I Found the Truth

Every time I look back into my life, I realize that God has mysteriously drawn me to His gracious throne step by step. I believe the Lord first called me when I was very young - even before I started school. A kid at this age did not have a concept about time; it seemed to endlessly flow, leaving behind no mark, no trace. But my "eternity" seemed to come to a stop when I saw a coffin lying in the middle of the living room of the house next door. I was told the old man, whom I knew, just passed away. (Vietnamese has always been accustomed to have their dead prepared in their house instead of in a funeral home as in Western countries. I believe home funeral service is still preferred until now.) I shivered while questioning myself what had happened to him and what would happen to him next.

Shortly, I learned that being dead was no longer alive, nor seen. Then, I realized that all men would eventually die, and death would come to me someday like the old man. The thought was so threatening. The thought about life and death had haunted and threatened me until I started school. My preschool was Catholic, taught by nuns, in French language. I could remember none of the Bible stories nuns recited to me but two: the creation and the crucifixion. I had been wondering why someone was called God in the creation story, and then much later, someone else was called God too and died on the cross. But anyway, the nun who was my preschool teacher - her name was Francois – as I recall, asked me to ask my parents to allow me to be baptized. I told her I would ask my grandmother who seemed to be the spiritual leader of my family at that time.

I came back to nun Francois and told her my grandmother said “no” since I would abandon worshiping my ancestors after I was converted to Catholicism. In school I was doing quite well. Due to busy schedule, the issue about life, death and God was suppressed until the Lord sent me His second signal. When I was fourteen, my father passed away because of cancer. He suffered six months on sick bed, screaming, yelling while battling the pain. Just one month before he died, he asked a neighbor of ours who was a Catholic to invite a Catholic priest to come to his side. I overheard the two men whispered something behind closed door. After the meeting with the priest, my father seemed to be quieter. He sounded something like prayers. I was very curious, and continually asked myself what had happened to him.

On his death bed, my father also insisted me to read some of his favorite books. After he passed away, I tried to reorganize his bookshelf with an intention to find the books he wanted me to read. But I ran into another one whose title was "Siêu Hình Học" (Metaphysics in English). I misunderstood the meaning of the title as some sort of "superior geometry." Reading through the book I realized that the book was about some mystery in the universe where we live, about its origin, about a possible creator, about mankind’s destiny. I kept reading it with a strong desire to find out where I came from, where I was going to. But to my discouragement, at the end of the book, the author concluded that human mind could not know God. Upon the conclusion, I set the book aside.

After the communists took over the whole country (04/30/1975), we were indoctrinated with dialectic materialism and Darwinism. The subject we spent most time learning and discussing was evolutionism. I was so involved in the study since it made a "perfect sense" about human origin. But after a while, I was disappointed. The explanations about genes, DNA, RNA, the chemicals in our body, the evolution, so on and so forth did not satisfy my desire to know who I was and where I came from and where I was going to.
Quickly, I set aside Darwinism along with dialectic materialism. After this, I was fully convinced that man could not know God since our brain power is so limited. Few years later, the thirst and hunger for knowing my destiny came back. This time I tried religion(s) since human intelligence had failed me. I studied a book on an introduction to Buddhism, written by a university professor, who was also a Catholic priest. (By the way, the book was purely intellectual. It did not reflect the author’s personal belief.) The book was not lengthy. Yet, it was difficult since it was full of Buddhist terminology. But as I was reading through the first chapter I realized that Buddha never admitted he was God and he did not know God either. He pointed his finger to the moon and said to his disciple: "My finger points to the moon, but I am not the moon."

I did not read the book further, knowing that it would not provide an answer to my question. With this, it looked like it was the end of my search for my origin and destiny since all attempts had failed me. But a lady neighbor of mine came to my rescue by introducing me to a Catholic church (Giòng Chúa Cứu Thế, Saigon, Vietnam) for catechism training. This class was designed for marrying couples with one person being a Catholic and the other a non-believer. (I had to overcome the fear of being sighted by a friend who might see me going to this class and misperceived that I was getting married!) The class was divided into two sessions: God the Creator, and God the Savior. The priest who taught the first session asked the class whether or not it was correct to say God lived from the negative infinite time to the positive infinite time. Most people said yes, but to my surprise he said no. His explanation was that if God was like that He still had yesterday, today and tomorrow. If He was subject to time, He needed to learn to know. But God did not learn to know; He just know. The idea came to my mind like a flash of enlightenment. It was so simple, yet truthful.

In the second session, the priest asked the class whom God came to the world for. The class said the righteous. He did not give any comment on that but rather, pointed the class to a bible verse. When I returned home, I secretly opened my little bible and found the verses that changed my life forever: Luke 5: 31 Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." Luke 5: 32 [Jesus said] "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Oh Lord Jesus, I am so very happy! Praise You, Lord, Praise You! I found You, I found myself. My spirit had not been at rest until I found the Truth. With this Bible verse, the Lord gave me enough strength to break my family’s tradition of ancestor worshiping.

Unfortunately, I set myself into a different tradition: Catholicism. Then, it took me a while to find out that Catholic teachings were not Biblical. I felt that I needed to come to the Lord freely as a son to the Father without having to go to any rite at all. After few years of experiencing much pain, for the second time, I was able to break tradition again - Catholicism - to come to the Lord as a free man. I was re-baptized in a Christian Church. This time I experienced how I had died with Christ and would rise again with Him someday.

Huy Anh Le