I grew up in China as a free thinker and aspiring scientist. At the age of 16 I went to study in Singapore, where I began to be introduced to Christianity. Despite my feelings of incomprension and repulsion for the first two years, God turned my heart in a surprising way. During the 2003 Easter service at a friend’s church, I was greatly moved by the sermon, which preached that Jesus Christ as our Saviour can free us from enslavement and emptiness in life. Although I was not sure what exactly constituted enslavement and emptiness, I felt the inexplicable desire for whatever changes Jesus Christ as my Saviour would bring into my life. So I responded to the altar call and said the sinners' prayer.
Becoming a Christian did bring changes. Some were experienced as pleasant and refreshing, while others entailed difficult or even painful realignment of pre-existing personal convictions to what God’s word has to say. For me the greatest challenge arose in 2009. I realized that despite using the phrase ‘Lord Jesus’ all the time, I had never really grasped the implication of Jesus being my Lord. When told explicitly that His Lordship required my complete submission to His will, I distinctly felt unwilling and unable to do so. At that time I was working hard for my Honours degree and seeking admission into PhD programs. With a strong sense of charting and working towards my future, I was reluctant to let go of the notion that I hold my life in my own hands. When I got admitted into Cambridge, I took it as proof that I was entitled to pursuing whatever I wanted, and that with sufficient personal efforts I could obtain whatever I pursued.
Once in Cambridge, I quickly became frustrated and intimidated by the challenging work of the PhD. Overcome by perpetual, irrational doubts over my results, I started losing sight of the purpose of my labour. No matter how I tried, I could not salvage my motivation from the grip of depression and fatigue. Clearly I had been very wrong in thinking that I could keep life under my own control through my own work: I could not even control my mind and body, not to mention so many factors influencing the outcome of my experiments. I started suspecting that coming to Cambridge was a big mistake, committed because of my disregard of God in my decision making.
Amazingly, God turned my experience in Cambridge into a spiritual journey towards knowing Him better. When all will power and strength seemed depleted, when I felt paralysed with nothing to do to improve my own situation, I started to see God’s power and grace, to sense His providence and protection as He carried me through difficult times. Every day was a live illustration of “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. In my final year I was inducted by my flat-mate Faye into the Christian Graduate Society Bible study group. Here an ever growing group of friends engage in dynamic discussions about God’s word under the hospitality and guidance of John and Di Lister. As we sought first spiritual nourishment, many other good things were added to us, such as intellectual satisfaction, emotional support and friendship. From there God further led me back to a regular church life at Eden.
Looking back, I realized that sometimes I took too much pride in independence to submit my will to God’s will, and other times I took too much pride in self-sufficiency to admit that I have unmet needs which God alone can satisfy. How wonderful it is then, to discover that when I place both my obedience and my trust in God, He frees me from the enslavement by pride, and from the emptiness of an unfulfilled ego.
Eleven years after I first said the Sinner’s Prayer, I am finally confident to make this open declaration of my faith, acknowledging Jesus Christ as not only my Saviour, but also my Lord. I am glad and grateful that God has brought me through what I have gone through, to where I am today, and I look forward to a closer walk with Him to where He will lead me in future.