A Chinese student finds meaning in suffering
by Rachel Chang*
God does care for the Chinese!
I am from mainland China and have lived in the United States for nearly four years. It is a great honor for me to share with you here what God has done in my life.
My story beings at the turn of this century, when a Korean Christian came to China as a missionary to our country. In the 30 years that followed, he learned the Chinese language and married a Chinese woman.
Then in 1949, he returned to Korea, forced to leave behind his wife and children, who began what would be many years of great suffering under Chinese communism. Yet, they remained strong Christians.
I write today as the third generation of this family. My father grew up attending a Christian school, where he was saved when he was 16. Later, as a college student in Beijing, he attended church. As my father grew older and worked as a physical doctor, he kept in close contact with the pastor of this church and supported his ministry.
I remember well how, as a young child, I saw the suffering and persecutions to which my parents and other Christians were subjected, particularly during the “Cultural Revolution.” I saw how my parents were beaten, whipped, and insulted, and how my father’s rib was broken. I heard my parents’ earnest prayers in the darkness after midnight.
More incredibly, I saw my father smile through the torture from the persons who were striking and denouncing him. Even today, I remember well what my father told me in this time of great tribulation. “I am ready,” he told me. “I would rather be burned than betray my Lord.”
I also remember three other Christians in our town, who came to me secretly and said, “My child, don’t be afraid! What is happening now is written in the Bible,” citing Matthew 24:7-14 (KJV):
“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
As a child, I could not understand all of these sufferings, but my parents’ great faith and their extraordinary endurance in their personal tribulation influenced me a great deal. While I did not, then, fully know the God of my parents, I remember thinking that He must be good and powerful. And so I prayed to Him for help, even though I was just a child. This step of faith began the process of my conversion.
However, I owe the final step of my conversion to my Christian friends, whom I met when attending a training class in a nearby city. With their help, I understood many essential Christian doctrines, particularly that I was as much a sinner as others were. So I confessed my sin and accepted Jesus as my savior and Lord.
I changed a lot following my conversion …
Before giving my life to Jesus, I complained a lot about my family’s sufferings. I asked my parents why they did not leave China before 1949; why they stayed and suffered; and what the meaning of this endless suffering was. After my conversion, I complained no more. I saw clearly God’s good plan for my family: my parents were placed in that area to be His witnesses, through which thousands of the locals turned to Christ.
Today, my father is 70 years old and he is still busy serving in the house churches as a doctor and a volunteer pastor. During the morning, he receives patients, and in the afternoon and evenings – three or four times each week – he preaches the Gospel. I thank God for him, and for my husband, a former Communist Party member and a student in the early 1980s who suffered political persecution – whom He also saved. While my husband had been seeking after truth for more than 10 years, he finally found it when he converted to Christ following the June 4, 1989, confrontation in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
As we shared the Gospel with our friends at home, many said, “I know you have faith, for when you talk about your God, your face is shining. But you don’t have knowledge; you can’t convince me.”
Not long ago, feeling the urgency to receive training in evangelism and apologetics, we came to study at graduate school in a seminary in the U.S. To accomplish this, God amazed us by leading us out of China in much the same way He led Moses out of Egypt. The miracles and grace He shined upon us during our two-year exodus are too abundant to recount in this space, but I will always remember them in my heart.
In 1991, we finally arrived at school. Since arriving, God has given me a great dream of establishing, upon my return to China, a church and Bible institute like this, which is why I enrolled in the education doctorate program after graduating. My husband also has a great burden – in his case for intellectuals in Chinese colleges. As I struggle with my classes and dream about the future of such a Chinese Bible institute, my husband has begun to write biblical literature for these Chinese intellectuals. We know that God has called and prepared us to return to China to serve Him there. And we know that God will send us back in the same way He led us here.
When I visited China last summer, I found many friends still suffering and struggling for warmth and food, and searching for the meaning of life.
“We Chinese are not human beings,” one youth told me in great despair. “We are just like ants. Who cares if we die? Maybe there is a God, but He does not seem to care for the Chinese people.”
The fact is, God does care for the Chinese! There is a great need in China. God is meeting that need of the Chinese people.
*not her real name