By Ivan Wu, OYP RCIY Participant
I was brought up in a very traditional family – staying silent meant obedience and voicing differing opinions meant disrespect. My parents had plans for me to excel in music just like my older sibling but I disliked music and loved sports. It was a constant battle to gain my parents’ approval and support for me to pursue sports. Eventually, they gave in on the condition that I excel in my studies. As I strove to do well in all these areas, I soon grew tired of juggling both studies and sports in school and dealing with my tense and transactional relationship with my parents at home. But just when everything seemed to be falling apart and I felt so crushed, heavy and hopeless, I stayed silent and paid close attention to the words of the Lord’s Prayer prayed during one particular morning assembly. In that silence, I felt God reach out to help me. Even though I did not truly know who God was then, I felt this outpouring of hope into my heart. This powerful experience of hope brought me through the stressful exam period while leading my team through the competition season.
But as things got better, I took these undeserving graces for granted and left God time after time and went back to relying on myself, my pride, and fell back into my selfishness.
However, it seemed nearly impossible to satisfy the desire I had for hope and joy until I allowed God to enter my life in March 2020. In the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, I came back home to Singapore, served two weeks of mandatory SHN which was followed by the two-month long Circuit Breaker. During the Circuit Breaker, I came to realize how broken and empty I was Then, I was reminded of the peace and hope that rushed through me during that very morning school assembly as they prayed the Lord’s Prayer. This made me recognise my deep desire for joy, hope and salvation and most importantly, that God is the only one who can fully satisfy these desires.
Soon after, I started my active search and journey in the faith as a curious but unworthy man, pretty much like Zacchaeus the tax collector in Luke 19. I came into the Rite of Christian Initiation for Youths (RCIY) as an enquirer at OYP, just to take a peak from afar and nothing more. But throughout my RCIY journey, I got to know who God truly is – God the eternal Father who has been searching for us even before we desire to want to know Him. I started to recognise God’s crafts and fingerprints in my everyday life. He brought hope and purpose amidst the year filled with forced disruption of my studies and great uncertainty on my return to Australia.
Whenever I open up to Him, He never fails to provide me with His overflowing grace. God created me and everything around me and therefore, only God knows my wants and needs. God’s truths always remain and never fail to inspire and guide me. In April 2021, He gave me the courage to get baptised and confirmed despite the initial disapproval of my family. I went to Him with shame but He still called me by name. Truly, God is my saviour and my Lord.
This journey towards Christ began with a small tiny yes but He ended up giving me so much more! Will you allow God to save you? Will you take the first step towards His invitation and allow Him to walk you through each day and explore the big plans He have for you?