Freedom from Bondage
Personal note: Do you ever hate your life? I do, and I hate it for more than 3/4 of my life…and it was only until I was born again that I began to appreciate my life. The joy of God’s love replaces my empty feeling with a sense of purpose. Isn’t it great that God is a God of love? Can you imagine the alternative? Isn’t God great? Of course he is! My praise to God!
“God, how can you allow such horrible things to happen to me? All I wanted… all I wanted was to find you. What did I do wrong?
How could you repay my desperate search for you with seven months of living in darkness!” I cried one day most self-righteously when I first discovered that the spirit who spoke to me for the past seven months was but an evil spirit disguised as God to deceive and lead me astray. He was not God at all.
I was born as Singaporean Chinese in the Year 1983, into a Taoist family. I was automatically made me a Taoist by birth. I was a big troublemaker since I was a baby, crying endlessly, and refusing to allow anyone to carry me except those people whose faces I recognize. As such, my grandmother suggested bringing me to a fortune- teller to see my fortune, and my mother agreed, worried for my future. The fortuneteller told my mother that I was an unlucky sort of baby, and most probably would not live past the age of 21 years old, unless I do not celebrate my birthdays for seven years. My mother followed what he said, and thus I never celebrated my birthday for the seven years of my life. Feeling still very unsafe over my future, my mother brought me to a Taoist temple and dedicated me as the adopted daughter of the Goddess of Mercy, one of the Chinese god in the Taoist religion. All these of course were kept as a secret from me for a long period of time.
I do not know why, but from as young as the age of eleven years old, I was a very negative child, who do not desire to live long. I always have this belief that I will die before the age of 21. Since I believe I will die young, I dedicate my young life into indulging in pleasures. Why not enjoy myself in this life, since I might die just any time in my life, thought the young me, and so that was how I lived my life when I was a child. My first suicide attempt was at the age of 11. After being unjustly slapped by my father, I intended to kill myself to make him regret for life. My mother foiled the attempt. Being a shy and reserve girl in school, I do not have any friend and thus, was a lonely and sad girl who always wishes that someday I might just cease to exist.
I was also quite against Christianity, always siding with my Buddhist uncle to counter-attack all attempts by my Christian aunt, one of the only two Christians in my entire family, to share about Jesus. My knowledge of Jesus was very limited. I only knew him to be the weird guy that hanged on the cross, and my young perception of the church was very terrible. Whenever my dad drove me home, and we passed by a church, I would shudder just to see the cross on top of the church. To me, who then, had no idea what Christianity is, a church is a place that breeds Draculas. After all, my only contact with a church was the many Draculas’ shows I watch as a child. Therefore, the church to me was a terrible place where horrible monsters such as Draculas roam about in freedom.
So, when my aunt brought me to her church to watch her Christian concert one-day, I was very reluctant. I was thinking about Draculas. Yet, I found no Draculas in the church. Eventually, I assured my young heart that Draculas appear only in shows, not in real life. We seat ourselves at the many benches in the Church, and the show began. It was a touching story about a virgin giving birth to a baby. During the whole performance, my eyes were glued to the actors and actress in the shows, and a feeling of peace entered into my little heart, a feeling I will never forget for the rest of my life. For a moment, I lost track of my fear; Draculas simply vanished from my mind as I watched the birth of this little baby. I was somehow touched in my heart by the show. After the show, I asked my mother many questions about Jesus, which she just answered briefly, being a non-Christian herself. That was my earliest and only true contact with Jesus during the period when I was a child, and it is important because it makes Church less frightening to me, and also destroys much of my hostile feeling towards Christianity.
As I proceed to become a teenager, my negative feeling about living in this world intensified. I desire… to die. To vanish from this world. To cease to exist. I completely lose faith in humanity by the hypocrisy of everyone I see around me. I was very rebellious. I was always shouting and yelling with my parents, both of whom I thought do not love me. I hate the world I live in. I hate myself. I hate school. I hate everything around me, including everybody. My teachers hate me, too and always drove me to tears by their speech. My classmates reject me. In school, it was hell. I dread school. But home…was it any better? Absolutely no! I faced a mum that told me everyday how disappointed she was with a daughter that was always doing badly in her school examinations. I faced a father that I never spoke to, since I first began Secondary School (High school). I faced a sister that despised and looked down on me. Everywhere… it was the same, it was hell to me, and I wanted to die. My world is a miserable world, where I am all alone, the target of everyone’s hate.
I was disgusted with myself, and also with the whole of mankind after reading about wars and atrocities, as well as witness with my own eyes the hypocrisy of my teachers and classmates in school. At this point in time, I had already long lost faith in my Taoist god, and was believing in an unknown God, whom I believe was the one true God, but whom I do not know come from which religion. There were so many religions in this world, and how can I know for sure where he comes from? The truth is, I do not know, and I was lost and confused. Somehow, I started to mess with the occults, surf satanic websites, consult guardian angels and prayed to the devil once in a while for favor. I started to indulge in seeking pleasure through Japanese anime, comic books and collecting cards. While my pleasures were highly intensified, my emptiness… grows.
