Lwin was filled with grief upon hearing the news that would change his life forever. In that moment, he questioned everything he knew, including why he had lost everything. Would he ever find something to give him hope?
As a child, Lwin lived in a home filled with aggression and sadness. He would sit and watch as his parents engaged in shouting matches. His father was a business man and had many women in his life, which saddened his mother. She was the wife, and she was the one who bore him a son. But ultimately, that meant nothing to Lwin’s father.
Lwin longed for unity and love. Weren’t his parents supposed to be happy and say nice things to each other and to Lwin? But his father didn’t care for either of them—his priorities were elsewhere.
His parent’s relationship continued to collapse under the pressure of anger and jealousy until one day, his father finally walked away from them and married another woman. The anger and fighting ceased, leaving now only sadness. Lwin was only 9. He felt the rejection deeply. Sons who grow up without fathers are prone to suffer from anxiety, depression and significant self-esteem issues. Perhaps Lwin experienced the same things.
But Lwin still had his mother. She didn’t abandon him. She worked and raised Lwin as a single mother for years, and she watched as he grew into a young man. As he grew, so did his affections for his mother. But she hid something from him—something that would eventually separate them forever.
Though Lwin was in the 11th grade, he was still attached to his mother. Sadly, her secret—an illness that she kept from him in order to protect him—finally came to the surface when she was hospitalized with cervical cancer. Lwin visited her every day after school. As he witnessed his mother lose her strength and her hair, he diligently prayed to his god. He begged his deity not to take her away from him.
One day during school, Lwin’s headmaster called him to his office and told him the news of his mother’s passing. He immediately collapsed onto the floor and wept bitterly. He cried out saying, “Why is everything I love snatched away from me?” That moment, in his headmaster’s office, would be ingrained in Lwin’s memory for the rest of his life.
Coping with Loss
In spite of his grief, Lwin continued life and finished high school. He then pursued a college education without support from anyone. But even though Lwin took responsibility for his future, experiences of rejection and loss were imprinted in his memory. Anything that might have offered a sense of stability was absent. His father had nothing to do with him. His deity did not answer his requests. And his mother, who would have supported him through school and life, was gone.
Eventually alcoholism and living a self-pleasure lifestyle became his coping methods. Average failures in life were more disappointing, which fed into his unhealthy habit of drinking to do away with grief. Alcohol became his only relief, and even that was not fulfilling.
“I had now become a shallow person,” Lwin said. “I can’t stress it enough how hard it was living a life like that.”
Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
Because he didn’t have the financial support of his father to finish college Lwin got a job working in the fields to support himself. One day, while he was at work, he crossed paths with a Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported pastor named Kumar. After speaking with Kumar, Lwin received a booklet from him titled “Hope for Tomorrow.” In the heat of the day he read. He read about Jesus who could give him hope.
Who was Jesus? Maybe the idea of hope in Jesus was unfamiliar to him, but Lwin wanted to learn more.
Lwin was drawn to Jesus and Pastor Kumar’s kindness, and he returned to the pastor’s house a week later to seek prayer and advice. Pastor Kumar prayed with him and read 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” From that day on, Lwin felt refreshed and free of all of life’s burdens and struggles.
The Comfort of Jesus and Fellowship
On November 22, 2016, Lwin became a member of Pastor Kumar’s church and publicly testified of his faith.
“Before I thought that drinking and smoking would cure my depression, but it did not,” Lwin said. “Instead, it affected my health and my life. But when I knew the love of God, God took all my addictions, stress and sadness.”
Lwin is no longer alone. He now has fellowship with Jesus and a new family with Pastor Kumar and his church. Lwin falls more in love with the Lord each time he reads and prays, and he is proud to be called a son of God. Lwin plans to serve Him unapologetically for the rest of his life.