I was born in a non-religious family. During my whole childhood, I did not want to follow any religion at all.
I enjoyed freedom. I didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, or to temple at full moon to pray.
Also, I believed that people have to deal with their own problems.
During the summer of 2010, I found out that I have glaucoma in my right eye. This is not normal for my age—I’m only 23.
I was so scared. I tried to do everything that I could. I followed all my doctor’s directions, using tons of different eye drops that he suggested to lower my eye pressure.
But it didn’t help. My doctor told me, “Ryan, you have to have an eye surgery.” He said it was the only way to help me get back my vision.
Before my surgery, I tried to tell my friends and family that it was a common situation. I knew they were dealing with pressure and problems every day, so I didn’t want to bring them any more trouble. But deep inside, I was so scared and I didn’t know how to deal with it.
I was working at the international center at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. My supervisor was a person who had a good influence on me. Two days before my surgery, we hung out with a couple people and she told me, “Ryan, I know that you are not a Christian, but let me pray for you, for your surgery.”
I said, “Fine!” To be honest, when they were praying, I didn’t actually listen to the prayer at all. But I started thinking that if God is real in this world, I wanted to know.
I remember on my surgery day, when my doctor took me to the surgery room. I didn’t want to cry, but tears just came out. I was so scared, and I started to pray. I didn’t know how to pray, but the first thought that came to my mind was, “Okay, God, if you’re really listening, just help me. I’m so scared and I don’t know how to deal with this.”
My surgery went well. After that, I asked my best friend to take me to church. He was kind of surprised when I asked him, but he said yes. After the second time I went to church, I asked my supervisor many questions and she went through the Knowing God Personally booklet with me.
My friend took me to church for more than half a year till I made my decision. On September 2011, I went to a Christian concert. After the wonderful concert, the pastor shared his story. And then I heard, “If you want to receive Christ today, step out to the stadium.” I did. I became a Christian on that night.
In September 2012, I’m going to have another eye surgery. This time, my doctor tells me there is only a 50 percent chance of success.
I feel much better than last time, because I know that God has a plan for me. I know that He’s not going to fail me. If it really happens that I lose my sight in my right eye, He still has a plan for me. I want to put my trust in Him, because I know that He will help me get through even the very worst situation that I have to deal with.
When we put words to the hard parts of our stories, we can give those around us a new picture of who Jesus is.
“... instead of having [people] accept me for who I was, I tried to change into the person I thought they wanted me to be.”
“I would go to the bathrooms at school and have panic attacks, but no one would know...” One day, Kaitlin realized God provides a way out of paralyzing anxiety.
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