I grew up not knowing what love is.
At the daycare center where I was raised, I was often berated and punished. Once, I was even made to eat my own vomit. Things weren’t any better at home. It was either shouting and beatings, or silent wars with slamming doors. As a result, I fell into depression.
To make matters worse, I put on weight and my friends habitually made fun of me. I was six years old when I was taken to my discipline master’s office for fighting back.. At 10, I was summoned to the principal’s office for getting into a fight with those who teased me. By the time I was 12, my anger had almost driven away all my friends.
I could not comprehend my constant pain, anger and loneliness. No one understood me.
Things around me continued to spiral downwards. A week before my 14th birthday, I got into a huge fight with my mother. We fell out completely. It was so traumatic that I shut my heart totally. I wanted no more pain. I lived the rest of my teenage years emotionally independent. Once, I tried to run away from home – in any case it was a place where I often felt more like a tenant than a son.
In those trying times, I attempted to open my heart to those who were hurting. I gave of myself to care for them, with the love that I yearned for but failed to receive, because I didn’t want them to suffer the same pain as I had.
However, it wasn’t long before I was made use of by those whom I considered my own family. Despite all that I had done for them, they severed ties with me. My grades took a plunge and I lost all hope of making it through. Brokenhearted and overwhelmed by my predicament, I contemplated ending my own life.
Yet I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was then prompted to turn to the God that I had heard of during my secondary school days. I would pray those “if You’re there” prayers every day, asking Him for peace and strength, and above all, that He would make my life a testimony of hope to those who saw no hope.
Miraculously, I was able to focus on my studies and had a friend to study with each day. It kept my mind off the depressive thoughts. God granted me supernatural peace and grace during my ‘A’ level examinations. I had great clarity of thought and abiding confidence so I made no careless mistakes! Straight after my final paper, I went to church of my own accord, in gratitude to the God who answered my prayers.
On my way to collect my ‘A’ level results three months later, I told God that I would be at peace whatever the outcome. Little was I prepared for what was to unfold.
As I walked up to my form teacher, he broke into a big, wide smile and exclaimed with great joy, “Well done!”
Seven straight A distinctions - I could hardly believe it!
From that day on, my life would never be the same. I was awarded a scholarship to pursue my Bachelor’s degree and even managed to secure a spot on a graduate program at a well-known firm before graduation. I have also graduated from Tung Ling Bible School and over the years, I have had several opportunities to share my story on different platforms. I published my very first book at age 25! Against all odds, my life was completely turned around. I would not be where I am today if not by the grace of God. He gave me a testimony of hope to share with others – just what I had prayed for! Our past can cripple us, only if we allow it to.
We may have been held captive by our past; we may find ourselves swallowed up by such pain and sorrow, unable to break free. We may even be at the edge of giving up.
It was all for nothing
Don’t let them convince you
The past is over and there is hope
I’ve been through it all
Those years of bitter injustice, hurt and shame
That was how I lived
Loving people only to be misunderstood and rejected
Forgiving those who never asked to be forgiven
Pressing on even when the world was against me
I had to go through it all
You are never
Telling me that
Things can turn around for my good
Everything seems hopeless
I hear God’s voice telling me
Not to give up
I have decided
I’m letting go.
However, what we see as a trial, God sees as a testimony in the making. All we need is to look at our circumstances through the eyes of faith, and we will see things the way He sees them.
So may I invite you to read that poem, “Letting Go” once more – only reading it from bottom up this time.
No matter what you have been through, know that God can turn the most desperate of circumstances into powerful testimonies of His faithfulness and goodness.
Don’t give up!
In His time, God will turn things around for your good; and if He can turn my life around and use someone like me for His glory, so can He do the same with you!
“…in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Rom 8:28)
Zi Cong published his first book, What Heaven Does Not Have, three months before his 26th birthday. Apart from writing, he finds joy in spending time with youths and helping people land their job of choice. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing a game of Spades and having a good workout.