The Lord Is Always with Me
Dih-Yih Chen — Grenada
This testimony is something I’ve
been working on for a few years. I recently turned thirty-one, and when you
turn thirty-one, you want to look back on your life and consider the roads
you’ve taken, and how you’ve changed over the course of that time.
I finally realized in a big way
that I had become a full-fledged adult when I turned thirty. We may be legal
adults at eighteen, but we are still children living in our parents’ house and
we don’t have that much responsibility. In our twenties, we start living on our
own and we tread the waters to get a feel of what it’s like to be independent.
But for many people in this day
and age, it’s only when we turn thirty that we start to know the reality of
full independence: we are no longer dependent on our parents. This can be quite
a daunting epiphany.
Having said all this, my
reflections are not about my physical life but about my spiritual life, and I
feel the same aforementioned sentiments for the latter as I do for the former,
because we have to grow up spiritually for our faith to also gain the same
My Doubts Set In
After I graduated from college, I
had a lot of time to feel depressed because I was done with classes and had no
job offers. But God provided an opportunity for me to go to Philadelphia to further my studies and I was
When I got there, I offered myself
completely to Him and threw myself into all aspects of church work, which
boosted my faith. I really touched God in those days and He showed His
magnificence and glory to me. So I carried that faith with me until I finished
After I graduated I found a job in
which allowed me to stay behind and to continue serving God. I thought I would
do that for a couple of years and then apply to medical school, but I got
rejected from every school during the first round of application. I thought to
myself, “So this is just the way things are.” It destroyed my confidence but it
didn’t ruin my faith.
I kept on working and went through
a second round of med school applications, then a third round, after which my
faith also began to crumble. At the same time, I felt that I was stagnating at
work and really held back because there were so many things I couldn’t control.
For example, either my boss didn’t
pay much attention to me or their references in the process of my medical
school application kept getting lost. Things kept dragging on and on and I
began to question: “Isn’t God responsible for all these, and isn’t He responsible
for making sure that these things wouldn’t happen? Isn’t He supposed to help us
with the little things that are out of our control?”
I started to question God, and at
the same time I looked at all my friends and saw how their careers were taking
off and how they were slowly building a family and succeeding in society. And
here I was—stuck in a mundane job and doing my best to excel yet feeling that
something was keeping me back in everything I do. I began to seriously doubt
That’s when I realized my faith
was changing and the questions kept on firing: “Why is this happening to me?
Does God still love me? Did I do something to displease Him?” I couldn’t find
any answer. And if He doesn’t help me, why am I working so hard in church? Is
it even worth it to keep the Sabbath?
When these thoughts started to pop
into my head, it shocked me because I’ve never sunk to that level before, and
that started me thinking. I questioned what my faith was based on, and
fortunately for me, even though I had become weary of continuing with church
work, the process of doing it was what kept my faith afloat and not sink
Doing church work forced me to do
more Bible reading and to meditate on God’s word more than I would’ve on my
own, and it was through this that I was able to come up with some conclusions
that helped me get through this rough patch in my life.
So what did I learn?
Point of Peace
I used to think that God will
answer whatever it is I pray about or ask for, but I think there is a more
important aspect to this—that God blesses us with all things because He loves
us. We ask because we are His children but it is up to God’s decision whether
He blesses us according to our prayers or not. It depends on His blessings and
God is not like an ATM machine,
where you punch in the numbers and the money rolls out. He is much more than
that. Without lowering His status, He came in human form and He wants us to
develop a relationship with Him. He has feelings. If we take Him for granted,
like when I expected an immediate response in prayer, it hurts Him.
This opened me up to an aspect of
God that I did not see before. I realized that God blesses me according to what
I need, but I had to wait this time. Sometimes, He blesses us with steaks and
sometimes with cabbage, and we need both in our lives. When I understood
this—that there really is a purpose to my suffering—I also understood that it
won’t be forever.
One of the verses that came to me
and helped me put things into perspective is
the account of how God took away King Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity and made
him live like an animal (Dan 4:34-37).
When I read this story, I began to
see what King Nebuchadnezzar must’ve seen—that God is almighty, and within His
hand is the authority to give and to restrain.
Who are we to question His motive,
why He does this or that, or why He withholds His blessings from us but
lavishes them on others? They don’t go to church, they are not as holy, and
they don’t obey God’s commandments like we do. We cannot question Him because
He is far beyond our understanding.
God did not allow me to continue
on this path of downward spiral and failure, and there was a point of peace
where I was able to look back, reflect, and glorify Him.
Awaiting His Reveal
After some reflection, I feel very
ashamed that I felt so much anger and resentment towards God when I thought He
had completely ignored and left me. But the truth is that He was always there.
That was a period of time for me to grow and to realize that I cannot be a
I began to see God in a different
light. When we are children, we look to our father as the provider for whatever
we ask and need. Now, when we grow up, our father is still our provider, but he
is also our educator and the one who helps us grow and mature.
Likewise, while we are young, God
is our heavenly Father who gives us what we ask because we need those blessings
to grow. But when we mature, He adjusts His role and His blessings.
Thank God, I eventually went on to
med school and He provided me with that opportunity in the Caribbean.
I only asked for one thing before I went, which was for God to come with me.
And He did.
How do I know that He came with
me? When I got there, God provided and took care of so many things that helped
me transition into the new environment. To name a few, He blessed me with great
lab groups, and He sheltered me from a massive hurricane that hit the island of Grenada, where I studied and where
ninety-five percent of the island was deserted by the storm last year.
During that dangerous period, I
felt peaceful and calm and without worry. Those with me just waited out the
storm and nothing happened to us, save for a broken window in my room. I can’t
describe it well—the great destruction outside but the deep sense of peace
within while waiting out the storm. There is a refuge and a sanctuary within
that God gives us when we face life and all the things that come with it.
My message in all of this goes
back to my realization of the preciousness of a time for maturity and a time
for growth. And even though there are moments when things seem bleak and dark,
God is always there. Even if He doesn’t respond, we have to walk with the faith
that He will soon reveal Himself to us.