The Lord has come secretly before disasters. How can we welcome Him?
By Li Ai, Italy
In early 2003, my baby that I had carried for over nine months suddenly died in the womb. This terrible event caused our entire family a lot of pain. I really wanted to have another child, but I was afraid I would lose it again, and so I developed postpartum depression.
In 2006, seeing me living in such pain, my mom and elder sister testified to me of God’s kingdom gospel. Unexpectedly, my illness got better without me being aware of it and, a year later, despite not having had a child in years, by chance I bore a son. The birth of my son brought our family so much happiness …
In March 2007, I took my son who was not yet 50 days old back to my mother’s house to visit my parents. My parents fell in love with this little boy who had been so hard for me to bear and they asked about all his needs. But a couple of days later, his health began to deteriorate. At nighttime, my son who loved to laugh was making no sounds at all. Seeing him look as though he wanted to cry but being unable to, our family was consumed with worry, and we called the doctor and asked him to come over. The doctor took my son’s temperature with a thermometer, and he said, “I can’t really give any medicine to such a small baby. I can only give him some anti-inflammatory medicine and then we’ll have to wait and see.” After taking some medicine, we watched him for half the night and he still didn’t get any better. His temperature also rose very high and he was burning up … In my pain and helplessness, I came before God and said a prayer: “O God! You are almighty, and I look to You and entrust my son’s illness into Your hands. Please may You watch over him and protect him.” After praying, I thought of, “Almighty God, the Head of all things, wields His kingly power from His throne. He rules over the universe and all things and He is guiding us on the whole earth. We shall often be close to Him, and come before Him in quietness; never shall we miss a single moment, and there are things to learn at all times. The environment around us as well as the people, matters and objects, all are permitted by His throne. Do not have a complaining heart, or God will not bestow His grace upon you.” Yes indeed, God rules over all things in the universe. Everything that was happening that day was also in God’s hands, and my son’s condition was ruled under God’s sovereignty. Without God permitting it to happen, nothing would happen to my boy. In my heart, I silently prayed to God and asked Him to keep my heart from complaining about everything that was happening just then and, gradually, my heart calmed down a little.
Later, after some discussion, we agreed that my mom and I would take my son to the local township hospital at 4am in the morning. When we got there, the doctor examined my son and diagnosed his illness, saying, “The child’s temperature has reached over 40 degrees, and he has another illness as well. Our skills and equipment at this hospital are not sufficient. You have to transfer quickly to the county hospital.” Hearing this, my mom and I were stunned, and I thought to myself, “It’s only 5am and there aren’t yet any county buses. Even if there were, it’s a two-hour journey. My son has already been tossing around all night long—must he suffer for hours and hours more? What if my son’s condition suddenly worsens while we’re on our way to the other hospital and there’s no doctor around? What will we do then? If something happens to him, how could I go on living?” My mom could see what I was thinking, and she took my hand and said, “Don’t worry about him, we still have God! Trust in God to help us. God holds sovereignty over things both living and not living. Let’s pray to God together and rely on God!” Hearing her say this, I also thought to myself: “Yes! We still have God. God rules the universe and all things. Is my son’s life and death not held in God’s hands?” And so, my mom and I went before God and prayed. After praying, I thought of God’s words that say, “Therefore, only when you have faith and you do not harbor doubts toward God, only when you have true faith in Him no matter what He does will He enlighten and illuminate you in your experiences, and only then will you be able to see His actions. These things are all achieved through faith, and faith is only achieved through refinement—faith cannot develop in the absence of refinement. What does faith refer to? Faith is the genuine belief and the sincere heart that humans should possess when they cannot see or touch something, when God’s work is not in line with human notions, when it is beyond human reach. This is the faith that I speak of.” God’s words enabled me to understand that, no matter what situations may befall, I must always have. But I thought about my own faith and, when everything was going smoothly, I believed in God and obeyed Him. But when this current unfortunate situation happened, I became filled with worry and fear, I felt restless with anxiety and I lost my faith in God. Faced with the facts, I was exposed as someone with such a small stature. In fact, true faith means that one can stand firm in one’s testimony to God without any doubts whatsoever, regardless of the situation and regardless of whether it accords with one’s own will or not. This situation I was in made me think of Abraham back in those early days. Though he didn’t understand , he was willing to bear the pain and give up his beloved only son and offer him to God. And when he took up a knife to kill his son, God’s will was made clear to him. Not only did God not make him kill his son, He blessed Abraham so that his offspring would be as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach. Compared with Abraham’s faith in God, I saw that my own faith was severely lacking. Only then did I come to some understanding that God was willing me not to lose faith in the situation I was in, but to rely on Him and look to Him sincerely. With this understanding, my heart gradually became less scared than it had been.
