If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.
– Woody Allen
Hi guys, have you ever hated or strongly doubted God? I have. I had very good reasons to.
Here’s the broad strokes of my story.
From excelling in many categories of life, even wanting to be a missionary doctor at one point, I experienced years of a steadily excruciating debilitation. Burns and inflammations covering 70% of my body due to a faulty autoimmune system (Eczema) that worsened every year since 1999 when I was at age 24. At it’s worst, by age 33, I spend most of 2008 and 2009 stuck in my bedroom, writhing in pain. I lost career, health and friends.
When my brain was not feeling numb by the painkillers and searing pains, I felt betrayed by God.
Children ran away after looking at my face. Medical experts were limited yet they sent me to a shrink because they reasoned I was the reason that I couldn’t recover. Friends and family thought I wasn’t working hard enough to get well. Atheists mock me wondering where my God was. Christians thought I was not praying hard enough, not having enough faith, or I had the wrong faith. Degrees upon degrees of rejection overlaid with physical debilitation and a story that didn’t make sense to the world around me. I became a pariah. This was my Abyss.
In fact, my story has been so unimaginable that I’ve been given the name “The modern day Job” by some people who know my story.
I lost my career, many relationships. However, it was so bad that many months I couldn’t even smile or when I typed on the keyboard, I used 2 fingers. This was because my mouth and lips were cracked, as well as my fingers. People thought I stopped communicating because I wanted to, this was the furthest from the truth. I finally understood what dignity was, after I lost it.
All this while, my hope was being challenged because I’ve sought all sorts of remedies from medical specialists to supplements to even have all sorts of people to pray over me. I even exercised faith by claiming healing for others in church while I was obviously covered with inflammations. Though I could see some meaning in my journey at times, by and large, there was an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. With every failed medical treatment, spending of thousands of dollars of treatment and still getting worse, and more and more people casting me aside … I descended more and more into the Abyss.
The Abyss culminated in 2 whole years being imprisoned within the four walls of my bedroom. There seemed to be nothing left to grasp on to. My body was wasting away – flesh peeling off. Blood and plasma dripping. Mind has gone numb due to the high concentrations of drugs and medicine in my system. My body was covered with searing burns. I felt like a Walking Dead. This was The Room. Or, the Prison within the Prison within the Prison, to be exact.
Yet, it was in this Room where Redemption all started.
To others, this was a time where I was nowhere to be found. I was forgotten. Just like To Kill a Mockingbird’s “Boo Radley”, I becames more and more irrelevant to the world. People would gossip about me, speculating on my failures or what I did to deserve it. But to me, the futility of my external situation was the backdrop of a mind-bending war in my imagination, mind, and spirit.
Where is God in all of this? Do I even deserve healing, a purpose, a future? Is Jesus real? If there is no God, then what do other philosophies or religion offer to someone like me? Is the world worth being in in the first place? How is it that my family can’t understand me? How is it that the best medicines and medical treatments to this point aren’t solving my problem? How is it that the doctor is blaming me for not getting better? How is it that the best the psychiatrist can offer is to addict me to drugs? How is it that the same Church people that treated me like a leader before shunning me when I became irrelevant?
These were the onslaught of questions that had to be answered.
And, in the silent lucidity of the Abyss, those questions, the faces of the people that either doubted me or were indifferent were the loudest and clearest.
Like Neo and the Matrix, I had to traverse spiritual truths, and let the outcome of this heavenly journey corresponded to real effects on earth.
However, in the Abyss is where I found a Jesus that I never knew before. A Grace that I never knew before. This grace did what doctors couldn’t – I have to testify that only as recent as 4 year ago, my health has made a major recovery. This has stumped many people, including the doctors that have been attending to me for more than a decade. And some pastors as well, since I wasn’t a “good” Christian as I couldn’t attend regular church or be a part of their prayer or worship meetings.
It brings a smile to my face, in a tragically sad way, when Christians who knew me before are so surprised to see the new me ask me “which prophet prayed for you”? Or doctors trying to belittle this abnormal situation of recovery by saying “it’s just psychosomatic”, or “lack of stress”, or “He’s finally got the discipline to do the treatment right.”
