OUT OF DEATH INTO LIFE 每THE LORD JEHOVAH WAS THERE TO SAVE ME
※Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me . § (Psalm 23:4)
※For Sheol cannot thank you, death cannot praise you; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your Truth. The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day; the father shall make known Your truth to the children. The Lord was ready to save me; therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments all the days of our life, in the house of the Lord . § (Isaiah 38: 18-20)
Throughout my life, I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death several times; each time I was saved by the gracious hand of the Lord, leading me out of death into life.
In 1943, I worked as an itinerant preacher in the parishes of Gutian and Pinghu of the Fujian Methodist Church. That year the Gutian church invited brother Dickson Sun to lead a revival conference for one week, with me as the translator. The church in Pinghu had heard the good news that at the Gutian conference, with the Lord＊s presence, many sinners had repented and many believers were revived. They were also inspired and wanted to invite us to lead meetings in Pinghu. Brother Sun, another sister and I went from Gutian to Pinghu in a small boat. Satan, however, knew that the Lord was going to bless the Pinghu meeting even more, and had therefore planned to kill us. When the boat reached the deep water, it was capsized by the rapid torrents. Thank the Lord! Not only were the 3 of us saved, but Satan was shamed by the victorious Lord in the Pinghu conference, resulting in greater glory for the Lord.
2. Recovery from Sickness
During the Anti-Japanese War, with believers wearily running for their lives, churches everywhere were greatly affected and were, spiritually speaking, like dry and barren land, much in need of long-awaited revival. Over this period, I was led by the Lord to leave the Methodist Church to work as a freelance itinerant preacher. Several churches in Fuqing had engaged me to lead conferences, the first being Longtian Church and the second Dongxiang Church. I fell sick on the fourth day. By the grace of the Lord, I endured the sickness and finished leading the seven-day conference before returning to Gutian.
3. Lifted Up f rom t he Flood
I underwent Labor Reform at the Lexin Farm (Labor Camp) in Susong County, Anhui Province. Built around a lake 1 , this farm was flooded every year. The most disastrous floods occurred during the 3 years of 1968-1970. In 1969, because of raised water level, everyone in the farm had to be moved to a place of safety. In 1970, however, there was no plan for relocation. Instead, there was a slogan for taking it in stride: ※persist to the end; people and dikes share the same fate. § So, all of us tried our best to protect the dikes, generously contributing our strength and resources. The rain, though, continued to pour, with 200 millimeters in one night. Gusty wind and heavy rain struck day and night, knocking down houses and endangering dikes. An order was given for all the young and strong to go to the dikes, leaving behind the old, sick and weak of whom I was one.
In the middle of the night an order was given for all the remaining old, sick and weak to bring all the children to the big hall. Selfish and unskilled, I picked up a plump child from a cradle (presuming he could walk part of the way), only to find that this heavy child had to be carried all the time. By the time I managed to drop him off in the big hall, I was breathless. I was then just half alive and could barely make my way back to take care of my own luggage.
Right then, a call came from outside, ※Run for your life!§ With a big wooden box in my left hand and a bamboo pole in my right hand, I ran out. For the first one-third of the way no water was seen, later the water rose to my ankles and soon to my leg and then up to my waist. Fruits, melons and furniture were flushed down from the vegetable gardens. With the strong current caused by water gushing downstream, not only was I unable to walk in strides, I could not even stand still. The first time that I was knocked down by the rapid flow, I cried out to the Lord just as Peter did, ※Lord, save me!§
I could barely stand up again. The second time I was knocked down, I managed to stand up again. When I was knocked down the third time, I saw a big tree close by and wanted to draw near it to save myself; yet, there was no way I could do so.
Thank the Lord! For the Lord who had saved me had already prepared a 19-year-old boy on the opposite bank, named Little Dragon, who, noticing that I was being knocked down, came to my rescue.
4. Collapse o f t he Cave Dwelling
The flood caused us great loss and damage: within just 5 days, the growth that was almost ready for harvest had been destroyed, the trees in the orchard had died, the vegetable garden was wiped out, and the houses had collapsed. We had to rebuild our homes and gardens from scratch, and it was a very demanding task. Guided by the cadres, we all did our best. The physically strong ones did laborious work whilst the physically weak did light work. We could not live in leaky houses, much less in roofless ones; so the first thing to do was to solve the housing problem. However, with no harvest and no material to build straw huts with, how on earth could we suddenly find the bricks and tiles to solve the housing problem? Great ideas came at critical times: making use of whatever was available, it was decided that the cave dwelling be demolished to recover the great number of bricks.
As I was physically weak, I stayed by the cave dwelling to pick up broken bricks and piled them up for the strong workers to carry them away. This became my daily chore. One afternoon after I left for lunch after work, I heard that the cave dwelling had collapsed. I hurried there and found that the fallen material was piling right where I had been working. All the brick pieces that I had picked up and piled were buried. The team-leader, Guo, said that there was no way that anyone trapped inside could have been pulled out. I stood by the cave dwelling and silently thanked the Lord for saving my life once again.
5. Walking b y t he Pond a t Night
In 1972, during the time of my labor reform at the Lexin Camp in Susong County, Anhui Province, mine was a women＊s team directly under the farm-headquarters. One day, the subsidiary team we belonged to went to meet with the main team that was about 2 miles away. The meeting lasted the whole afternoon and was to be followed by a movie show at night. Not wanting to watch the movie, I made my way back after the meeting.
Half way through, it began to grow dark. Without a flashlight and alone, I walked with uneven steps on the rugged ridge of the fields. The farther I walked, the less I could see. When total darkness set in, I could not tell the direction; also, fearing that I might come across some dangerous people, I became very scared. Helpless and with no way to turn, I lifted up my eyes to the sky for I knew that my helper was Jehovah, the creator of the heavens and the earth.
Looking up, I saw a shiny path. Thinking that this was the path the Lord had prepared for me after listening to my prayer, I fumbled in the dark towards it. As I drew close and was about to step on it, I suddenly heard the voice of Miss Gao who lived in the chicken shed. She was carrying a lantern. I shouted, ※Miss Gao.§ ※Who are you?§ she responded as she held the lamp up to light my way, ※and how did you come here? That＊s the pond right there, come up quickly!§ I discovered then that at night the water actually shone and that I was standing right beside a pond. ※How dangerous!§ I thought. Last time, the Lord had used a 19-year-old boy to save me from the flood; this time, He had sent Miss Gao with a lantern to stop me from falling into the water. Jehovah is my help每 He does not slumber or sleep. I will praise Him forever !
1. There was not enough farmland for the high population in China . In order to expand the area for farming, parts of the banks and beaches around the lakes were turned into fields by building dikes and dams. This method was called ※making fields around lakes§ (or seas).