Before I welcome the year 2021🙏

Tonight, I received a prayer in the form of a music video sent by my friend Lizhen from Malaysia whom I’ve never met. I don’t know who made the video but amazingly this prayer is as if it’s tailor-made for me and prayed by someone who knows me intimately. It goes like this

Before you welcome the year 2021,
you need to let go of the things that will hinder you from experiencing breakthrough.

Leave the bitterness behind and learn to forgive.
The pain may not be easy to face. 
But you are still standing strong right now. 
That means God is faithful enough to sustain you. 

So let go of the things that break your heart this year. 
Never let your emotions hinder you from experiencing more of God. 
He prepared a bright future for you. 
So choose to hold his hands. 
As you walk through the light. 

Let go of the fear you feel inside.
You may not know what will happen next 
But never let the fear stop you to try new things. 
Acknowledge that you need God to help you. 
Surrender to him all your worries. 
And let him take away the negative things in your heart. 

This year may not be easy. 
And you encountered a lot of unexpected things. 
But as you bid goodbye to 2020. 
I pray that you will also learn to let go of the painful memories.
Do not be afraid to move on. 
You will be a different person next year. 

Not because of the good things you've experienced. 
But because of the challenges you overcome. 
And for that, I want to say thank you. 
Thank you for choosing to fight for your faith. 
Thank you for holding on. 
Thank you for being firm. 

God has been so faithful in your life this year. 
So focus on his goodness. 
And let go of things that will not please him. 
May you walk in Freedom. 
As you welcome 2021 🙏

I couldn’t ask for better encouragement through a prayer like this one, and coming just a few hours before 2020 ends makes it especially surprising and sweet! I’ve been very sick throughout the entire 2020, around the late summer or early fall I started praying again, started reading the Bible again and starting responding to friends and relatives’ calls and messages again.

Maybe it’s because I realized by then my sicknesses were not getting better, but rather getting worse. I was so scared and angry, and I was out of ideas and ways to dig myself out of this morass. My sicknesses are like a huge spiderweb and I’m like this tiny bug who got stuck, the harder I struggle the tighter the grip of web becomes.

I’ve been experiencing unbearable pain and suffering from my head, chest, abdomen, bladder and spine. With my spine the most severe, I have multiple bad discs causing herniations, bone spur, arthritis, edema, stenosis and fracture. The pain is 24/7. I cannot hold in any one position for long, causing me spending the vast majority of my day in a lying or reclining position. I’ve been either lying in bed, reclining on my couch or my favorite lying on a mat in my backyard. It's been like this for me all year around.

Don’t ask me how I got into this shithole, I ask myself that too, everyday! Through my pain and suffering, I’ve come to know myself a little bit better. I’m such a stranger to myself, I find myself really don’t know that guy in the mirror! All the shortcomings, all the flaws start to manifest. Why didn’t I see them with so much clarity before? They are so damn apparent.

Two years ago, I shut myself down, I stopped communication with everyone around me. But a couple of phone calls earlier this fall started to change me. The first call was between me and Uncle Yau through Whatsapp. It was the first time I told someone other than my mother of my plight, that I was in a lot of pain and I needed help. Before that, no one knew what I was going through. Uncle Yau comforted me and prayed for me. He told me that he had a successful knee surgery in Malaysia and I could consider coming there to seek medical treatment. He also said that a sister from the church there could help me find a doctor. That church sister is Lizhen who promptly sent me the prayer video tonight.

The second call was between me and Lu, he called me out of nowhere around that same time. Lu is a very special friend; he is someone who genuinely wants all his friends to become better off. I had a long talk with him and he listened attentively. I poured out my experiences of the past two years of all the tragic incidences that had happened to me. I said I may need his help to seek medical help at UCLA one day. Without any hesitation Lu said he’d drive me there, and he’d take a day off and go with me. Lu also got Tim involved. Tim is also an old friend; me, Lu and Tim were old comrades, together we won the Startup Weekend at CalTech in Pasadena years ago. Tim helped me find from his church a brother named James who had similar spine issue years ago, and James provided me valuable information.

Though I still face very grim health challenges, I want to end 2020 with a positive note because I have friends who care for me. The help and encouragement from Uncle Yau, Lizhen, Lu, Tim and James really make me want to win this fight and get better in the coming year no matter how hard. With their prayers I started praying to the Lord myself again!