Discerning God's Will



His Name Is Wonderful (Isaiah 9:6)

The most amazing thing was yet to follow.

A few days later, on January 8, I received notification from the immigration office for an interview on March 23. On the day of the interview, I arrived an hour earlier. Six or seven brothers and sisters who were concerned about my petition also showed up.

While waiting, I prayed and tried to figure out what questions I might be asked - just a wild guess, of course, since there was no way I could predict. Surprisingly, only one question lingered on my mind: what to say when asked what I had been doing for the past two years. I then organized my thoughts to form some mental guidelines.

When my turn came, the three of us (including my lawyer and Brother Floyd Police) went into the office to be interviewed by a white-haired immigration officer of small stature. Amazingly, the question he asked was exactly the one I had just contemplated- thank God! I therefore answered with ease, and the officer seemed satisfied. Next, he asked, "Can you preach in English?" Before I could say anything, Brother Police (my petitioner) said, "Very well indeed! Much better than I can!" (He was just being polite). Actually, I had spoken at his church on five or six occasions. The officer then stamped my passport with a round seal. That seal served as a temporary "green card" for my permanent stay.

The immigration officer then asked me a question I had never anticipated, "Is your petition for yourself only, or is it for your wife as well?" I had never imagined I could ask for anything more than approval for my own self. I had presumed that my wife could probably come to visit me in future since the United States, unlike the Communists, would not segregate spouses for years. I did not know what to say in reply. My lawyer then answered on my behalf, "Both! Both!" "Where does your wife live?" I immediately gave the officer my wife's address in Shanghai, which he soon passed on to the United States Consulate in Guangzhou, China. My wife was then notified. Things went smoothly for her and a few months later she immigrated to the United States. Looking back, I certainly believe that it was the Lord who had caused the immigration officer to ask the last question to facilitate my wife's relocation.

The foregoing account is amazing enough; what follows is even more incredible - thanks be to God! As a Chinese courtesy, I thanked the officer at the end of the interview. To my surprise, he said, "You don't have to thank me. You can't find another immigration officer like me in the whole United States." Bewildered, I asked why. "I was a minister before I became an immigration officer," he said. Well, that was not uncommon since in the United States everyone was free to change jobs. He continued, "I read many of Watchman Nee's books when I was a minister." In my petition papers, I had randomly mentioned that in 1948 I attended the "Home of Ministers" Retreat led by Brother Watchman Nee in Drum Hill, Fuzhou. The reason I mentioned it was simply to show that my ministry began some 40 years ago rather than after my arrival in the United States; little did I know it would have such an effect.

How I thank the Lord for this wonderful arrangement! You see, there were immigration officers in each of the American States, and the Lord had miraculously arranged this particular officer for me! As said earlier, when Peter went fishing as Jesus had told him to, the first fish that Peter caught had a silver coin in its mouth. Thank God that, similarly, He had enabled me to catch the fish (in this case, the immigration officer).

After the interview, we took an elevator down to the street level of the immigration building. As we were about to part, I expressed my special thanks to my lawyer. Unexpectedly, he remarked, "I figured that your petition would take three to five years. I thought I'd appeal after it'd been turned down and then repeat doing so until it's finally approved. I never imagined it'd be done in less than three months!" Praise the Lord!

Before the interview, many church members predicted I would not succeed. After returning home from the interview, I received telephone calls from two sisters. Sister Chang (also from Shanghai) said, "Your ??green card' was dropped from heaven! I've spent more than $5,000 (U.S. dollars) over a period of seven to eight years but still haven't gotten mine. I also had to make two court appearances and almost got deported. You got yours in less than three months - what a gift from heaven!" The other caller, Sister Peng, said, "What an awesome God! Something so impossible - how could it have been so easy! God must have been by your side!" What is impossible with man is possible with God - glory to the Lord!

The reason I gave a detailed account of my petition is to let you see that, when it is God's will for you to take a certain path, He will surely make it evident to you through His work in the circumstances.

On the other hand, even though problems or difficulties may arise as we walk in God's will, you will have a special experience - your spiritual sensation and burden will intensify and become more evident. For example, when Paul said in Acts Chapter 20, " now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem" he meant that he was certain and convinced that he had to go to Jerusalem. He add, " ?? not knowing the things that will happen to me there; except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me." Though he knew that chains and tribulations awaited him, he said unyieldingly, " But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." As you can see from the foregoing, even though there may be circumstantial obstacles, the inner conviction is evident and strong enough for you to overcome them all.

Let us remember, therefore, that even when we are certain of God's calling and guidance, there may be circumstantial obstacles. We must, however, wait patiently and rest before the Lord. The day will come when God will straighten the path for us.

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