LIFE IN EXILE
CHAPTER 5 My God-Given Wife
My Kind-hearted and Honest Wife
Thank God! “A prudent wife is from the Lord” (Prov. 19:14). As far as marriage is concerned, I have been greatly blessed by the Lord for having exalted Him in this matter. As a youth, instead of following secular standards for choosing a lifetime companion, I fasted and prayed seven times. I asked the Lord to help me weigh this matter carefully. I then laid down three requirements: first, she must be a born-again and devout Christian; second, she must be healthy with no chronic disease, so that I could devote more time to serve the Lord; third, she must have a career and be self-supportive. Strangely enough, even back then I had considered the possibility of being imprisoned for the Lord’s sake and preferred a wife with a career, so that the children would not be starved should I not be able to support them. I was also aware that, with the weakening economy, it would not be easy to live by faith and rely solely on the Lord for provision, not to mention that in the end-time “lawlessness would abound … the love in many would grow cold (Matt. 24:12)” as “men shall be lovers of their own selves and covetous (I Tim. 3:2).” Even Apostle Paul had to work as a part-time tent-maker. When he could no longer hold the job and was imprisoned at an old age, no church provided for him other than the Church of Philippi (Phil. 4:15). Though the Corinthian Christians were willing to do so, Paul declined again and again, explaining that he did not want to be their burden as they were carnal and judgmental behind Paul’s back (II Cor.12:16; 11:19).
The loving Father gladly listened to prayers that exalted His holy name, and blessed me with a virtuous wife. For more than 20 long years of my Labor Reform in exile, she had to put up with numerous temptations and difficulties, enduring each political movement. When I was sent into exile, my elder daughter was barely two years old and my younger daughter was only five months old. Besides the hardship of life, she had to remit to me 16 yuan every month1. Because of our relationship, she, an oral specialist, was first transferred to Shanghai’s suburban town of Green Cattail to treat blood-fluke patients (unrelated to her specialty) and later transferred to the mountain ranges of Qimen in Anhui Province, climbing hills searching for medicinal herbs. She had to put up with a great deal of abuse, despise, hardship, misery and poverty! An athletic sprinter in her college days, she had over the years developed high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
As a young child, our elder daughter, Ruby, used to stand still in front of a certain bakery when she became hungry, but her mother had no money to buy anything from the shop. Even as a child, Ruby’s artistic talent was evident. Her teacher thought highly of her and helped to develop her talent, publishing her drawing in the Children’s Pictorial. However, because her mother could not afford to buy her the painting needs, like watercolor and brushes, she was often disappointed. During the Cultural Revolution, the teacher ceased coaching her for fear that she would be implicated because the student’s father was in the Labor Camp.
(In recent years, Ruby made use of her spare-time to study the art of “Pressed Flowers.” Some of her works were on display in Japan and England and were published in a book in Chinese – The Art of Pressed Flowers.)
1. Checks were not used in China. The postal office provided a special envelope into which no more than 16 yuan in cash could be enclosed. It would then be sent by registered mail.