One woman in my mother's church, whom I know, has been a Christian for nearly 40 years. When she was young, her parents died. Then, in such cold and cheerless circumstance, she married someone who got cancer soon after upon which she then became addicted to Mahjong. What a torturous experience!
She said that she believed in Jesus because of her mother. Her parents died one after another when she was a teenager. Fortunately, because of God, this tragedy didn't knock her flat.
However, she could not afford her parents' burial. Her relatives agreed, unbeknown to her, to break their relationship with her because her Christian background forbid her to burn ghost money for the ancestors. Soon after putting the burial behind her, she got married, although in a cold and cheerless mood, and left the village to which she would never return. No one would miss her, the poor woman.
It could have been a mistake that she married. On a Sunday, while in the church listening to the preacher, she burst into tears thinking of what she had been through. People felt so sorry for her after listening to her story. One person wanted to be a matchmaker and introduce her to another man. Soon the two married. He was poor but very nice. He took good care of her and their life became better. Her husband then started a small business and the family became better off financially. It was at this time that she became lost.
When the family had more money, she gradually became addicted to mahjong. She once said that she was so obsessed with it that her mind was full of mahjong every day, and she felt bored to go to church. During those years, she played mahjong whenever she had time, even at Christmas and rarely went to church. She said that at the time she was either playing mahjong or on the way to play mahjong.
In the beginning, her husband thought it was her hobby but later found out that she had totally lost control. They quarreled about it many times. Her husband chose not to interfere but started to play mahjong himself and also got addicted. They began playing it together at home with others and neglected taking care of their children.
One day last year, her husband felt a pain in his chest while playing mahjong. The medical examination indicated that he was in the late stage of lung cancer. This tremendous shock awakened them. They stopped playing mahjong and spent their savings on treatment. They tried western and eastern medicine however her husband did not get better.
Hearing that the husband had gotten cancer, villagers no longer visited them for they thought it would bring them bad luck. The church's visit at that difficult time made them feel both grateful and guilty. Church staff prayed for them and gave them 2,000 yuan.
With this money, they went through a period when they could not afford their meals. The staff of the church kept visiting them once in a while and gave them basic necessities. After one or two months, the husband died. After the church helped deal with the funeral, the wife got rid of the mahjong and went to church again.
Her two children now are married. They converted to Christianity because of what had happened to their family. They witnessed how the church took care of their father and experienced love that was real and precious.
Although her husband was dead, she felt grateful that he had passed away with hope rather than guilt and that God had saved her two children during this family crisis.
The life of a believer belongs to God. When we get lost, God will guide us in many ways, such as through illness or disaster. Only those who have been through it know clearly that, in hardship, lies the deepest love of God.
- Translated by Lin Changfeng