by Paul Ng
My name is Paul and I am 19 this year. Growing up, I was a very angry person. I would respond to small situations with rage, irritation and frustration, but I would choose to bottle it on the inside. This stemmed from my family situation at home. My family easily got into fights, and when even thought they meant well, chose the wrong words, causing much misunderstanding and anger. I found that speaking back was of no use, so I bottled up my anger in order to avoid conflict and to preserve the current state of family relationships. This extended to my friendships, and inevitably led to an inward bitterness towards others as I held my anger within me for the sake of not potentially ruining my friendships. Trying to be stoic came at the cost of killing my joy. I believed that I had to hold all this unhappiness inside of me so that the world wouldn’t feel it. I was of the opinion that I had a duty to absorb the anger, pain, and sufferings of others, so that I could live a more godly life. I unknowingly believed that God just wanted me to suffer by myself.
Coming into School of Witness (SOW), I initially had my reservations about believing in a God who supposedly loves me but lets me suffer such pain. However, during a session on the prodigal son, I experienced a strong stirring in my heart when God was described as the One who waits for me to return to him, who forgives me before I know my mistakes, who cannot wait to clothe me in His love, and reminds me of my belovedness. When I was invited to release my struggles and pains and offer them to the LORD, a wave of love just flooded my heart. The love was so strong and pleasantly overwhelming, that I broke down into tears, crying my eyes out. I started to question myself, ” Where have I been all this time, why have I avoided such a loving God who desires to love me for my entire being, my failures, my weaknesses and past?” I was reminded of the immensity of the Father’s love for me and also how He suffers with me.
The recognition of this love was deepened in subsequent sessions, especially in the session about the inner child. Entering into the activity, the anger which accumulated from the past years of my life made it excruciatingly painful and unbearable. I remembered how my initial impression of my inner child was the anger emotion as personified in the movie Inside Out, with a lot of fire. In the intensity of the rage, I simply couldn’t draw it out. A day later, after cooling down, I returned to the activity, and was given an image of a boy who smiled and chuckled so brightly, an image which has been etched in my heart and memory. Almost immediately, I brought my anger and struggles to this little child. This child beamed all the more brightly. He said, “Kor kor, why are you holding on to this pain that you have?”. Not long after, Jesus appeared to me and said, “This child is who I want you to be, who you are created to be. You are my child, my love. Come to me and give me your plans and hurts, I will purify you and give you the joy and freedom of this little kid, because he is you! You do not have to carry your pain anymore for I can carry it for you. Come to me when you labour and are heavily burdened for I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
Through these experiences, I realised that my belovedness is precious in God’s eyes, and that God desires what is good for me and desires a joy for me that only He can provide for truly, I am His beloved. This also encourages me to love my fellow brothers and sisters, because my lover loves them and more importantly because I am first loved by my lover. I also recognised that God is patient, waiting for my amens and yeses, but He is also swift to act when I call on His name. He fights for me and cannot wait to embrace me in love, a love that never fails. I am empowered by this newfound belief and faith, that with such a loving God, I can face my past, future and present with the strength of His love.
From this new realization of God’s love, I am still learning how to surrender my anger to God. I am still His work in progress, and I know that trials and tribulations will come, but I choose to stand in His love ceaselessly. Even when I fall, I am reminded that His grace is truly sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness because my reliance is on God, who delivers.