If you enjoy nature, adventure and the great outdoors, you would probably get along well with Divan van der Watt. The young Capetonian is an energetic outdoor lover whose list of hobbies includes hiking, rock-climbing, kayaking, cycling, squash, and pretty much anything that gets the adrenalin going. Divan is also a committed Christian who loves God and radiates the joy that comes from his relationship with Jesus. However, things were not always this way.
Raised in a godly home, Divan came to know Christ personally at the age of nine. The scripture that God used to touch his heart was John 1:12 – “To all who did receive Him [Jesus], who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” Understanding that God sent His Son into the world to save those who receive Him, he believed the gospel and opened his heart to Jesus.
Divan began to grow spiritually, but in his youth something happened that radically shook his faith. His father suddenly died. “My dad and I had been out jogging that morning. When we arrived back home he said that he wasn’t feeling well. Then suddenly he had a heart-attack and died.”
Losing the dearest person in his life was a blow. “In that moment my world was turned upside-down. I couldn’t understand why God allowed this.”
For years Divan struggled to come to terms with the tragedy. Leaving school, he tried to mask the pain by pouring himself into a career and other ventures. His relationship with God was no longer a priority.
Divan continued this way for many years. But in 2010 God used a stranger in a foreign country to rekindle his faith. “On a business trip to Kenya I met a man at the hotel where I was staying. Speaking to me about God, he asked me point-blank, ‘What would happen to you if your flight back to South Africa never makes it?’ Although I was somewhat shaken by his question, the Lord reminded me of the scripture verse He first used to save me in my childhood. I was assured that I had eternal life! Nevertheless, I prayed and asked God to help me to make Him my priority in life.”
This simple prayer opened the door for God to do a wonderful work of healing in Divan’s life. Today, the pain he once felt so intensely has been replaced by a deep sense of peace and joy. Having readjusted his priorities, Divan says: “I have found that the greatest needs in my life can never be met by worldly attainments but only by a loving relationship with my Heavenly Father.”