Growing up in a family of Christians, I used to feel that living my life as one was a set condition that I had to meet and not a choice on my part. It always felt that to be a part of the Tan Family automatically meant that I had to live my life as a Christian or risk losing them.
I wanted to please my parents because I love them and so day after day, despite my lack of understanding on who God was in my life, I went on hiding behind this pretence of Christian living just to appease them. Christianity had become more like a fixed set of rules that I was living under and it tired me out because I didn’t see the point of it all.
As the years went by, I began to feel more oppressed than liberated. At times, I would tell myself that it just wasn’t worth the struggle and slide back into being just like a part of the world where sin ran rampant. It was so much easier to be a sinner than it was to be a Christian and I didn’t understand why Christian living had to be so difficult.
During these times, my parents would always do their best to remind me about the good that God has done in my life and how God was holding my life in place. They would remind me how God was the one who brought me through my PSLE and ‘O’ Level days, granted me the ability to do well for my Diploma and even how on one great occasion, miraculously heal me from a suspected tuberculosis disease back in 2008.
My Dad introduced a book for me to read during my days in the Army, titled “Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller. After months of procrastinating, I finally managed to pick it up and to read it through. It was then that God softened my stubborn heart and I started to understand this amazing God that we believe in. He is a God of forgiveness and a God full of love.
I saw myself between the pages of the book in the figure of the prodigal son. I was constantly on the run from God because I wanted to live my life on my own without caring about the consequences and caring about how God felt. I thought I had my life in control but the more I tried to live for myself, the more of a wreck I became.
I didn’t want to admit that about myself and to pray for forgiveness because innately, I felt that I just wasn’t worth forgiving, especially after my multiple episodes of backsliding from my faith. I was afraid that praying for forgiveness again would make me a hypocrite. However, I was reminded in the parable that our God is one who is full of compassion. Just as the Father in the parable, upon seeing his younger son in the distance, ran to him, threw his arms around him and kissed him, I knew that I wanted to receive that same love and forgiveness from our Father.
I repented and prayed for His love to fill me again and that He would forgive me for my sins. Since then, I have made it my goal to continually live my life for Him and to desire to show to others who God is in my life. Believing in Him and living in His ways have no longer become something that I just want to do to please my parents anymore but because I know that this ultimately pleases our Maker in heaven.
Our God is a God who is ever consistent during our times of inconsistencies and despite the many times we might fail Him, Christ has already paid the price. Praise be to God for holding on to me and for giving me another chance to return home into a lasting relationship with Him. Amen.