By: Tim Chen
“I didn’t grow up in a Christian household and we didn’t go to church. My dad’s side were quite religious, but my mum’s side were atheists.
When I was 25 my father passed away quite suddenly. He was only 60 years old.
I loved my father. He and I got on like a house on fire. We never argued. He was my rock growing up. And then he was gone. For anyone death is not a nice thing at all. For me I blamed God. I felt like God took my dad from us and I was angry at him. My life went pretty badly after that pretty quickly. After dad passed away my mum became unwell and she was hospitalised for a significant period of time.
At the time I was working for a big global organisation in Adelaide. They offered me a role in Sydney, but I said no because I wanted to look after my mum. Then a year later they offered me a role again and my mum said I should go.
It was a big move! I was suddenly living in a small apartment in Erskineville without my community. It was my second rock-bottom in a short time.
Not long after that one of my cousins asked me to come to church. I said okay. I had nothing to lose. I was still angry at God for taking my father away and I wanted answers.
The first time I went to church I felt very uncomfortable. I didn’t fit in, so I thought I might go and find a different church. Over the next few months I went to six different churches. Each time I felt intimidated, judged and answerless!
Then I was introduced to Winnie. She asked me to come to her church and I said okay. It was church number 7. The speaker there preached on the book of Job and suffering. That started the juices flowing. Afterwards Winnie gave me some audio cassettes on Job and I listened to them after work.
I had idolized my dad and lost him. But there was someone even more loving and more powerful than my dad.
The following Sunday I went back to her church. I grabbed the pastor after the service and we went and sat in a quiet space. He asked me some questions and the tears started flowing. I told him about my dad. It was a very emotional time.
I had normally been a functional, practical sort of bloke. But I realised God’s love for me was unconditional and I fell in love with him right then. I accepted Jesus. I realised he was my rock! I had idolised my dad and lost him. But there was someone even more loving and more powerful than my dad.
That was the start of it. Afterwards I read the Gospel of Mark with a bloke from church. I married Winnie! I kept working in the corporate world – 21 years all up. I loved it.
Then in my early 40’s I started questioning my purpose in life. God, what do you want me to do now? At the time, City Bible Forum asked me to come on board to help connect the Gospel with people in the workplace. I said yes! It was a big change from the corporate world, but it’s been a real joy. I’m so compelled by the need in Australia. With growing atheism, how do we reach people with the hope of Jesus? Recently we’ve also started a school of evangelism, EvQ. We have lots of mentors and we’re looking for more people to come and be trained! That’s my prayer.
Last year, I went back to Adelaide to speak at a City Bible Forum event. My mum and my sisters were in the crowd! It was such a joy. I give thanks that they are also Christians! A key verse for me has always been 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud… Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” That’s the unconditional love we receive from God and that’s the love we get to share!”
Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.
Feature image: Photo by Zhu Liang on Unsplash
About the Author: Tim Chen is a marketer and Christian speaker and writer with a passion for evanglism.