God’s living Word
I became a Christian after I experienced an amazing touch of God’s presence.
I was born and raised in Singapore by non-Christian parents. Though they sent me to a Lutheran kindergarten where I learnt songs like ‘Jesus loves me, this I know’, when I was eight I became an atheist.
I wasn’t sure why I stopped believing in God, but I suddenly felt that God was just an imaginary construct and so I stopped believing that God existed.
My relatives believed in ancestral worship and burnt incense to idols, but that held no appeal to me. I didn’t believe that mute idols could do anything to help me, so I became an atheist, just relying on myself.
That all changed one day, when I was 11 years old. I got into trouble with my teacher. I can’t remember what I did that made her upset. All I knew was that she got really angry with me.
I still remember her sharp words — ‘Stop bugging me!’ Then she stormed out of the classroom, where her last dreaded words were, ‘I’m going to call your parents!’
I felt like the end of the world was near. When you’re 11 and your teacher threatens to call your parents to complain about you, it’s totally natural to feel like your life is over and you are utterly doomed!
I went to the toilet and started crying. I kept crying and crying and couldn’t stop. My friends tried to console me, but I couldn’t be comforted. I was sure that I would face wrath and disappointment from my parents when I returned home, so I continued blubbering.
When I went home, I was fearful and down. Now, my parents aren’t Christians, but a friend of them had given them a Good News Bible, which I saw on the shelf.
I don’t know why I did it, but for some reason I picked up the Bible and turned to Psalms. I started praying along from the Psalms.
There were many prayers in there about David being in trouble, being persecuted by his enemies, that I prayed along. I could totally identify with David.
I prayed through David’s desperate cries in Psalm 6: ‘I am worn out with grief. Every night my bed is damp from my weeping; my pillow is soaked with tears. I can hardly see, my eyes are so swollen from the weeping caused by my enemies.
‘Keep away from me, you evil people! The Lord hears my weeping; he listens to my cry for help and will answer my prayer. My enemies will know the bitter shame of defeat; in sudden confusion they will be driven away’.
As I prayed through the Psalms, pouring out my distress to God, I was often comforted by the many verses promising God’s deliverance.
After praying for about two hours, I felt an incredible peace. It was like no other peace I’d ever felt before, not like the kind of peace that you might feel after doing a relaxation exercise.
I felt a deep peace, but that peace had a presence to it, like God was in me. After experiencing this calm presence, I couldn’t be an atheist any more and started believing in the God who was in me.
The good news that I received after this was that my teacher never called my parents to complain about me after all; and she wasn’t even angry with me the next day! So God rescued me from my trial and I was utterly grateful to him for that.
I realized from this that the Bible was indeed God’s Word, and that, by reading his Word and fellowshipping with him, you could obtain the peace that passes all understanding.
Hwee Hwee Tan
The author is an award-winning writer of two Christian novels published by Penguin. You can read more about her Christian insights at her blog: http://hweehweetan.com