written by David Ng
I have been living a wretched life of sin and debauchery for a long time. My folly was so great and life so meaningless that I was bent on taking my life. I was desperate until God pulled me out of my miry depths.
Dead in Sin
The days of my youth were wasted on unprofitable things and vices. These sinful activities landed me on the wrong side of the law and made me a menace to society. I was in and out of prison: 4 times in a drug rehabilitation centre because of heroin consumption, and 3 times in prison due to drug possession and theft. But prison sentence could not reform me; as soon as I was released in 1998, I was back again to my old vices. I was simply “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1)!
A friend recommended me to go to a certain halfway house in 1999 to help me get out of drugs. There I heard the Word of God, but I thought it was just full of fairy tales. I listened to the preaching because it was required of every resident to attend the devotion. I was just going through the motion, so much so that when someone shared with me the Gospel, I simply nodded without true desire or conviction. Ironically, a few months later, I was even baptized in The Mennonite Church of Singapore. Despite my baptism, I continued living in hypocrisy. While at the halfway house, I lived a double life. I put up a show in front of people but at the same time, was living in sin. I had “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). I tried to read the Bible and do all the Christian activities but my lifestyle would change when I went home for my leave. I would indulge myself in worldly vices though I presented myself as someone respectable in front of the church and halfway house leaders.
Worse was to follow. When I was recommended by the leaders to an American employer looking for workers, after only 9 months of my 12-month residency programme, I was lifted up with arrogance. Being emboldened in my “double living”, I continued hanging around with worldly friends and got sucked deeper into smoking, drinking and craving for addictive substance. At first, I used codeine and sleeping pills, thinking that I could escape the arm of the law if I took prescription drugs. I thought that as long as I do not take heroin, I was OK. I was literally living on the edge by trying to outsmart the law and enjoying the pleasures of sin at the same time.
Mine was a sensual lifestyle, craving to fulfil “the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (Ephesians 2:3b), and centred around constant drinking, clubbing, womanising and taking drugs. I professed to be a Christian but God was far from my mind. I did not have the desire to read God’s Word and did not attend church. My relationship with my family also deteriorated. I caused unbearable pain and shame to my parents, siblings, relatives and friends. I squandered a big sum of my family’s money. I totally lost my senses and all I was concerned was to satisfy the cravings of my vices. As an unregenerate man, I was not merely spiritually sick, but DEAD!
Not surprisingly, I started to use heroin again and soon lost my job. I was depressed and felt miserable. I went to the Institute of Mental Health 3 times to seek help. Medication and counselling was of no use to a spiritually dead person. I realised first-hand the total depravity of man. I had no ability to choose good, but could only choose evil, which comes naturally. Sinking deep in sin, my body craved for more until it went out of control. I wanted to stop but I had no power to control my falling. I was so devastated that I saw death as a solution to all my problems. Sometime in 2012, I thought of jumping down from a HDB flat because I felt very ashamed of the things that I had done and all I wanted was to be “relieved” from my miserable existence. I lost hope in me and in my life.
“But God, who is rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4), restrained me by His Higher Hand of providence. Before I was about to do something tragic, the Bible truths which I heard before suddenly came to my remembrance. Also, an Internet sermon preached on the “strait gate and narrow way”, which I had tuned in to only a few days before, kept reverberating in my mind. Suddenly, it dawned upon me that there is a God in heaven who will judge all men after their death. Then fear gripped my heart, which stopped me from taking my own life. For the first time, I realised that I had sinned against a holy God, who has already so lovingly provided the way for my redemption (Romans 5:8). I went on my knees and cried to God for help. I was moved to repent of all my foolishness and to make right with God. Truly, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Alive in Christ
After my deliverance, God used my only Christian friend to minister to me. I called him and he encouraged me. By God’s providence, he referred me to The Gethsemane Care Ministry (TGCM). However, the intense struggles with my flesh were not over. There was a constant battle whether to follow God or my flesh. Sadly, for a season, the latter prevailed. I left TGCM and went back to the world again.
“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame” (Psalm 103:13-14), and did not let me go. Realising that I needed the Christian environment of TGCM and the spiritual “medicine” found in God’s Word to cure my spiritual sickness, I was directed back to TGCM, constantly crying to God to sustain my faith. I desired to know His Word and looked forward to the daily morning worship, Sunday activities and personal devotions. Throughout my whole withdrawal process, though my body felt very weak and helpless, the spirit inside me was strengthened by God. While I was experiencing pain and agony, I prayed to God to sustain me.
Praise God for seeing me through my programme and for giving me a new life (2 Corinthians 5:17). Truly, the gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16), including those who were once in the clutches of drug addiction. My feet are now set upon God’s Word, so my activities are also guided by His Word. I now realise “the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26) has helped me to fight and break free from my drug addiction and sin.
Abounding in Good Works
I realise I was only born again under the faithful preaching and open rebuke from the pastor and preachers of Gethsemane B-P Church, for which I am indebted to Christ. I praise God for our faithful preachers who are devoted to teach God’s Word and for kind brethren who encouraged me. Moreover, I am overjoyed that my father has subsequently believed in the Lord and removed the idols in our house. (Praise God he is now undergoing catechism class and seeking baptism this Christmas.) Even my mother, who has yet to believe, is regularly attending our church’s Seniors’ Ministry. My relationships between my siblings also are getting better.
God is really good to me and my only desire now is to do His will and to fulfil His purpose in my life. I thank the Lord for opening the doors for me to serve Him and for the opportunity to grow and interact with other brethren in the church. Truly, my heart is overflowing with new songs of thanksgiving and Psalm 40:1-3 sums up my feelings best:
“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”