LIFE IN EXILE
Walking Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death
Dear brothers and sisters, actually what we had to endure during those days of violent storm was nothing like the situation of martyrdom that Daniel and his friends were in. If we were to become martyrs for faith, I believe quite a number of brothers and sisters would be willing to sacrifice themselves. Nor was it like the sudden, inevitable calamity that Job found himself in, though that certainly was a typically vigorous trial. What we were faced with was the kind of extremely frightful and treacherous political pressure that we had never before heard of or read about. In addition, there was the kind of betrayal and stamping from those like Judas who sided with the enemies, as well as traps with twisted definition of "submitting to governing authorities." All these caused us to give up our principles, to ignore God's words and to unconditionally submit to the atheists. Apart from this, even more heartbreaking was the exposure of the dark side of the church during the process. Oh, how the righteous God had used the fiery trials to subject sinful acts to harsh judgment! Such riveting pain was too great for mortal beings. With experience accumulated over some 6,000 years, Satan had expended all his evil tricks. Brothers and sisters were perplexed, terrified and "cursed theirdays " (Job 3:1); many stumbled, fell and even abandoned their faith. Thanks be to our Heavenly Father who knew how to carry those who honor Him through the valley of the shadow of death (II Chr. 16:9), safeguarding their faith by His grace and the precious blood (Luke 22:32). Meanwhile, through these trials, our jealous God had harshly judged and destroyed the deeply rooted inclination of many believers (especially those with The Christian Assembly background) - the great sin of exalting men instead of Jesus Christ our Lord.
In the climax of the "Elimination of Counter-revolutionary Movement," I suffered heart problems as a result of great pressure from work and from the horrifying darkness. Yet, even if my illness were more serious, I could not have obtained sick-leave to free myself from the denunciation activities. I was not even permitted to return to Shanghai to see my father when he was very ill. On April 12 th, around noon, my father was in a critical and semi-conscious state, and the prison physician determined that he had less than 24 hours to survive. It was not until then that permission was given for my father "to be released on bail for medical treatment." At 9 p.m. my younger brother Chong-xin, my brother-in-law Zu-guo Chen and my mother took my father (on life support) in an ambulance from the Shanghai Tilan Bridge Prison to the emergency ward of Hongren Hospital where my brother Chong-xin was an intern. It was not until just a few hours earlier, when he was on the brink of unconsciousness, that I was permitted to leave Suzhou for the hospital emergency ward. He opened his eyes for just a few minutes. With great earnestness, I said, "Dad, I"m Chong-en (Joshua). You must cling to the Lord." I spoke in our hometown dialect for fear that others in the ward would report on my "sympathizing with a counter-revolutionary element." My father uttered his acknowledgement. He went to be with the Lord at 7:10 a.m. the next day.