Time to Repay God Who Has Waited for Me for a Long Time

Seo Jun-yeong from Seongnam, South Korea

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In the barren desert where it was difficult even for a clump of grass to grow, manna which God sent to the Israelites was food of miracle. However, as they ate it for every meal for forty years, they began to regard it as miserable food.

My parents received the truth when I was about five months old, and they chose to walk the path of prophets a few years later. Thanks to that, I grew in much love and care from many brothers and sisters in Zion. My life at Zion was only full of joy until I became a teenager. During my school days, I started to feel unhappy that I had to keep worship services in Zion whenever the weekend came while my friends would all meet up and have a fun time together. I knew that we had to keep God’s word, but knowing it with my head was different from accepting it from my heart.

Complaints had a tenacious hold on life; they did not want to go away once they budded in me. During my adolescence, I started getting worse. The Zion brothers and sisters’ care and my parents’ love were regarded as meddling, and the services I had always kept started to feel like chains. I even blamed my parents, thinking it was all their fault.

While I was wandering around without knowing what to do, it was already time to graduate from high school. I was quite stressed out with worry and anxiety about the way I should take. But then, I heard that there was going to be a Bible education for third graders of high school. It was going to be a perfect event for me, but I didn’t really want to attend it; I thought I knew the Bible enough and it would be uncomfortable for me to stay with the brothers and sisters, whom I didn’t know, for five days.

But somehow I participated in the education program. Just as I had imagined, the program started with the Bible education. I was able to understand the words of the Bible more clearly than I had expected. I had always thought that I already knew how blessed the Sabbath day is and how important the Passover is to us, sinners, but it felt so new that I even wondered, ‘Why didn’t I know this?’ I was deeply moved by the sacrifice of Heavenly Father and Mother who willingly suffered all that was necessary to save us. I was able to fully realize that God’s word, love and blessings, which I thought had nothing to do with me, were all for me.

God had prepared so many things for me, but I hadn’t even cared about them, which made me feel so bad. Looking back, I realized I had never studied the Bible properly; even when someone tried to teach me the Bible, I either paid no attention or refused to hear because I thought I didn’t need to study again what I had already studied since my childhood.

I felt so thankful to God for waiting for this immature child for such a long time. Now it was time for me to repay God. I made up my mind to please God by leading at least one soul to salvation. It was my first time that I wanted to do something for God, not for myself, in Zion.

Carrying my Bible, I went out with some young adults who were full of fervor. However, when I actually tried to preach the gospel, I was afraid and thought to myself, ‘Can I really do this? What should I preach about?’ My arms and legs shook, and my mind went blank. Since I had always seen how eager the brothers and sisters were to preach the gospel, I thought I too could do that. But I felt so awkward because I had never tried it before.

Most people refused to listen to our preaching, and many hindered the truth. Despite persecution and suffering, our brothers and sisters were preaching joyfully and voluntarily in obedience to God, hiding their own worries and anxieties of life; they looked really great.

When I bore fruit while preaching hard with those wonderful brothers and sisters, I was happy as if I had gained the whole world. Although there was a certain period of time without fruit, it was never in vain; because I had a precious realization after a long wait.

I had been very anxious about bearing no fruit for almost a year. I was worried that I might be doing something wrong, and started getting nervous. Then the feasts came. I needed to pull myself together to preach more fervently. I went out after shouting a chant with some members, but there was no fruit until the time came for us to return home. We cheered up one another and decided to preach to just one more person. Then we met two college students who were walking in the street. One of them attentively listened to us and said,

“If it is in the Bible, I need to believe it.”

His friend, who was listening beside him, nodded, too, and they received the truth together. It was a moment I deeply realized this fact: God grants all our wishes if we don’t give up but wait patiently.

Of course, we shouldn’t just wait. To fulfill the mission of the gospel, we need patience, love, fervor, courage, self-control, wisdom, and many other things. It was through preaching that I realized this fact and acquired those virtues little by little. While preaching every day and experiencing many trials and errors, I realized what I was lacking in and what I needed to throw away or fix.

The time I worked for my military duty exception was also a precious time of realization. “Military duty exception” is a system to fulfill the military duties by working at certain enterprises for a set period of time instead of serving in the military base. I volunteered to join the military, but got rejected several times. I managed to enter a company designated as an alternative to serving in the military, engraving on my heart my ambition to display God’s glory at work and preach the truth to my co-workers.

However, it was not easy to practice God’s teachings at work. I had a hectic schedule, producing the required amount of items by the deadline. Keeping a good relationship with my co-workers wasn’t easy, either, because we all grew up in different environments with different ways of thinking.

While being busy with work and feeling pressured by the people at work, I became weary in body and mind. Whenever I was upset and discouraged, I thought it might have been better if I had joined the military as an enlisted service member, and I also rationalized myself by assuming that there wasn’t any mission for me to fulfill at this place. Since I kept thinking negatively, even when I had a chance to preach the gospel, all kinds of thoughts dragged me down: “What if my relationship with them goes awry after I preach to them? They don’t seem interested in the truth at all. Will they listen?”

Time flew like an arrow, and the day was coming for me to leave the company. Whenever I was weary, I felt like time had stopped, but it wasn’t like that at all. I thought I should not hesitate anymore, and I asked God to give me courage and faith. Then I had a chance to meet one of my co-workers on my day off. Since he was well-known for being self-assertive at work, I kept worrying and wondering if he would listen to me or if he was interested in the Bible and God. However, putting aside all those worries, I told him that I wanted to invite him to my church.

He willingly came to Zion and asked quite a lot of questions about the soul and the existence of God, unlike what I had imagined. He got his questions solved one by one through the Bible, and received the blessing of being a child of God that day. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and confidence: “God sent me here to save this soul.”

Recently, I have completed my mandatory military service period and I am now standing at a new starting point. I am thinking about how to spend my young adulthood without any regrets. Whatever I will do and what kind of life I will live, I will always have a God-centered faith and do my best to fulfill the gospel mission that God has entrusted to me. It’s because I’ve realized that blessings and joy follow me when I fulfill God’s will in Him.

I am even surprised to see myself thinking about what I can do for the gospel. Up until a few years ago, I had a persistent desire in my heart to live outside of God’s boundaries. Since I had been in Zion for a long time, I thought I knew the love of God and the truth of salvation well enough. However, I was completely mistaken. Actually, I was no different than the Israelites who regarded manna as miserable food and complained against God; I took God’s grace for granted although I was living in the overflow of God’s blessings, and I only tried to push God away. I’m so ashamed of my past and sorry to God.

Now I know why Heavenly Father asked us to pray hard, study hard, and preach hard. Since we can’t understand God’s truth and love unless we experience them ourselves, it is essential for God’s children to pray, study God’s word, and preach the gospel. These are also necessary in walking the path of faith ahead. Whether the path is joyful or smooth, there will be things that I need to learn and realize while following God’s teachings. I will not stop studying God’s word and preaching the gospel, so that I will not miss the will of God who wants to enlighten me.

When I think about how long God has waited for me, I feel that I have to work even harder. I have no time to hesitate. As a young adult like the dew of the dawn, I will accomplish the gospel work with unwavering faith until complete fulfillment of Bible prophecy.