#OYP200for200 | A personal God

By Michael Yang, Anchor Community 

Hi, I’m Michael, a second-year university student at Cambridge doing Economics and a member of the OYP Anchor community (for Singapore Catholic Students in Europe). I was born into a non-Catholic family and the Lord invited me to be part of His Church 2 years ago when I was baptised at Easter.

Michael (center), meeting the Archbishop

Being a young Catholic, I was very blessed by God to receive the gift of faith and was open to journeying with a community and focusing on Christ as I began my studies overseas. Although I did dedicate time to prayer, Mass and community activities, I would not say that God was a priority in my life. Even though I proclaimed the truth that Jesus Christ is the Risen Lord and the Triune God, I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus and did not believe that He is with me always in my highs and lows. He was just an impersonal God sitting high up in His throne, busy creating a perfect world. I felt more like a bystander hearing about the Good News of Christ, rather than a disciple following Jesus and living it out fully in my life.

This notion completely changed when I began my 10-day School of Christian Leadership (a discipleship school for university students). The sessions gave me so much insight into the truth of the love of Our God, especially how personal He is to each and every one of us, dying for my sins and giving all His love for me. I began to change my understanding of Jesus, and started to have a more personal relationship with Him through my prayers and quiet reflection.

Jesus spoke very personally to me during one of the sessions where we were encouraged to reflect on a childhood memory that could have wounded us and influenced our behaviour till today – leading us to self-reliance and sin. In my reflection, Jesus brought me back to my childhood days where I was bullied by my peers for being different and therefore ‘uncool’ since my family was from mainland China. I was really hurt and I began to build a wall to hide my true self and protect myself from others’ judgement. I also began to compartmentalise my life and put up a show in front of others to be well-liked. While that was many years ago, the Lord revealed to me that this hurt is still present in me. It had made me very sensitive to the judgement of others, insecure, and left me wondering if I am accepted and liked by others. But little did I know that by revealing these hurts to me, the Lord had already begun His healing process by first allowing me to acknowledge my wounds and to lift them up to Him.

The Lord revealed to me that despite my flaws and insecurities, my identity as His child is what defines me. And the session helped me to claim the truth that I do not have to always put up pretence and fight my own battles, but to learn to lean on the Lord for support and comfort. This deeply intimate experience with Jesus shattered my false perception that He is an impersonal God. Being vulnerable during my prayer helped me to develop a much closer relationship with Jesus and I began to see Him as a trustworthy close friend who is always here to help me and love me, unconditionally. 

I am very grateful that Jesus called me so personally and invite me to walk with Him. This 10-day journey has really helped me to deepen my relationship with the Lord and my prayers are no longer mechanical but deeply personal. By the grace of God, I am now fully convicted in my faith, proclaiming that Jesus Christ is not just the true God, but the Lord of my life.  Beautifully said in Isaiah 43: “Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine.” 

My walk with Jesus has only just begun. I believe that the Lord calls us to not just be spectators of the Gospel, but to grow into a personal relationship with Him and be a true follower and disciple – one who is obedient and convicted. I pray that you will also take this small step of faith to Jesus, who is always there waiting for you with His arms wide open.