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Hope in Despair (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Testimony on 13 December 2020 by Evangelist Hui Ni


Introduction

December is the month of hope, because Jesus was born. He is our hope when we are in despair. For everything there is a season.


Message


For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Our lives are short, but the grace of God is for eternity. Life is a test. God continues to test our character, faith, obedience, love, integrity and loyalty. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life.


My name is Hui Ni and I was born in Indonesia. Christianity is not unfamiliar to me, as I grew up in Christian schools. But I attended church every Sunday solely for the purpose of getting marks. It was not because I wanted to know Jesus. I viewed Him as the God of westerners. In 1996, I married to Singapore.


I came to Christ because of my elder son Nigel. It was very stressful trying to cope with working and motherhood. My husband had a friend who would bring him to pray to other gods. My younger sister was the first in my family to come to Christ. Her situation was similar to mine – she had twins. She shared the gospel with me and said to me, you have prayed to all Gods except Jesus, why don’t you give it a try? My husband was against this, because when he was young, he had received hurtful words from Christians. But I was at my wit’s end and followed my sister to church. After that, I told my husband I believed in Christ. He was upset. Thereafter, my husband was sent to Taiwan for military training. He asked me to pray to other gods for him. I told him I could only pray to Jesus. He agreed. As it got closer to his date of departure, he got more anxious. I told him to pray to God whenever he ran into problems in Taiwan. Praise the Lord, my husband felt the Lord’s presence.


There were problems with my marriage. It was stressful to hold the family up when my husband was often away for training. I even thought about divorce. But God showed me that divorce was not an option. We have to go through life on earth together. We must be careful with voices. Apart from God’s voice, we might also hear Satan’s voice or our own voice. I stayed in my marriage and had my second son, Donovan. I felt very blessed because my whole family was serving the Lord in church.


As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:15


However, my world came crashing down one day. In 2013, I lost my two sons in a car accident. As the police car took us home, God told me to go to the book of Job.


He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” – Job 1:21


I told the Lord, I only had 13 years and 7 years with my respective children. This was too short. The next day, a song about nail-pierced hands kept playing in my head:


As I see Your nail-pierced hands

The pain You bore if far greater than mine

You comfort my wound

You heal my pain


Then a voice appeared – the Lord told me to go out and tell others how I believed Christ. So I gave my testimony at the funeral of my children. My friends and family from Indonesia, of various beliefs, all came to Singapore. God sent many angels to my side for support and encouragement. Support from the family and church is very important. People came over every day to help me with housework and took me out for meals. It was almost the Lunar New Year.


When my sons died, the impact on me was so great. I could not understand why it happened. I took a month’s leave from work. I could not bring myself to go back to my previous church. Wherever I went, I saw my children. My husband and I decided to go to a megachurch so we would be unnoticed. When the pastor asked “what would you be willing to offer to God? Your wealth, your children?” When I heard the word “children”, I started crying together with my husband.


Then on the suggestion of our friends, we went for a tour in Taiwan. Friends, we need to be watchful. We were offered a chance for fortune-telling. We were still new Christians. We were not well-versed in the bible. We could have easily accepted things that came our way.


Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8


I kept thinking about my children. I felt like I was going crazy. I saw two versions of myself – one was smiling and the other was crying. Later I heard about bipolar disorder and prayed to God that I would not have this condition, as it would be devastating for my family. My husband had troubles too – on day he found it difficult to breathe and was gasping for air. When he arrived at the hospital, however, the doctors found nothing wrong with him. The military arranged for counselling. We requested for a Christian counsellor who used the word of God to support us.


God has a plan for all situations. I wanted to know God better. I wanted to enrol in bible school to understand the word of God, even though it was very difficult for me to assimilate back to school life. I was looking for answers.


A year after the accident, the court verdict was out for the driver. He got two weeks’ jail time. Everyone, including reporters, came to ask us whether we thought it was fair. My husband replied – he had already forgiven the driver.


Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – Matthew 18:21-22


The Lord tells us to continuously forgive. It is not easy to forgive. But God’s grace is always sufficient. God may not reveal His plan immediately, so we have to trust and obey. We have to pray and meditate on the word. Earlier this year in May, I was approached by a church to share my story on zoom. I found that the church’s focus on community work (visiting, distributing bread, and cleaning homes) was aligned with what I wanted to do. I set my heart on giving back to the community. The Lord led me, step by step, to do the things he wanted me to do.


We called our elder boy “love” because he led me to love God and to love others, and the younger boy “joy” because he brought a lot of laughter to our lives. Through both of them, I learnt a lot. People say to me that it is good that I have moved on from sorrow. But the truth is that one never stops feeling the pain. It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that I can continue life’s journey. With the strength of the Lord, we can go on, with joy. One day, I will see my children in heaven.


I thank God for His love and mercy through this situation. He is our shield. Don’t turn away from God. He is the only one who can give us the strength to face our problems.


Closing


He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. – Psalm 1:3


I hope I will be like the tree at the riverbank bearing fruit each season.

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