主の十字架クリスチャンセンター東京アンテオケ教会

The Lord's Cross Christian Center Tokyo Antioch Church

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I have been transformed into a new creation

To those who are thinking of committing suicide @en

This post is also available in: Japanese Chinese (Simplified)

I had loved gambling, drinking, and smoking from the time when I was young; I couldn’t live without them. Even after I was saved, I often fell away from God, but God, by His mercy and grace, has completely transformed me into a new creation.
I believed Jesus and was saved about fourteen years ago; I was baptized on Jan. 1, 1998. Christianity had been a foreign religion to me, but my wife who was saved earlier asked me to go to church and I began to go there. At that time our marital relationship went downhill and our home was a mess; we were at the point of divorce. I had loved gambling, drinking, and smoking from the time when I was young; I sniffed thinner through my junior-high school days, and drank every night in my high school days. Therefore, I couldn’t think of life without gambling, drinking and smoking. While attending church, I realized that I shouldn’t gamble, drink, nor smoke; a part of me was saying that I should quit someday, but I couldn’t do so in reality.
I might have been picking fight with God out of ignorance. In the Bible, a scripture says, “not to test God,” but it seems that I have been testing Him a lot. At that time I was saying God in my mind, “Change me if You can.” as if I challenged Him. Now looking back, I think how foolish I was of behaving like that..

Falling apart from God, I was burdened with an increasing debt

After a while I dedicated myself to Him and began to learn in a seminary. However, I still couldn’t set up my mind to stopping drinking and gambling. In addition, I put work first and started to stay away from seminary. My heart drifted away from God; I didn’t go to church once in a while. Then things got worse in work and at home. I worked for the construction business at that time which didn’t go well. I just had an increasing debt. Besides I went to pachinko parlor every day regardless of winning or losing. Meanwhile, I couldn’t pay off the increasing debt and got severely pressed to repay it.
I started to get calls from gangsters to collect the money, and lived daily in fear. There was nothing I could do about it, and I even once went to the police. I didn’t have enough faith to pray and give thanks. My wife didn’t know about this situation. I didn’t depend on God but had a drink to get away from that mess.

I tried to commit suicide, but heard God, saying, “Come to Me”

I wanted to die, and tried to kill myself. I thought that if I die, I could get insurance money to pay off the debt, and that I wouldn’t give my family trouble. Since I like fishing, I went to the river to die so I could make it seem as if I was drowned. I gulped whiskey and jumped into the river although I was too frightened to do it right away. I jumped into the whirling river, making a fall; I thought I was going to die, but I found myself drifted down the river through a whirl for some meters. I realized that my feet were touching the bottom. When I tried to jump into the river again, I heard the voice saying, “Come to Me.” Hearing that voice, I stopped committing suicide. Thinking back now, I think it was the voice of God. Then I found myself giving thanks to God. God touched me, and as a result I wondered what in the world I had been doing. On the contrary, I had a desire to live instead of a desire to die.
Then I told my wife about the debt. I thought I would leave everything to God by telling the whole story to her. Surprisingly my wife reacted to that calmly. She told me that she had noticed something wrong with me for the past few days and that she had been praying for me and had been guided to pray for me on the day of my suicide attempt. After that we as a couple prayed prayer of thanks. I filed for personal bankruptcy which I wanted to avoid. However, thanks to that, I couldn’t use credit cards nor borrow money, which I also gave thanks to God for. Thinking back now, the suicide attempt caused me to realize God’s mercy and grace; I got to know that He is real; I got to know His love and I was able to quit gambling completely. The words of God say: “Give thanks in every circumstance,” “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Those words are really true. I was able to mend my way. I chose to dedicate myself to Him again, and entered seminary once more.

Stopped drinking completely

I have been drinking since I was 15 years old. I was caught drinking and driving twice. I really had a drinking problem and was still drinking every night even after I became a Christian. One day I scolded my daughter and hit her on the head under drinking influence. At that time God protected her and she didn’t get injured on the head, but I had a broken hand. For a while I couldn’t work; God led me to repent deeply. I repented of hitting my daughter and the wrong doing caused by drinking; I was reminded of many things and sincerely repented before God. Also I seriously prayed to God that I could stop drinking. The following day I was able to stop drinking alcohol which I had been drinking for the past 30 years. I praise the name of God. Now six years have passed since I stopped drinking. When I joined an office drinking party, I didn’t want to drink at all. Now I tell my colleague that I don’t drink.

The Lord has been waiting for me

After I went back to seminary, I was doing fine for the first couple of years. However, I realized part of me didn’t fully dedicate it to God. I put work first and started to take many days off from seminary and church. I found myself failing and drifting away from God. Because I didn’t follow God, I was stuck with work and everything. When I thought it was all over, God spoke to me through the praise song titled “Let’s go to the Lord because He is waiting for you.” That song lingered in my ears, especially the phrase: “the Lord is waiting for you.” I thought it was the time of choice, and I seriously made up my mind. Then I was led to repent; with thanksgiving I made a serious repentance about the wrong doings I have done. From that point of time, God drastically began to transform me.

Freedom from smoking

Next, I was dealt with my smoking habit. I was so sure it was a hard habit to break. I tried to quit many times, but I was able to quit only for three days at the longest. I thought I had to quit smoking one day, but I couldn’t. I was smoking secretly in holy meetings, church events, Christian camps, etc. Probably people around me were able to tell from the smell. One day my pastor advised me to get serious to quit smoking. It was the time of choice for me between God and smoking. I prayed to God seriously that I could quit smoking without suffering. I didn’t smoke on the day one and the day two; on the third day I began to suffer, but I gave thanks to God in that situation. I set my mind on giving thanks to God continuously. Then I was able to quit smoking completely. Hallelujah! Praise the name of the Lord. One year has passed since I quit smoking in September 2009.

Transformed into a new creation

I had gone through many things over the years. While I was on and off in attending church with my heart drifting away from God, my wife continued to attend church and experienced grace of being a member of the church. Recently I talk a lot with my wife about God and I find it fun to spend time with her. The happiest things are praying together as a couple and singing praise songs on the street every Sunday. Now I have got to think that taking a stand for God to do His work is the best for us; God has changed us as a couple to think that way.
Also, the relationship between parent and child has been restored; now I can truly scold my child with love when he does a bad thing; I can listen to my child attentively. God has changed everything in my life for good. God is faithful; He has heard the prayer in accordance with His will and changed me into a new person. I have received God’s mercy, grace and love through my own experience.
I was ordained as a pastor of Hitoyoshi Church on October 25, 2010. I am surprised myself by that because I have never dreamed of becoming a pastor. I give thanks to God with all my heart, and give all the glory to Him.

David Murakami (Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture)
(Reprinted from the issue of Dec. 2010 of the monthly magazine “A Rainbow in the Clouds”)

God is Love.