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 (Manna 49: After God's Heart)
How I Learned to Walk with God
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How I Learned to Walk with God

Julie Lee — Baldwin Park, California, USA

Our faith in the Lord is not a series of isolated events but a seamless thread that runs from faith to faith. I can relate very well to such a thought because from the day that I believed in God until now, He has blessed me in so many ways that has rooted my faith and allowed me to approach Him better.

God has indeed chosen us not because of anything we’ve done but because of His mercy and grace. He also gives us rich experiences that compel us to return His love and to study His teachings more deeply.

The following is a retelling of a fraction of His blessings to me, and each experience anchors my faith deeper and helps me walk with God in Spirit and in truth.

God’s Grace

My family moved to Argentina in 1986 because of my father’s work relocation. At that time I was five years old and the True Jesus Church in Argentina was still at its infancy. My mother brought my siblings and me to worship there, but we were not baptized at the time.

It wasn’t until 1992 that the church held the first spiritual convocation. I remember that the first night of evangelical service was on a Wednesday, and everyone was telling me how wonderful it is to receive the Holy Spirit, and how, without the Holy Spirit, we would not be able to enter the doors of heaven. Back then, I was just an innocent eleven-year-old who did not know too much about salvation, but I was very determined to receive the Holy Spirit.

I remember making a promise to God, during one prayer at the convocation, that if He gave me the Holy Spirit I would offer myself as a living sacrifice to serve Him for the rest of my life. I felt like a child who was trading something precious for an even bigger treasure.

After I made this promise to God, I felt a tremendous heat come from above and it filled my body. As the Holy Spirit filled me, a very bright light bursted in front of me. It seemed brighter than the sun and it was very warm. I could look straight into it, and there was a soothing feeling of kindness incomparable with any other kind of light.

As it got closer to me, I began to trace the lines of a cross that was emerging from the light, which was brighter than the light itself, and the crystal-like cross seemed transparent and very precious. The light and the cross came closer to me, and when it was right before my face, I saw a man hung on it.

He was severely beaten up and emaciated to the point where I could survey His bones. His eyes were shut and I saw the pierced crown on His head, but His countenance was not of a man who was severely wounded. He had a very kind look—a look that I was drawn to approach, which said, “I love you. This is what it took for Me to save you.”

This vision compelled me to receive baptism after the convocation that year. But most importantly, I realized how much God loves me and how I should also love Him.

During the years of growing pains that followed, and when my faith was low, this vision reminded me that I had been purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ, and it was by His grace that salvation had come to me. Therefore, I am different from this world. This reminder empowered me to live according to His words, and it continues to empower me today.

God’s Cure

I was born with a disease that is much akin to what we know today as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), a disorder of the immune system. The symptoms are like an allergic reaction to winter.

Every time the season rolled around, all my joints would swell up to the point where I was physically unrecognizable. I was a frightful sight because of the swelling, perhaps worse than an ogre, and I would scare myself whenever I looked into the mirror. The swellings in my joints would turn blue and green, and they would itch and hurt.

My parents took me to the doctor when I was four, and the only inclination they had at the time pointed to a problem with my blood circulation. The chance of survival for the required operation was only fifty percent at best, and the operation itself only had a success rate of fifty percent. The expense was also very high so we didn’t go through with it.

This disorder would plague me about twice a year, and it took about one to two weeks for the swelling to die down before I would return to normal. My parents still insisted that I go to school during those times, and I would lower my head as much as possible during class or when I walked down the halls. The kids would even call me “little monster.”

I had heard testimonies about how baptism not only washes away sin, but God could also cure people of their illnesses during their baptisms. After I got baptized, I still had the disease and I wondered why God didn’t cure me.

In the same year I was baptized, we also moved to the United States. And in 1993, during the winter student spiritual convocation, the allergies struck again and I felt my joints swell up. I was scared that people would be frightened at the sight of me, so I called my mom to pick me up.

My mom knew how serious it can get, so she drove to Garden GroveChurch in the pouring rain. She testified to me later on that while she was driving to the church, she cried to God, “My daughter has had this disease since she was little and we can’t help her. Lord, You are the mighty God and You can cure her right now.”

She picked me up from church and we went home and prayed. My mom pleaded to God saying, “I entrust her into Your hand. With man it is impossible, but I hope in You because with You all things are possible. If You want to cure her, please stop the swelling.”

She told me what she prayed about before I went to sleep, and I knew that it was an impossible request because, for the past thirteen years of my life, it always took at least one week for the swelling to go down, and there was no way for things to go back to normal the very next day.

