Growing up in a Christian family, I was taught about Jesus and knew of Him. However, it all became a routine, and I found myself dragging my feet to church on Sundays. It was the norm, which was inversely correlated to my fading passion and uprooted convictions for God. Yet God had a much greater plan for my life when He picked me out of my comfort zone in Samoa, where I was sheltered under my parents, and placed me in Australia. This opportunity was certainly God-given, and it was not that easy. God never said it would be easy, but He did say He would be with us to equip us through every trial with what we need to persevere.

I had experienced a life without God when I put Him aside and put my priorities first. I was merely existing, until I realised it was not about me, but it was all about a personal relationship with Jesus. Whenever I attempted suicide, there would always be a hindrance. God surrounded me with people to speak life into me whenever I was giving up. This was God’s saving grace – that He never gave up on me. He rescued me from a very dark slimy pit, and breathed life back into me. He gave me a whole new pair of lenses and deeper convictions, to view life as a child of God without self-condemnation. Who am I, Lord, that You are mindful of me?

My father passed away a year ago, which was the moment I have been dreading ever since seeing my friends’ fathers passed on. I had always pictured scenarios in which I would block everyone out of my life when this happens, and basically give up on life. I heard the news on the day of my last exam, and at that moment, God was whom I turned to and in Him I found refuge and comfort. He covered me with peace as I went in and sat that last exam before flying home.

God reminded me about Job in the Bible when he was stripped with everything. He was not resentful towards God; instead, he worshipped Him. For God gives and takes away as He sees best. Throughout the funeral preparation and ceremony, I saw God’s hand upon my family, and was assured that it was the perfect time for my Dad to leave – God’s perfect timing. It was not my timing as I would have wanted him to see me graduate this year and go through more of life with me. Yet God had prepared me for this moment. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. Now finishing off this year with challenging Honours, I never imagined I would be here after Dad passed away or after being saved from Cyclone Evans, which hit Samoa, or even after having brain encephalitis before Christmas. Jesus Christ is my HOPE to live every day a purpose-driven life to overcome as He overcame.

The joy of the Lord is and always will be my strength. I came to know His heart for the lost, as I, despite a sinner, was saved, not because I deserved it but because He loves me!
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Makerita Ieremia
Bachelor of Biomedical Science
Uni-Generation UQ 2, St Lucia Afternoon Service