Hospital became my second home and I began to question if my trust in God was one I could justify
I was brought up in a Christian family but did not myself go to church or want want to have anything to do with Christianity.
That was until I went to church one Christmas when I was 13 and I felt there was something more to the service than met the eye. I continued to attend church and was confirmed twoyears later.
My new found hope in Christ enabled me to have more confidence in my abilities and pursue dreams I never thought were possible. I was always a shy child but my confidence in Christ helped me to become more outgoing, so much so that I became head boy of my school, giving talks and leading assemblies in the process.
In my first year of college I went on a charity trip to Kenya to help teach in the schools. I was amazed by how much faith people therehad despite having so little, making me realise I needed to make the most of the opportunities I had available and not take for granted the gifts God gave me.
From having no ambitions to go to university, I ended up applying to study engineering at Cambridge. When I was accepted, I became the first person from my school to do so, all as a result of keeping my focus on God and trusting that he would lead me through all the challenges I would face.
The most testing period of my life then came as I was diagnosed with cancer. Hospital became my second home and I began to question if my trust in God was one I could justify. But I continued to pray and work hard in my studies knowing that I was not in control over the outcome.
A year on, it appears the cancer is gone, and I have finished my first year of study at Cambridge with a first and got a summer placement with the McLaren Formula 1 team - it has always been a dream of mine to work in Formula 1). I know for sure that none of this would have been possible without putting my trust in Jesus over the past few years. Having this hope in Jesus enables me to give all my worries and concerns over to him and get on with life without thinking about the long term consequences, knowing they are secure with him.
I believe life is a journey in which you must persevere taking everything one step at a time. It is too easy to become phased by the huge challenges life can throw at you. But from my experiences I have learnt it's all about relying on God to give me strength to pull through; the struggles I experience in life will make the coming joy even more satisfying.
This story of life was captured in a cycle ride I undertook last summer on the way to my radiotherapy, a 60-mile round trip. Just five miles in I got a puncture and only had one spare inner-tube to replace it. I had to make the decision: should I turn back and play it safe and give up, driving there instead, or should I continue, uncertain if I would actually make it there, putting my trust in something I could not control? I chose to carry on and did indeed make it there on time; I was overjoyed!
On the journey home I took a wrong turn and became lost, adding an additional five miles to my journey. I was in despair, tired, muscles aching and sunlight fading; I didn't think I would be able to make it back under my own power. But I kept on going knowing all I could do was to keep pedalling and not be phased by the journey.
When I finally reached the final stretch, I was overwhelmed with joy. All the struggles and battles of that journey had been worthwhile for that sense of achievement at the end, which was even greater as a result.
About the author
Alistair Senior attends Christ Church, Swindon.