My name is Lezar. I’m 23 and I was born in the Philippines. Along with my sister and brother, I was given the privilege of growing up in a Christian home, although in my late teens I did not consider my home a blessing.
We immigrated to Canada when I was three years old. We were surrounded by family and friends. I enjoyed my childhood in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We went to church every Sunday, and I attended a Christian school. I accepted what my parents taught me. I memorized Bible verses, sang songs, and learned about Bible stories. I just accepted everything as it was given to me.
In 2001, my parents decided to move to Lethbridge, Alberta. They liked the church there and felt it would benefit their spiritual lives. I was confused, upset and angry. There were hundreds of churches in Winnipeg including the one we attended. What was wrong with them? We had friends, family, a house and jobs – why leave? I was still only 13 years old so I was dragged along in the move.
I started to adjust to life in Lethbridge but then conflict came into the church we were attending. I thought about all we had left behind to come to this broken church and became very resentful. I began to hate my parents, hate Christians and hate God. Throughout my later teenage years and early twenties, I sought the meaning of life and death. I questioned my purpose in life and the existence of God. I felt purposeless.
The more I thought about it, the more helpless and hopeless I felt. In 2009 my brother, Elijah died in an accident. It was so unexpected. Here was yet another example of the fragile and temporal nature of life. What was the point of living, if life was pointless, uncertain and uncontrollable? The following year I couldn’t handle life anymore. My hatred burned strongly within me. I wanted revenge against my parents. Indifferent to all consequences, I planned on taking something dear to them, their daughter, my sister, Leia.
The night I tried to carry out my plan, God had His plan. Face to face with my sister, I froze, unable to harm her. Through God’s divine providence, He prevented such a tragic outcome. Praise the Lord! I was carried away by the police and eventually found myself in a mental health facility. I was diagnosed with clinical depression.
I thought of myself as innocent; everybody else was to blame for my bitterness. Knowing that I couldn’t kill anyone else, I planned to kill myself. I was going to show everyone the consequence for what they had done to me.
In January, 2012 I stood in my room, lighter in one hand and fuel in the other. I was going to burn to death. God had something else in store for me. I fled the house, unable to endure the thick, black smoke. My eyes blinded, I had to feel my way out of the house. Even though I had barricaded the exits, I was able to make it outside. There I collapsed on the ground.
Then I was whisked away by paramedics. I awoke an entire month later. I had sunk to my lowest point. I had lost my possessions, my health and my freedom. I was stuck in a hospital bed with the prospect of prison before me. I had no hope.
Fortunately, I have been blessed with strong Christian parents who visited me often. Unlike me, they were filled with hope. My dad held strongly to Romans 8:28, which he constantly shared with me. “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God.” God had already begun to work in me. Just a month earlier, I angrily shut up anyone who tried to speak to me of the Bible. Yet now, I wanted to know Him. I wanted the hope He gives, but I was doubtful and confused. I wasn’t sure I could be saved.
One of my visiting friends gave me a Bible. He suggested I start to read the Gospel of John. Right in the first chapter, a verse touched me. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”(John 1:29). I cried. Oh, how powerful, how loving is this God! He takes away the sin of the world! Before, I shunned a God who created my tragic existence but now I wanted to worship Him. He is so glorious and magnificent in every way. I continued to read John, and after finishing it, after seeing the burden Christ bore for our sins, after reading of His glorious resurrection, I prayed. I asked the Lord for forgiveness and repented of my sins – of my hatred.
I would be lying if I were to say that it will all be easy from now on. I am still in hospital, unsure of what is going to happen. My new faith may waver and I may struggle but I know that it is all worth it. In the end, I will be able to be in His glorious presence forever.
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