It’s none of those.
Let’s just say that seeing more of Jesus brings us humility, humility attracts grace, grace transforms you and your situation and brings you to God’s purpose.
Grace gives you access to the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom is a spiritual kingdom that consists of God’s purpose and supply for your needs. In the Bible, things move in the spiritual before it moves in the physical. When you tap into this supply, you might not know it, but God is already working on your solution, on your purpose even though you cannot see it. And, when it comes, it will be more than you expected.
Aren’t we glad that even when being trapped in a bedroom, unable to do the things church folks do, without any “professionals” to help you, God can still work through that? Grace can unlock movement in the spiritual, even when you are “in chains” in the physical. It is not how much you pray, or how “spiritual” you are. It is not your works, for you can’t deserve it. It is how well you know Jesus and the Grace He has. That’s why I want to unveil Jesus. It transforms. It redeems. He saves.
For too many churches sacrifice teaching what the Bible really says about the Gospel of Grace to conform it to their experiences, rather than let the Gospel speak for itself and let it transform your experiences. Because many never experienced miracles from God, they have to conform the Gospel to say it doesn’t include physical blessings. But we are never told to do that. We are told to believe the Bible, and be obedient to His word; and allow His word to define our circumstances, not the other way round. If you trust God’s way, it seems you will lose out, but in the long run, you will get more than you expected… in quality or quantity. The world says “a bird in hand is worth 2 in the bush”. But the ways of grace is “A bird in the bush is worth two in the hand.”
Many do not experience the restoration from God in supernatural ways simply because they never needed it. Either their problems were never so big that human solutions and a bit of luck would suffice, or, they simply never put themselves in situations to see God’s hand in action. God desires to be with imperfect people who admit that they need Him to get through life. The bigger the problems, the bigger the grace to solve it.
To those who have had no agony Jesus says, “I have nothing for you; stand on your own feet, square your own shoulders. I have come for the man who knows he has a bigger handful that he can cope with, who knows there are forces he cannot touch; I will do everything for him if he will let Me. Only let a man grant he needs it, and I will do it for him.”
Oswald Chambers, The Shadow of an Agony
Are you struggling till broken hearted? There is good news. You are the best candidate for God to be close to you and to save you. The Psalmist tells us that “God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Ps 34:18.
This writing project is to share those precious revelations in that Abyss that changed my destiny and discovered a new depth in Jesus never realized in my 30 years of being a student of theology and apologetics. I have shared part of this “Bible study” to Christians from Singapore to America, and it is their responses that have prompted me to fully flesh out the bits that were of great help to them. You’ll see how I went from a fallen pariah to having my health miraculously and unexpectedly restored while being redirected as a professional stock trader and business consultant. While the career is part of the journey as a man, the ministry will always be central, hence this writing project.
But this page is about redeeming the memories of the past and connecting the dots of God’s redemptive plans in our lives as well as starting again. I really only regained a “normal” life only last year in 2015!
And I do remember more than a decade of always hoping, and getting disappointed again and again. It’s hard, I know. I understand. So I hope this page can encourage your journey and help you to hold on until your ultimate breakthrough comes.
It will come. Mine started to occur at the age of 40. It was when I was about 14 years old when the early stage of eczema was starting to be a big inconvenience. By 20 years old, it was crippling and hundreds of dollars was being spent (in vain) each month.
That’s 20 years of pain, rejection, and uncertainty.
And, when your breakthrough comes, I can’t wait to hear your story.
Thanks for coming to the page… do share anything that encourages you, comment and like. It would also help me a great deal if you could follow my blog through email, it’s more precious than you know.
Ken aka The Modern Day Job.
PS: This website is still a work-in-progress. I will still be adding and changing material. I decided to open this page to the public even though it’s far from complete. It makes it all more personal.
Here’s the link fleshing out more my story in chronological order, from how God spoke to me as an 8-year-old, to my two-decade journey into debilitation and isolation, to a supernatural restoration.
Part 1: The 8-year-old and the Dictionary
Part 2: Pariah
Part 3: Abyss
Part 4: Redemption
Part 5: Rorsharch
If you want to keep up, here’s also a link to my blog.