by Shawn Jacob (above photo, second-left)
Before coming for the School of Witness (SOW), I was active in church – teaching catechism, attending community to serving in camps. However, I struggled to inculcate faith into my daily life, be it at school, home or work. I also found it difficult to entrust certain areas of my life to the Lord, especially my future and my loved ones. This was because of my life panned out. The only wish my parents had was for their sons to enter a local university, of which I fell short of. I felt like I’d singlehandedly crushed their hopes and dreams. That shaped my perception of God as one who showered overflowing graces for everyone but me. For me, He would just sprinkle just enough for me to get by. However, Jesus had other plans. He wanted to mend my disordered image of God and He relentlessly pursued this broken heart of mine. In one camp that I served in, He placed a desire in me to journey into deeper waters with Him. Mustering up courage, I responded to the Lord’s invitation and signed up for SOW.
Coming for SOW was a massive decision for me. I had to intentionally make space for God which involved stalling both my career and studies. My parents struggled to understand why I needed to seek God now and questioned if there was a need for such a radical means to seek God. Having sacrificed so much, I told myself to enter SOW with an open heart to receive what God has in store for me.
In the first week of sow, during a time of reflection, one particular question stood out to me. “Do you desire to come home (the father’s house)?” I spent the entire afternoon pondering why I struggled to answer this question. It was such a simple, basic question, especially so for anyone willing to delicate two months of his time to grow in faith. I couldn’t fathom why from the depths of my heart, I struggled to give an resounding yes to return to the Father’s loving embrace. In that moment lies of unworthiness, not belonging, and that those years of service amounted to naught came flooding in. I even began to doubt if coming for SOW was a good choice. It was only during prayer ministry later that I realized I didn’t trust God enough. I couldn’t trust that in His house, there’s only goodness. It was also revealed to me that these negative scripts stemmed from the lack of a deeply rooted relationship with Him.
But truly, what Jesus reveals, He desires to heal. I recall journaling one night after Eucharistic Adoration about being afraid to journey into deeper waters with Him. I was afraid of what is to come, and that I will no longer have control over this adventure. Moments after leaving that session, I chanced upon a truth stuck on the door. It read ‘Jesus invites you out of your boat into deeper waters. Trust that when you fall, He will be there to catch you.’ In that instant, it was clear to me that Jesus continues to pursue after my heart and He ever so gently reassures me that He is there watching over me. I was overwhelmed by God’s unwavering and magnanimous love of Jesus for me.
More testimonies on the Father’s love:
I’m really thankful that Jesus meets me where I’m at. He patiently waits for me, picking me up and encouraging me each time I fall. Just like a child learning how to swim, Jesus is slowly guiding me into deeper waters, step by step. I stand here today to claim the truth that God is with me and for me, and because of this I am more able to be free in my being. I am still a work in progress, but I need not face my obstacles alone. I no longer need to rely on my own strength but in a God who fights for me.
In Romans 8:31 it says that “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” My brothers and sisters, truly God is for us. Are you willing to accept His invitation to fight your battles with you today?