Nothing Can Separate Us

As Sickness Struck, One Malaysian Woman Found Peace in God’s Nearness

“I could see the setting sun way beyond the high mountains.” Lillian Buran-Dorai scrawled the words across her prayer journal as tears rolled from her eyes. For Lillian, this scene didn’t represent a peaceful retreat; instead, it was her depiction of how far away God felt from her in her grief.

Lillian comes from Malaysia, which went into lockdown due to the coronavirus in mid-March 2020. As things shut down around her, Lillian’s world closed in on her. She got a call that her sister had been hospitalized with chest pains. Then, a nephew’s diabetes spiraled out of control and he too was rushed to the hospital. Every time Lillian’s phone rang, she feared the worst. She tried her best not to think about her other sister, a living time bomb of a tumor pressing on her brain stem.

Stuck at home, Lillian tried to pray but couldn’t get the words out right. She felt like she was carrying boulders of fear and anxiety. She identified with the words of the Psalmist, “How long must I endure trouble? How long will sorrow fill my heart day and night?” (Psalm 13:2).

When it seemed like she couldn’t bear another piece of bad news, more came: her eldest sister was diagnosed with end-stage pancreatic cancer. She was given less than six months to live. “Our hearts are broken and shattered to pieces,” says Lillian. “We are crying every day and calling God to intervene.”

God answered in an unlikely way—with a message of hope delivered through a fellow believer from Thailand. Lillian was invited to participate in an online Bible-based trauma healing group—a ministry that helps people lay their pain at the foot of the Cross and renew their relationship with Christ through Scripture.

In one session, Lillian received a message directly from God. “When our facilitator Peggy gently read Romans 8:38–39, the words jumped at me,” she says. “They were so apt and spoke right into my situation: ‘Nothing can separate us from His love.’”

Lillian realized through this verse that she didn’t have to overcome her grief and stress to get to God.

The promise she received from Romans was that nothing could separate her from God’s love. “Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! Not the ocean, not the valleys, not the high mountains! Nothing in all creation!” she declared.

This truth from God’s Word came alive to her personally. “I heard God speaking to me, ‘Put your burdens on Me. My yoke is easy’,” she says. “I felt the burden was lifted off my back as God Himself was carrying it for me.”

Today, Lillian is grateful for God’s presence and for His healing. Her sister was only given six months to live, but six months and six chemotherapy treatments later, Lillian says she’s “more alive than ever.” Lillian continues to pray daily, reminding herself that nothing—nothing!—will separate her from God’s love.

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