24 Dec 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
Anderson Teow, an ambitious young chap wore a cheeky grin, without a care in the world. When no one is looking, he would typically rehearse smooth and crisp lines, dreaming about the day he would become a radio announcer. And after feeling quite entertained, he would pounce on his captive audience in the next room, his brother, to enact his radio show while inviting a few worthy critiques.
But behind this charming flair and bundle of energy, Anderson carried with him the wounds of a broken past, a brokenness caused by his father who was a gambler and a drunkard, as far as he could remember. At a young age, he would quiver to leave his home for school, for fear of being caught by loan sharks who would periodically chain his gates and pour fresh paint onto his house. Returning home was another frightful journey for him. But wait… Home was not home to him; it was only a place for shelter and sleep, devoid of love, care, and security.
Why is life so unfair? Why could I not have the same warmth and love other families would have? These were the thoughts that ran in Anderson’s mind.
He did not know what love is until his friend told him at 15 years old about a God who unconditionally loves him. “My friend told me that this God will bless me and He loves me unconditionally. I don’t need pay him back and return him anything for his love,” said Anderson who was attracted to the nature of the Heavenly Father.
He accepted the Father in Heaven, in hope that God in his power would reconcile the tattered relationship between his father and mother, which rift had widened over his father’s addiction. But instead of changing his parents’ relationship, the Lord has changed him instead.
When Anderson turned 19 years old, his mother left the family to UK in search for employment. A time of loss, this was also a time—by the hidden grace of God— that Anderson began a journey of reconciliation with his father, a time he caught a glimpse of his father’s heart for him.
“Even though my father comes from such a background, he never failed his job as a father. He provided for us every day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—for two years,” said Anderson, whose heart was slowly softened towards his father.
“Yes, I forgive him for all he has done,” Anderson said in certainty. “Because of what I saw he faithfully did for me and my brother.”
But when Anderson turned 21 years old, his father was diagnosed with the fourth-stage lung cancer, a severe stage. Thankfully, his mother had returned from UK at that time to take care of the father.
“I could see my mother’s love for him when she took care of my father, even paying off some of his debts. She resented him for his addiction but my father’s sickness softened her heart,” said Anderson.
The doctor advised his father to go through an eight-hour lung operation, to which his father was shortly admitted to the hospital for a few days to prepare for the operation.
“Among the patients, my father looked quite healthy and cheerful though he lost 20 kg of weight. I believed that the operation will be successful,” said Anderson. “I prayed to God ‘Lord, please don’t take my father away from me, not in a time like this.”
When he made that prayer, he was on the way to receive his father from the operation room. God answered that He would never leave him nor forsake him. “So, I was feeling okay because I thought that God will deliver my father,” he said. But he was wrong. When he reached the hospital, his father had passed away.
“How could God say that and not do what He had promised?” said Anderson. He was angry with God. And for many weeks, he would ask his pastors and mentors why God did not fulfill his promise.
He could not understand until one day, a brother-in-Christ came to him and said a word of revelation to him, “Could it be that God is telling you that He will never leave you nor forsake you even after your father’s death?”
Suddenly, at that moment, a curtain of confusion was pulled back. Anderson immediately understood what God meant through his friend. “Nobody could provide me an explanation as such, until he came to me. That made sense to me,” said Anderson.
A few days later, Anderson also found out from an uncle something his father had shared before the operation. In a conversation with his father, his uncle asked him whether he was afraid of the possibility of death. Though his father did not know God then, he said, “If God wants to take me away; I will gladly go with him.”
“At that time, my father was not a Christian but he already believes that his fate lies in the hands of God,” said Anderson who felt more comforted over his father’s peaceful resignation over death in the midst of grieving.
Besides his grief, Anderson was also worried about his future, which appeared quite bleak to him. “My world collapsed when my father left. I did not know how to proceed in my life. Should I work or should I study?” said Anderson, having built a better relationship with his father at that time.
But despite the uncertainty, God was ever true to His Words, “Never will I leave you nor forsake you, my son.”
After his father’s death, Anderson scouted for an affordable degree for mass communication. And upon prayer, God led him to UTAR where he could obtain a degree at an affordable price. A friend also introduced him to the PTPTN loan for financial help, to which he successfully attained. In addition, his mother was also working near UTAR, which allowed him to ride with his mother to and fro from the university. “I believe that this is God’s plan for me,” said Anderson.
Even at the middle of his course, God was with Anderson. He was required to complete an internship before he could graduate with his degree. Although a company promised to hire Anderson, they defaulted at the very last minute. But a few days before the internship submission deadline to the university, he got hired in another company called the United International Pictures, a reputable movie-distributor company to intern with.
Praise the Lord who is with Anderson every step of his life!
Upon graduation, Anderson prayed to God one day while sitting in church, “Father, I really want to work in a radio station. It’s my dream to be a radio announcer. This is the place where I want to go.” A week after the prayer, he got a call from Red FM wanting to hire him under a friend’s recommendation.
“I am very grateful to God. He is a God that delivers,” said Anderson. Like how God faithfully delivered the Israelites despite their repeated failures, Anderson is touched with God who is faithfully delivered him from all his troubles.
“I think that’s something humans cannot understand. How can God be so patient with us throughout the ancient times, sending so many people to deliver us, yet we fail until He had to send his own son? That is why His love is unconditional and never fails,” said Anderson.
Although he confessed feeling tempted to be angry with God over his painful childhood experiences, he recalled how a friend shared with him about Apostle Stephen who forgave Saul, seen consenting to his stoning and eventual death. “Imagine how Stephen would have felt when he sees Saul (or Paul) in Heaven? He would be surprised but also happy for him,” said Anderson.
“I’ll be lying even though it’s not the right thing to do, to tell you that I am never angry with God. I do get angry with Him. But if you want to talk about anger and vengeance, you leave it to the mighty hands of God. You don’t know what God can do and how God can use that person for His Glory,” he said.
He also added that although God put him through difficult times, he believed that the fruits of discipline are peace and joy. “It is our part to trust in God and take up the challenge to follow Him, while He disciplines us, especially during difficult times,” he said.
Clearly, in Anderson’s journey with the Lord, we can see how God, in all things, works together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28a). In the absence of his mother, Anderson found reconciliation with his father. And in the loss of his father, Anderson found the hope in anchoring his trust in his Father in Heaven who promised him, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Also, most importantly, this story is a reminder for us to forgive our parents as well for all the past hurts and wounds they have brought into our lives. Like how our Father in Heaven freely forgives us for all our sins, perhaps it is time for us to offer this gift of forgiveness to our parents as well.
May this season of Christmas be a season of reconciliation with your parents. Have a merry, merry Christmas!
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Note: After working in Red FM for a period, Anderson Teow worked in the Shelter Home for Children in the hope of searching for a deeper relationship with God. Currently, he is doing some soul-searching, finding out what God has in store for him. If it is God’s Will, he hopes to someday return to the radio scene.
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