Peter – no greater joy

I became a Christian when I was quite young, maybe 5 or 6 years old, after my mum clearly explained to me what Christianity was about. Even though I was so young I really believe that I had a good understanding of what God had done for me. I actually remember running round to the front of my house at that age on a warm, sunny day and calling out to God from the bottom of my heart that I would live for Him. I’m not sure exactly what made me want to be outside when I prayed it (possibly because in my young faith I felt closer to God outside or because I wanted to mark the special occasion) but what I do know is that when I said it, I really meant it.

Peter and his mum

Many people when looking back on their life can identify with decisions that have significantly impacted their life – for better or for worse. Well, I can truthfully say that becoming a Christian has been the single most important and best decision I have ever made. I cannot imagine the emptiness I would feel without Him.

God has been very real to me throughout my life and has given it purpose and meaning. Life is not a series of unguided events that happen randomly but instead God is in control and cares so deeply about each one of us. Through calling out to Him I have seen countless prayers answered. Being a Christian has not made me immune to hardships but God has never abandoned me and has always graciously sustained me through such times with the presence of His peace and love. Often, difficult times in my life have actually been bittersweet. It’s during these times that I have to rely on God all the more and through calling out to Him I’m brought into a more intimate relationship with Him.

An example of such was during my time  at university, studying for my mechanical engineering degree. At the beginning of the third academic year of the degree I developed very bad insomnia. Some nights I only got 2-3 hours sleep, other nights I didn’t get any. This went on for months and was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever been through. Due to my severe lack of sleep I was physically and mentally exhausted and found it very difficult to study or focus on any kind of mentally demanding work.
At this time I was trying to apply for mechanical engineering placements for the following year which was proving unsuccessful partly due to my struggle with insomnia.

I was attempting to apply to as many companies as possible for a wide range of roles because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I was really praying for God’s guidance at this time but it seemed like I wasn’t getting any answers yet. One of the projects that I was doing at university at that time involved quite a lot of computer programming and I found that I was actually really enjoying it and it really interested me. Due to the lack of direction I was having in my mechanical engineering I began to ask God if it was his will for me to finish a year early in my degree and then do further study in computer science instead. This was a big decision for me because firstly I would have to go abroad to study the computer science course and secondly if it didn’t work out I would have really jeopardised any prospects of getting a good mechanical engineering job without having gone on to study the fourth year which would give me a master’s qualification. I kept praying to God asking Him what he wanted me to do.

During this time my parents had a surprise celebration for their 25th wedding anniversary, which a few of their close friends attended. At the gathering one of my parent’s friends started talking completely out of the blue about his brother. He started telling us that his brother used to study mechanical engineering but at the end of his 3 year course he had decided that mechanical engineering wasn’t for him so he went into software development instead and really loves it. I couldn’t believe it! This man had no idea that I was considering doing the EXACT same thing! After all the requests I had made to God for clear direction I knew that through this man’s “random” story, and a number of other similar signs and confirmations, my prayers had been answered. With a great sense of God’s guidance I graduated with the bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and then went to England to do my masters in computer science

I really loved the computer science degree! I actually remember thanking God frequently for allowing me to study something I enjoyed so much. It was hard work but the course content was really interesting and I was also pretty good at it. In fact when it came to graduation I actually ended up doing much better in the computer science than I had done in the mechanical engineering.

Since graduating I really felt God call me into a job which I wouldn’t have been qualified for had I not pursued the computer science degree. It’s hugely comforting knowing that I’m currently where God wants me to be and that He has me here for a reason. Had I ignored God’s voice back when I was at university and not trusted in His guidance then I would be in a vocation that I am less suited to and wouldn’t be fulfilling the role that God has for me.

The insomnia that I had been suffering during my mechanical engineering degree and being rejected for jobs was a very unwelcomed experience at the time and I couldn’t understand why it was happening but now looking back on it I can see that it was all part of God’s much greater plan.

I could honestly give so many more examples of God’s guidance and answers to prayer but I have given this example of God’s guidance because it has played one of the biggest roles in shaping the direction of my life and I want others to know that even if life seems to be falling apart because things aren’t going the way you think they ought to, God always has a better plan if you place your trust in Him.

Status, money,  belongings etc. are all empty desires that do not last nor satisfy. I can  wholeheartedly testify though that God completely satisfies and provides a peace  like no other. At the age of 23 I don’t know what my future holds but what I do  know is that it doesn’t really matter. Whether God guides me through times of  hardships or through mountain top experiences, I know that God will always be  with me. In Jesus I have life and life in all its fullness. There is no greater  privilege or joy than living for God and being in intimate communion with  Him.