This thought takes me back to Grade 8 when I was still young, coming out of a loving home and very close family (a mommy’s boy). This was the year for the big move in my life to go to boarding school, the smallest guy in the school, lost between all these big peers around me. It was not long after starting there that I was asked by a friend if I would be interested in going to Bible Study with him one evening. This was a new experience but going felt so right. It was, when looking back, a defining moment in my life and the road ahead. The Wow happened one evening at Bible study where I had the opportunity to give my life to the Lord which till today I remember every detail of the experience where my life was touched by the Lord.
Soon after getting close to God, the journey of life crossed my path and I moved further and further from the Lord. The busyness and active involvement in life’s decisions slowly takes one further into the life of me and my future. One important part of my life has always been the closeness of God, feeling His presence at all times no matter how far I was in my relationship with the Lord.
During my school career, life went well with minimal or minor problems (was one of the good kids, well behaved).
When we finished school we still were required to go to the army, a year which was quite challenging even coming out of a boarding school environment Many nights I spent time with the Lord; I was in need and knew He was always there to hold my hand. Time passed so fast and before I knew it, very fit from all the leaves we had to go fetch off the tree (hahaha), the time in this chapter of my life had come to an end.
Going from a fully disciplined environment in to the world of studies – I started the experience of being a student. This was a time where socializing and having fun was what seemed to be the role of a student, “enjoy it now before you join the big world of work”. This chapter in my life had a few heartbreaks, but the road was mostly fun.
After completing my studies the Lord opened a door for an employment opportunity, which career path I still am in today. The opportunity was for a junior position, with opportunities to grow in the organization. Starting my career in Westonaria for a short time of two months, after being transferred to Virginia in the Free State.
Back to the single life moving out of my parents’ home, the first opportunity to get my own place and be independent, this was a very exciting part of my journey in life. I must say there were still no major events and/or difficulties in my life in this time but I can share that God was only part of my life in the moments where I decided that I needed Him. The principle of no issues no real need for the Lord in my life.
It is during my time in the Free State that I met my first wife whom I met through some friends in the hockey team. With a firm foundation in place and my career moving in a growing direction, the chance was opened to apply for a position in Thabazimbi. Being the successful candidate meant we needed to leave Welkom and start a new life in Thabazimbi.
This was a time of adjustment to the Bushveld culture, (very different to the Gauteng / Free State way of life), which with time we settled in quite well with a longing to the Free State. Then one of the great highlights in my life happened when my son was born, but this was a time when I was brought to my knees again. Jay was diagnosed after around 4/5 months in the womb to have Spina Bifida, this being where the child would be born with an opening in the back with possible neurological impact on the mobility and body functioning depending on where the opening was on the back. With so much concern, fear and thoughts on what to expect we sought the Lord for guidance and reasoning, till one day when we went to consult another doctor for an opinion on what to expect. We had to consider our options. This is when the Lord, via this doctor, made it very clear that all will go well and all we needed to do was TRUST GOD. The time came when Jay was born – what a beautiful baby, watching him take his first breath, moving his little body and in awe watching the movement of his little toes (what a blessing).
We urgently then needed to go to Johannesburg to let Jay get his first major surgery – a 32 hours operation to seal the back (those small nerves) and to insert a shunt to assist with the flow of fluids on the brain. We hadn’t even met the neuro surgeon who had done the operation yet as all these things came together so quickly. After hours in surgery the doctor came out to share that all had gone well. As mentioned this was a time in my life where I diligently sought God and as time progressed I clearly seen how God answered every prayer in trust. Jay, till today, has normal mobility and bowel movement which is truly a miracle and blessing from God. All we had to do was to stand in faith; God handled the rest!
As always, once my life settles and the challenges decrease or become small I move away from the close relationship with the Lord and take life on my own. As time passed all was going well in terms of family, career and in general until one day where my life changed drastically. This time I did not only go on my knees, I stayed on my knees. This big U-turn came when I went through my divorce. There was someone new in the story and the only way forward was to separate and follow a new path.
This was probably the most difficult road on my journey, and as many say, divorce is worse than losing someone who has passed away. The major adjustments happened in the areas of my career as I resigned my job to start afresh, moving back to Johannesburg to stay with my folks. One thing remained very important for me and that was seeing Jay as often as possible so that he would always know that I am there for him. Many, many nights of tears, many many thoughts rushing through your mind; the pain of loss, feeling unloved and desperate to understand why the whole world just came crumbling down. Many nights not sleeping or struggling to sleep (saying “I love You Jesus” over & over again till I fell asleep). This is the chapter in my life where I moved very close to the Lord and till today will not let go, as every battle I have faced, His peace has surrounded me. Even though it was very hard I learnt to forgive the people that had hurt me and to stand up to the difficult things that were happening in my life.
The Lord assisted me when I left to go back to Johannesburg by opening a new door to a job in a short period of time. After applying for the position I had a quick telephonic interview and they made me an offer. The pay was much lower than my previous earnings which had me asking if I could think about it and give a response soonest. As the Lord works, my Dad came in from work at the exact time and I shared the news with him. He responded immediately to say go for it (I knew it was God confirming). I returned the call and confirmed that I would start the next day. It was amazing after my first day at work that my new boss called me in to share that she would like to double the salary offer. God is amazing! All He is asking of us is to stand in faith.
After working there for about two years the company went through retrenchments and I knew this was the time for change and knew God was closing one door and was about to open a new door. Within a month another opportunity opened which was better than the one I was in – this is the job that I am still occupying today. I knew God was directing my path in line with His will for my life.
The next major event that crossed my path followed soon after the new chapter in my new career. My dad was diagnosed with cancer (near the brain); what a blow this was, my best friend all my life. If there was anybody who knew me, and all that I had experienced and lived, it was my Dad. He was my everything. It was only three months that passed till my dad was laid to rest, so quick, such a good man. In this time the Lord gave me the peace that it will be all right. Looking back I watched my dad in the beginning of that year turn very close to the Lord whilst attending the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren course that was being run by the church. Although I knew he was now in the presence of his Creator I still had to make peace with his passing. I asked the Lord to please give me His peace, the peace that passes understanding. The next morning, going to work and heading in the direction of the hospital where my dad had been treated there was a rainbow over the hospital; what better confirmation of peace – which only God can give in such an awesome way.
With time the hurt was replaced and the presence of the Lord filled that gap that was left behind, and as always the Lord was so so near. Since then I have moved forward in my career and have married a lovely lady with three wonderful children. Jay is still a very important part of my life together with my Mom and Sister who shared the journey that I have travelled.
As I share my testimony here today I can gladly and confidently share that God has not let go of my hand, not even for one moment. Even when I felt as if He wasn’t there I now know that He had already gone before me, He was there in every moment and that my life has always been safely in His hands. I believe that from that moment in grade 8 when I gave my life to God, He held me every step of the way, His grace has been awesome and I can confidently share: He loves us unconditionally.
This answers my opening question, where is God? He is near even when we are far, He is near in every trial and challenge.
Trust God, He is in control.
If and when this Testimony has spoken into your heart, please go to the Commitment page.