I grew up in a Christian family and was taught about God from a young age – and always considered myself a Christian. The certainty that God was there and loved and cared for me and wanted to know me personally was due to the many changed lives and experiences that I saw growing up in China until I was 6 and then later on in life as well – showing me how God really did work in peoples lives.
However, while I was taught about God by my parents it wasn’t until I was older than I truly realised what being a Christian meant and how significant my own sin was. This along with realising how broken the world is helped me to realise how much I needed forgiveness and to trust in Jesus' death for me on the cross to allow me to be right with God.
Over time this has helped me to realise the true meaning of Christianity – that it is not about doing good works to go to heaven, being happy and following rules to be a good person – but trusting in Jesus' death and resurrection to allow our sins to be forgiven and to truly know God himself. I also came to see the extent of God’s mercy and grace in allowing me to receive this forgiveness without having to earn it or do anything other than trust in Jesus.
As a result, it has led me to see just how meaningless it is chasing material possessions or our own ambitions in this world as we can never satisfy ourselves as these things do not last. It has shown me that there is nothing we can fear in this world or in death, as ultimately God is in control and everything is in his hands.
Over my life I have come to know God better at various times, with the miraculous healing and hearing of a voice telling me I would get better after an asthma attack in a remote location in China when I was about 6, helping to assure me of God’s presence as well as reminding me of how short life is and how little control we have over any of it. As well as this, I feel like I have come to realise how important it is to put God first in all areas of my life and how His plans are superior to anything I could come up with.
So despite this year being quite difficult in a number of ways for me (relationships, uni plans, sister leaving, getting a job and basically growing up etc) I have been able to clearly see how God has his own plans for me and that I don’t need to worry. I also had times this year when I struggled a lot with doubts regarding my faith and whether Christianity was true – however, after spending a lot of time reading and looking for evidence I became convinced that there is enough proof for the authenticity of the bible and Jesus' death and resurrection and that Christianity supports the reality of this world best – while also providing a meaning for life and true assurance.
So overall, my faith in Christ and trust in his sacrifice for me has taught me that I should have no fear in life and no fear in death as there is nothing on this earth or after death that can harm me eternally.