The Light of Eternal Agape 東京アンテオケ教会

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You are Precious and Honored in My Sight – Out of School Refusal and Loneliness

To Those Who Have a Problem of a Child’s School Refusal

This post is also available in: Japanese

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,

and because I love you.      (Isaiah 43:4)

The Trial the Lord Gave Me – It was for Me to Know His Love and Faithfulness.

“If you go to church, you will be healed of your illness,” my aunt who was the only Christian in our relative said to my mother.  Soon after I was born, I got ill.  I suffered atopic dermatitis.  Its symptoms appeared all over my body.  I scratched my body until it was bleeding.  I was attacked by intense itching and pain every day, and I was in torment.  It was my mother who suffered most in sight of me.  She took me to see a doctor every day, and gave me medication. She tried anything that people said would work. 

She even purchased a medical equipment that cost hundred thousands yen.  However, nothing helped me heal.  Off course, some medical treatment sometimes kept me from itchiness, but I got itchy again less than a day.  I suffered this symptom for eight years.  In such a time like this, my aunt said to my mother, “if you go to church, you will be healed of your illness.”  She was so desperate that she took me and my brother to the church.  We went to church for the first time, and we were able to believe Jesus Christ.  We had a pastor pray for my healing, and so did my mother and I for the first time in our lives, saying, “Jesus, please heal atopy.”  We began to go to church every week, and our family of three got baptized several moths after our salvation.

A couple of days after I got baptized, I noticed some changes in my body.  I found no traces of atopy on any part of the body.  First my mother and I thought that the medication worked that time, but after one week and one month passed, atopy didn’t appear.  Then I realized that Jesus healed me completely.  We didn’t do anything special, but we went to church.  Just our faith in Jesus healed me.

Favorable Days

After I got healed of atopy, I was greatly blessed, especially in my school life.  I made many friends at school.  I was good at studies and sports.  I signed up to join a soccer team when I was in the fifth grade, and found something I could really be enthusiastic about.  Everything went smoothly.  After graduating from the elementary school, I entered a junior high school in much hope.  Yet, I stopped going to church.  I thought I stopped going there because my mother did so.  However, if I look back to those days, I made a choice myself of not going to church, using club activities on Sundays as an excuse. 

Completely Changed Life – Refusing to Attend School 

It seemed that I continued to be blessed in my junior high school days, making many new friends, and signing up to join a soccer club.  However, around the month of June when I got used to a new environment, I started losing hair all of a sudden.  I had alopecia areata.  Meanwhile, I went to school, making every effort to hide it.  However, I couldn’t hide it anymore when summer came.  From then on, my life was completely changed.  I started to be made fun of by my friends, and even good friends of mine began to stay away from me.  I got to hate going to school, and I quit playing my favorite soccer.  I shut my mind, and felt repugnant to even the kind words from my teacher and my parents for me.  Gradually I stopped going to school, and stopped talking with anybody.  I found myself living in the darkness.  People often asked me how I had felt during those days, but I cannot answer that question because I don’t have any memory of them.  I experienced loneliness for the first time in my life.

My Mother’s Prayer

After a while I noticed something about my mother.  My father came home from work around 9 o’clock every night.  My mother worked around his returning home, preparing meals, tidying up, doing the cleaning and laundry.  She couldn’t sit and relax until she was over with her household chores around 10 o’clock.  After that she usually watched TV together with us. However, at some point of time on, she entered her room every time she was finished with housework.  I was concerned about her and tried to listen to her in the room.  Then I heard her saying, “Help Toshiya get well.  Help Toshiya go to school.  Heal Toshiya of his alopecia areata.”  They were the voices of my mother’s prayer.  She continued to pray every night, yet I thought what was the use of praying, feeling a pressure of her expectation.  However, she didn’t stop.  She prayed for one hour every night over a period of one year.

I’ m not Alone

One Sunday morning, my mother suddenly asked me to go to church together.  Until then I didn’t want to talk to anybody and didn’t want to see anybody, but at that time, to my amazement, I agreed to go to church.  We saw people singing praise songs and a pastor speaking in the church.  He said, “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4)  These words are written in the Bible. They pierced my heart.  Then, I realized for the first time that I was not alone.

From that day on, my mother and I returned to church.  Some time after I began to attend church on Sunday, a desire of going to school sprang up from inside. I didn’t get healed of alopecia areata yet, but somehow I had that desire.  Although I was uneasy about going back to school which I had been away from more than a year, my anxiety vanished immediately when I met a friend of mine and heard him talk to me first after quite a while in the bicycle shed.  He ran up to me, saying, “Matsu-chan, you look cheerful now!”  From that day on, I didn’t miss school.   

The Top Most Fun Person to Be Around

Finally came my graduation day.  A copy of a collection of students’ graduation essay was distributed to each graduate.  Inside there was a column of “Ranking in anything.” It was a plan of having a variety of ranking such as ranking cool persons, popular persons, etc.  In that plan I was selected for the three items of ranking: “the top most likely person to be rich,” “the top most likely person to become a president,” lastly, “the top most fun person to be around.”  When I read this, I felt so happy.  I had been lonely a year before, but I was chosen to be the top most fun person to be around in the last class.  This was the miracle that surpassed my imagination.

It has been 10 years since then.  I have been learning as a seminary student in Nagasaki, and I now realize something.  Why was I able to see this miracle performed, and why was I able to go to church again?  It was because of immeasurable love of God and of my mother’s prayer.  The prayer she prayed every night was heard by the Lord.  And I am convinced that I will be healed of alopecia areata.  It’s because the Lord is faithful.  “God is love.”  (1John 4:16)

Written by Toshiya Matsumoto, Pastor

Reprinted from the issue of Nov. 2007 of the monthly magazine “A Rainbow in the Clouds”

To those who are suffering school phobia, and those of you who have your children who refuse to attend school:

Why don’t you give your burden over to God?  God is alive and at work now.  He answers our prayer.  In our church, there are many other people who have got their problems of school refusal resolved.  Why don’t you come to church and experience the Living God?  We will pray for your problem in our church.

 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.”  Psalm 55:22

God is Love.