New to Refiner’s Fire? I encourage you to read the FORWARD.
In Cuba, the Triune God had given me an amazing experience where I KNEW without a doubt I was in the center of His will.
In China, Almighty God was about to give me a keen insight into how my own self-centeredness often determined how I nurtured my children.
In 1971, I was blessed with three children. By then they were, respectively, three, eighteen months, and a few weeks old. One afternoon, when all three were taking their naps, I sat at the kitchen table having my daily devotions. In a short moment, or so it seemed, a dreadful fear came upon me…
…What would happen should my children
grow up not knowing the Triune God?
… I begged God to teach me how to
nurture my children to walk into eternity with Him.
I couldn’t know how one of the greatest teachings about parenting wouldn’t be learned until a visit to China. Little could I have guessed I would be bringing Bibles to Christians there. And, while there, I wouldn’t meet a single Christian. My Heavenly Father had an amazing surprise for me.
After delivering the Bibles, we returned to Hong Kong (HK) for a few days. What would we do in HK? Be tourists? Visit with the Open Doors HK staff? What about the all-enticing HK shopping? (Wow!).
Upon arrival in HK, we were told that we would have the honor of visiting a family who had just recently escaped from China. We had heard some of their story so we were excited to meet them.
The next day, we sat crowded in the family’s kitchenette. As tea was served, it was hard to imagine we were sitting with the husband/wife “team” of whom we had heard so many stories. They both had the courage to distribute and teach the contents of an “Illegal Book” called the Bible.
Hours later, they had only begun recollecting their frightening story.
During the 1966 “Cultural Revolution,” members of a fierce military squad forced themselves into the family’s home. The Red Guard spent three days and three nights ransacking their house. The family was not allowed to eat or sleep during that time. The Red Guard had come for one reason: Discover illegal Bibles and teaching materials to assist in training small groups.
When they couldn’t find the Bibles they took the family outside and beat the parents. Then they beat the children in front of the parents.
Amazingly! Not one of the children renounced Jesus.
“Do you want Communism or Christianity?” the oldest brother was asked. “Christianity” he responded.
They took him outside until he began to bleed internally.
A friend suggested to the mother that she take her son to the hospital. There she was told her son would die, with little time left in his eleven-year-old body. Our son had recently turned that age.
The son asked, “Mom, come pray for me I’m going.”
She prayed over him. He closed
his eyes with a smile on his face.
I carefully watched this woman who had lost her eleven year-old son, dying at the hands of his satanic persecutors. “Mama, how do you raise a child, so that at the age of 11 he will not renounce Jesus, though he be beaten to death? I quietly asked.
I will never forget how she looked me in the eye — with her amazing reply: “There are three things you must do.”
- “From the time your children are born, you must teach them to never renounce Jesus or another Christian. Your life may be dependent on that other believer.”
- Secondly, you must pray sacrificially for your children. That means you are praying so much for your children that you are giving up things you want for yourself but instead pray for your children.”
- I will never forget the little chuckle she gave before she continued, “Third, and this is hardest for you in the West. You must let your children suffer. They will never grow strong if they don’t suffer. If there is nothing natural that causes suffering in their life, then create a reason for them to suffer.” I cannot forget her astonishing reply.
I was so excited when I got home. These sounded like such good sound principles to follow. I could hardly wait to share her teaching with my friends. I shared it with my best friend and, as I told the story, she wept.
When I finished, she looked at me, while speaking these words: “But Wanda, if my children suffer, then I will suffer and I don’t want to suffer.
It was one of the greatest “ah-ha” moments of my life. What a surprise, a teaching I wasn’t expected.
My CHALLENGE to you —
Grab a cup of coffee… imagine you and I are chatting.
In front of your unbelieving eyes, what might it be like watching your child being beaten to death?
Your Heavenly Father understands. He watched His only Son be crucified. Because of His love for you and me, He allowed His Son to be sacrificed. He literally surrendered Him for this to happen. Jesus, His Son, willingly agreed to do this for you and me.
These are truths that have helped me as I have walked through various types of suffering.
As the Triune God walks you through suffering KNOW that you can cry out to Him for strength, for desire to keep clinging to Him. Jesus is fully God and fully man and has experienced everything. He can relate to you in every way: physical, emotional, mental, relational.
Hebrews 4:15 –16 If you want to have a deeper understanding go here Hebrews 4:15-16 scroll down page to verses 15 and 16.
Also, are you still asking, “Why God?” but have not listened to Joy In Risk and Suffering, it is not too late. John Piper’s sermon has helped me to understand the importance of suffering in my walk with the Triune God. Having a better understanding has helped me desire to hold on to the Triune God and bring Him glory as a result of the struggle I go through. John Piper uses scripture to explain why it isn’t just the suffering of persecution that brings God glory.
Though You Slay Me Shane and Shane (featuring John Piper).
A Christian’s suffering is meaningful. We sing these songs with an inner joy, though the pain may not be lessened.
Hear the story directly from the second eldest son Dr. Daniel Wong.
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