Surely enough, after I had gone to bed, God really cured me by the next day—just as my mom had prayed. Twelve years have passed since that incident and the illness never returned. Praise God!

God’s Will

Five years ago, when I was about to apply for college, I was under International Student status in the U.S. and still without a green card. So if I went to college, I would have to pay international fees, which everyone knows is triple the amount of what local students would pay.

My mom said to me, “Because of our status and the fact that your younger brother and sister will also be going off to college soon after you, we will have to pay a lot for tuition at the same time.” My dad also told me that there was a miscalculation, as they thought that we would have gotten our green card by the time I was ready to go off to college.

My parents asked me to consider going back to Taiwan for my degree and my immediate reaction was, “There’s no way that is an option for me. I am not going back to a place I have no recollection of anything else besides stinky tofu.” My mom responded, “So does that mean you won’t go to college?”

I was very mad at my parents for not being able to send me off to college. I was also complaining to God, “You want me to study hard, and I did. I applied and I got into good schools. Why are You so unfair to me?”

I headed straight for my room after that emotional conversation with my parents, and I proceeded to pack for UCSD (University of California San Diego), where I was accepted for school. I even moved all my stuff there—waiting for school to start.

That week, which was a week before classes began, a thought occurred to me. Even though I forged forward with everything as planned, I had an uneasy feeling that what I was doing just didn’t sit well inside.

I asked myself, “Am I walking in front of God with this decision, when I’m supposed to follow and listen to Him instead?” After a week of soul-searching, I decided to apply for a year of absence, and I packed my stuff and went home.

My mom told me that it’s not absolutely necessary for them to send me back to Taiwan, but this would be the only way I could comfortably finish my undergraduate degree without fiscal uncertainties. At the same time, they were also planning to send both my brother and I back to Taiwan together.

My mom told me to pray and entrust everything to God. In that year that I took a leave of absence, I was studying at a community college in Southern California while awaiting my brother to finish high school.

I kept praying to God about how I really didn’t want to go back, and I was also very lackadaisical with the application papers for the schools in Taiwan. I actually didn’t even bother asking for application deadlines and my parents took care of everything.

The only thing I said to them was that I would only go back if I got into the top two schools in Taiwan. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get in. I was just giving them a hard time and trying to find a way out for myself. I told my parents that I would work fulltime to support myself and that I wanted to stay in the U.S.

My mom asked, “Aren’t you testing God with the way you are handling all this?” But I shot back, “There’s nothing that will convince me to go there.” She asked my brother the same thing, but both of us asked for the impossible so we didn’t have to leave.

While we were waiting for the results, and through my prayers, I learned to start trusting in God more. In front of me there seemed to be no way, and I slowly began to realize the meaning behind the saying: “When God closes the door, somewhere He opens a window.”

I wanted to get a good education and to graduate, but there seemed to be no way of achieving it.  So I started to learn to trust God in my prayers, and I asked Him to give me wisdom and faith, and to prepare me to walk in the way that He would show me; most importantly, for me to submit and to follow His will.

Six months after that, the results came in and I found out that I got into the best school in the country. I left for Taiwan after that and stayed there for four years.

The first semester, while students were preparing for midterms and finals, I had to start a month ahead because I had to memorize the whole textbook. I still remember my first midterm, when I was taking the test and I couldn’t remember the Chinese characters. I either had to leave it blank or write something down, so I decided to use Chinese phonics to spell out the words for the professor. When the test results came back, the professor made this little speech about how he was appalled at the deterioration of the students’ writing skills. But thank God, I passed the test.

Those were four very hard years, but every step I took was sweet because I knew that God was with me. This is the confidence that we have in approaching God—that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 Jn 5:14).

James 4:14-15 also reminds us that we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We are simply a mist that appears and disappears, and in our life we should say and do whatever it is God wills for us.

I feel that for peers my age, we often think that we have experienced a lot, but some adults will tell us that life is only starting for us and we are only beginning to face the wearies and challenges that lie ahead. But I believe that as long as we keep on obeying and trusting, we will learn the lesson that God wants to teach us and we won’t ever feel in lack.

We can either learn to trust Him more, or we can let the things we face in life be our stumbling block on our way to heaven. The decisions may be ours to make, but the power and the will come from God.

For what it’s worth today, if we are willing to entrust all things to the Lord, He will bless us beyond our own expectations. May all the glory be unto His holy name, amen.

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Publisher: True Jesus Church