Chinese Church Voices

Encouragement for the “Gaokao” and for Life

Chinese Church Voices is an occasional column of the ChinaSource Blog providing translations of original writing by Christians in China. The views represented are entirely those of the original author; inclusion in Chinese Church Voices does not imply or equal an endorsement by ChinaSource.

Last week high school seniors across China sat for the infamous gaokao, or National College Entrance Examination. A student’s results from the two-day exam will largely determine his or her acceptance into a Chinese university. Pressure on students during this time is extremely high. This blog post from Heimen captures the anxiety students face, while offering the hope and comfort that Christians can find in God in the face of such pressure.

To Gaokao Students: Do Not Be Afraid, God Is with You!

Tomorrow, in the blink of an eye, another army of students will have crossed the battlefield of the college entrance exam [gaokao]. What is the first thing you think of when you think of the gaokao?

Is it a hot classroom in June, your face dripping with sweat? Is it practice exam sheets full of markings, stacked higher than a mountain? Is it the daily countdown to exam time on the blackboard? Or, is it a slogan like, "Even though it may take some bloodshed, win the battle and take possession of a place in the best university"?

During each person's time as a student, the gaokao is a major defining event that can change one's life. We all gave everything we had for this test. At the age of 17 or 18 years old, we struggled forward in the hope and confusion of a future life.

I remember the year of my college entrance exam. Even though I was fully prepared to take the gaokao, the day before the exam I was full of all kinds of fear. People around me were very alert and would say, "Don't talk loudly. You might startle people who are studying." But, this out of the ordinary attention around me only ended up amplifying my fear.

Even family members, who used to say, "You can handle it; do it for me. If you can't handle it, then die trying," started to say, "Calm down. It doesn't matter if you test well or not. Just see it as any other exam." Their attempt at comfort ahead of the exam only made us anxious.

In one short day I had countless plans about my life: the coming summer vacation after the gaokao was over and my own distant life of marriage and a career. Even though I unexpectedly became the only student from my village that year to pass the exam, that fear the day ahead of the exam was indescribable. Four years have passed and I can still feel it deeply . . .  That was also the first time I began to consider many things about my future.

In the past week, I received many private messages on social media from high school seniors hoping this blog would give them some encouragement and cheer them on. Having walked that same road, I know well what you need in this moment. What you actually need right now is not some encouragement from a person because encouragement from a person is weak and short-lived. Only God's powerful word in the Bible can truly give you peace and hope!

Do not be afraid because God is with you! It is a joy to be tested because Jesus is in you!

Ten Bible passages not only for facing the gaokao, but that are also beneficial for your future life.

1. Isaiah 41:10 

Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2. 1 Peter 5:7 

[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

3: Psalm 56:3-4 

When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.

In God, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can flesh do to me?

4: John 16:24 

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

5: John 14:27 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

6: Philippians 4:6-7 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

7: Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

8: Psalm 3:3 

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.

9. Proverbs 3:5-6 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

10: Isaiah 55:8-9 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Original article: 致高考生:不要怕,神与你同在! (Heiman)
English verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Image credit: 北京高考分数出炉 状元6成出自海淀(图) by 禁书 网 via Flickr.
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