Hi everyone, my name is Sherilyn and I’m thankful for the opportunity to share with you God’s kindness and faithfulness throughout my life!
My testimony will be in three parts:
- Knowing the Scriptures
- Knowing the Saviour
- Knowing the Shepherd
1. Knowing the Scriptures
I was raised in a Christian family, and from a very young age I was taught the Scriptures both in the home and in church. My grandfather was the pastor of the Chinese church that I grew up in. His old age did not quench his burning desire to see overseas Chinese students coming to know the gospel. Because of that, he planted the church when he was in his 70s by evangelizing to students one by one, and meeting with them in our living room week by week.
I was taught many biblical truths and how to pray. From a young age, I developed an understanding of the nature of God as a loving Father who cares for and comforts His children. As a child, my mother’s spiritual guidance formed an integral part in helping me understand God’s love and power. She consistently read her Bible every morning and I could tell she loved and trusted God. I witnessed the power of prayer numerous times when my mother prayed over me in the face of my fears and insecurities growing up. She prayed over what seemed insignificant and showed me that God cares for the small things. She also prayed over what seemed too overwhelming, and showed me that God is powerful over the big things.
My childhood was saturated with Sunday School memory verses and bible stories. And because of that, there had never been a moment in my life that I didn’t know who the God of the Bible is. However, the reality is, my parents were far from perfect. In all my grandpa’s admirable boldness and passion, he definitely had his own weaknesses. But in the brokenness, I saw that the Word of God formed the bedrock for their lives. Year by year, God changed each of them through the Scriptures in ways that I recognised was humanly impossible.
2. Knowing the Saviour
As a child, I was taught the importance of trusting God, while repenting and asking for the forgiveness of my sins. Throughout my primary school years, I established a basic trust and belief in the existence of a heavenly Father who loved me and gave His Son to die in my place so that I could be His friend. Yet, truly coming to know the Saviour for myself was a gradual process.
God used various experiences in my life and placed different people around me to challenge and solidify my faith. I remember when I was about 7 years old, I stumbled across a Jesus movie on a chunky video cassette tape at home, and sat there watching it in the living room by myself. Jesus was depicted as an American man with long brown hair and a beard, Birkenstock-like sandals, who walked around preaching and teaching with an American accent. But I vividly remember watching the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion – and as I watched the violent mockery, the nails being hammered into his hands and feet, the crown of thorns placed on his head, and his frail body hung on a cross until he died; for the very first time, it hit me that Jesus did that for me. Jesus died a painful death because He loves me THAT much. I sat in front of my TV, and remember just crying and crying because I was so moved by His sacrificial love.
Although I understood God’s love, I did not fully understand the extent of my sin (and really, I’m still growing in my understanding of that). I thought I was a pretty decent kid, who obeyed her parents and tried to do the right thing. It wasn’t until years 9-10 when I heard the gospel preached in youth and school events that I began to truly grasp the depravity of my sinful nature. I vividly recall Matt Chandler’s sermon at an event where the gospel message was delivered with clarity and conviction. I was deeply moved by the truth that the greatest problem in our world was the sin in each of our hearts. I came to realise just how deep sin ran in all our hearts, especially mine.
My greatest sin wasn’t the things I did or didn’t do, but that I largely ignored God in my day-to-day life, and found more joy and satisfaction in so many other things over God Himself. I put my confidence in my abilities and in people’s approval of me. I called myself a Christian, but I loved so many other things more than I loved Him. I lived for my own glory and not for God’s. And the most frustrating part of that is no matter how hard I try, it seemed like the default of my heart was always to doubt God’s goodness and live for myself. Without Christ, I had no hope and no rescue. I was absolutely struck by the fact that Jesus would suffer and die for a wretched sinner like me. I was helplessly humbled by the gospel in a compelling way, and as I continued to read God’s word, I was confronted with my sinfulness and my need for a Saviour.
3. Knowing the Shepherd
During the later years of high school, as I began to understand the implication of the cross in my life in greater depth, God placed in my heart an increasing desire to commit my life wholly to Him and share the gospel to those who do not yet know Him. I wanted, more than anything else, to see people trust in Jesus wherever He chose to send me. Not long after that, I met Elliot. One of the questions he asked me was: “If God sends me to China to dig wells and preach the gospel, would you willingly do that with me?” That was when I knew that we both shared the same desire to serve the God who has saved us wholeheartedly with our lives – to preach the gospel, to see people saved in Christ, and to grow to love Him and His Word. After a 9 year-journey, God has led us to serve our GracePoint family here, whom we love dearly.
I don’t know what life would be like without God. But knowing Christ has been the best thing in my life. It has given me an unshakeable joy, an unchanging security and confidence of full acceptance before God. And growing as a Christian means never moving pass the cross, but understanding my sin and God’s love on the cross deeper and deeper. There is no greater comfort in life than knowing that God’s love for me depends not on me, but on the sufficiency of Jesus’ death. I will never be good enough, but Christ is good enough. Christ not only died for me, but He has already lived my life perfectly on my behalf.
This doesn’t mean life has always been smooth or easy, or constantly fun and comfortable. But I’m learning that what matters to God isn’t my happiness, but my holiness. And the path of growing in holiness to be more like Jesus, to turn away from the sin that so easily entangles has been a day-by-day journey of His grace and patience in my life. There is not a day that goes by that I do not need the blood of Christ that brings forgiveness and restoration, because I continue to fail in many ways.
But one of the joys of knowing Christ in the more recent years, particularly in the uncertainties of life, is coming to know Him as a Shepherd. A Shepherd who leads me to true life, who walks with me in the darkest valleys. He is my comfort and my protector. And my greatest comfort in ministry is that in the midst of difficulties, He is your good and gracious Shepherd. A Shepherd who has laid His life down for His sheep.
I’d like to finish with a verse from Revelation 7:17: “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” My greatest hope and joy in life is this beautiful promise of what eternity with God looks like, and I pray that it will be yours. Thank you.