Hi, I am Alvin, a third year PhD student from St John’s College. I was fortunate enough to attend Christian schools, both primary and secondary, back home in Hong Kong. Although I came across the concept of God quite early in life, I did not understand what God has to do with me. I remember every Easter I used to watch a video about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, but I did not understand what God had to do with my life.

My belief in God gradually developed during my teenage years. When I was a sixth former, I had to decide what to do in my life. At that time, I wanted to fully utilise my talents but I did not know what I wanted to be. I started to think about the God I came across at school and started to pray at night; and I was sure He would guide me if He really existed. From that time on, my relationship with God slowly developed. My path as an undergraduate was not straight. To cut a long story short, for numerous occasions in my life, I tried to take control of things around me. I got really anxious when things spun out of control. Things always end up very differently from what I planned, but gradually I saw God’s control over my life.

Last October, I was experiencing unusual difficulty in my PhD project. Everything in my life seemed to go out of control. One of my Christian friends commented “It seems like God is putting you through fire.” I tried everything I could to put things right, but nothing worked. Many friends prayed for me and went out of their way to help me. When I was about to give up hope, things suddenly became better. I suddenly realised how sinful I was in not trusting God to put things right and in my secret motivation to control everything in my life. My faith in Jesus Christ grew stronger after this.

I would like to share with you one of my favourite passage from Romans. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” God challenges those He loves by constantly testing their faith, from which we develop a stronger faith and hope in him.