A Marriage Saved Through Misery

Editor’s note: How can a cancer diagnosis lead to a restoration in marriage? A Chinese believer shares the testimony of how God used a tragic diagnosis to bring a wife and husband closer together.


Grace Made Perfect In Weakness

Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord Jesus said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So Paul boasted all the more gladly of his weaknesses, so that the power of Christ might rest upon him. I am a weak person, but the grace of the Lord Jesus has manifested in my family.

““I am a weak person, but the grace of the Lord Jesus has manifested in my family.”

I have a strong personality, and it is hard for me to lower my head and admit when I’m wrong. The first few years of my marriage were pretty good. We were an enviable couple and loved each other dearly. But after having our second child, conflicts began to erupt, and my strong personality started to come out.

Although we sought help many times, which included attending couples’ retreat and receiving marriage counseling, our relationship still didn’t improve much. It was almost at the point of despair. I often complained to God why he gave me a marriage like this. My husband was also living in great misery. Just at a precarious moment in our marriage, a sudden incident completely changed our relationship and saved our marriage just in time.

Peace and Joy in a Terminal Diagnosis

In 2009, I was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. From having fear and terror at the beginning, to slowly recovering my inner peace, my heart was constantly illuminated by the Holy Spirit. It showed me what a proud person I was.

During the first month after the surgery, my husband stayed with me in the hospital day and night. Seeing how hard-working he was to take care of me, I began to feel guilty. I felt I had owed him a lot for these past few years. The indifference of my heart suddenly disappeared. It was also at that moment that I felt I loved him so much and was so afraid of losing him. We all wanted to cherish each other dearly.

““Every night, my husband would hold my hand and pray. Many times I fell asleep with his prayers. Over the next few years, we both changed and looked much older, but our inner selves were being renewed day by day.”

Especially during my chemotherapy, the treatment caused bone marrow suppression and my white blood cells became very low. Every night I had trouble falling asleep and my body was extremely weak. Every night, my husband would hold my hand and pray. Many times I fell asleep with his prayers. Over the next few years, we both changed and looked much older, but our inner selves were being renewed day by day.

When I was first diagnosed, the doctor told me that I would only have about 1 year left to live. At first I was in emotional turmoil. Seeing my worries, my husband showed me an article written by Pastor John Piper, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.” There’s a line in the text that says, “We can indeed waste our cancer when we don’t see how it is God’s good plan for us.” [Note: this line does not appear in the original article, but is a translation from English, into Chinese, and back into English.] That immediately opened up my heart.

I prayed silently in my heart, “Lord, yes, I am convinced that this disease was specially planned for me by you. Although I don’t know or understand why this illness has to fall upon me, I believe that you are involved in it. O God, if you have allowed this cancer to fall upon me, you must have a supreme and good purpose installed for me.”


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““God wants to heal my soul and bind up my marriage through this disease.”


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Suddenly, my heart was filled with overwhelming peace and joy. The peace that comes from overcoming fear was so real. No one can give or take away that peace and joy.

Shaping My Life

God saved my marriage and shaped my life through a sudden misery. In the book of Hosea, it says, “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.” This is what God does.

God knows that I have a hardened heart, and he knows by what means he can soften it and turn my heart back. He wants to heal my soul and bind up my marriage through this disease.


Rebecca is a pseudonym for the wife of a house church pastor in southern China. She and her husband have two children.

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray that Chinese believers will experience the peace and joy that comes from overcoming fear.

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Further Reading

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Nanjing: Love Under Pressure
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Why Should I Love My Enemies?: Give Up Revenge, Love Enemies
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Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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