My journey began on Easter Monday of 1995 when I was born to a Christian mother from Taiwan and an atheist father from England. From a young age, my mother would take me along to church where I would attend kids church, a place I can remember talking too much and mucking about. Whilst many children growing up with a Christian parentage attend church and ultimately become Christian because of their family connection, this didn’t really happen for me.
If we skip forward a few years to 2000, the year I started school and the year of the best Olympic games ever, I’m probably a little biased, I met my first school friend Benjamin. On my first day of school, I was a trifle upset about being left in this unfamiliar place with my mum driving off without me! Seeing me looking a little downcast, Ben came up and we became good friends over the next couple of years of primary school. Now, Ben was a strong Christian, who would often talk to me about what a relationship with God, as a Christian, really meant. At the time, I thought being a Christian was trying to do the right thing and going along to church on Sunday was just something I did because mum did. I hadn’t really thought things through too deeply.
Over time Ben explained to me what being a Christian really meant, which looking back on it was amazing for a 6 to 7 year old. Ben explained that being a Christian meant acknowledging that I was a sinner and that Jesus had taken the place for my sins. What I had to do was ask Jesus for forgiveness and to come into my heart as my Lord and Saviour. During a lunchtime in the school playground, in 2002, Ben prayed with me and I did just that. I was seven years old at the time, so it would be great if I could cut the story there but, as I alluded to earlier, becoming a Christian is a journey of faith.
From the time I became a Christian, God has worked in my life to help me overcome the sins which held me down. Over time my mum assures me that we stopped arguing and I started behaving myself better at school.
Whilst change is often slow and the shroud of time makes it difficult to observe, I can definitely say that God’s guiding hand has been present in my life ever since I became a Christian. I thought it would be good to share how I came to be in Cambridge in a roundabout kind of way.
If we skip forward a few more years to 2007, I commenced high school. I didn’t particularly enjoy my first high school, I felt it was run closer to a totalitarian regime than a Christian organisation. This, combined with becoming a teenager and not really getting on with the kids in my age group at youth group, acted as a bit of a speed bump to my faith. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a Christian when other Christians seemed to be displaying behaviour which was incompatible with the whole ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ notion I had been taught at church my whole life.
This was a valuable experience which helped me look deeply at myself and how much I still needed to change. Many non-Christian friends and family I have spoken to have said they have been disappointed by how people identifying themselves as ‘Christians’ act in their everyday lives. This experience allowed me to sympathise with them and explain that being a Christian doesn’t suddenly make us perfect, we are still human. The difference is that someone truly transformed in Christ should be seeking and praying for God to work within them to be more reflective of Jesus.
For the most part of my time at school though I wasn’t the ‘sharpest tool in the shed’. In primary school I tended to be towards the bottom of my class and struggled along through early high school. In comparing myself with others, I didn’t see myself as at all academic. Notwithstanding, there was one subject that I really enjoyed: commerce. Upon discovering this, I worked out that if I fought my way through school, I could go on and found a great business and be the next Richard Branson. After moving to the Southern Highlands, I continued to harbour this ambition, but God placed some really influential teachers in my life which helped me drastically improve my schoolwork. By the end of high school, I was an averagely good student and managed to scrape myself into a good business school.
My first day of university was quite a shock. After being told by a friend how university is a bludge, where I could get on with founding my business whilst picking up a degree, I found myself being overwhelmed and told that a large portion of the class would fail. This left me wondering what I had gotten myself into and wanting to hit the evacuation button. By God’s providence and a fair deal of hard work, I managed to get through my first semester and when I saw my results, I nearly fell off my chair. I had never seen the words “High Distinction” in my life! Unbeknown at the time this was my worst semester as an undergraduate. Between this and my new-found enjoyment of share trading, I felt that maybe I could make my millions in the financial sector.
This sentiment lasted through to about the half way mark of my first degree. After being told that a company’s aim is to “maximise shareholder wealth” for about the hundredth time, I felt that there was much more to it. Whilst God had made me really good at cooking the books and understanding innovative financial techniques, I began to feel uncomfortable using my talents in pursuit of somewhat extortive behaviour. Inside I felt that this couldn’t be right and ended up getting into a lot of debates about the theory of business with the academics teaching me. Not to say that this wasn’t a struggle as I still thought getting a high paying job was a marvellous idea.
In the end though I reached the conclusion of my degree and then completed honours, I realised that I had arrived at university with the lowest marks and graduated with the highest. I could tell that it was an achievement I could not have attained on my own. I felt that God had bestowed upon me a mind to question conventional thinking and address society’s biggest economic and social problems.
Being the son of an Englishman, I thought that there was no better place to go than Oxbridge, so I applied to different courses—I was rejected several times but accepted into the course I am currently reading. Whilst being rejected three times certainly dashed my ego, I could not be more grateful for those rejections. Looking back, the three courses from which I was rejected weren’t suitable to me and I am so thankful that God led me so clearly to where I am right now.
Leading up to Cambridge I was fixated on solving the world’s problems in one fell swoop. However, realisation began to dawn upon me that saving the world wasn’t really ever my job because Jesus had already done it. I had to remember that I’m Christopher, not Christ. Whilst I can use my talents in God’s service, John 15 makes it very clear that without Jesus I can’t do anything. Whilst alleviating societal and economic problems can help the world function better, the real problem is sin, which Jesus has fully addressed.
To conclude, God has truly watched over me, especially during the times I thought things weren’t going my way. It is only when I look back and see how failures were really blessings, could I see that God’s plans are better than anything I would have conceived myself. This has helped me to gradually trust God more and ultimately ask for God’s will to be done, a challenge which I shall continually face as events manifest in ways unsuited to my plans. My Business school education hasn’t left me, so I conclude with the words of motoring magnate Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” In the same way, we must accept that we generally don’t know what’s best for us and need to accept what God gives us to navigate our way through life.