Looking on Hindsight
From the CCCF archives (written by Joe Sim) | Easter 2003
I came back to Cambridge, having missed this very fairy tale atmosphere and wanting very much to get back into its enchantment. The autumn trees were already shedding their crimson leaves and the streets were awashed with swirling foliage. Before long, winter; the trees bare their crowns, jutting their naked branches into the grey, lonely sky. And then fleeted by spring; coming and going, almost imperceptibly. Finally comes marvellous summer, what a roar of energy, what a flush of warmth, filling Cambridge with its cheeriness and joy!
4 years has passed hasn't it? 16 seasons have flown by. I feel not a little nostalgic, reminiscing what God has done in these 4 years; the people he had brought into and out of my life, the joys and struggles, the dreams and disappointments. In these few brief moments, I just want to share with my dear brothers and sisters, the things that God has led me through in my life.
For a significant part of my Cambridge life, I had faced the spectre of loneliness and depression - an incapacitating malady that robs the very joy of our faith. It seems that the Cambridge environment, for all its beauty and charm, seems to have a spiritually shrouded atmosphere that keep one in this debilitating condition. I guess the charismatic part of me tells me it is "Spiritual warfare" while the evangelical side of me chided me for over-spiritualising. I guess the reality is very much more complex than any of either group is willing to appreciate. Whatever the theological case, God seems to have used even such experienced moments of weakness to train me and strengthen my dependence on Him. To be honest, I find all these experiences excruciating, and wouldn't want to go through them again. Yet retrospectively thinking, there is a point in all these - I felt that it really helped me become very much more independent to a certain extent, and joyously dependent in another. When you are cleft more to the Lord during periods of despondence, you grow to become more secure in the Lord, more able to lead independent lives. Yet, you tend to appreciate friendships a whole lot more, you become willing to risk sharing your lives with others.
I used to be pretty enthusiastic about religion. In fact, in a certain sense of it, I was what you call - a nutcase. Such zealousness has an outward appearance of vitality, but is actually a skin deep form of faith, collapsible and non-durable. In due course of time, I guess God patiently dealt with my pretensions. He showed me the deceitfulness of my heart. Bartow Wylie once said something which I really agree - the harder you try to be good, the more you recognise the depravity you are currently in. Truly humble Christians are really few in numbers. How can you be such a good person, and yet at the same time, hate yourself so much because of the deceitfulness that you can't get rid off. What is impossible with man is possible with God. The only way is for you to encounter the Counsellor. He will guide you into all truth, towards simplicity, yet profundity. In my case, he agitated in me an acute sense of a lack in character, a lack of substance and depth. I had to unmask myself from the superficial religious cloak that I have hidden under. I guess I still have a lot to go. Character building is a life long thing, and I suspect that the Lord has much more in store for me when I start working.