My name is Bek and it’s a real joy to be sharing my story of God’s faithfulness with you.
From a young age, it was instinctive for me to make the most of absolutely every opportunity. I knew that my parents had roughed it out moving here as students from Malaysia. I grew up going along with them to church, seeing how much they loved God, but also, how hard they sacrificed for our family.
So typically, I would try to be decently good at things. I would strive to be decently good in the ‘premier book challenge,’ decently good at ‘violin’ and even decently good at ‘little athletics.’ My parents would call it ‘kiasu’ – in other words a ‘scared to lose, must win’ mentality.
The ideal life for young Bek, having grown up on the brink of two cultures, would look a little something like this… Get good grades and a credible university degree to work a well paying job, be known and loved by friends and family, and marry someone, who would appear to have dropped straight out of a korean drama! (The last one is a tad unrealistic, right?)
All the while, I’d attend church each week and enjoyed Bible study over at Katie’s place. I was drawn into God’s loving character. There was safety and warmth when I came to His Word. Everything seemed to be going well up until I’d moved schools, at about sixteen.
Life had begun to take some unexpected turns… and my naivety was met with the sharp reality of suffering. Within the short time frame of six months, my mum was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, relationship breakdowns had taken a toll, and I was completely lost in the new school.
Things were moving at a pace that I couldn’t control.
A heavy fog had come around and I wasn’t sure why. It stuck around for about a year or so. Every day seemed to be a repetition of the one before. One word to describe the whole experience would probably be ‘numbing’. Depression had me moving only through the motions. What was the point in it all? I’d placed all of my hope in the perception of a bright future; but whatever I’d tried to anchor in, would soon give way. Security found through my achievements was a mirage.
But you see, God was too kind.
He could see all the insecurities that drove me in my anxious strivings… fears of failure, fears of disappointing others, and fears of being insignificant and forgotten. I was blindsided in my ways; willing to accept God’s love, but not seeing Him as Lord. I was building a life for myself, instead of living for the One who gave it to me.
Although, what I realised was that building a life for my glory was actually incredibly defiant towards God. It was deeply hurtful for the One who I was taking from. Everything that I had claimed for myself, or even expected to be given to me, which I turned to for my ultimate security… were actually things created by Him, and for His honour and glory.
My deepest need wasn’t to accrue more wealth, status or acceptance from others to keep me secure. It was actually, to know, and be known by God; and to live for Him. I couldn’t actually rest in the assurance of His love, without first acknowledging the One who holds all things together, and sustains life itself. I couldn’t actually have a relationship with Him, without trusting that Christ’s perfection could cover my failings.
Even so, God was compassionate.
One afternoon, I was over at my aunt’s place and she had handed me this booklet from Scripture Union, called ‘Our Daily Bread.’ About the size of my palm, it had a passage from the Bible with an accompanying prayer for each day.
One passage that I remember distinctly was Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”
This is such a precious passage to me. In hindsight, I can see that God was graciously working through the confusion and the suffering. He used that moment to break the mirage of comfort and safety. He showed me that I needed Him more than anything else. God’s grace was sufficient for every moment and in my weakness, I had a clearer view of what was truly worth trusting in. Knowing Christ was the most precious thing to me now.
Some of the things that were once ‘must haves’ before I knew God, had actually become liabilities. None of those things could really merit me anything before Him. In fact, I couldn’t do anything to change the reality that I’d rejected Him and had been pursuing all these other things as substitutes to give me a sense of stability. I had been building my own life, on my own terms.
That’s when God, in His grace, chose to speak through His Word. God changed my heart through prayer. God helped me to see Him more clearly through others around me. Humanly speaking, it would seem as though following Christ would be equivalent to throwing my life away. How could trusting in Him bring any security?
But as I had, the opposite had happened. There is much gain in Christ. To know and to be known by the living God is a gift. To know Christ, is to have eternal security and finding such a treasure does away with any kind of anxious striving. This is because there is new life in Christ! Our affections and ambitions are made new. The concerns of God’s own heart, that is, His plans and His glory, matters so much more.
As David declared in 1 Chronicles 29:11, “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all”
Earlier I was talking about how I would find security in the life I would build for myself. I found it in the people I knew, the places I could get to, and the things that I had. What might these be for you? Do these things really make you secure?
I can tell you that at least for me, I couldn’t rely on them. I would love for you to know my God and anchor in Him, as there is lasting security in Christ, and joy to the fullest when you do.