I’ve always struggled with my health. When I was in second grade, it got so bad that my parents decided to pull me out of formal school. They went on to homeschool me from third grade all the way until I graduated high school.
At that time, homeschooling was almost unheard of in Indonesia. There were no official institutions for education outside the formal school system, and there were few materials and resources about educating your child yourself. However, my parents were convinced that prioritizing my health and giving me time to learn the Bible were crucial for me (Ps. 119:9; Prov. 22:6).
Even though the future seemed bleak, they still made that decision. God gave them the understanding that if we trusted him only when things were safe and stepped forward only when everything was under control, we’d never follow him (Ps. 37:5).
Benefits of Homeschooling
I discovered early on that being homeschooled came with its perks. For one thing, there were drastically fewer activities. This meant fewer distractions. I’m sure every young teen has had questions about his or her identity and purpose in life, but maybe those questions weren’t pondered over and answered seriously.
Being homeschooled allowed for more time to think over those big questions and search for answers—to read books, consider what I’d read, and write down my thoughts. There was no rush and my days weren’t packed full of activities.
If we trusted God only when things were safe and stepped forward only when everything was under control, we’d never follow him.
My parents picked out my curriculum themselves. They knew what books I was reading, what courses I was taking, and what activities I took part in. Both my parents thought over what they wanted me to learn and were actively involved in what I was studying. They purposefully chose curricula that assigned lots of reading, and I’d discuss with them what I read.
They put me in a community where I was taught Bible doctrine with other kids. Part of the reason they chose to homeschool me in the first place was that given my health condition, I had no time to learn about God or study the Bible when I was still in formal school.
This meant my parents and I spent a great deal of time together. Even families who have a close relationship aren’t necessarily able to talk about spiritual things, but my parents were open to talking about God in our household (Deut. 6:6–9; 11:19; Ps. 78:4; Ex. 12:26–27). They created an atmosphere that welcomed me to ask all sorts of questions about God.
How Homeschooling Led Me to God
There was a time when I was skeptical of religion and had a cynical attitude toward life in general. My parents were devout Christians, but they didn’t panic when I bluntly stated I had doubts about the Christian faith and wanted to explore other religions and ideologies. They were open to their daughter questioning Christianity—not in spite of their deep conviction in their faith but because of it. They even bought me a Qur’an when I requested it. When I told them I was an atheist, they must have been so grieved and heartbroken, but they didn’t condemn me or look at me with disappointment.
If I hadn’t been homeschooled, I doubt I’d have followed up on those big questions about my purpose in life or my faith. There would have been no time to wrestle over them, and I might not have felt close enough to my parents to risk asking those kinds of questions. There would have been too many distractions. I’d probably have tried to find the answers myself or get them from my peers, who were just as foolish as I was (Prov. 13:20).
If I hadn’t been homeschooled, I doubt I’d have followed up on those big questions about my purpose in life or my faith.
Many nights were spent in discussions (that were more like debates) about sin, predestination, the Christian worldview, other religions’ worldviews, how God relates to me, and many more issues. These dinner table talks were one of the biggest factors—if not the biggest factor—setting the stage for my coming to faith in Christ.
Sometimes, young people born into Christian families walk away from the church and religion altogether because their big questions have been left unanswered by Christians (1 Pet. 3:15). Questions about our purpose in life, the reason for life at all, the problem of pain, the relevance of the Christian faith—such questions are often dismissed by adults, perhaps out of insufficient knowledge, willful ignorance, distraction, or a simple lack of time.
My parents didn’t dismiss my persistent questions. They didn’t brush away with annoyance my struggles (Col. 3:21). They didn’t give up on me, and they never gave up praying to God for me. There were moments when they were exhausted, discouraged, and out of patience, and they shed a lot of tears, but God gave them the strength to continue (Josh. 1:9).
Just after I graduated high school, something happened that made me see the filth of my sin and how far I’d fallen. I finally realized my condition was hopeless and that there was no way I could redeem myself. God drove me into a corner and saved me at the same time I stopped trying to save myself.
Following a Sovereign God
I came to a faith in Christ a few days before turning 18. I’m 22 now, and I’ve experienced joy in him. I’ve come to know that my health condition isn’t an accident or a curse but was purposefully designed by God for my salvation. God allowed me—no, he specially designed me—to have poor health. This was how he led my parents to see it wasn’t possible for me to continue in formal school. My illness was the only way my parents would’ve considered homeschooling.
God allowed me—no, he specially designed me—to have poor health.
I’m not saying homeschooling is absolutely better than formal school and that everyone should homeschool their kids. But it was definitely the best choice my parents made for me. It was an act of faith. My parents knew they weren’t all-wise and all-knowing, but they knew they had a God who is.
Our God isn’t only a sovereign God but also a God of providence. He’s in control of everything and has a good purpose behind it. I get goosebumps when I think of how God had it all planned out (Job 11:7–9). He led us and has provided sufficient grace for us to follow him (Phil. 4:19). He has made all things work for good (Rom. 8:28). Though the road seems winding and unclear, his purpose will stand and he’ll make everything beautiful in its time (Heb. 12:11; Ecc. 3:11).