My dream has always been to use music as an outreach tool to touch people’s lives and share the Gospel. From early on in my young adulthood, I taught and performed on the piano, and frequently collaborated with my church’s children’s choir.
As I regularly attend music workshops to hone my skills, I even went to the US to attend masterclasses and learn healthy piano playing techniques to prevent performance related injuries, as repetitive strain injuries are extremely common among musicians.
Earlier last year, I decided to work towards auditioning for a music school; as such, preparation and practicing were of utmost priority.
Unfortunately, I had a minor injury – carpal tunnel – in April, and this reduced my practice significantly. I was discouraged and confused as I was sure whatever I was doing should not have led to an injury. Nonetheless, I persevered and committed to recovering and practicing.
In June, however, I picked up another injury suddenly, despite having reduced my practice duration significantly. This further aggravated my anxiety, confusion and discouragement. More symptoms started to appear over the months, and I started to have aches and pains in my hands.
And it just kept getting worse: I was later diagnosed with CSR (Central Serous Retinopathy) in my eye, which significantly affected my vision.
I didn’t know why all these had to happen and why God was allowing all these things. My finances were dwindling as I had to constantly pay for medical fees. Doctors were also not able to get to the root of these symptoms.
I had certainly lost hope in my situation, in my dreams, even in God. Nonetheless, even in the midst of my hopeless, God shone his light on small things.
In miraculous way, He provided more students and music assignments to provide for me financially. I was gradually reminded of my love for teaching, especially when I could impact children’s lives through music. It was greatly encouraging when other teachers who approached me to say how the children were inspired by my lessons, especially children with special needs.
Close friends and cell group members encouraged and prayed for me constantly during this season. I learnt how important it is to stay connected to a church community. Supportive family members stayed by me and encouraged me. I found myself treasuring family even more.
The Bible stories of Joseph and David encouraged me, as it showed how God sustained them in the midst of their decades of long-suffering, and even amidst their lowest points in life. And in September, the CSR condition in my eye healed up, and I was very thankful.
As such, I learnt to take one day at time trusting God, even though my situation didn’t immediately improve.
A breakthrough came in August, when I was involved in a children’s choir musical production. The musical was titled “The Tale of the 3 Trees”, and it was about three trees that had dreams of doing great things for God.
Unfortunately, they were chopped and made into scrap wood. Many years later, they were made into a manger, a small boat, and a wooden cross. One became the manger in which baby Jesus lay, the other became the boat in which Jesus slept during the storm, and the final one became the Cross on which Jesus hung to die for the salvation of all mankind.
This turning point was a strong reminder for me that Jesus is with me in my storm, and that He has a purpose for everything, even if I do not understand now.
“Jesus replied, ‘You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand.'” (John 13:7)
I certainly wish to say God has cured me of all my illnesses, but it is certainly not the case today. I still feel pain and aches that affect my daily activities and hamper my practice. There are days where I feel hopeful, but there are more days where I feel despair, sad, broken, even useless, asking myself when is this all going to end.
For some of us here, the new year might already feel like a discouraging one. It could be an illness, tragedy, or hardship you are going through in life. My encouragement to you is this: You are not alone. God is with you, and there are other brothers and sisters in Christ (like myself) who are also going through extremely trying situations.
Don’t give up hope in God, keep fighting.
Rocky Balboa, the famous fictional boxer, once said this, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” Do what you can daily. Keep praying, keep on doing good, stay in fellowship with your church community … Keep persevering in God.
He is with you, and He will sustain you all the days of your life.
“Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” (Isaiah 50:10b)
Keep on following God’s light, because His Word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. (Psalms 119:105)
If you too have a testimony to share, we are giving away a pack of limited edition Thir.st “Greater Love” Stickers in exchange for every story from now till the end of March 2018. Stories must have a personal/local angle and be of 800-1000 words. Send us yours here.