FGA pastor, Anand knew Jesus over his house fence, witnessed by his neighbor. Two years after accepting Christ, Anand was diagnosed with colon cancer, going for surgery over and over. For seven years Anand battled cancer until one day, the doctor told him that he only had until the age of 35 to live.
How did Anand meet Jesus?
With an unquestioning child-like faith, Anand accepted Christ at 15 years old. But his family did not allow Anand to go to church. And for two years, his neighbor who was a new believer would faithfully read the Bible to him over the house fence. Without a Bible, Anand looked forward to this weekly meeting to quench his thirst for God’s Word.
A Journey of Bitter Sweet
At 17 years old, Anand was diagnosed with first stage colon cancer and went for surgery to remove the cancer. His mother became more opened and permitted Anand to explore his spiritual faith. The church doors flung open! Upon the advice of his neighbor, Anand attended Full Gospel Assembly (FGA) church because it was closer to home.
Little did he know, when he accepted Christ, God also installed him with a spiritual family- the body of Christ. His pastor chauffeured him to and fro from church for the first three months of going to church, before catching a ride from his church friends.
“Coming from a broken family, I depended on my church family to teach me about Christian values,” said Anand.
As a new believer, Anand was hungry for the gospel. He would attend cell groups (care groups or homes), Bible studies and youth events despite going in and out of the hospital. Anand would also volunteer for events, starting as a lift operator and usher.
However, at 18 years old, Anand’s cancer spread over his colon. He went under the knife the second time. Not only once, but multiple times, for the next seven years.
“I was told that my disease has no cure every time I visited the hospital,” said Anand who still believed in God’s miraculous healing.
God showed love amidst pain
I asked Anand if he ever doubted or got angry with God.
Smiling, Anand admitted that amidst of pain, he was tempted to feel angry and disappointed with God. But God provided him many brothers and sisters-in-Christ who would constantly speak edifying words of encouragement to lift Anand up from depression.
“God showed me love in practical ways, which is through the church,” said Anand.
God did not appear to Anand through a miraculous burning bush or a talking mule, though God may use that to present Himself even in our days. In practical ways, Anand’s church would pay partially for his medical fees. God also provided finances for Anand to graduate with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Science. He became a teacher at Seri Sempurna.
It was also during his times of pain that cause Anand to become increasingly dependent on God. He found himself drawing into God’s word more and become closer to Him.
“We like to think that we don’t have a choice in a situation. Every time when I am in pain, I can either choose to be bitter, or trust God that he has a plan for my good,” said Anand.
Anand did not understand God’s way
Seven years of praying! Seven years of believing that God would heal Anand until one day, his doctor told him that he only had 13 more years to live, at the age of 22 years old.
“I accepted my fate. Struggling with this disease for so long, if God’s plan is for me to have a short life, I am at peace with it,” said Anand who decided that his life was no longer his, but God’s.
Feeling somewhat relief, Anand thought that he finally figured out God’s plan for him. But the story did not end there. Anand went for a follow-up checkup within that same year. And his cancer was completely gone from his colon!
At that time, Anand was also beginning to be active in missionary ministries, allowing him to share and touch lives with his story, everywhere he traveled.
I asked Anand why God would make him go through so much pain in serving Him. Apart from his believe that God wanted to mold his character, Anand admitted that he did not know why.
“I believe that God has His mystery which is His glory. We cannot completely understand His ways because they are higher than mine. And I am okay with it because I know that He loves me and He has a plan for me,” said Anand.
Now, he is a full-time youth pastor in FGA KL, who waited for seven years before his dream to become one was realized. I asked Anand how he knew that being a youth pastor was his calling.
“God is a practical God. I knew it from confirmations of different people in my church. Even my principal who is a believer prayed and encouraged me to leave school as a teacher to answer my calling,” said Anand.
Citing the story of Moses who led God’s people out of Egypt, they need to step into the Red Sea first before God parted the ocean. Anand only became fully convicted that God called him to be a youth ministry after he became the youth pastor in FGA KL.
“As believers, we always want God to map out our road and supply everything we need before we step out in faith. We want answers from God, and we want it now. But God wants us to step in faith first, before He provides. He wants us to obey and trust first before he choose to reveal the answer or not,” said Anand.
Believing in God’s bigger plan
While writing Anand’s story, I could not stop thinking why God allow Anand suffer to achieve His purpose? And I did ask Anand this question as well. To my surprise, apart from molding his character, he was at peace for not fully understanding the reason behind God’s plan.
The truth is that we can never fully comprehend God’s way.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
And even though I knew Isaiah 55:9 in my head, I still asked God: “But why?”
It felt like one of the “do it because daddy said so” phrase we hear so often growing up. So, does that mean we are not supposed to ask God any questions? No. Like a loving father who would not turn away from his child’s question, I do not think that God is a strict Father who turned away from our questions. But the question is, are we willing to wait for His answer, His time, His way, knowing that He has the best plan for us?
In a society spoiled with fingertips information and lightning speed communication, to wait for an answer is unthinkable and unbearable.
So, while you choose to patiently wait for God’s answer, the next question is would you trust Him and obey Him in love?
As we walk with God, I also believe that many of us learn that not all of our prayers are answered. Imagine how many times Anand had prayed to God for healing in those seven years? Every failed prayer did not mean God forgot or forsaken Anand.
Hence, whether God answered all your questions, now or in the future, God is sovereign and He is good. Never would He leave us. Perhaps, the key to peace is to fix our eyes at God who always sees the bigger picture.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
For more information on Full Gospel Assembly (FGA) church KL:
Please visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/fga.my
Also visit their website at http://www.fga.my/web/