Born and baptised as an infant, the person of Jesus was introduced to me from a very young age. The Lord blessed me with wonderful parents, as well as catechists and faith formators in school who guided me through my faith journey.
At the age of 9, I had the desire to become an Altar Server in the parish. With the spiritual guidance of the senior servers and priests over the years, I started to develop a desire to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, as I grew older and got more absorbed into the materialistic and stressful world, I began to take my faith for granted. When I entered polytechnic, everything went downhill. The people I met in poly were not very Christ-like and hence, I slowly drifted away from Jesus. I took many decisions in my own hands and did not rely on the Lord. I did not trust in His will for me. Soon after, I began to get tired from trying to do everything on my own. Serving mass every week became a chore and I doubted if God even existed in my life as I was facing many challenging issues in school. Anger, frustration and helplessness were the feelings that filled my heart. I would argue and be very unreasonable to my family, girlfriend and close friends. I closed myself from them, thinking that no one would understand the stress and pain I was going through. My pride also came between me and the Lord as I did not want to admit that I needed help. I carried this self-centered ideology that indeed, I was the “Lord” of my life.
Soon, I grew tired of carrying my numerous “baggage” as I realized that I could not rely only on my own strength. With this recognition, I decided to sign up for YCER, hoping to receive Christ in my heart again. I yearned for the peace that I always desired and indeed, the Lord didn’t fail me. During the retreat, I opened my heart to Jesus and He healed many of my inner hurts, doubts and fears. He also fixed my broken heart and made it whole again. However, without a doubt, the process to reach this stage of feeling whole again was not the easiest, neither was it a very direct one. To heal me, the Lord had to reveal and make me relive each hurt again. But amidst this, I knew that He was there for me. I could see before my eyes how He dealt with them delicately, one by one, and throw them out of my life. Seeing this unfold before my eyes, it made see how real our God was. Above that, it also made me see how I could trust this amazing Lord, who could heal my many years of hurts that I never thought I would ever be able to overcome. During one of the praying over sessions, I rested in the spirit and had a vision of me at my death bed. As my casket was wheeled onto the tracks leading to the furnace in Mandai Crematorium, I could feel a sense of peace as I have had surrendered fully to the Lord. Just as the wooden door closed and my relatives and friends couldn’t see me anymore, the Lord asked: “Do you trust me?” I smiled and replied without hesitation and fear, an affirming YES. That was when I knew that I could believe and also concretely begin to trust the Lord again.
After the YCER retreat, I placed all my worries about ministry and army life, including those that bothered me before YCER, into the Lord’s ever loving arms. I would put Christ at the centre of what I do, including whenever I have to make decisions in my army life. Whenever I felt stressed, I would turn to the Lord and Mother Mary and say a short prayer – something that I definitely would not have done before YCER. Every time I did this, this made me more grounded in my decisions and my emotions. I definitely knew that this was the Lord’s doing in my life, because before YCER, I would have let these feelings be and let myself dwell in it. Two months on from YCER, I would not say that I have been always successful in leading a fully Christ-centered life, but I am now able to wake up and live everyday with strong conviction that the Lord is there for me, whether I can physically feel it or not. I feel a strong sense of peace that I’ve never experienced before. Truly, I can see that everything is starting to fall in place, in God’s time.
At the end of the retreat, a group member of mine shared with me a Bible verse she randomly picked from a basket. It was Psalm 55:23: “Cast your care upon the LORD, who will give you support. He will never allow the righteous to stumble.” Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ, do not be afraid of the Lord. However we may be feeling: whether we may be at our utmost lowest, feeling unworthy or even feeling just fine, the Lord has something more to do in your life. I urge you to give the Lord a chance to enter and touch your hearts. I really wish that all of you can feel the same excitement and joy that I experienced. Do not hesitate to sign up for the SFX CER. I’m sure the Lord won’t disappoint those who desire His love and comfort.