The past two years have been a most gruelling experience. There were days where my mind was so saturated with theories, research ideas and assignment outlines that I wanted to prick my brain bubble to relieve some mental tension. There were nights where I struggled to keep my eyes and my thoughts on the readings, while fighting futile battles against my listless mind. Like a skipped music track, there were periods absent from my memory, which will never be like what it was.
But those days are over now, and I wondered how I have survived. I do remember receiving the text messages from friends encouraging me in my studies. I recall the occasions where I was asked out for meals by concerned people. I can also think of the times where I cried out to God for strength and help and He answered.
In all honesty, I know that my devotional time with God suffered during this period. Setting aside a dedicated time to read the Bible and pray was not my priority and it was difficult to serve wholeheartedly when there was irregular spiritual input. But I have learnt to relate to God in a different way. I grew to appreciate the foundation built on God’s word when I clung onto memorised verses in desperation. I have learnt to share my struggles with people more willingly, asking them for prayer. I was also humbled when I realised how unkind I was when I judged why people struggled when they were doing their part-time studies before I did.
As we go through different seasons of life, we are given opportunities to learn about ourselves and grow. Likewise for our relationship with God. I do not regret giving these two years for my part-time studies because I have known God’s faithfulness and goodness deeper. These were and are given to me because He’s a loving God, not because I was dutiful. The gospel I believe in is not a gospel of works but a gospel of grace.