Last Chance for God
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 26.
For the past two Sabbaths, we have heard about how God helped Charmaine to learn how to honor her mother. Today, we will hear how she gave her heart to Jesus.
challenged God with a bold prayer.
“Dear God, I am giving You one last chance,” I prayed. “I’ve attended so many church events in the past, but none has changed my life. I still keep falling, so what’s the point? Isn’t it better to stay down than to get up and try to return to You again and again? I have a two-week vacation coming up, and I just want to stay away from home. So, I will go to a Bible training school. Lord, this is Your last chance. If this doesn’t work, I promise You that You will lose me forever!”
Growing up in a Seventh-day Adventist family in Malaysia, I went to church and participated in worship services from early childhood. But I found no joy in spiritual things. I enjoyed dating a non-Christian man for eight years. I enjoyed my well-paying job as a music teacher at an international school. But I lacked peace, so I prayed and went to the church-organized Bible school.
We spent two weeks studying the sanctuary. I didn’t know anything about the sanctuary. I didn’t grow up reading the Bible, and going to church was just a routine. Church members told me how to act as an Adventist, but I never had a personal relationship with God.
At the Bible school, I read Ezekiel 37:4-5, which says, “Again He said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, “O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live’”’” (NKJV). The vision of the dry bones taught me that true revival can only come by hearing the Word of God and the presence of His breath, which is the Holy Spirit. I needed a personal, direct connection with God partnered with a prayerful life of consistently asking for the Holy Spirit.
In studying the sanctuary, I learned about God’s sacrificial love. I learned that He has the power to forgive all my sins and that His deepest desire is to live with me forever.
God’s love completely embraced all the emptiness and brokenness in my life. I gave my heart to Jesus, and He began to work boldly in my life.
Something unexpected happened when I returned to my work as music teacher to 5- to 6-year-old children. At the school, I was expected to incorporate worldly celebrations involving Santa Claus, elves, fairies, and witches into the music lessons. One day, I presented a lesson on listening and asked the children to match the recorded sounds that I was playing with pictures of a ticking grandfather clock, flapping bats, and rattling skeletons in a haunted castle.
To my surprise, my two best students, Ethan and Lucas, would not participate. They covered their ears while I played the noises and later refused to participate in a sing-along about the haunted castle.
At the end of the class, I confronted them.
“What’s wrong with you two today?” I demanded. “Why aren’t you doing what you’re supposed to?”
Ethan turned to me and said, “I’m a Christian. I cannot listen to this.” Then the poor boy burst into tears. Lucas turned to me and nodded his head solemnly.
It was one of the biggest rebukes I have received in my life. God spoke to me powerfully through those little boys. I thought, “Why am I teaching children about the things of the devil?”
On my next two-week vacation, I returned to the Bible school, where we studied about how Daniel and his three friends had purposed in their hearts to be faithful to God before King Nebuchadnezzar. I remembered how Ethan and Lucas had purposed in their hearts to be faithful to God before me.
I felt convicted that God wanted me to quit my job, but I could not leave on my own strength. I shared my story with a Bible school leader.
“You have a very powerful testimony,” he said. “But the problem is there is no action.”
Around that same time, God spoke to me through my morning devotions. I read in Ellen White’s book Christ’s Object Lessons, “When the appeals of the Holy Spirit come to the heart, our only safety lies in responding to them without delay. When the call comes, ‘Go work today in My vineyard,’ do not refuse the invitation. ‘Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.’ Hebrews 4:7. It is unsafe to delay obedience. You may never hear the invitation again” (p. 280).
With a fully surrendered heart to God, I managed to write and hand in my resignation letter.
I returned to the Bible school for the next five months, but an internal struggled erupted between my will and God’s will. My teaching job had paid well, and I could not imagine being without money. My desire to be self-sufficient took over, and I found a job that offered even more pay than the previous one. However, I would have to work on Sabbath sometimes.
When I sought the advice of a pastor at the Bible school, he boldly told me, “You just got yourself out of your previous job, and now you want to get in again?”
No matter how big the battle, God is bigger, and He never allowed me to face a temptation that I could not overcome with His help. At the very last minute, God opened an unexpected door. I was offered a job teaching kindergarten at the Adventist International Mission School in Korat, Thailand.
I was so surprised at His timing! Then I remembered His words, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
God is good, and He has answered my prayers to continue teaching music. After two years as a kindergarten teacher, I became the director of the music department at the mission school. I have never been so much at peace or so full of joy. God has won my heart, and now it is my desire to bring lost souls to the beauty of His love.
Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago that helped Charmaine’s school, the Adventist International Mission School, expand into a high school and to construct a complex of classrooms and other buildings at a new site in Korat, Thailand. Today, we will gather a Thirteenth Sabbath Offering to help spread the gospel throughout the Southern Pacific-Asia Division. Thank you for your generous Thirteenth Sabbath Offering.