A surprise came this morning. A friend sent a testimony of her days of difficulty through a period of her life and how she was pruned by the Lord. Reading John 15, one will know that God prunes his loved ones so we may bear good fruit that will last. It certainly takes wisdom to acknowledge the Lord’s hand on our lives and what He is constantly doing out of love for us. The foolish ones get angry and may leave the Church but the wise ones learn from the pruning, difficult though it may be, and grow in maturity. Thank God for the grace to share this testimony. To God be the glory!

“I am just an ordinary person with an ordinary life. However, the Lord gave me the privilege to hear the Good News being preached in school when I was twelve years old.  God graced me to receive Jesus Christ as my Saviour. But I didn’t understand much about repentance and self-denial then.  Nevertheless, the seed of God’s revelation was planted in me and He began “working on me”.  He introduced His Word to me and led me to read the Bible albeit in a shallow manner. But with God nothing is wasted.

God always kept me within His fold even though I strayed countless times.   He never allowed me to leave Him although I was tempted to a couple of times during adulthood.   My relationship with God was never deep but always firm. Firm not because of my submission to Him but because of His gift of faith to me.

God was patiently unfolding His love for me through blessings which included exciting events that fulfilled my heart’s desires, sometimes even without realizing what my desires are.   He also delivered me from illness and troubles.   Yet I perceived Him to be loving but stern or even demanding at times.   I would never be good enough to please Him.  I wasn’t docile or humble before Him as I ought to be.   There was a mask on my face and so I couldn’t relate to God with sincerity and openness.

When it comes to sinning, I daresay I have violated most of the Ten Commandments in varying degrees, and I took God’s mercy, compassion and love for granted.   Then the moment of extreme pruning arrived in August 2009.

I was diagnosed with NPC or nose cancer.   I learnt through this experience the meaning of surrendering to God’s will as Jesus demonstrated whilst He was in the Garden of Gethsemane.   It was through a video on a talk by Fr Ronald Rolheiser shown at Cana, the Catholic Centre right at after the diagnosis, that I understood what Jesus felt during His agony and could translate it to my own situation.

The Lord showered me with His love, comfort, mercy and compassion during the entire ordeal.  The rigours of enduring the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, some of which still linger up till now, have led me to depend totally on God’s strength.   My rebellious spirit was quelled in the course of acknowledging that I can’t do a thing without Him.

He enveloped me in His orb of love through the prayers of countless people and acts of sacrificial love carried out by friends to support and help me through my needs and difficulties, and fears.   He taught me to appreciate community life and to be grateful for all things, big and small, that come my way.

My arrogance and pride, not to mention self-centredness, have been used by God to show me how contrary my ways are to His.

After completing radiotherapy on 28 October 2011, I still had some remaining chemotherapy to endure, and on 1 February 2012, I visited the oncologist at the National Cancer Centre, for his review on what the treatment program has done to the growth.   The oncologist explained that the results shown on the MRI taken recently are good in that what was previously there prior to treatment cannot be detected now.

This act of healing from the Lord has prompted my sharing this testimony with you to give glory to God and to bless His holy Name.   I also needed to share how pain and suffering are truly redemptive through the goodness of God.

I am not much of a prayer person myself but the Lord has shown me the power of prayer and His graciousness in answering the loving prayers of so many, many sisters and brothers-in-Christ.

May our praises for God never cease.   Hallelujah!”

 – Ester Chuoong   6 Feb 2012