Why Today Is the Greatest Day of My Life: Celebrating Faith

Today is the anniversary of the most life-changing day I’ve lived, and I hope you’ll allow me to tell you about it. Gather around, dear friends. Make yourselves comfortable, and brace yourselves for my testimony.

Fourteen years ago I was preparing to enter Kindergarten. I was a short, curly haired thing much like I am today, but I was a beaming child back, so I was a little shorter. I already loved words, and I was excited to go to school.

Fourteen years ago it was summer—July 2, 2001, to be precise. The sky by my house was its clear, summery self, and I stood underneath it, toeing the edge of our paved driveway. The glory of God was about to be manifest.

Fourteen years ago and 20 minutes away, my grandpa was in a coma in his house in Southington. It was the eve of his entrance into eternity.

Fourteen years ago my mom told me about eternity.

Fourteen years ago, having heard about Heaven and Hell and knowing I needed Jesus to save me from my sin, I gave my life to him. To put it succinctly, I became a Christian. The angels rejoiced in Heaven, and I ran to tell my parents about my newfound hope and joy—a continuing joy.

Why I’m Still A Christian

Fourteen years later, my faith hasn’t changed. I’ve been a Christian for 14 of my 19 years, nearly 75% of my life. That’s crazy! And it’s awesome! Let me tell you why:

  • I’ve seen God’s faithfulness at work as He continually provides the basic necessities in life for my family and me—practically literal daily bread. For example, just yesterday my financial aid package came though, and I was awarded an extra grant that will help enable me to keep attending college. Praise the Lord!
  • He has brought healing to my relationships and to my scarred heart, and I’ve seen him work forgiveness in fellow believers as well. I could write books about these stories if I could find the emotional energy, time, and proper words to capture them.
  • God has revealed his love, glory and power through people I know and people I’ve only just met. He’s given me peace through the prayers of my faith-full friends such as Magda this Tuesday, and He’s shown me his glory through people who don’t know him such as the man I met at the library last week. I want everyone to know God!
  • He has let me glimpse his justice, holiness, joy and Kingdom through my friends. I call to mind the Asian/Asian-American group at my college.
  • He has continually drawn me to him through his Word in the Bible and to me in person. He’s also directed my future in this manner. Y’all know I’m going to DRC soon. That’s all because God has prepared good works for me to do there for His glory. 🙂

God has used music and nature, people and stillness, to reveal himself to me. God is here, and I can’t even begin to explain how awesome He is. I’m eternally grateful to be the LORD’s—and I can say that completely honestly because I will dwell in his house forever. I have been reborn and adopted into his family! I will rejoice in Him always and keep pressing towards him.

Doesn’t he sound amazing?! Don’t stop reading, please. Let me share just a little more about my God!

Gains and Losses

We need God. To understate our situation, we’re a hot mess without him. We’re actually damned. We’re so broken that all the money, sex, music, social media, TV, friends, volunteering, time spent at work, success, awards, good grades, food, caffeine, sleeping pills, alcohol and weed can’t fix us. We’re not good enough for God. The only thing we are good for is Hell, which, by the way, is not the same as this earth. Hell is worse. There isn’t even any water to refresh the parched mouths there. Yet we deserve to die. We’re not good enough for God, so without him to save us, we have to be separated from him forever and placed in Hell.

Thankfully, God is merciful and loving, and he calls all of us broken, sinful, wicked and mediocre people to him. (Every one of us is all of those things without Christ, even the best of us.) We’re the tax collector that extorted money from the people. We’re the woman who couldn’t stay married or the one who slept around. We’re also the average-Joe destined to work a blue-collar job our whole lives. We’re all those people and more—the nobodies, really—but God looked at us and said, “Hey, I want you. I want you, Jared. I want you, Hala. I want you, Jessica and Donna and Ron. I’ll make a way for you to be with me, because you are my priceless treasure.”

