Testimony of the Week: Christine Chen

Christine is a third year nursing major who enjoys having deep conversations & sipping oat milk lattes in coffee shops. 

Amazing grace

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost

But now I’m found

Was blind, but now I see

This is the story of amazing grace, how God saved a wretch like me. 

I was born into a loving family with God-fearing parents and attended my parents’ Chinese church for most of my childhood. I grew up learning about many of the bible stories, and I even memorized verses for my youth group’s yearly “Bible Challenge” event, but my heart was hardened to the truth from those words. I never doubted God’s existence, but I had a skewed view of God’s character and my own sinfulness. Really, I did not feel like I needed God because I was blind to my own sinfulness and depravity before His perfect holiness and sovereignty. 

Growing up, I prided myself on being a morally good person who was friendly, extroverted, and enthusiastic. In my early years of high school, I worshipped my reputation before man. The compliments of others fed my ego, and I genuinely thought I was better than most people. I continued to attend church twice a week and was an active member of my youth group, but I did so out of obligation and as an excuse to spend time with my friends (fun fact: they are still some of my closest friends to this day – God doesn’t waste anything!). 

As I progressed in high school, I lived for myself and the things of this world. I was consumed with academic success and the approval of man. My GPA and the praise of others determined my happiness, and as a result, I was never satisfied. My selfish heart always wanted more than what was meant to be sought after in this world. In Jeremiah 17:9 it says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” My heart is certainly no exception. 

In the summer of my sophomore year of high school, I fell into a depressive episode. That summer, I was preparing to take the SAT, and there was not a day that went by where I did not think about college. I measured myself to a worldly standard and coveted my personal success in life. In the eyes of man, I would never be good enough. Never smart enough, pretty enough, or talented enough. Never enough. Blinded to my sinfulness, I was filled with egocentric thoughts, building and basking in a kingdom of self. This self-focused way of living eventually led me to this low point in my life. In retrospect, this dark time in my life was God’s blessing in disguise. 

During this time, It was difficult for me to get out of bed every morning because I felt insignificant. Yet even though I felt hopeless, by the grace of God, I somehow still had hope in my heart. I clung to the possibility that my life was not going to end in despair, and that I was meant for something greater than myself. Thankfully, this rang true. 

I realized that living for myself and my desires was a hopeless endeavor. I would always want more, and I would never be satisfied or content.The slight yearning in my heart that possibly, just possibly, my life was meant to be lived for something much greater than myself, kept me searching for God. And search, I did. 

In my junior year of high school, I decided to find a Bible-believing church in San Diego, and my older sister, a GOC alumnus, recommended Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego to me. I fondly recall the first time I attended LBCSD and heard Pastor Patrick preach. I remember hearing the gospel for what felt like the first time. After service, I remember feeling terrible but genuinely repentant. I was sorry for the ways that I lived for myself and thought nothing about God. God convicted me of my sinful state, and I realized that I needed to repent and transform internally. God opened my eyes to His word, and I began to find meaning in every verse I read. I was in awe of a gracious and holy God who loves sinners despite our obvious and apparent shortcomings. Romans 5:8 gripped my heart. 

Romans 5:8

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

God, holy God, who knows how deeply we offend Him as wretched sinners sent His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, who is deserving of no wrong, who deserves our pure worship, who chose to love us. That is amazing grace.

From that season forward, I was so utterly convinced of God’s goodness and kindness in my life. I was in desperate need for God. I did nothing to deserve His kindness and care. In fact, I rebelled against Him, and yet He preserved me in spite of my sinfulness. 

I joined the youth group at LBCSD, learned so much about the Bible, experienced the sweet joys of being served by hospitable families, met up with many older godly women who I’m still very close to, babysat children from the church, and went on late night boba runs with college students after bible study. Through all of this, I experienced the bliss of being a part of a Gospel- centered, Bible-believing church family that has so much love for God and each other for the first time. I became a member of LBCSD the fall of my senior year and got baptized the following Spring. Needless to say, I am so glad God used this church as a part of my testimony to saving faith. 

In my time in college, I can say with confidence that my love for God and hatred for sin only increases with each passing day. As a result of God’s great love for His people, I strive to love others more perfectly. My life is characterized by Psalm 16:11, the joy that comes from God.

Psalm 16:11

“You make known to me the path of life;

    in your presence there is fullness of joy;

    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Now, I feel significant not because of my worldly achievements but because my identity is in Christ, not in the things of this world, and I can boldly proclaim that I am a daughter of God. While I still struggle with battling my anxiety, worldliness, pride, and sin, as I will until the day I die, I know that this is not a hopeless battle; it is a battle that I joyfully endure because the Lord, my God will help me overcome it. I take comfort in the promises of John 16:33.

John 16:33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

My constant prayer for my life is Psalm 19:14.

Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” 

While there are many areas for growth in my life (..like a LOT y’all), I’m excited to see how God will continue to shape, sanctify, and use my life for His glory. Soli deo gloria. 

2 Corinthians 4:16 

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

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