We Do Not Have to Worry

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Editor’s note: Little Ai, a Chinese Christian who is married to a house church pastor, recently wrote this reflection as she prepared for a hearing about fines levied against her and her husband for organizing religious activities. The charges have now gone through, and her family has been saddled with a large debt, as well as travel restrictions. Still, even in the midst of suffering, she realizes that her troubles are being used by God to address her heart issues and to help her know and trust her Savior.


A few months ago, my husband and I received notice that we would be fined 200,000 RMB [more than $30,000 USD]. When I saw this notice, I quickly became belligerent. The next day, I had to go and submit an application for a hearing regarding the matter. I imagined holding my head high as I went into that office. In my heart, I despised those I would see there. “Let’s see what my God will do to you one day,” I thought.

But the Holy Spirit reminded me of that day’s Scripture reading: “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” The Spirit reminded me that sin lives in my heart, and that I am called to resist any thought that is not in accordance with God’s will. The greatest battle is not outside of me; it is in my own heart. I prayed that God would guard my heart.

The next day before I left home, I had a conversation with my son. He cannot speak yet, so I asked and answered the questions myself: “Little one, Mommy is going to fight a battle, but the battle is actually fought by the Lord. He has already won, and I am just following him to gather the spoils. Will Mommy get hurt in this process? Yes. We don’t know when or from where hidden spears and arrows will fly toward me. However, even if I am hurt, it is all in God’s hands. We do not have to worry.”

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“God’s mercy grabbed hold of me…God showed me that my enemy is the devil. He is the one in charge of this dark world. The staff at the bureau are merely a group of imprisoned people who live under his control.

I put on high heels before I left, so I could walk more assertively. When I handed in my paperwork, the staff member at the Religious Affairs Bureau was very polite, addressing me with the formal, more courteous version of you. He asked me to sit down, have some water, and wait. It was as if God’s mercy grabbed hold of me. Although I knew the staff members at the bureau office are not my enemies—they are not the ones against whom I fight—I still wanted to be hostile toward them.


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The Fight Is Not with Flesh and Blood

As I waited, God showed me that my enemy is the devil. He is the one in charge of this dark world. The staff at the bureau are merely a group of imprisoned people who live under his control. When this thought came, God immediately reminded me of certain brothers and sisters in the church. Sometimes I enjoy judging these other believers. Because we disagree about certain topics, I have built up walls inside myself and find it hard to serve with them, to the point that we cannot even talk in a friendly manner. My heart has no mercy. 

God showed me that I was wrong. This Scripture came to mind: “Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” May God forgive me for my hardness of heart! I should show compassion to my brothers and sisters. Even if we disagree, we are still companions on our journey to heaven. 

Before I left the office, I had a friendly conversation with the director of the bureau, and discussed the time of my hearing. Because I had planned to visit my hometown in the following days, I asked him to arrange the date a little later. At last, I said to him, “I’ll pray for you,” and left.

When I came back, one sister told me that another friend was very worried about what to do if we were fined a large amount of money. I told her a story: “Imagine the savings and properties owned by the richest person in the world. He may be as ‘rich as a state,’ but his wealth is still a drop in the bucket compared to the wealth of my Father. I am his daughter. If his daughter needs money, my loving Father will surely provide it. There is no need to worry about money at all.”

God Wants to Deal with our Inner Being

God also led me to consider: if I could pray and ask the Lord to remove one thing—this fine or my sin—which would I choose? Of course I would choose for him to remove my sin. Even if the fine could be canceled, my sin remains; the burden of sin is too great for me to bear. 

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“We would all love for God to come and solve our problems when we are in trouble. If we are not feeling well—‘God, please heal us.’ If we have cancer, we want God to remove the cancer cells through the hand of a doctor. If we are in financial difficulties—‘God, please provide.’ If our marriage is in crisis—‘God, please change my spouse.’ But how many healthy, financially well-off, happily married families in this world still live under the bondage and dominion of sin?

We would all love for God to come and solve our problems when we are in trouble. If we are not feeling well—”God, please heal us.” If we have cancer, we want God to remove the cancer cells through the hand of a doctor. If we are in financial difficulties—”God, please provide.” If our marriage is in crisis—”God, please change my spouse.” But how many healthy, financially well-off, happily married families in this world still live under the bondage and dominion of sin?

God came from heaven to earth. He knows the weaknesses we experience, and he will give us our daily bread. Most importantly, he came to get rid of the sin within us. God wants to deal with our inner being, which is full of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, and maliciousness. He died on the cross so he could surgically remove our dirty heart and replace it with a new heart.

I need to think about the lessons God wants me to learn in this persecution. If my heart is filled with anger, bitterness, and self-righteousness, then my heart is actually resisting God. Lord, have mercy! If my heart can submit to God’s sovereignty, accept the situation he has given me, pray for those who are in authority, and still be courageous to honor his word, then I am not being persecuted in vain. I know that this willingness to submit does not come from me, but from the Holy Spirit, who intends this to build and prune us. Thank you, Lord!


Ai was converted in 2004. She is married to a preacher, lives in a city on the southeast coast of China, and is studying for ministry alongside her husband.

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Little Ai wrote that God used persecution to help her reflect and settle these things in her heart. Thank God that he uses difficulties and suffering to help us know and trust him more.

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Further Reading

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The Internal Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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The External Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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Qingdao: How to Pray
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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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