Testimony of Cing Sian Lian given at FEBC’s Chapel Hour, 10 January 2022
Greeting in the name of our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I would like to read from Psalm 115:1, “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”
You may wonder why I am standing here this morning. The reason why I am up here is to share the wonderful grace of God and His providence in my life. God has been so good to preserve my life all these years for His glory. By the grace of God, this is my eighth year of studies in FEBC. I would like to testify how the Lord has led me through all these years and how He has been helping me and preserving me and all of us.
I would like to thank God for the opportunity to study the Bible and biblical doctrines in this College. The Lord has made the way for me and He has carried me through all these years. Truly, God is the reason why I am here today. I thank God for allowing me to make friends with God’s people. I also thank God for the Church (True Life BPC) for supporting me in my studies.
Studying in FEBC has never been an easy thing. Being a student in this Bible College teaches me lots of lessons for physical life, but more so for spiritual life. I truly thank God for all the experiences He has given to each of us. It is not easy but the Lord has been helping us and guiding us to know Him better each day and His perfect will for us.
I also would like to thank God for the faithful lecturers, tutors, teachers and staff. They are truly good examples for me. I truly thank God for them. Some are old, some are afflicted with sickness and some are struggling just like all of us. Yet they never fail to serve God in their respective areas. That is the true testimony for me to know how to serve God faithfully, lovingly, firmly, yet humbly.
Although I may be a College senior, I am just like the rest of you who are learning to know God each day, and growing in faith daily. My seniority does not make me higher in anything than anyone else. In fact, I learn so much from all of you for which I thank God; they are good lifelong lessons.
I have to confess that I am not good at studying. I am a slow learner. Yet I thank God for His wonderful truth. Sadly, somehow the Word of God did not sink into my heart when I faced trials. I was not happy with life anymore and I was not happy with myself and I was not happy with others as well. That was when pride came in and self-pity crept in. God’s Word was no longer effective to me. All my thoughts were full of I, me, my, mine, myself instead of He, Him, His and Himself. Instead of God increasing, I made myself increase and God decrease. God is nowhere to be found in my life. All these things happened because I shifted my focus from God to the environment, just like the Apostle Peter who when walking on water shifted his focus from Christ to the surrounding situation; the result was he sank into the water. That is how I see myself as a person, shifting focus from Christ to the problem around (Matt 14:22–32).
Everything worsened when the pandemic started. I found it very difficult to cope with life in FEBC. I was very depressed, stressful and bitter in my heart for no reason (it was actually due to pride). I was broken inside. The uneasy relations with friends added fuel to my self-pity. It came to the point where I could no longer bear it anymore; so much so that I thought of taking my own life. It was like, “Enough is enough! There is no way for me to be here and suffer alone.” I began to have panic attacks, anxiety and depression. It affected my body so badly.
I was not able to share my problems with anyone because all of us are going through the same intense training. I was like, “Okay, I will try my best to keep all the problems to myself.” Then there came another thought which was to quit my studies. I even thought it was okay to quit from God’s call if one could not bear it. This must be God’s will for me to take some rest since I am suffering too much. It is best for me to go home and rest for emotional healing, and to recover from mental suffering by living a peaceful life. I was so confident of my own decision. So, I emailed our Principal on the Day of Prayer (3 January 2022) to allow me to go back home. Then all things seem to go smoothly. I thought finally the Lord has answered my prayer. I was so proud of myself to be able to escape from this training zone after taking all the necessary steps that had to be done. I got my tickets. I just needed to cancel my student pass. I packed my bags. I am ready to go home!
The truth is I was deceiving myself. The Lord had mercy on me by allowing friends to reach out to me to soften my hardening attitude. After they heard I was going back to Myanmar, they started to reach out to me one after another, counselling me, encouraging me to press on and praying for me on the spot. At first, I was unhappy with them because I felt like, “Why are these people trying to stop my way?” I did not quite like their prayers at that point in time. I tried to justify myself that it was best for me to go back home. Literally, I was trying to escape from everyone. But God made sure they reached out to me and for me to realise my unteachableness.
On 4 January 2022, as I went to the library to return the books I had borrowed, I saw the new students studying very hard and doing their best for the Lord. That brought me back to my first year in FEBC and my calling and my testimony that I made before God. I could not help but burst into tears. That is where all my realisation came in. It humbled me to the dust and I questioned myself, “God has been so good to me and I just try to escape? Am I glorifying God through this action? Am I doing right before God? Am I following God’s will?” There came an irresistible conviction that I cannot go but stay put in this place. I now understand what it means to experience the irresistible call of God. No matter how much I tried to distract myself with the thought of going back home, the Lord did not give me peace until I surrendered myself to Him and say, “Lord, here I am, please forgive me.” After that, I started to have peace from God. From then, I started to realise my mistake on decisions based on my feelings and my own pleasure which I thought was God’s will. I now understand what James 5:16 means, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
God also spoke to me in a very intimate way through books, passages from the Bible and also through the preaching of God’s Word. Two days ago (4 January 2022), I was reading the book on “Esther: Triumph of God’s Sovereignty” by John Whitcomb which tells me that in life there is “tragedy and yet hope (in Christ),” “Divine rejection and yet Divine providence.” The exhortation on the Day of Prayer (3 January 2022) is another reminder for me that “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62). Another reminder is the example of Balaam in Numbers 23 for he was greedy for his own pleasure and followed his own will and his life was miserable and God did not bless Him at all. Finally from the example of Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22, I learned that obedience to God is better than sacrificing my studies for my own pleasure. God answered the righteous prayer which was uttered by friends although I did not like and understand it at first. I thank God for all my friends near and far. They have been a great blessing to me to build me up in the knowledge of God and His Word. God’s way is always perfect and beautifully done. Although we may not understand God’s will, He will make sure to bring us back if we are truly His children. The mercy and grace of God is something which you can learn from my failure and God’s faithfulness. Therefore, I thank God very much for saving my life from sin and misery.
The Lord allowed all these things to happen for a reason. Although it was my disappointment yet it became God’s appointment to bring about His glory. Although I failed, yet God never fails for His mercy endures forever. I have no word to say other than “Thank you Lord”. He is the reason for my living. “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8). “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Tim 1:15). Therefore, let us press on toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14). “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (Jas 1:12). “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thess 5:24).
Let us weep now that we may rejoice later in the day of the Lord to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” All glory and honour be to God alone! May God bless us! Thank you.
The Chinese word above means “auspicious” which combines two characters—“God” and “Lamb”. Having God’s Lamb is auspicious! Why? Because it brings forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to God! Jesus Christ is God’s Lamb. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). Share the above CNY gospel tract to family and friends.Available at the reception table.
Pastor & Session wish one and all a blessed Lunar New Year in the Lord.
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