank you.