Several hours later, we arrived at the county hospital without any mishap. The doctor there very quickly gave my son a thorough examination. Afterward, he asked us to look at his CT scan and told us that my son had developed sudden symptoms of bilateral pneumonia. Looking at my son who was not crying or making any fuss, he said to us in amazement, “He is a very tenacious baby.” Hearing him say this, I gave heartfelt thanks to God in my heart! It wasn’t that my son was tenacious, it was God watching over him and protecting him. The doctor then said, “Both his lungs are inflamed. If you had come any later, his condition would have seriously worsened. His feverish temperature is so high, and his brain could quite possibly be damaged. He needs to be admitted urgently and given treatment.” After the doctor said this, my slightly calmed heart became anxious again. I worried that my son, who wasn’t yet two months old, could possibly suffer brain damage from his fever and would suffer the effects all his life, and then what would we do? Just as I was in a state of worry and fear, I thought of a passage of God’s words: “Faith is like a single log bridge, those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over without worry. If man has timid and fearful thoughts, they are being fooled by Satan. It fears that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God. Satan devises every way possible to send us its thoughts, we should always pray that the light of God will shine on us, and we must always rely on God to purify us from Satan’s poison. We shall always be practicing in our spirits to come close to God. We shall let God have dominion over our whole being.” God’s words enabled me to see through Satan’s cunning scheme. I considered myself: Whenever I heard the slightest bit of bad news, I engaged in wild conjecture, worrying what I would do if he was brain damaged by his fever. Worrying that my son’s condition would worsen showed that I still didn’t have true faith in God! Turning these things over and over in my mind until both my body and mind were exhausted was Satan playing with me and harming me. Actually, what my son’s condition was and whether or not it would worsen were not up to the doctor—the doctor could not decide what direction my son’s condition would go in. All of this was ruled by God, and I wished to look to God and entrust Him with my son, and not worry or fret about it anymore.
When I relied on God and looked to Him, and I entrusted my son into His hands, I really saw God’s wondrous deeds: My son’s high fever broke that night, and after a few days of medicine, his bilateral pneumonia cleared up as well.
After undergoing this experience, I came to deeply appreciate that, when we encounter hardships, as long as we pray and rely on God sincerely, He will always enlighten and illuminate us to understand His will, He will guide us through the obstacles and will be a help to us at all times. This experience also increased my faith in God, and I came to have some knowledge of God’s almightiness and sovereignty.
Afterward, my son again suddenly developed an acute cold, and his temperature rose to more than 40 degrees; he was cold one minute, hot the next, and he didn’t get better even after taking medicine at the local clinic. Without having any alternative, all we could do was to transfer to the Chinese medicine hospital. Seeing my son’s serious condition, the doctor there referred us to the emergency room where they gave my son a blood test. But at that time, because my son’s body was so exhausted, he was unable to endure having blood taken again, and his eyes rolled white as he gasped his last breaths. Helplessly watching my son die, I cried and screamed: “Doctor, save my son. Doctor, save my son. …” I nearly collapsed. Just as I was helpless and in pain, a passage of God’s words suddenly came to mind: “Almighty God is an all-powerful physician! To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well. If you have but one breath, God will not let you die.” God’s words were a life-saver, and they made me unwilling to depart from God even for a moment. Man is powerless—only God can save people, and without God permitting it to happen, my son would not die. Just as I was silently calling on God in my heart, a doctor ran over and pressed on my son’s central acupressure point, and my white-eyed son suddenly started to bawl loudly. Seeing my son having been saved from death’s door, my mom and I hugged him and cried, and I kept thanking God in my heart …
Undergoing these two close shaves enabled me to see how helpless and insignificant we human beings are in the face of tribulation, and it was also confirmed in my heart that only God rules both our lives and deaths. Just as God said, “Man’s heart and spirit are held in the hand of God, and his whole life is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts. This is the way in which God presides over all things.” From these experiences, I finally genuinely understood the true meaning of these words of God, and I came to have a sincere appreciation of God’s authority and His rule over all things, that all things both living and unliving are under God’s sovereignty, and that our lives, deaths and destinies are even more so in God’s hands. I also came to appreciate that, as created beings, we should submit to God’s sovereignty, and that we should rely on God to experience all the situations that befall us in our real lives. Only in this way will we gain a deeper appreciation and a more realistic understanding of God’s authority.