I was brought up in mainland China in a materialistic and atheistic environment. I was taught to believe that everything will disappear after death – no more happiness and no more pain. I was also taught that the purpose of life is to realise all personal ambitions.
After leaving school I was blessed with favourable career opportunities. However, success and financial satisfaction did not bring me happiness. Rather, deep in my heart, I felt lost and perplexed.
I did not know how to find joy and contentment. I wondered whether life is ultimately an endless suffering. With all these questions, I came to the UK to continue my education.
I joined the alpha course run by a Chinese Christian fellowship. There I saw pure and loving relationships among people. As a result, I soon fell in love with church-related activities. But I still could not convince myself that there is indeed a real God in the universe.
Some people explained that Christianity provides spiritual support, especially to people like me who don’t have many friends or family to turn to. I remember vividly telling a friend that I was such a strong-willed person that I didn’t needany additional spiritual support.
However, one day in February 2004, I suddenly felt an intolerable sense of spiritual vulnerability. Nothing bad was happening in my life, but the feeling of weakness was so strong that I longed for something to grasp and hold on to.
One evening in March, I read the Bible in my room alone. Suddenly, I knelt on the floor and burst into tears. I felt God was right there and I was kneeling before him – knowing that I was full of sin, arrogance and selfishness.
After that special evening, I pondered again about the real purpose of my life. I began to examine and reflect on my behaviour – and modify it accordingly. But the sins inside me bothered me deeply. I could not get a single moment of relief from them.
I went to a Chinese conference at Easter. There I talked with a leader for a whole afternoon. I told her how I had been struggling on a spiritual journey for almost three years.
On hearing my story, she said, ‘Xiuhua, God really loves you. No matter how far you have gone from him, he is still looking after you and taking care of you. At least today he brings you to this conference and arranges this conversation between us. Now, would you humbly come before God and accept him as the Saviour of your life?’
My eyes became wet and I began praying: ‘My dear Father, your Son was crucified on the cross because of my sin. His precious blood can clean up all my unrighteousness. I thank you for forgiving my sin. I want to open my heart to accept you as the Saviour of my life. I beg you to govern every aspect of my life, and make me the person you want me to be’.
I felt totally released. The old self was crucified with Jesus Christ on the cross and the new self will grow under his guidance and love. I am thirsty for the Bible, praying and seeking God’s direction. Each day of my new life, I sense that God is with me. He answers my prayer. He strengthens me when I feel weak. He gives me joy when I become sad. He shows me hope when I am disappointed.
I thank God for giving me a completely new life – one that is eternal. He has washed away my sin and made me a new person.