Thus he sent Jesus Christ, prophesied as the Messiah called Immanuel, “God with us.” Jesus is God in flesh. He’s everything we’re not but can aim to imitate. He’s the ultimate example of humility and love, and we don’t deserve to know him, but he pursues us so hard that we can’t run away. His Spirit will work on those God has called until we’re so wrapped in God’s love that we can’t escape it. He’ll renew our spirits and change our hearts. He’ll give us hope and purpose both now and forever. If we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have eternal life, and we’ll lose ourselves and find God as we sing his praises with the angels someday: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

I’m so glad to be able to worship God now, and I’m elated to be with all my brothers and sisters in Christ someday. What a choir that will be! What a God I serve! He’s the most forgiving being I could ever know, and I’m so humbled by him.

I want you to know him too. I want you to rest in his love, to be sucked into his justice and mercy, to be awed by his righteousness, to be his. If you don’t know him yet, I pray that this day will mark an anniversary for you, too—the day God redeemed you from the pit and sealed you with his Spirit.

Feel free to contact me here if you want to chat about this or share your story.

Jesus is coming back soon, and while I’m thrilled for that day, my heart is breaking for those of you who aren’t. I want to go to Heaven with you; I don’t want you to live apart from him. I want to praise God with you; God deserves it. He’s worthy of all the praise he can get. Will you surrender your praise to Jesus today?

Becoming countercultural: clapping at College Church

God is moving. He is moving and shaking in physical ways. He is knocking at the hearts of Christians in Wheaton, willing them to a joyful life in His presence.

I attend College Church, a Biblically-grounded church ten minutes walk from my dorm. The congregation is large, to say the least, and it is unfortunately stiff in its traditionalism.

The congregation literally does not move. We stand still during the worship and sit still during the message. The preaching content is solid, powerful and applicable, and the music is beautiful as well as rather doctrinal, but the congregation does not physically react. It is stiff, serious and seemingly intellectual, as is my college next door.

For instance, on Sunday mornings I always want to clap after a worship song or performance, but the congregation around me is silent, and I have been too intimidated to defy this social norm. However, my friends and I were discussing clapping today as the service began: We want to clap. We feel the urge to do so. Why don’t we?

A few minutes later, Pastor Josh Moody mentioned the exact topic, saying he wondered why nobody ever clapped. Who told us we couldn’t? As long as we are clapping for God and not applauding a human, we should do so! Why do we not clap?

Upon hearing that, the people in my pew of college students decided we would indeed clap, and when we brought our hands together, multiple others throughout the large main room joined. I smiled broadly, delighted at the sound and its implications.

Pastor Moody continued to talk about joy, preaching from Romans 5:11. “You should take God seriously, but if you’re only serious, you’re missing something,” he said.

Wheaton College and College Church, a church named for its street addrss rather than the academic institution I attend, are both extremely evangelical, which I appreciate because of its Biblical foundation, but they are both intellectual to the point that people feel pressured to be perfect rather than authentic. I know this is true at Wheaton College, and I sense this in the overall atmosphere at my church as well.

But let’s be real: we were made to praise God. We should seek God seriously, as Pastor Moody said, but we should also have joy. Why would we contain the joy God has given us through His Son Jesus Christ?

Jesus died to save us sinners from eternal damnation, and he rose again three days later to defeat death! He gave us life, abundant life to be filled with faith, hope and love, peace and joy, and He is shaping His followers to become more like Him. We were saved to glorify the God who redeemed us from the pit! Why do we not clap when the pastor reminds us of that?!

During the final worship song at the end of the service, approximately five people stood out of hundreds in attendance. I sat and watched them, admiring their boldness. I am not sure if the lady singing gestured for us to stand, but since nobody else did, I appreciated their simple act of worship.

Perhaps clapping and standing seem trite. Why would anyone be afraid to do that? But in a room full of silent Christians, making a little noise is countercultural. I am elated at what God began in church today, however, and I cannot wait until next Sunday to see how my church will grow in its praise for our Heavenly Father!

To God be the glory! Can I get an Amen?