Simply Love Him as a Young Person
Growing up in the church life, I often heard about the Lord. But I did not necessarily have this huge turn to the Lord. My experience was more of walking a normal Christian life, in which the Lord infuses a little life here, and a little bit more life there. I did not have a definite and dynamic salvation like Saul did on his way to Damascus. I did not see a great light from the sky or hear a voice from the heavens speak to me. Rather, my experience was knowing Him little by little in all my situations. From week to week, month to month, and year after year, I showed up to the young people’s meetings. Through these times, I was fed with the Word, and the Lord was able to infuse His life into me. I recall a number of milestones in my walk with the Lord as a teenager.
Comforted by the Lord
Growing up, one of the verses I enjoyed was 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassions and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction that we may be able to comfort those who are in every affliction through the comforting with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” This verse shows that God is the God of all comfort. He comforts us even through our darkest times, when we stumble and when we have difficulties in our everyday life. When I was in junior high, I was very self-conscious about the way I looked because I was overweight. One time our sixth grade class went on an overnight field trip, and we were paired up randomly for bunks. Because I was overweight, I was often bullied at school and during that trip someone pulled a cruel prank on me. The experience was quite traumatizing. I wondered how I could face my friends. Everyone had laughed at me. But praise the Lord! The Lord was there. I didn’t know how I would face people the next day, but I called on the Lord. Afterwards, I had a real sense that the Lord was there. When we are going through tough times, we can experience the Lord. He is there comforting us, encouraging us, and strengthening us. I enjoyed one song that says: “And if the way is hard,/If things don’t go my way,/Keep my heart soft to You/Keep me open to You./Lord Jesus I love you more today.”
The Lord’s Preservation
In another experience, three of my friends and I were graduating from high school. We decided to go to a concert to celebrate. I had bought my ticket without consulting my parents first. I was really excited to go, but then I finally mentioned it to my mom, and she asked me, “What does your spirit say?” Then there was a back and forth struggle between me and the Lord. I didn’t want to disappoint my friends. I really wanted to go, but my conscience bothered me so much that eventually I had to say, “Amen, Lord.” I had to give it up, and I gave the ticket to my other friend. Looking back, I feel like this was the Lord preserving me. His limiting is sometimes His way of preserving us. The Lord Jesus is keeping us for Himself and for His purpose. Praise the Lord! I appreciate the Lord’s shepherding me through all my life. When I have to give things up, it is according to His purpose. When I was with my friends, a lot of times they didn’t understand. They asked questions like: What do you mean you can’t go to the movies? What do you mean you can’t go to the concert? Why are you giving it up? Many times they didn’t understand, but I needed to obey the Lord in me.
Our Living as a Testimony
Despite my friends not understanding why I did not participate in certain activities, they knew clearly it was because of my Christian beliefs. Many times, Christians are seen as being “different,” but when difficult situations arise, people look to you because the Christ in us makes us reliable and loyal. One night during my senior year in high school, one of my closest friends called me and said he wanted to go for a drive. As we were in the car he told me his father had died the night before. I tried to comfort him in the best way I knew – sharing with Him my experience of the God of all comfort. I hoped the Lord Jesus would comfort my friend the same way I had been comforted by the Lord many times before. However, because of his situation at that time, he didn’t want to believe in the Lord. My friend did not receive the Lord that night, but throughout our college years I would often pray for his salvation. It took many years after his father’s death for my friend to finally receive the Lord. I do believe, however, that the seed was sown that night after his father died. As a college student, my friend tried to run away from the Lord. He filled his life with so many other things: parties, education, and friends. But one day he gave me a call and said that he finally had become a believer. We never know how our friends may receive the Lord. Our manner of living is a gospel to them. The fact that they know you are a Christian may be all they need for them to come to you and have the seed sown in them. They know that the Lord is in you, in your heart. They feel that they can trust you. My friend is now a dear believer, and he loves the Lord. Day by day there are a lot of little experiences in your life when you can experience the Lord. Sometimes you may not even know you are experiencing the Lord. But as you get older, physically and spiritually, and look back, you will see that the Lord Jesus was taking care of you, watching over you, and shepherding you. Just keep yourself open to the Lord. Simply love Him every day.