My Christian journey began 24 years ago in the Philippines, when a friend invited me to a Bible study. I was 24, single and finishing my Master’s Degree in business. Although I was religious and attended church, I
never experienced God’s presence in a real and personal way until I read the Bible for myself.
When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, my life took a different turn. I had joy and a profound sense of eternal security. I started sharing the Gospel with my parents and siblings, and then with my future husband, George. Our family grew as we followed God and helped those around us find God by inviting them to church and Bible studies.
God blessed our family tremendously. We bought more properties and built up more businesses. My parents built a seven-bedroom house with a large pool and a staff of 10, including live-in maids and chauffeurs. We spent lavishly, and our prosperous lifestyle attracted lots of friends.
Life became so busy, with numerous parties to attend, lots of places to see and lots of things to do. We slowly started giving up our Bible studies and Sunday church fellowship. Eventually, this led our family into a life of spiritual and moral complacency and all kinds of addiction. We spent money mindlessly, believing the prosperity we enjoyed would never come to an end.
In 1997, the unthinkable happened. The Asian economic crisis caught us flat footed. Our businesses were forced to pay millions in interest charges for our huge bank debt, while at the same time, sales dropped and large accounts remained unpaid. The dream was over. Terrified, I remembered God and searched again for his presence. I believe it was God who led me and George to give up our share in the family business and start a life on our own in New Zealand.
It seemed like we wandered in the wilderness over a number of years. Without staff to do things for us, George and I would complain to each other, or quickly react to the smallest amount of pressure, like carrying our own groceries, washing the dishes or paying our bills.
God gradually changed the picture for us through the years, healing our pain and restoring our hopes. God taught us about endurance and how leisure was sweeter after hard work. He taught us humility through serving others. God taught us contentment of even the smallest blessings. He taught us to set the right priorities, choosing time for our kids in place of more material possessions, and to be good stewards of our resources. Enriched by these lessons, we found our paradise once again.
When we came to The Salvation Army in Glen Eden, over a year ago, God’s message became even clearer. He wanted me to be firmly planted in the faith, so he gave me a close-knit church family and life-transforming Bible teaching.
I have learnt that being busy is being on the precipice of a life without God, so I’ve taught myself to stop and take time out for God—not just once, but two or three times a day. I have also learnt that true happiness is not found in more material blessings, but in having strong and loving relationships with the people God has placed around me.
By Cindy David (abridged from War Cry, 28 January 2012, p9)
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