The Gaokao is often a time where students are in the crossroads of life as they are taking the most important test they have in their academic life. However, how does the Gaokao itself view the lives of people?
A cartoon was recently released, depicting the Gaokao or the Chinese college entrance exams and how lives of people change because of these exams. In the cartoon, it showed two children who took home different test results to show their parents. On the first frame, the child only gotten 60 points, but he receives a kiss from his parents. However, the second frame showed a child with a 98 grade but instead of getting a kiss in the cheek from his parents, he got a handprint in his face. In this scenario, is 98 points higher than 61 point? Since the child who got 98 originally had a perfect school, his score showed that he is falling behind. For the child who scored 61 points, his score showed that he was now improving as he originally had 55 points in his last test. The kiss is a reward for his progress.
After some consideration, it can be said that the results are understandable.
However, students are not the only ones who take exams as one always takes a test every day.
A rural preacher who strove hard to pursue the truth of the Bible and heartily participated in serving the church is one example of how life can be like a test. For a few years, he helped others see the good returns of their actions and helps them establish new churches. He even assisted one county and became its pastor. Many saw him as a young and promising pastor that believers have no problems listening to, giving him 100% in terms of his image and popularity to the people.
But, one day, he lost all of the things he worked for after a girl was imprisoned by him in a cell near the church for several years. When someone rescued the girl, she was tormented already. How would you feel in this instance? Marvelous? Disappointed? Throw him down? Did the response of the elders, fellow workers, leaders, and believers do the right thing in facing it? I do not know, but he no longer has a bright future. The thing he did was so odious and his life is also similar because his perceived action was bad. So, could one say his life is still 100 points? Compared to his former life, did he progress or did he regress? What would be his points in the future?
In another scenario, there is a man whose father allowed him to accept the best Roman education throughout his childhood to hone his talent. At the age of 16, he had to drop out of school for a year due to financial difficulties. In this period, he began to enter his adolescent stage and indulged to sensual delights and petty crimes such as stealing with a friend. When he turned 17, his father sent him to the Carthage eloquence school. There, he met a girl and lived with her for 14 years, bearing him a bastard child. Later on, he became a famous professor in eloquence, but his personal life was still in a crossroads. He had a relationship with other women as well. Christianity does not accept cohabitation, so his mother arranged a marriage for him; however, because the woman he was supposed to marry is still young, he did not marry her. He cannot stand alone and he has a mistress.
Seeing this scenario, how many points will you give this person? 55 points? If there is such a person, what do you think will happen to him in the future?
One day, this person was with his friends and he found himself hearing voices saying to him “Don’t listen to impurity, we should try to overcome it.” These ideas continuously plagued his mind with a friend sitting beside him waiting for the results of his inner struggles. The man reviewed the depths of his soul for all the sins he has done and allowed the tears to flow out, removing the sorrow he has kept for so long. His voice was heavy after the tears, surprising his friend. Then, the man confided with his inner voice while under the fig tree, talking to it in order to figure out how he can escape from the bondage of sin but he knew it was going to be difficult.
At that point, there was singing in a room close to where he was. He heard them sing “Take up and read it, take up and read it” over and over again. The man stopped crying, stood up, picked up the Bible and read. He read: “Sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasures in heaven. Then come follow me.” So he made up his mind and followed his Lord, Jesus.
He sat back with his friends and picked up the letters of the apostles to read. “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.” He also read off the sentence from Romans 13:13. It seems like there’s a glare to every part of his heart being swept away and open his heart to the light. He slowly gained a pure heart and a very strong faith.
He left his mistress and led his son to accept the baptism. Later, he devoted himself to become a shepherd of the church and preach the Gospel, assist the vulnerable and solve the problem of all kinds of disputes in the North African churches and engaged them in a religious meeting. For the rest of the time, he also wrote a lot of philosophical and theological work and became an integral scholar in the Christian academic world. He was a servant who was rescued by God – Augustine.
Considering these scenarios, it is not important that our lives get many points before we believe in the Lord. It is important that our life can gain many points as we live our lives as Christians. We could say that the first part of our life is not as important as the one in the afterlife. As Cai Gen Tan said, “the whore who gets married in old age, the former career would no longer be willing; women who lose their chastity in her old age, his chaste living is over.” So, will you rather be the man who did a 55 to 66 points or the person who gotten 100 points to 98 points? May God have mercy on us and let his grace aid us in progressing every day.