In December 1999, I moved to Calgary from Beijing, China. I remember it distinctly.
The place I had lived in for about five and a half years, the place I began to call home and now had to leave. As I left without the opportunity to say many good-byes, I was still in denial and told myself I would be back soon, that I was just going on a vacation.
However, God had bigger plans for me, plans I never thought would involve me.
Upon coming to Calgary, I had a rough time settling into my new high school. I was forced to set up my own loner's club. Yes, sadly, the members consisted of me, myself, and I. Though, I must admit that this loner's club was partially my own doing.
Before going to my new high school, I was told that the population was 90 per cent Chinese and since I was Chinese, I would automatically have Chinese friends. Even though it was wrong to do so, I resented this greatly and told myself, "I went to an international school and I'm going to make international friends." From that point on, I dismissed any Chinese person who tried to befriend me. I tried desperately to make "international friends," but I found myself rejected each time.
I just couldn't understand why all of this was happening. I wept at least twice a day for about two months. It was only at this point, when a great amount of my pride had been broken down, that I realized best friends don't come along everyday and I had no one but my family whom I always prioritized as the last possible priority, if I could even call them that.
One day in chemistry class, two very "ho-hum, la-dee-da, life is great" type Chinese girls approached me and started to talk to me. To be honest, I actually found them very annoying, yet, at this point, I couldn't care less because nobody had approached me in such a long time. My guard was down and it no longer became important to me that they were Chinese.
These two girls invited me to "Christian Life Club," a Christian club that met at school on Friday mornings to sing to God and pray. For some reason, it did not occur to me that this was a religious club. I guess I was so happy about people talking to me that I didn't even care what event I was attending. Shortly after, they invited me to a Christian retreat that lasted for three days, and I also attended that, once again somehow not realizing that it was Christian.
At this camp, I was told about the Bible, I witnessed revival among Christians, and I hated every moment of it. I put up my defensive side, I purposely asked questions for hours and hours just to mock the Christians, to see how long they would last. I plain hated camp.
Once again, I felt so alone, so different, and I couldn't understand the reason why these people had the joy they had. One night, the pastor took me aside and asked to talk to me. To my surprise, I cried at that moment and I could not explain why (now I know that it was the Holy Spirit moving within me). After I cleaned up my face, the pastor and I talked. He challenged me to consider asking God to show Himself to me. He told me, "If you ask God to show Himself to you and God is real, then you gain everything, but if God is not real, then you've simply asked a question and you move on with your life. You've lost nothing, you simply asked a question."
I acted as if I didn't care much to know this God, but that night, on my bunk bed I said, "God, if you're real, then show yourself to me. But don't do it now, because it's dark and... yeah... if you scare me I promise that I'll never believe in you."
Camp was finally over and I was glad to be home. The people who drove me also dropped me off. To my dismay, when they left, I realized I had forgotten my house keys and was stranded outside my house for a good three hours. I had nothing to do but think about God.
In those three hours, God spoke to me and really softened my heart. I started to explore Christianity and, around my first year of university, I started to live a life devoted to God. Of course, I wasn't perfect, nobody is, but the difference with God in my life as opposed to without made all the difference to me. I now realize that God moved mountains so that I could know Him personally, and I am so thankful.
I could never return to my previous life after realizing the countless number of times I failed to love God and realizing how much hurt was in my life. I thought I had the perfect life, I thought I owned my school, I thought I was perfectly happy even though I fought with my dad all the time, even though I made others miserable, even though I kept myself mad busy so I may forget how empty my life was. I had honestly convinced myself that nothing was wrong with my life. Sure, I did some things that I wasn't proud of, but that didn't mean that I needed God. The more and more I reflect back on my life before I met Christ, the more and more I realize that the moment I started to sin (sin is imperfectness, it is failing to love God), it was to hard to stop. I kept falling into sin and no matter how much I wanted to stop, no matter how wrong I knew it was, I couldn't stop. I just couldn't stop because sin was innate in me.
I needed God, because only Christ who was innocent, who was without sin, could pay for my sins by dying for me (since the wages of sin is spiritual death). I now have the freedom to say no to sin. I am no longer a slave to sin, but to righteousness. Honestly, if I could have had it any other way, I would. I tried to use my feeble human efforts to get away from the sin that was eating away at me, but it didn't work. Jesus was the only way.
I challenge you today, to ask the same question I did. "God, if you're alive, if you're real, then show yourself to me." I guarantee that He will show Himself to you if you ask.