“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18)
When I first came to Yale as a freshman, I thought God was going to make me the greatest doctor in the whole world. I must say I was very ambitious and enthusiastic. I was quickly absorbed into the intensive academic life at Yale, and soon I became entirely occupied with my studies. My life had no room for anything but the pursuit of my own success. At the end of the day I couldn’t even remember what the day’s weather was like. God was, if anything, one of the least concerns of my life.
Although I considered myself a Christian, I did not like to talk about God. At such an intellectual place like Yale, it seemed almost silly to believe in God. But, I continued to be involved in church activities as I always had. I considered myself very religious.
In my freshman year a few of my friends were involved in a Christian fellowship. Many times they tried to get me to go to their meetings. Each time I politely refused their invitation. They would ask me why. Then I would just smile and say, “You don’t understand….” I never finished my sentence in front of them. But in my mind I would always say this: “I grew up in church. I go to church twice a week, and I never skip Sunday worship. Even if I had time to go to the fellowship, I’d rather take a nap.”
After the first year I finally ended up going to my friends’ fellowship. As we were singing I looked around. Some people had their heads bowed, and others had their hands raised. “How weird!” I thought to myself. But, there was life in their faces. There was something new to me in the air, and I knew that God was with them. I was simply shocked. Jesus in my life had been as dead. I had never known Him as risen Lord. I was as much bothered as I was shocked by it.
Then I got to know someone from the fellowship. There was something special about her. She had a joy and peace that I had never seen in anyone’s life. I did not know much about Jesus, but I knew that He was alive in her life. I decided to get to know Jesus myself. The summer after that year I earnestly sought the Lord in prayer and in reading the Scripture. The Bible had always been very boring to me. But this time when I read through the New Testament, I was struck by how beautifully simple the Gospel message was.
“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15) Just like the prodigal son returning to his father, I simply chose to get up and come to Jesus. Though I walked in my own ways, putting my own desires far above Him, He still had compassion on me and loved me first. When I confessed Him as my Lord He forgave all my sins. Because of His precious blood shed on the hill of Calvary, I was set free.
I remember one particular day that summer. After seeking the Lord in prayer I opened my eyes. I saw the sunset through the window. I had never been the kind of person who would look at the sky for more than a second or two. But this time I could not keep my eyes off it. The light was so beautifully shining through the sky.
When Jesus enters a life it is just like that. The darkest part of life brightly shines because Jesus sheds His light on us. Oftentimes people think Christianity is about going to church on Sunday. Although this is important for Christians to do, Christianity is not religiosity. It is about the complete transformation of one’s life in Jesus. When I met Jesus my night turned to day. For the first time in my life I lifted up my eyes from the tip of my shoes when I walked down the street, and enjoyed beautiful trees and birds. The overflowing love of Jesus also enabled me to lift my eyes from my own self, and to love the people around me.
I am not an optimist. I don’t believe in luck or the “somehow” attitude. But I can testify that I have tasted the joy that lasts through all time. Jesus does not lead me “somehow” but He leads me triumphantly. Jesus is alive. He is the only truth that sets us free.
Yang Soon Cho, Branford ‘97
© 1997 The Yale Standard Committee