Empty! Empty! Empty!
I feel so empty! Why… why… why do I feel so empty? God, where are you? Who are you? Where do you come from? Why am I so empty? God, can you tell me? Can… you tell me? Will someone tell me WHY I am feeling so damn empty!
Silence screams roamed and traveled in my heart, but no one could give me an answer, no one wants to give me an answer. My feeling of emptiness… a lack of meaning to my life… strengthens my desire to die. I… want to die!
Somehow, I do not know why, but somehow, at this empty period of my life, my attachment to the Christian God grows. Somehow, he seems to be very similar to the unknown God I pray to. But I cannot be a Christian. My mum won’t allow me, and so I never became a Christian through the whole period of my Secondary years, even though that desire was strong.
In the Year 2000, I went to a junior college, and it was there that I met this girl Jia Yan who was thinking about becoming a Christian. Feeling positive about Christianity, I highly encouraged her to be one. She was convinced and not later, she was converted, and she told me about her wonderful conversion. I was jealous of her, thinking why she could be a Christian while I was searching harder for God than her. (I was a very self-righteous person in the past.) Jia Yan brought Jie Yin, the one who converted her to my school. Jie Yin started to talk to me about Jesus. I was very interested by what she said except when she told me that now Jia Yan believe in Christ, Jia Yan was spiritually higher than me, something I strongly disagree. However, when Jie Yin wanted to lead me to Christ, I agree and she led me through the sinner’s prayer. And I prayed to God as she led me. I successfully prayed through the sinner’s prayer.
For some, their success stories or testimonies joyfully end here. Mine do not. For the first few months, I was happy as a Christian, desiring truly nothing in the world, but after a while, I was back to my own self, again.
I went back to consulting guardian angels, began to surf Satanic websites on how to conjure spells etc, and continue to satisfy my pleasures by reading about the occults.
Eventually, my empty feeling came back once again, swallowing away every joy I might derive from my pleasures. I pursue and pursue pleasures, one of which is the writing of stories. Such pleasures bring me away from the real world into a world of fantasy, where I interact with make-believe characters who satisfy the lonely feeling in my heart, and they give me so much pleasures that I temporarily lost tract of the deep empty feeling in my heart. But like I said, such pleasures were temporal, and whether I like it or not, I was soon brought back to reality…. the reality that I still does not understand what is lacking in my life.
Why? Why so empty? Why? God, I believe you, didn’t I? Why do I still feel so empty? Why the desire to die?
God was silent. He did not answer me. Meanwhile, Jia Yan, who believed in Jesus only a week earlier than me was thriving and growing. She seems to be growing in her joy, and success over her studies became very evident to everyone in her class. Jealousy struck my heart at the apparent change in Jia Yan’s behavior that was lacking in me. Didn’t we become Christian at around the same period of time? Why is she growing while I… am still struggling with this deep sense of emptiness in my life? Desperate, I decided to seek God once more, but not in the way the Church teaches us.
One day, I came across a new age book called, \”Conversation with God\” by Mr. Walsh, but I did not knew it was a new age book. I thought it was a Christian book. Mr. Walsh claimed that while writing some questions down on a piece of paper, \”God\” answered him and he was inspired to write down the replies \”God\” gave him. That was how he communicated with \”God\”. I decided to try it out.
I started to write a letter that goes something similar to this. “God, I read a book written by Walsh on communicating with God, and if it is true, can you answer me. God, are you there?” I prayed very sincerely. No response. I waited a while, and the pen started to move. I wrote the word, “Yes”. And thus, I started to have a conversation with “God”. From communication through pen, this \”God\” started to communicate with me eventually through my thoughts. He was able to speak to me, by conveying his voices through my thoughts, and I in turn reply to him back either through my lips or my thoughts. I was completely deceived that he was God, and started to listen to him in everything he tells me. He kept telling me how much he loves me, and I was deceived soon into loving him back. He told me many truths, which made me even more convinced that he is God, and then he started to lie to me. But I believe in all of his lies.
I believe in him for about seven months. Throughout this period, however, a feeling of uneasiness often came to me. I often doubted that the one I spoke to was God. But I dismissed the thought. More feeling of uneasiness came. I started to have nightmares. In my dream, I was always with Satan, and Satan was always portrayed as my best friend who kept oppressing me, but who lived in the same house as me, and refused to live. I started to feel uneasy. Why do I keep dreaming about Satan as living in my house, oppressing me? I became desperate, wanting some Christians to prove to me that the \”God\” who spoke to me everyday, every free moments of my life was not the devil, but truly God. So I went to a Christian message forum and get people to pray to me. A miracle happened in that Christian forum. One of the posters was posting a post about evil spirit deceiving me as God and confusing my life, but God will free me through all this. Her message, unfortunately vanish completely. While she was deciding whether or not to post the message again, the Holy Spirit told her to wait and see. Surprisingly, the next day, when she went on the forum, her message was there, but it was not posted by her, but by two other Christian posters in that forum. The combination message of these two Christian posters was the exact form of the message she posted earlier which vanished, word for word.
