“God Knew My Heart”
Vera Abandoned God, but He Never Forgot Her
By Bethany Lockett — Editorial Assistant
Vera Xu looked back on her past with amazement. For so long she pursued a lifestyle forsaking the God she knew as a child. But in that brokenness, God had a plan to reveal His amazing grace.
“I was born into a Christian family,” Vera said. “However, my faith in Jesus was not deeply rooted.”
When she left her hometown as a teenager, Vera left behind any connection with Christianity. But God never left Vera. For years, He quietly prepared her heart to return to Him.
When Vera met and married her husband, “Christianity” was simply a word from her past.
“I remember the first time entering his home as newlyweds I joined him in worshiping his ancestors, and from then on began a 25-year-long lifestyle of idol worship.”
In Vera’s culture, honoring ancestors is an important part of family life. She was taught that caring for dead relatives would bring health, peace, and prosperity to her living family.
“As the oldest daughter-in-law in the family, it was my responsibility to participate in all the rituals,” Vera explained. “Never ever did I imagine that I would one day turn back to believe in God.”
Vera’s time away from the Lord led her down a path of anxiety and hopelessness.
When her son left home to attend high school in a bigger city, she constantly worried. His friends seemed to be “good people,” but there was a problem: they were Christians. Then her son asked to be baptized. The faith Vera left behind years ago now threatened to tear her family apart.
What would her husband think? Would he accept this newfound faith?
As she nervously shared the news, Vera was shocked by her husband’s acceptance.
The God who is near
Although her fears were unspoken, God had known Vera’s heart. In His perfect timing, she recognized His enduring presence. The God she abandoned never left her side.
Vera gathered the courage to tell her husband she wanted to return to God.
“Amazingly, my husband was not against it, acknowledging that I had served his family and parents faithfully for the last 25 years. To hear this was truly God’s amazing grace to me!”
But there were still limits. Her husband did not want their life to change. He was willing to drive her to church, but not to attend with her. And the family idols remained.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Vera remembered, “except pray without ceasing. I prayed quietly and reverently for him.”
“I didn’t know what to do except pray without ceasing.”
Vera longed for her home to reflect her renewed faith, and so she prayed.
Miraculously, Vera’s husband had a complete change of heart. He allowed a pastor to remove the idols from their home, and in the process, he heard the gospel. As the final idol left its pedestal in their house, Vera’s husband accepted Christ.
“I so vividly remember my heart and my eyes overflowing with tears of joy – rejoicing in God’s amazing and gracious plan to bring us as husband and wife into a new marriage relationship before God!”
God’s timing for healing
As Vera and her family learned about their new faith, Vera discovered BSF.
“At first, I found everything very challenging; I was not familiar with the Bible, didn’t know what to write and didn’t have the courage to share during the discussion time,” Vera shared. “Gradually, as I prayed, the Holy Spirit guided me to first set aside 15 minutes, which then became 30 minutes, then one hour.”
This “quiet time of meditating on God’s Word” showed her the life-changing power of the Bible. She finally healed from the fear and despair that ruled her life. She cried tears of joy every time she worked on her lesson that year.
“Though my heavy heart issues were not spoken out loud, God, in His faithfulness, knew everything; He knew exactly what I needed, and through the prayers of my faithful fellow BSF sisters, the Holy Spirit continued to work in my heart to lift me up out of my worries, fears and anxieties,” Vera shared.
“Though my heavy heart issues were not spoken out loud, God, in His faithfulness, knew everything.”
God’s timing for us
In this year’s study, People of the Promise: Kingdom Divided, we wonder about God’s timing. Did God already fulfill his ancient prophecies? When will He fulfill others? Why does He wait so long to deliver His people?
We are often left with more questions than answers. But Vera’s story reminds us that when His people are lost, God is near. When He seems slow to act, His timing is perfect.
As humans, we struggle with patience. We long for deliverance and are discouraged when we wait. But we know this: God does not forget His people.
God does not forget His people.
If you are waiting on God today, know that He cares, He sees, and He is near.
As Vera saw in her own life, “God absolutely knows what circumstances will develop and mature His servants and He faithfully provides all that is needed. When we fix our eyes upon God and His mighty power, then we are ready to see God at work.”
Bethany Lockett is an editorial assistant at Bible Study Fellowship Headquarters. She is a third-generation BSF-er and native Texan. She joined BSF after graduating from Wheaton College where she studied spiritual discipleship in a digital world.
