CONFLICT – DOUBT AND FEAR
“But as for me, I keep watch for the Lord, I wait in hope for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his justice.” Micah 7:7-9
Chinese Pastor Wang Ming-dao was under tremendous pressure after his first arrest in the mid-1950’s. He was promised release from prison and return to his pulpit if he would just “preach for the government.” In his mind this would be lying and he was certain he could not live a hypocritical life.
Pastor Wang was firm in his resolve, until he heard that his beloved wife, Debra, had also been arrested and was in grave danger. He heard that she was not eating properly and was growing critically weak because of the poor food she was receiving in prison. She would not survive if something were not done. This news so disturbed him that he broke and agreed with his persecutors that he would preach “a lie” and join the government-controlled church.
His plan was to get his wife to safety with her mother and then he would commit suicide. He reportedly wandered the streets murmuring “I am Peter…I am Peter…” and his heart sickness began to affect his body.
When the authorities realized that he would not compromise himself by preaching in the government-controlled church, Pastor Wang and wife, Debra, were re-arrested. She received a fifteen-year sentence and he life imprisonment.
Early in this second imprisonment, God brought these verses from Micah 7:7-9 to his mind, which he had memorized at the age of twenty-one.
Wang Ming-dao was no longer afraid – for himself or his wife. He was finally released in 1980 at eighty years of age – very frail, nearly blind and all-but-deaf. He had served over twenty-three years in prison. His wife Debra had been released three years earlier for health reasons. For the remaining eleven years of his life he was a great encouragement to the church in China as well as the many foreign visitors he and Debra entertained.
RESPONSE: Today I will not give in to Satan’s tactics of doubt and fear. I will concentrate on the greater cost to Jesus of my redemption.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the reminder that Persecuted Christians are not super-heroes but they show us how our failure must turn into repentance and renewal with deeper dependence on You and not into self-condemnation.
STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM Paul Estabrooks