By Bernadette Nhan
I was at their mercy. I obeyed their demand to remit almost all the money in my bank account to them for so called investigation. When I discovered that this was a phone scam it was too late. Police could not help me to retrieve my money as it was already cleared in China. I was speechless. I wanted to cry but could not. The balance in my bank account stared at me: $125. I had immediate bills that amounted to $1500. I needed to live. I had no job then. I felt darkness overwhelming me!
I plucked up my courage to ask my older brother for help. All I got was chiding and refusal. I turned to my care group leader. Two other care group members joined her to meet up with me. I froze when one by one showed me no sympathy but urged me to go and grab any job I could such as McDonald.” We could but we will not give you money lest it cultivates a habit in you,” my heart bled when I heard these words. “Am I known to be a borrower or beggar?” I screamed in my mind. Immediately I thought of suicide. If I die, won’t all this problem end? I thought of hundreds of ways to end my life. I would rather die than ask another person for help.
The next few days saw me living like a Zombie. Before I acted on committing suicide, suddenly a name came to my mind to ask for a loan. At first, I was against the idea, but it came repeatedly to me. Finally, I told myself that I would just give it a try. If it did not work, I would just jump down. To my surprise, that person agreed to lend me money. She is not a Christian. When I received her help, I cried and cried. Hatred formed in my heart for family and Christians. Good Samaritans? Forget it! From that day onwards, I became a cynic.
GOD IS MERCIFUL.
Shortly afterwards I landed a contract teaching job. It was not a good paying job and my mainland Chinese students were difficult to please. But for money, I had to grind my teeth to stay on the job. By early this year, I paid off my debt and off the financial difficulty. But I could not let go of my bitter experience. All the months when I slogged to survive and pay my debt, I lived like a pauper, having to tighten my belt, e.g. when I was sick, I could not afford to see a doctor but only pray.
I could not forgive the scammers who robbed me and the people who refused and rejected me at the lowest ebb of my life. I had only one word to describe what was in my heart: hatred. I sank into depression. All kinds of health issues confronted me. I stopped working again. I left my care group feeling that no one cared about me. I was backslidden.
GOD DOES NOT GIVE UP ON US.
He led me to a small church near my house to calm me down. I began my journey of healing. The teaching of Glad Tidings Church and the warm fellowship of the care group there slowly healed my wounded emotions. I prayed to the Lord to help me to forgive. I also listened to Pastor Prince’s CD sermons a lot. His messages helped me to fix my eyes on Jesus. I was slowly able not to dwell on the painful memories.
A few months later, one of my older sisters in New York whom I lost contact for a few years suddenly called me and we resumed communication. In her weekly calls I discovered that she had a lot of hurts and disappointments in family members. I shared with her about what I went through. This went on for two months. But one day, she became hysterical and paranoid over a trivial family matter. No matter how much I tried to show my care and concern, she chose to misunderstand me. She shot one message after another to accuse and condemn me, even quoting Bible verses to put me down. I could not stand it and stopped answering her calls. Our relationship broke down once again. But I am still praying for her.
Recently when I was doing my quiet time, I felt the Lord speak to me about letting go. It suddenly dawned on me that I myself have some of the undesirable behaviour that I saw in my family. I was embarrassed and shocked. I repented and asked God to forgive me. I can now understand how people might not have the financial means to help but did not choose to explain at the time. This understanding helped me to forgive more readily.
GOD IS SO GENTLE AND KIND.
He did not condemn me, just nursed me to health. I finally realized I needed to let go of everything that happened and choose to forgive. I did not want to be bitter like my sister. The moment I forgave, peace come back to me like a river. I became joyful and hopeful. I made peace with my ex care leader and asked for her forgiveness for my abrupt departure of the group which caused people to wonder what had happened. I also apologized to the cell group. I felt peace coming back to me after a long time. Recently I went back to the cell group again and realized that people are not so cold as I imagined. That realization set me free from bitterness and the sense of rejection. I am so glad; God is really good
I am at peace with people and myself. I learnt that I had been wrong to pin my hope on certain people expecting help from them. Instead I should pray and trust God to send the right people whenever I am in need. I am learning to depend on the Lord wholeheartedly. Now my health has improved. I am cheerful and happy once again. God is good!
Bernadette studied in Perth and attended our church Full Gospel Assembly as a student. She now lives and works in Singapore.