THE LORD＊S GRACE AND HIS CALLING
The Lord＊s Calling and Living By Faith
※The Lord has called me from the womb; from the matrix of my mother He has made mention of my name. ＃＃And He said to me, ※You are my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.§ (Isaiah 49:1, 3)
One evening as I looked out the window and saw the beautiful, changing clouds, I marveled at the wonders of God＊s creation. I felt very close to the Lord, as if lost in the ocean of His love. I was worshipping or praying when, all of a sudden, I saw a huge arm stretching out in the dark cloudy sky. On the arm lay countless human skulls (piles of skulls stretching across the sky). Then these words sprang out from my heart: ※the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one (I John 5:19)§.
Next, I heard a voice from the depth of my heart: ※Whom shall I send and who would go for us?§ I said, ※Here am I. Send me.§ (Isaiah 6:8). I was certain of God＊s calling and desired to submit myself, this incapable colt, to the Lord, for Him to ride on and for Him to cleanse me, fill me and use me. In the past I had considered a preacher＊s job to be lowly and unpromising. Now that the Lord had given me this vision, I felt greatly blessed and burdened. I was determined to do my best to fight for the Lord and to save lost souls.
After graduating from the seminary in Fuzhou, the Lord called me to work as a lady preacher in Sugarcane Village and Tianan Church respectively. Working made me realize my poverty and lack of knowledge, and I longed to be nurtured again. In 1938 the Lord granted my request by leading me to the Shanghai Chinese Evangelical Seminary. Besides reinforcing the scriptural truth, it helped drill my faith living. After receiving Christ, I began tithing. Later, I realized that, in order to follow the Lord to the end, I had to offer my all. The Shanghai Chinese Evangelical Seminary marked the starting point of my faith life.
When I left Fuzhou for Shanghai, I was penniless. All I had was a pound of wool yarn that I was going to use to knit into a cardigan for the winter. The afternoon that I was to depart, the Lord had prompted a brother to give me $30 (Chinese currency), which enabled me to travel with Sisters Yuying Weng and Shugin Gao to Shanghai by boat as originally planned. When the boat reached Shanghai, a sailor demanded more money from us. I told him that we had come to study and had no money. He said, ※You＊ve no money, but your fathers have§. These words deeply touched me and became the compass for my faith living. How amazing that the Lord had sent precious words through a pagan!
As soon as I set foot on the campus, I was determined not to tell anyone that I was living by faith in order that I could be provided for solely by the Lord himself.
Winter was around the corner and I did not have enough warm clothing. I therefore used the pound of wool yarn to knit myself a cardigan. I could only do a few rows everyday as I had very little free time left after studying. It took me a long time to finish the knitting. Before I could sew on the buttons, the weather had turned cold. At that time 2 fellow students were leaving for Yunnan on a mission. Everyone went to the campus gate to see them off. There were hymn singing, teachers＊ encouragement and prayers. I noticed that one of the departing sisters was wearing a leather-collared coat whereas the other was lightly clad in a cotton outfit and was trembling in the cold night breezes. I was concerned that they would not be able to withstand the coldness of the night, not to mention that they even had to take a long, hilly journey through Hong Kong and Haiphong (a seaport off the coast of Vietnam) before reaching their destination. The Lord＊s spirit urged me to give to the shivering sister the wool cardigan on which I had not yet sewn buttons. I contested, ※Lord, this is the only cardigan I have! Have someone else do it!§ However, the Spirit continued to compel me until at last I submitted and was willing to offer with gladness. By then the last prayer was almost half through; so I quickly ran back to my dormitory, picked up the cardigan and hurried back to the campus entrance. Everyone was bidding farewell. I dashed forward and put the cardigan on the sister who accepted with tears in her eyes. Soon afterwards I received an unusually large parcel for the first time in my life. It contained a black wool coat, a cotton traditional outfit, a wool blouse and 3 more traditional dresses, one of which was lined. The Lord had ※put into my bosom gifts of good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over§ (Luke 6:38). Thank you, Lord!
Miss Stewart was in charge of food the following summer. Every time she announced our accounts, she would tell us how much each of us owed for the meals. As I had no money, I became nervous. Thank God for His mercy, because whenever she finished announcing she always added, ※Do not worry if the Lord has not yet provided for you. Just pay when He has done so.§ I found out later that she herself was living on faith and could therefore apprehend other people＊s difficulties.
One time I came down with influenza and a high fever that degenerated into pneumonia. Many caring sisters had offered numerous suggestions as to what I should be eating. I asked the Lord, ※Lord, I＊ve no money. What should I do?§ The Lord then prompted my room-mate, Miss Suzhen Yang, to buy me various things without asking me for money. Secretly I kept an account of this. After I recovered, I received $ 30 in the mail from an elderly sister in Indonesia. With that, I repaid Sister Yang in full, and there was even money left over. ※There is no want to those who fear Him (Psalm 34:9)§.
I looked to the Lord for the tuition and expenses for the last semester. Already one month into the semester, I had yet to see God＊s provision. I continued praying. One day after the second session, someone told me, ※There＊s a receipt for you in the mail-box.§ A receipt for me? I could not figure it out. I dashed to the mail-box and, indeed, there was a receipt from the accounting office for an amount of $80. Someone had paid my tuition, my meal tickets and miscellaneous expenses. I was poor, but my Father was rich. Thank you, Heavenly Father!
As the final examination drew near, the whole class met to discuss what class-gift to present to the school and what uniform to wear at the graduation ceremony. I had no money and so I just kept silent during the discussions. After the meeting I went to the assembly room and knelt down to pray. ※Father, I congratulate you because your daughter is graduating from the seminary. Please take care of all the expenses.§ With peace in my heart after praying, I went on to concentrate on my studies. That night in bed as I put my head on the pillow, I heard some sound of paper. Searching under the pillow, I pulled out a stack of cash. After counting it, I said, ※Father, that＊s too little; not enough.§ The next day the Assistant Principal, Songde Ni, came to see me and said, ※I have some of the Lord＊s money which the Lord had moved me to give to Miss Zheng§. I replied, ※I have no need.§ 1 She questioned me 3 times and finally stated, ※But the Lord has moved me to give it to you.§ I accepted it from her with tears of gratitude and said in my heart, ※Father, you never failed! No one knows your daughter better than you do.§
1. Sister Zheng was not telling a lie; perhaps she meant that she had no need from ※an alms giver§ (or one swollen with arrogance). It was not until the assistant principal spoke meekly and sincerely that Zheng finally accepted the money from the Father. 每 Joshua Yu