MAKE HASTE WHILE THE SUN SHINES
Returning to Shanghai after 6 years of continuous roaming was like ※Esau came in from the fields, and he was weary§ (Genesis 25:29). I felt spiritually dry and poor, without food or grass, and needed to eat some bread to refresh the heart and then to move on (Genesis 18:5). By permission of elderly Pastor Rumin Jia, I attended one session of his class every morning as a by-listener at the Shanghai Spiritual Training Institute. One year later, there was disagreement within the school, with some people against and some for the joining of the ※Three-Self Reform Movement Association§ (the word ※Reform§ was later changed to ※Patriotism§). Elderly Pastor Jia was caught in a dilemma. I also stopped going to the lessons. At this time the words ※the act of standing firm is testimony in itself,§ which I often used when I was at the Bethany House in Fuzhou, often sprang up in my heart.
In 1956, I accidentally fell down the stairway in my room, injured my vertebrae and was unable to walk. Out of loving kindness, Mrs. Niu, the tenant, moved me into her home. The Niu residence was like a western-styled house with a garden. I stayed in the upper room in the east side of the building, with the door to the east and 2 windows in each of the other directions. There was plenty of light, the air was fresh and it was quiet. For one whole year in this splendid environment, I conducted my devotion behind closed doors and fully tasted the sweetness of the Lord＊s grace. Not only did my physical wounds heal, but I also truly realized that it was the Lord Himself who had brought me into His chamber and that it was His love that had drawn me to run speedily after Him.
How I thanked the ※wonderful counselor§ (Isaiah 9:6) for His wonderful arrangement! Soon after I moved into the Niu home, a new family rented the room downstairs. It turned out to be brother Jacob Bao, with whom I was acquainted at the former Student Union, and his bride. Brother Bao was the leader of the Zhijiang University fellowship. After graduation, he was appointed by the central distribution board to work in Xian. Soon after, he was persecuted because of his faith. Not only did he lose his job but his diploma was also forfeited. Unemployed and without academic recognition, he had no way of making a living; he therefore came to Shanghai to work in temporary and laborious jobs. Despite such hardship, he had always been true to the Lord. They rented this place for their wedding and soon afterwards moved to a location closer to the place of work. Later, brother Bao was deported to Qinhai for reform through labor camp 1 , during which time he died as a martyr for the Lord.
Later, another leader of the former Zhijiang University fellowship and a leader of the former Hujiang University fellowship and his bride lived in the Niu home consecutively.
The Lord had arranged for us to live together in order that we could care for each other and need not be spiritually lonely. Often some young students, graduated or still in college, came to visit, and a number of them came on Sundays to eat at my place. My regular supply each month was 28 pounds of food and just several ounces of oil. Even though it was not easy to feed so many, it was always more than sufficient. It was a true experience of ※the bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry§ (I Kings 17:14).
In 1957, following the social onset of Anti-Right Movement and the continuation of Three-Self Movement among Christian organizations, not only did college fellowships suffer affliction but Christian middle-school students also suffered pressure from schools, families and society. There were, of course, Christian students who went with the flow, but there were also numerous cases of ※stand fast in the Lord§ (I Thessalonians 3:8) Even though ※there is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard§ (Psalm 19:3), yet they ※declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork§ (Psalm 19:1). They had stood firm in the Lord and had borne good testimonies for the Truth.
And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus . (I Timothy 1:14)
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me . (Galatians 2:20).
But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world . (Galatians 6:14).
Jesus said to His disciples, ＆If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save His live will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it . (Mat t hew 16: 24-25)
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ . (II Timothy 2:3)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me . (Philippians 4:13)
1. ※Education-through-labor§ (Labor Education) and ※Reform - through-labor§ (Labor Reform): Between 1949 and 1958, people who were sentenced in the series of political movements (except for those who were already imprisoned) were sent, as a punitive measure, to places with very poor living conditions, tight security and torturous chores for labor reform. Nine years later, in 1958, the government further announced regulations for Labor Education. ※Labor Reform§ pertained to sentences for criminal offences, whereas ※Labor Education§ pertained to the highest sentences for civil offences. Even though, legally speaking, they were different sentences, yet they were both reforms through forced labor and directed by the Labor Reform Bureau. In the early stage of ※Labor Education,§ no term was set for the sentence which lasted until the reform was deemed complete. Release from ※Labor Education§ did not equate the discarding of the ※anti-revolutionary hat.§
As for family visits, they had to be approved by the authority, and only 2 weeks per year were granted (this did not apply during the period of the Cultural Revolution when family visits were generally not permitted).