In French Taizé music, there is a devotional piece named "Nada te turbe". The lyrics were written by Teresa de Ávila, a Roman Catholic nun.
Nada te turbe，
nada te espante;
Quien a Dios tiene
nada le falta.
Nada te turbe,
nada te espante.
Solo Dios basta
Let nothing disturb you,
nothing frighten you,
All things are passing.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing.
God is enough.
After being composed by the French Jacques Berthier, the Taizé spiritual song conveys a life philosophy through the soothing and melodious rhythm that only the Lord can satisfy men's souls in this life, let alone the afterlife.
Can mortal men like me encounter a person described in the song - he or she only relies on the Lord and never worries or has no fear ? Anyone who has God and lacks nothing?
Yes, I saw a rural female Christian who witnessed the biblical truth her whole life.
She was an illiterate because she never went to school due to poor financial conditions, but she was sent to the countryside as an "educated urban youth" in the 1960s. She married a local peasant and served as a housewife until her death.
From girlhood to her later years, she was constantly sick - suffering from a cesarean section, uterine fibroids, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and gastric ulcer. She lost her eldest son who was drowned at an early age. She neither saved a cent nor made any money. Her life was supported by her husband in her early adulthood, and then by her son and daughter when she was old.
However, faith changed her life, turning it into a life free of the anxiety and troubles that other people with similar experiences usually have.
She learned to read by listening to Biblical audio recordings and reading the Bible, and finally she could read through the Bible, even biblical words outside the Bible. She felt sick from head to foot in her old age, but never missed Sunday services when she was able to move. She kept reading the Bible, praying, fasting and singing hymns every day, even reciting Bible verses and humming hymns when bed-ridden. She risked her life to give birth to a boy and a girl in her middle age and dedicated all the glory to God. For every penny she received, she was pleased to share with people. She gained unlimited spiritual strength from Bible reading, prayers and singing hymns; she loved others from the heart; she brought joy to people around her and also to those she met; she liked to get along with everyone, even those who regarded Christ as an enemy; the tears, sufferings, disbelief, misunderstandings, and hatred in her life were transformed into joy and grace.
My mother, who was her elder sister, told me that she had dystocia while bearing me. Unmarried, she happened to visit my mother on that day. She ran back and forth for more than five kilometers to find a midwife. That avoided a disaster.
When I was young, she always gave me a little gift when she traveled across the river on boat to purchase vegetables on our side. A hot sweet potato wrapped in her handkerchief was my favorite snack. When it came to the Chinese New Year, she asked her family members to invite me to spend the festival at her home. On every such occasion, I ate fresh fish and shrimps raised in a pond and got a pocket full of the most precious refreshments in her home. In high school, there was shortage of reference books and I could not afford them either. She secretly gave me ten or fifty cents... I knew those were savings from the money given to her to buy vegetables.
When I left my hometown for 20 years, I was diagnosed with PLID (a kind of spinal disc herniation) at around 50. Knowing my illness, she who approached the age of 70 earnestly fasted and prayed for me. She also asked her daughter and son-in-law to drive her to see me in Shanghai.
Then after dinner, I asked her, "I have not seen anyone who suffers more than you; I have not seen anyone who is in more pain than you. But why are you always joyful?"
She replied, "I prayed to and gave everything to God and he also gave himself to me; I have God, so I'm joyful. My pain is all cast to God and he can bear that. When I was young, my first son was drowned in the water, a few years younger than you. I was miserable, but God promised me a son and a daughter in my prayer; I believed him and I rejoiced. I'm poor, but God gave me a hard-working, healthy, and devoted husband. I lack no food and am content with enough to drink and eat; I constantly suffered from serious illness, but it has come through for me. Since God does not take my life, I witness him with joy. There are times when I'm weak. My solution to weakness is madly rejoicing, rejoicing while feeling pain and shedding tears. The Bible states that a cheerful heart is good medicine. I lack nothing with God. I'm satisfied and content."
The second day I continued to lie in bed, while she fasted and prayed for one day in another bedroom.
I am telling this story to testify about a person whose soul was satisfied in faith while living in this world. She was my second aunt (1950-2009), a woman without worries, a servant of God who prayed for joy from God and also pleased Him.
(The author is a university professor and doctoral supervisor.)
- Translated by Karen Luo