LIFE IN EXILE
The Example of My Late Father
At the peak of the “Elimination of Counter-Revolutionary Movement”, my late father, Chen-hua Yu, died a martyr1 by the grace of the Lord on April 13 th, 1956. Many brothers and sisters in Shanghai at the time who witnessed the political situation can still recall the unprecedented brutality of the trials and the countless number of Christians and co-workers who fell and came short of the glory of God (among them were those who compromised, those who betrayed the Lord and others, those who were despondent, those who abandoned their faith, and those who committed suicide).
My father was an experienced and distinguished ophthalmologist who led a blameless and godly life. The people’s government had wanted and expected to persuade him to be the Christian representative at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference or in the people’s congress. Despite all kinds of threat, inducement and torture, he did not give in but maintained that Jesus Christ was the Head of the Church. He neither betrayed his co-workers nor acted against his own conscience. Without going into the details of his testimony, let me share some encouraging words he wrote on July 2 nd, 1938 in the preface of The Sweet Smelling Myrrh (his Chinese translation of the autobiography of Madam Guyon):
“To be a truly God-loving person, to fully do God’s will, to sacrifice all, and to desire an absolutely selfless life, one must focus wholeheartedly on the Cross. God has also shown me that the Cross is the only way that pleases Him. Therefore, I always adore that life – the life through the Cross.”
“It is impossible for one to love God without loving the
Besides the Bible, the books that benefited my father the most throughout his life were those written by Madame Guyon, Brother Lawrence and Archbishop Fenelon - which he translated into Chinese. He earnestly and diligently practiced abiding in Christ and accepted the mortification of the Cross. The Lord Himself became the source of strength for his life and service. Thus, he emerged from the path of knowledge and gifts to pursue the narrow path of life. I myself have gained enormous help from the books translated by him, such as Sweet Smelling Myrrh and The Practice of the Presence of God - though I know very well that, as far as life practice is concerned, I am still quite infantile.
While studying in the Nanjing Central University, I became acquainted with Dr. Ding, an elder of the Nanjing Christian Assembly. His splendid living testimony commanded my great respect. After the political upheaval (Liberation) in China, we dispersed in different directions and had lost contact with each other. Thank God that we reconnected 40 years later. In my first letter to him, I asked, “How did you make it through the decades of hardship?” With praises for the Lord, he replied that, reading the book Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray soon after he was saved, he earnestly practiced what he read and then gradually learned to depend constantly on the Lord for His grace. Safeguarded by the Lord, he went through “the great and terrible wilderness (Deut.1:19; 8:15).”
1. For details, please read The Path of Life (Drawing Near to God), published by the Chinese Christian Testimony Ministry.