by Justin Quah, 19 years old
My life before the School of Witness (SOW) was not Christ-like. I did not go to church, I was not involved in community and I did not pray. I also wore many masks. I put on the mask of the cool guy, the people pleaser and the bully. The reason I was wearing all these masks was because I was often bullied when I was younger. I felt lonely and thought I was a failure. Having put on so many masks, I felt very fake and confused. At school I had to be someone, at home someone else and at church someone else. The more masks I wore, the harder it was for me to know and recognise God. As a result, I ignored all problems and just lived a carefree life. In doing so, I not only ignored His will for me, but I also ignored my family’s advice. I viewed God like a vending machine because I felt that I only needed him at times, such as before my exams.
During the School of Witness, I got injured playing games and had to have my right foot placed in a cast. During this time, a verse from scripture spoke to me, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.” (Psalm 119:176)
Reflecting on the verse and my situation, I knew that God was coming to get me, His lost sheep. I did not know how to get back to Him because I was crippled not just physically but spiritually too. Yet, He comes in search of me. Even if I could not walk or move on my own, He will carry me home.
I came to encounter Jesus during a session on inner healing. I struggled with a very bad relationship with my step father and my anger towards him. It was so bad that I wouldn’t greet or acknowledge him when I am at home. Since birth, I did not know who my biological father was as he had left my family. I have never seen him or spoken to him. I convinced myself that I did not need a fatherly figure in my life, but at the same time, I felt abandoned.
During a paraliturgy, the brothers in my cell group carried me to Jesus and invited me to identify the areas in which I wanted to be healed. They prayed for me as I spoke all the hurts and unforgiveness I harboured towards my stepfather. During this time, I felt a sudden heat in my heart and that’s when I knew that God was there with me. This heat felt like God was healing my heart of steel, softening it into a heart that can move freely and a heart that is alive. It was then that I realised that the scripture verse that I received earlier had come to fulfillment. I was carried home. I was not forsaken.
Since the day He created me, He was always beside me, walking this past 18 years with me through the ups and downs. He was always there, but I couldn’t see Him. When I got hurt, He was hurt as well. When I could not walk, He was carrying me on his back like a lost sheep.
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My new relationship with Jesus has made me think less of the negatives but the positives in life. He has filled my life with great joy. When I felt that life was miserable, God came and showed me what joy and freedom in life is; living this life that is centered around him. I no longer have to wear any masks, and can be myself towards everyone. I no longer have to hide my past. Instead, I embrace it because He has made me new. Now, I am committed to share this love that I have received – a love that overflows to those around me. I have tasted and seen the goodness of God, and there is nothing I would want more.
Dear friends, today Jesus comes to all of you, wanting to love you and to carry you. Are you ready to open your hearts to Him?
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