Being Tested by God, I Was Faced with a Crisis but I Turned It Into an Opportunity
Have you ever been tested by God? For me, it was through being tested by God that I could come to completely believe in Him.
When I was in my first year of polytechnic, I was introduced to the Christian faith by my older sister. At that point in time, she was the only church-going Christian in our family and had taught me how to pray. As an obedient younger sister, I did as I was told and tried to pray five minutes a day. She had attempted to bring me to church for services, but I refused, stating that I was comfortable with my then lukewarm and half-believing relationship with God.
In the blink of an eye, my three years at polytechnic came to an end. It had also been three years of praying to God for five minutes a day. Two paths were before me: to head to university; or to find a job. As a fresh diploma holder, I was hoping to further my studies in Chemistry, something I was passionate in. I was confident that I could fulfil this dream – I graduated with a decent Grade Point Average (GPA) that would guarantee me a spot in local universities. What’s more, I had the perfect GPA in my final semester and I even landed on the Director’s List. I had already started imagining how my next phase of life would turn out in university.
Instead, the rejection that I faced burst my bubble. I applied to all the local universities but to my utter dismay, none of them got back to me. Even when I received responses, they were letters of rejection. My peers were in disbelief too, saying that it was impossible; I had a better GPA and we applied for the same courses but I didn’t manage to get a spot. Anxious and confused, I called the universities and tried to appeal but all I got were apologies and more rejection. My dreams crumbled and I was dismayed. My anxious parents asked me if I was going to waste one year of my life instead of heading off to university like my friends.
Lost and unsure of how to move on, I first pointed my accusatory finger at God. I didn’t identify as a ‘complete’ believer then, but I directed all my anger, confusion and frustration to Him.
My five-minute daily conversations morphed into bursts of furious questions. I remember asking Him: “God, why did you block my path? What should I do now? I’ve nowhere to go.” Instead of receiving assurance and answers, all I got was silence, a gulf between God and I.
However, determined to know the reason behind this bizarre situation I was in, I still continued to pray daily, asking God persistently about my predicament.
It didn’t help that my sister, whom I usually share my problems with, was in America on an university exchange. I felt even more down and empty because of her absence. I went through my fair share of grumbling and complaining to God, but as time passed and I turned to prayer more, I found myself coming to terms with my fate and found things to give thanks for instead.
One day as I was praying, I heard a voice. It told me to use this one year that I had to learn the Bible. I was doubtful, but I still obeyed the voice and talked to my sister about it. Fortunately, she was coming back to Singapore in a few weeks’ time, so I told her that I wanted to learn bible lessons upon her return.
This simple and small act of obedience was the spring board for the turning point in my life. Within a few months of learning the bible lessons, I came to believe completely in God and realised what my purpose in life is. This changed my perspective of life, and I stopped setting only short-term and aimless goals for my life. I gained foresight, and I also received strength and discipline to change myself. In the past, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get rid of negative thoughts and making unwise decisions.
Through the powerful words of the lessons and God’s working, I could rise above all these things that were holding me down and crawl out of the pit.
As if being reborn and beaming with new hope, I went on to work as an analyst at a chemical company for the next nine months. Thankfully, the bosses were happy with my work and gave me many learning opportunities. When the next window of university application opened, I expressed to my bosses my interest in pursuing a degree. Although they wanted me to stay to continue to work for the company, they respected and supported my decision to further my studies. They even went on to offer me a scholarship to partially pay for my tuition fees, if I were to receive offers from any university! It was the first time they had ever offered such an initiative.
This time, when the results for the university applications were released, I received offers from multiple universities to pursue a degree in the course that I wanted. I successfully matriculated into Nanyang Technological University in 2015. Due to the scholarship I received from my previous company, many opportunities opened up for me throughout my time in university. I was able to participate in not only one, but two school exchanges, and also participated in the research programme I had always wanted to experience.
This was what I had dreamt of when I graduated from polytechnic, but way better. This time, I had God, who is always with me.
All these were possible because I took the first step – to act on the sliver of opportunity presented to me, obeying the voice I heard. The time that I initially perceived as a time of crisis actually turned into a time of blessing for me, and God made my dreams come true in a bigger, different way from what I expected. My life thus became a living testimony of the Words just as it is stated in Matthew 6:33: “but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.