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This story encourages my heart so much!! Our son was raised to know and love Jesus Christ. We weren’t a perfect family, but always tried pointing our children to Christ in whatever circumstances they, or we as a family, were facing. After graduating from high school, and being responsible to make his own way in the world, we watched as he slowly drifted away from church due to past hurts he had experienced from some leaders in the student ministry of our home church. Disillusioned, and wounded , he began a search that has led him far away from his faith in Christ. This story gives my “mom heart” hope that God is still at work in his life, and in His perfect timing our son, A, now age 40 will one day find his way back home. My heart longs to hear him pray to the one True God, have hope in him, and have a zeal in his heart for him. Thank you for sharing this amazing story of hope, so others can be reminded of the truth that “He will never leave you or forsake you.” Our son accepted Christ as a young boy, so I trust and believe he is sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Thank you again!
I am encouraged by the story which ministers to my needs to keep trusting God for my restoration. Thank You Jesus.
Love the God story of restoration. Vera’s witness of God’s amazing grace for her and her family is such an encouragement! I’m also trying to share the Gospel with my sister who suffered a stroke after Christmas. Trust that God knows it all, and His timing is always perfect. Pray without ceasing.
My life was so busy for many years. I thought I was doing God’s work. Unfortunate circumstances ended that job and I was left with time on my hands. Wonderful mornings where in the quietness and in solitude I came to a better understanding of my own idols. Slowly I am trying to remove them from the shelves and pedestal to bring me in closer relationship with God who knows my heart. In the stillness and quietness of these precious moments I am learning to discern the Spirit’s prompting and make better decisions. I too pray hard for family and friends unsaved or needing a closer walk with Him. I know they each have their journey like me but, that God is faithful and His presence constant along the path of deliverance and for some restoration.
how do I receive this blog? thank you
Hi Cynthia – visit our blog homepage: https://bsfblog.org/ and you can subscribe!
Thank you for these blog additions to our study this year. God’s timing is always perfect, His power and yet tender care for us always present in our lives. The time we spend with Him in prayer and studying His word calms our anxious souls. God Never Fails!
Such great Godly words, I need to be reminded of, again!
Gods timing IS perfect.
Thankful that God knows our heart and mind, his plan for us is perfect!
Thank you for these messages!
I am always praying fort my children they were all brought up in faith ,but now do not follow it no longer ,they and their families do not attend church or be involved ,it’s hard for me to understand ,and yet I know that God never leaves us. E still and know that He is God,that’s always been my text.
And so enjoyed Vera’s story ,again a reminder of Gods faithfulness.
Thank you for sharing your story! It also was my son who first wanted to be baptized under the true Gospel. Then I, too, left the legalistic religion I was raised in. Now I wait in prayer for my husband… He was not as accepting as Vera’s husband, but God is the one working and nothing is too hard for him!
A powerful testimony of God’s unfailing love. God will always pursue us. Am blessed and encouraged.
I too am glad I came across BSF. I’m learning more, understanding more and knowing more about our holy God plus I get to meet new friends.
I am encouraged again from the testimony of Sis Vera. I am a mother of 2 grown up boys, one married and the younger not yet. I taught my children since their childhood and growing years the fear of the Lord. They accepted the Lord and testified, wet thru baptism. They were in the worship team for more than 10 years. Only to stray away from their faith as adults.I am grateful to God for encouraging me thru this testimony. Also he assured me thru one of our lessons that none can snatch then our of his hands.
Praising the Lord God Almighty.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. This is so encouraging and in some way like my own story. God is so faithful .
From Vera’s testimony, I have learned that God cares, God sees and God is near.
This was so uplifting to read! Praise God! Never give up hope on someone in your life. Pray, God has a plan for everyone.
Glory and praise to God.
His love endures forever and his mercy is unlimited.
Surely God’s word is the power of salvation to man and so long as we keep focused on His word, we can’t get lost as it is the lamp to our feet.
May God bless all the BSF team.
This is so encouraging! And in some ways, much like my own story! And now, like my own child’s story… I’m in the waiting, and trusting that God’s timing of restoration is indeed perfect. And that He is not far off from those who are His! Pray without ceasing!
Praise the Lord & grateful to hear there are many who have similar stories to tell about marrying into Asian families believing in worshipping ancestors & idols. This tentimony can surely be used as a testimony of truth for those who are still not trusting Jesus to pray for this to happen to them too. Let us pray together for all of them.
What an encouraging story of God’s faithfulness and pursuit of us. This is so encouraging as I pray for family members who are not in relationship with God. Yes, I agree that God’s timing is always perfect. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.
When we wait on the Lord to direct our path and be obedience to His word, He will bring our gifts to fruition.
God never left Vera’s heart. She always long to be in His Presence even while still worshiping Idols. What a
might and patience God we serve.
