Discerning God's Will

    

Let Us Pray

Our loving Heavenly Father, our glorious and awesome God:

We gather before you, by the blood of Jesus Christ and His blessed name, to worship You in spirit and in truth. We exalt You from our hearts and bless Your holy name! Our Father God, You search our hearts, and all creation is naked and exposed before You - You know our true condition. We pray, O God, that You'll show us Your grace according to Your knowledge and understanding. Our loving Father, how we need Your grace as we live in this end-time of crookedness, falsehood, perverseness and lusts when, as in Noah's days, "every intent of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil." In this age of darkness, the Church is desolate and confused - we desperately need Your grace upon grace!

O Father, unless You build the house, its builders labor in vain; unless You watch over the city, the watchmen guard in vain. We therefore earnestly look up to You and You alone. We know You're the only source of life and that You alone can give us life. Grant us a humble and teachable heart; for we know that You resist the proud but give grace to the humble. We depend on You and look up to You alone.

We pray in the holy name of Jesus, Amen!


CHAPTER 10

How God Led Me to Serve Him

The following is a recount of how, by God's grace, I sought God's will for the first time in my youth.

I was an engineering student in the Zhi Jiang University in Shanghai when one day, at the church youth meeting, an elderly co-worker (Brother Watchman Nee) fellowshipped with us. Most of the brothers and sisters present were students of the Shanghai Medical University and the Communications University (a university of Science and Engineering in Shanghai). Brother Nee's sharing in the meeting marked the vital turning point of my spiritual life. That was in 1946.

This was what he said, "One day you're all going to graduate - some as engineers and some as physicians. But remember, your primary career is not engineer or physician. Your primary career is serving God - other professions are only secondary. Serving God is a life-long job. Your career as an engineer or a physician is to earn a living. Your heart's desire and your true profession should be serving God ??"

Thank God that I was very deeply touched by the Holy Spirit at that meeting. In the several months that followed, I constantly and very earnestly prayed (with frequent fasting) for the Lord's direction, "Lord, how should I follow you for the rest of my life? What's Your will for my life? Do You want me to be an engineer?" The more I prayed the more I felt that God did not want me to be an engineer. What a college professor said was no encouragement either, "Let me say this to those of you who are engineering students: after you graduate, you'll have to spend at least three years working as a drafter in an office." This greatly discouraged me and made me wonder if working as an engineer would allow me to preach the gospel effectively. I then prayed seriously and earnestly to seek God's will for me. (Please note: this passage relates only to the personal guidance of the Holy Spirit for myself and in no way suggests to readers that Christians should not become engineers).

For more than six months, I woke up around 4 a.m. every morning to pray fervently, "Lord, you must let me know what You want me to be! I definitely want to walk in Your will. If I don't know Your will and walk in it now that I'm young, perhaps I'd never know for the rest of my life." This was why I very earnestly and anxiously prayed for the Lord to disclose His will. Thank God that I was gradually inclined to study medicine and to practice it as I preached. My father, an ophthalmologist, often said that doctors had good opportunities to preach because their profession provided contact with many people, such as patients, nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff. Doctors of ophthalmology and internal medicine could practice with a limited supply of compact and portable medical equipment (under the existing conditions in China), and it was rather convenient for them to make house calls in villages while preaching at the same time. Therefore, I became more and more inclined to become a physician as my "secondary profession."

In 1947, I gave up my engineering profession and applied for the medical school of the National Central University (in Nanjing). At the time, all universities in China were allowed to admit their own students. That year, the National Central University set up four admission centers in the nation and received 2,900 applications for the medical school alone, of which 50 were to be selected for admission (the chance was about 1 out of 60). The chance of me being selected was very slim - for, having already graduated from high school for two years, I had forgotten a great portion of what I learned in high school and, besides, I was not an exemplary achiever. To my surprise though, a number of questions in the test paper were related to what my high-school teacher had particularly pin-pointed and taught. For instance, there was a problem on plane geometry in the high-school entrance examination that my teacher later explained in view of the fact that none of the 300 applicants could provide the answer. The question was: There are four random dots on the plane, three of which must not be on a straight line; draw a square with one of these four dots on each side; then explain and prove. Now most university applicants would have difficulty answering such a question within an hour if they had not come across it before. As for me, because my high-school teacher had deeply impressed the solution on me, the question was familiar and the solution was very easy.

After the test, I took a train home. As the train was passing Mount Kun, unexpectedly the Lord spoke to me in my inner depth, "You're admitted!" Yet in my weak faith and in view of the strong competition, I dared not believe until I received the admission notice. Thank God that not only was I admitted but also I was at the very top of the list with a scholarship award from the university.

To me, this was a great surprise and nothing short of a miracle. From the secular point of view, it was certainly a great joy to be the top student with a scholarship covering tuition, meal and all other fees. To a Christian seeking God's will, the greatest joy was the realization of God's role in the matter - in other words, after a period of earnestly seeking God's will, the glorious God had even condescended to confirm my inner inclination and to reveal the right way for me. I therefore became a medical student of the National Central University.

During the following two years of my study, I teamed up with some brothers and sisters to spread the gospel throughout the university. I regarded gospel preaching, rather than my study, as my top priority. My gospel work covered these institutes: National Central University ( Nanjing) and its affiliated high school as well as the Nanjing Pharmaceutical Training School in its vicinity, the Central Midwife Training School ( Nanjing), a prison, and a special school named The Border Minority University, etc. The latter admitted mainly students of the minority tribes along the national border. As the students' parents were mostly people of prominence, our gospel work there had exceptionally far-reaching effects - hopefully the students would bring the gospel to the border areas, which would be even more effective than if we had ventured on our own (their dialects were very different).

That marked my initial endeavor to discern God's will for my life. So, how was God's will disclosed? It was through the inner inclination generated by the Holy Spirit, certain words or impression or a Bible verse, and God's confirmation through His works in the circumstances.

*Note: Nanjing (the former capital of China) came under Communist rule on April 23, 1949. Prior to this, many Christian brothers and sisters had already fled to Taiwan. There were widespread rumors (credibility unproven) of Communists persecutions against Christians in the previously acquired regions. These included: victims nailed on walls; serpents placed inside the trouser-legs of victims who were then whipped and bitten to death by the serpents; victims put into gunnysacks (commonly used to hold grains) who were tied to horses that were made to gallop until the victims died of multiple wounds.

At that time, it was possible for me to go to Taiwan with some brothers and sisters. Surprisingly enough, I had the perfect inner peace to stay, and so I did not make any move. This made me realize that a person truly living in the will of God does not easily fret over external circumstances because he perceives the immovable throne of God and is convinced of His sovereignty (Psalm 103:19).