In the Midst of a Great Storm

in the midst storm.jpg

Editor’s note: This article was written by Brother Fan, an intern evangelist at a church in southwest China. It is a devotional meant to be used by those in the midst of persecution. Brother Fan wrote this reflection after he was beaten while trying to visit Preacher Yang at the police station. Preacher Yang is a pastor at Brother Fan’s church who has recently been detained by police each weekend in order to prevent his participation in Sunday worship. 

You can read the second half of this devotional here.


I have recently experienced God’s guidance. In the midst of fear and trembling, I write here to reflect on my identity and mission, to remember the indescribable feeling I had of being led forward by God. At each step, I was amazed—then, suddenly, I was in the midst of the storm, watching to see what God would do. I was like a child in the arms of his father, looking out with curious eyes on the vast world around me.

My personal story has been placed on a larger stage, where God is the director and his church is the protagonist; I belong to Christ and his church. The script is already written, and Christ the glorious king is the beginning and the end. I will die, but Christ will not die; when I eventually die, my predetermined end is to die in him.

Never miss a story

Sign up to receive our weekly email with our original articles.

At every turn I experience the greatest mystery on heaven and earth: the king of glory, made manifest in a small and weak man like me. That which is in me is greater than the world. This is no longer just a theological concept, but is alive and active every day. In the midst of the greatest unbelief came an outburst of faith; in the midst of the greatest fear, I experienced deep peace. This is an unspeakable mystery. 

In the early hours of Sunday morning, we were at the scene of suffering, waiting for Preacher Yang. Silently and wordlessly, we kept watch in the police station. Perhaps this was the very way he has spent the Lord’s Day many times: one chair, two guards, sitting face-to-face with them as day turned to night and then back to day again. Only after church worship was over would he be allowed to return home. Round and round it goes; this is how we have been living for the past two years.

Those who watched over Preacher Yang neither knew nor thought about what the point of it all might be. This is life; “live as a monk for a day, ring the bell for a day.” [This is a Chinese saying which describes the aimlessness of life and refers to drifting forward in time.] There is no lack of absurdity in it all. But on that night, in the calm of late evening, hymns broke the darkness, and prayers rose like spring thunder. The gospel which has stirred the world has caused a great indignation; the kingdom of heaven had come to the police station.

Our family—myself, my wife, and our two children—was in the midst of this great storm. Next to us stood Preacher Yang’s wife, and Sister Cao with her two children. On the way to the station, the children looked excitedly at the scripture passages that they would be sharing. After we made it through the harrowing arrest of our pastor in 2018, the greatest miracle was accomplished in the children. God is leading these little ones through persistent persecution. The police are not only a part of our lives, but also the lives of the children. Faith is a mystery that transcends reason and makes these children more sensitive to the gospel, for the gospel preaches of a Christ who is persecuted by us. The children are not surprised to see that our pastor was condemned and do not wonder why our lives are watched, for this is the reason the gospel was preached to us. The world is lost, and we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Now we are justified freely by the grace of God through the salvation of Christ Jesus.

A justified person will enter into this tension of the righteous living among sinners. Because of that, the righteous heart will suffer. But, as some have said, “instead of cursing the darkness, let us set ourselves aflame.” However, we must first take care to be on guard against the darkness within ourselves. In suffering, Christians are refined. If we never enter into dangerous situations and see how little faith we have or the worry and hatred in our hearts, we might think we are full of faith and hope and love. 

That night, at the scene of the storm with my child asleep on my shoulder, through prayer I entrusted myself to God, the one who is in charge of the storm. He has great love, and he works through broken people. As several police officers filmed us, we worshipped the one who made heaven and earth. In the face of the threats of the world, the only thing Christians can do is to sing and pray.

After the police threatened to handcuff us and forbade us to leave the premises, our group went inside and sat down in the reception area. Outside, more and more people gathered, and discussed our end with great enthusiasm. They saw us as dangerous, a force coming in from outside of the country, because the kingdom of heaven had invaded the earth and the world did not accept the Savior. I think that, in heaven, God turned his focus to us. The saints of all generations watched this battle, and the angelic hosts of heaven discussed it. The night was late, and, one by one, the children fell asleep. I thought I was just going to the police station to check on Preacher Yang; I did not expect for God to lead us into the lion’s den.

We only wanted a shallow taste, but God filled our cup of blessing to overflowing. There was a twinge of concern in my heart: what would be our outcome? Would the situation get out of hand? I prayed for the Lord to help us. What angered the officers the most was our singing in front of the police station. In fact, that was just our instinct. If you listen carefully, hymns can calm people down. We sang a song of love, but in a world filled with hate, it was a battle cry. Our communication was ineffective, and the scene was set for conflict. All I could do was put myself into the hands of God and be there, as a brother, for the other sisters and the children. From the depths I cried out to God: “O Lord, the days of my life are in your hands. Our hearts are firm in you.”

For awhile the police station was empty, as everyone gathered outside in the courtyard. Soon, the officer who had been in charge of monitoring my activities arrived and greeted me [it is not unusual in China for Christians to have cordial relationships with the officials who track and monitor them]. He, though, was stopped by the police inside. They did not want to let us go so easily. We could only continue to wait, and put ourselves in their hands.

If we did not believe that God is in charge of everything we would have been scared out of our wits. My heart was hidden in God, and in my heart, I could not stop crying out to the Lord. I have already tasted suffering for my faith; the road ahead was not unknown. Interrogation and detention are somewhat familiar processes to me; but that preparation of my heart and my mind was a new process, a process of life renewal led by God.

Do I really believe that God is in charge? Am I really living for him? How can I face my own suffering and the suffering of everyone else? The situation is getting worse for us—but this is an opportunity for faith. Indeed, it is because of the filth of the human heart and the corruption of the world that I have come to assent to and trust in the gospel!




The Chinese church who first shared this devotional wrote this prayer to accompany the meditation:

“May the Lord keep our hearts. May we always rely on him, not on ourselves. May the resurrected life of the Lord Jesus be manifested through us. May the kingdom of heaven—which will last longer than all earthly nations—come, through our weak church, to the people who sit in darkness.”

-Pray for Brother Fan, Preacher Yang, and all those who were present at the police station to experience God’s love, care, and protection.

-Pray for the kingdom of heaven to come to those in China who sit in darkness.

Our blog exists, not just to share information, but to resource the global church to share the joys and burdens of the Chinese church. Our hope is that everything you read here will lead you to intentional, knowledgeable prayer for the Chinese church. 

Share This Story

Further Reading

Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
Read More
Nanjing: A Welcoming City of Newcomers
Read More
Nanjing: A Relational Gospel
Read More


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.


  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



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.


Stories from Shenyang

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.


Stories from Qingdao

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.


Stories from Xiamen

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.


Stories from Chongqing

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.


Stories from Nanjing

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.


Stories from Changchun

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.


Stories from Guangzhou

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.


Stories from Kunming

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.


Stories from Shenzhen

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. 


Stories from Chengdu

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.


Stories from Beijing

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.


Stories from Shanghai


A short message about partnering with us.