“Draw Close to God, and He Will Draw Close to You”
Before and After—Her Life Turned Around
HOW unpleasant and pointless life had become for Matsepang! She was a young girl in Lesotho, a country in the heart of South Africa. Matsepang was raised a Catholic. Instead of being helped to draw close to God, however, for years she was abused by nuns who used money to entice her to engage in immoral acts.
As a result, Matsepang was disillusioned with religion and could not come to terms with belief in a loving Creator who genuinely cares for his human creation. Because of the neglect and abuse she suffered, Matsepang had deep emotional scars and feelings of utter worthlessness. She grew up to be very violent and aggressive. This led to criminal behavior.
Matsepang eventually became part of a gang that robbed people aboard trains. She was arrested and sentenced to prison in South Africa. Later, she was deported to her homeland, Lesotho, where she continued a life of crime, drunkenness, violence, and immorality.
At a very low point in her life, Matsepang desperately prayed to God for help. She promised, “God, if I survive, I will do what I can to serve you.”
Soon, Matsepang was approached by missionaries who were Jehovah’s Witnesses. They offered to study the Bible with her. From her study, she came to realize that God is not indifferent and uncaring. In fact, she discerned that Satan, “the father of the lie,” uses crafty and deceptive tactics to foster in some the feeling that they are worthless and to make them believe that Jehovah could never find them lovable.—John 8:44; Ephesians 6:11.
On the contrary, how comforting it was to Matsepang when she learned that we can have healthy self-respect if we repent of our sinful past, seek God’s forgiveness, and strive to please him! She was helped to understand that “God is greater than our hearts” and views us in a way that may be quite different from how we see ourselves.—1 John 3:19, 20.
Matsepang was thrilled to read these words of the psalmist David: “Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.” (Psalm 34:18) As one of those “crushed in spirit,” she came to realize that Jehovah does not abandon his servants, even if some of them become dejected or feel unimportant. It warmed her heart to learn that God cares for all his sheep and sustains them through hard times. (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:6, 7) Especially was she touched by the words: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”—James 4:8.
The power of God’s Word, the Bible, soon became evident in Matsepang’s life. She began to attend Christian meetings regularly and abandoned her unscriptural practices. The result? She no longer feels unworthy of God’s love and favor. Since her baptism as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, she has spent thousands of hours in the Christian ministry as a proclaimer of the good news of the Kingdom. Despite the wounds of the past, Matsepang now leads a happy and meaningful life. What a demonstration of the Bible’s power to improve lives!—Hebrews 4:12.
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“God, if I survive, I will do what I can to serve you”
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Bible Principles at Work
Bible principles that have comforted victims of mistreatment include the following:
“When my disquieting thoughts became many inside of me, your [God’s] own consolations began to fondle my soul.” (Psalm 94:19) The “consolations” of Jehovah found in his Word are a source of great comfort. Reflecting on them during meditation and prayer helps to allay disquieting thoughts and builds trust in God as an understanding Friend.
“He [Jehovah] is healing the brokenhearted ones, and is binding up their painful spots.” (Psalm 147:3) If we appreciate Jehovah’s mercy and his provision to cover our sins by means of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, we can confidently approach God without feeling further condemned at heart. This can bring unparalleled comfort and peace of mind.
“No man can come to me [Jesus Christ] unless the Father, who sent me, draws him; and I will resurrect him in the last day.” (John 6:44) By means of his holy spirit and through the Kingdom-preaching work, Jehovah personally draws us to his Son and gives us the hope of everlasting life.