There with every slide, I see God’s grace written all over it. It was God all along who had helped me.
Sustained by God Himself and by the prayers of the saints, on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 I passed my program’s qualifying exam. I have to write about it, mostly for my own sake, because God did something marvelous.
The day before, my colleague and I had to give an extended version of the presentation to faculty members from another department. The presentation was a success and everyone was very pleased with it. It was a good practice and I actually felt confident about my exam. The work had been done and I pretty much knew the topic well. What made me a little worried was actually how not worried I was, and whether I was being presumptuous or not.
So the day came. I was looking forward to this day because it would be a closure for an episode in my life that I was ready to close. Half an hour before my defense, I went into the exam room to set up and pray. I sat down and flipped through the slides to make sure everything looks okay, and at that very moment, I was flooded with a sense of amazement and wonder. There with every slide displayed on the screen, I could see God’s grace that had been sustaining me this past year both to do the work that went behind every slide, as well as granting the strength to create the slides themselves. The presentation was made under strenuous circumstances, involving much drama (that I will not get into). It was God’s grace that helped me survive a rough summer last year when I struggled through a time of mourning and healing, felt inadequate to do research, and was discontented about life in general. He brought me into the society of brilliant and able people whom I could work with so that much was accomplished in spite of me.
It was God’s grace that got me through a very challenging fall semester, with many sleepless nights, high academic pressure, and even spiritual struggle toward the end. It was God’s grace that saved me at GYC from my old life and resurrected me once again into a new life, ready to start afresh with the new year. And now I had come to this point knowing that the only reason I could stand and present this work, is God. Presumption was not possible, for I knew how reliant I was on Christ. I knew that He will help me with this exam; there was no doubt about it in my mind. There was not a tittle of nervousness. But instead, there was joy. My committee may listen to my presentation as an academic requirement, but in my heart it was my declaration of God’s goodness. This presentation was my act of worship; this was my testimony. And so I knelt again and asked one thing for my audience. If there was anything that they would see in me, I’d want them to see that I had been with Jesus and Jesus had been with me.
The exam went extremely well. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything go that well before. God gave me clarity of thought and insights to answer their questions; questions that I’m surprised I could answer even as I reflect on them now. It lasted for one and an half hour, and they told me I passed with flying colors. My advisor was very happy, saying that it was what he’d like to see in all of his students. I came back to the room and knelt down again to praise God for His divine presence and for such a miraculous experience. Needless to say I was beaming for the rest of the week, and of course I could not contain my joy when people asked how my exam went. I could not prevent myself from saying it was all God’s doing.
So this is my testimony, a memorial that I raise up to remind myself that God is indeed faithful. This experience is just the beginning, and I look forward to the rest of my years in Princeton.