I learnt of this miracle, and after a serious day of reflection, became convinced that the message was from the true God, despite what \”God\” tell me. I immediately renounce \”God\” in the name of Jesus Christ. Yet, at the same time, the self-righteous me, instead of thanking God for my release from deception blamed God for not stopping the deception in its earlier state. I could not understand why my sincere search for God resulted in the devil coming in disguise as God. I lost all hope, and felt that all was lost. I felt too ashamed to face God. I was also very angry that God did nothing to stop me on my very first day of deception. That day, I was greatly humiliated. I had always thought I was a very wise person, and yet in my wisdom, I believe the most ridiculous of the devil’s lies. I had always thought that I was the most God-seeking person in the world, and one of the most righteous person ever lived, but this incident, clearly a great sin in the eyes of God made me realized that like others, I too, sin against God. For the first time in my life, I realized I do not deserved to be saved. What will had happened to me if God had not saved me, if God had not use the miracle to tell me that it was the devil speaking to me? So much for me seeking God. So much for my wisdom. I felt… that day like the most foolish person in the whole wide world.
So, not long later I rededicated my life to Jesus once again, telling God how sorry I was to believe the devil was God, asking God to forgive me once more, and this time, I sincerely accepted Jesus as my lord and savior. I asked God to make me into the Christian he wants me to be, and free me from all demonic deception in the future. My moment of victory came… at this moment, and I could have stopped here, but I do not want to. I want to share with you the many rich blessings God had brought into my life. After I rededicate my life to God, my struggle did not stop here. The devil continued to try to talk to me, to pretend that he really was God. However, I was not fooled. I kept rebuking him in the name of Jesus Christ. When the devil knew that I could no longer be fooled, he revealed his true color. He told me all sort of horrible things about God and myself. It was hard ignoring what the devil said but I kept rejecting him in the name of Jesus. Soon, he gave out his control of me. And I was thus, set free from his deception. Praise is to God! God is great!
Also, with my current new trust in God, I felt that I was more and more attracted by the love of God. This spurs up in me a new love for God, a love that I had never felt before for the one who made me. Suddenly, God became more real to me. He became closer to me, and this was not something I had experienced before. This made my heart grateful for what he had done for me, and you know what I did?
Well, I simply said this, “ My dearest Father, I had never really thank you for creating me, since I was a not sincere Christian. I had never even really know you. Yet, after all that I had done, forsaking you for the occults, and eventually worshipping the devil, thinking he was God, I thought you would never forgive me ever again for my sin. Yet, if this were so, why would you free me in the first place from my deception? Father, I had been proud. I had thought I was wise. Yet, this incident proved me wrong. I realized that wisdom came from God, and so is my salvation. Father, you are truly magnanimous to forgive me, after I had so sinned against you. I realized my mistake. I realized my sin. In my pride, God, I had thought I was holy when I was not. It was not you that neglect me, but it was I, in my pride, to be someone special, who had missed you, who had turned my back against you. You were always near me, but I do not know. The more I search after I was first converted, the more I drift away from you. Yet, you, in your mercy, brought me near to you, again. Father, I am sorry for all the things that I did. And most importantly, I had never thank you for creating me. My life was so miserable, so full of a deep sense of emptiness that I hate you for creating me. Father, sorry. Forgive me for wanting to cease forever. God, thank you. Thank you for all that you had done for me. Thank you for creating me. I love you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Yes, I thank God. I thank God for my life. I thank God for creating me. And you know what? The funny thing is, I no longer feel so empty. I no longer feel that life was meaningless. The deep-rooted hatred that I bear for myself and for the whole world was no longer there. I am grateful. My heart was grateful. And why was I so grateful? Because God changed me! He changed a very important part of me that must not be overlook and that is this— my attitude towards others and towards myself. Sure, this is a fallen world. Sure, there are hypocrites. But you know what? God loves the hypocrites! It is because of his love for the hypocrites that he dies on the cross for them! Can I blame the hypocrites? Can I hate them? No! How can I hate someone God dies for? God dies for them as much as he dies for me. After my deception, I realized that I am a sinner just as much as the hypocrites and despite that God loves me! What joy! What great news!
How can I hate my life? How can I hate living when I know that there is someone out there that dies for me even while I was a sinner? I cannot. And so, the feeling of emptiness was gone. It was gone because the joy of seeing God’s love in my life swallow away the emptiness of my heart. I finally understood why Jia Yan could have more joy than I could, even though we were both converted at the same time. It was because of this—she was born again, but I was not at the time of our conversion. God is real to her, but for me at that time, God is but a religion. It is no wonder I cannot lead a victorious life in Christ. Spiritually arrogant, and far from humble, even though I said the sinner’ s prayer in the past, my heart was not right before God. I entertained pride. This demonic deception however destroyed my pride. In my desperation, I was humble, and with humbleness, I said again the sinner’s prayer, rededicating my life to Jesus. And this time, it was different from the past because this time, I was truly born again! Praise is to God!
Name: Chong Shipei (Jasmine)
E-mail: [email protected]
50 Lorong 40,
The Sunny Spring,