Beautiful story. Another example of God’s faithfulness. I can’t wait to join BSF. I need to know and understand more of the bible.
Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing this. I really needed to hear it! Connie
What an encouraging reminder that GOD IS FAITHFUL to keep HIS PROMISES. Our waiting and trusting will be rewarded beyond all we dare to hope or imagine. IN GOD’S TIME!!!
I have been with BSF for 15 years. I have always taken the time to study the notes and the questions and have been rewarded by the quality of the program.
This year’s new program is excellent but the amount of reading is far too great. This makes me lose my motivation. You cannot expect your members to spend 2 hours every day on this. Like most other participants, I have a family life and other commitments (and I am retired).
This year’s program should have spread over 2 years, halving the quantity of reading.
I strongly suggest that you quickly modify the program and reduce the amount of preparation.
Please consider that your members should not spend more than 45 minutes per day.
Such an encouragement testimony…reminding me that my God is faithful..
This is my first year as a BSF member and I am so glad I joined. However, I have been a little overwhelmed by the reading and lessons of People of the Promise: Kingdom Divided. The pages in my study book are almost all blank, I struggle with the lesson questions and often don’t answer even though I’ve read the notes and required chapters sometimes more than once. I feel embarrassed to have my study guide opened because I can see that so many others have written so much more than me … I find myself covering the blank spots with my hand. I shouldn’t feel this way because I really enjoy my group and I have been made to feel so welcome by every single person. I prayed about it this morning and almost immediately came across this blog! It’s exactly what I needed, God answered my prayer! I am so thankful to be a part of BSF. Thank you 🙏
Shannon, hang in there! I too had zero knowledge and felt the same way you are feeling for a long time in my group. God is so faithful to help us understand! This year my leader shared Luke 24:45 “then he (JESUS) opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures.” Even now whenever I am just “not getting it”, I’ll pray this and ask God to open my mind and to help me understand. Praying with you for understanding!
I to left the Christian community as a young man and now I’m enjoying the return.
This has brought to my study and views of His word, so much needed truths. I will patiently await His works in and through me. May my life and my husband’s life be fulfilled spiritually!
Thank you! I am concerned because my daughter in law has a similar ritual. A candle is placed next to her father’s picture since he passed a couple of years ago.The candle must be lid at all times. She also has statutes of Mary & Jesus in the living room. My son and grandson say they do not pray to the statues (idols) but I am concerned that these idols attract demons and bad spirits. My daughter in law suffers with anxiety and cries all the time, she misses her father. She spends lot on “improving” her physical appearance, my son drinks too much she nags he drinks. Could these statues and practices be contributing to their turmoil.
Maria – Vera’s story helped me see the power of prayer and patience. We will join you in praying for your son and daughter in law! So grateful they have you in their lives to encourage and pray!
What an honest sharing@
It has strengthen my faith. Thanks.
Wow, this story really puts into perspective what it means to leave behind one’s idols. To those of us from the West (North America, Europe), it may seem particularly “pagan” to honor one’s ancestors with such rituals and artifacts. But are we any better when we idolize celebrities, wealth, health, and success? The Bible defines anxiety as being of two minds, and I think that like Vera, many people are suffering from anxiety because they know life isn’t the way it was meant to be. When we focus first and foremost on one thing – the Kingdom of God and its righteousness – the rest falls into perspective.
Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share this story with BSF members, Vera!
Awesome way to put it!
This blog was so uplifting! As most Christians do, I have some situations that are so hard to wait for God’s perfect timing! Thank you for a reminder that it will come when it is God’s time to make it happen!
Very encouraging l have a future in Christ alone
I am truly encouraged and blessed by Vera’s story. Our God is gracious.
I too backslided and married a non Christian. While I returned to God; he remained adamant.
Praying that our family will worship Him together one day
Beautiful reminder of God’s redeeming love for us and His good and perfect plan for our lives.
What a beautiful testimony to the love and faithfulness of our dear heavenly father. As I just heard news of my granddaughter, beginning a relationship with a young man of a different faith, and have been so concerned, this is a reminder that God is ever at work in our lives, and for us to pray fervently for one another
I am thankful that I am on this site hearing your stories..good for the somewhat broken
Kathy – thank you for that encouragement. Grateful for you!
Truly inspiring story of Vera.
Wonderful testimony. With similar experience still there are more questions to be firm in faith.kindly let me know how to join BSF.
You can go to bsfinternational.org to find an in person class near you, or an online class.
Our God is a God of HOPE and a prayer answering Father. Very inspiring and encouraging testimony. Leads me to fix my gaze on HIM and wait for His miracles.