Editor’s note: With a bachelor’s degree in senior engineering, an elderly Christian in his eighties is from Wafangdian, Dalian, China’s northeastern Liaoning.
In his early years, Mark Ren worked in schools. Since childhood, he has been in love with philosophy. After becoming a Christian in his later years, he has gradually viewed philosophy and life from the perspective of faith.
Enlightened by the Bible, he has published two books about philosophy which have found resonance in philosophy circles and the Chinese Christian community.
Below is his testimony:
As a child, I grew up in poverty. In the early days of the PRC, my father was bedridden due to decades of working for landowners. My elder brother joined the army and my mother had bound feet. My two-year-old sister and I are the other members of our family. All the farm work fell upon me, a twelve-year-old, including sowing seeds, ploughing the fields, hoeing, fertilizing, harvesting, herding cattle, and driving a carriage.
The life of poverty nurtured a tough child. However, I knew nothing about how the world and everything in it was created or the reason for my own existence. My simple face was a sign of my naive and childish heart.
I was quite curious about one thing though, that every morning the fiery red sun rises in the east and every evening sets in the west. At the same time, a white moon appears high in the east like a soldier coming on duty. Especially on the fifteenth day of the lunar calendar, I stood on the stone stairs before the door of my house, gazing at the bright moon which rose up slowly like a bride coming out of her bridal chamber. It was unforgettable.
Then one day I learned that the diameter of the sun (745 million miles or 1.38 billion kilometers) is 394 times bigger than that of the moon (2.17 million miles or 3500 kilometers) and the distance between the sun and the earth is also the comparatively as that between the moon and the earth. I exclaimed that no wonder the sun and the moon look the same size from the earth.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19)
“Oh, this is God’s plan!”
There is no coincidence in the world. Since then, the mystery of the sun and the moon drew me, generating my interest in nature. I read many popular science books. Owing to my difficult childhood, I’m not afraid of hardship. Over time, I learned more about science and my brain began to focus on the facts I was learning.
Eventually, I published my first book called the existence of the world. In the book, I propose many new ideas on the creation, existence, and cognition of the universe.
However, I felt something missing in my spiritual growth. In particular, I didn’t know what to say when I prayed. A sense of embarrassment and hunger subconsciously often told me: you are very far away from God. Although the book puts forward some theories on existence and creation, it is basically about nature and reason. Reason is good, but it can’t satisfy the needs of the heart. I frequently felt empty and anxious.
Thank God that he knew my insufficiency. I experienced his presence in my life and grew more deeply in my understanding of God’s love and grace.
In September 2016, the sight in my right eye suddenly became blurry and I couldn’t see clearly. I couldn’t even read a large print Bible. This troubled me greatly. I immediately went to have myself checked out in a hospital. It turns out that I had cataracts and glaucoma.
I had surgery, expecting that the problem would be solved, but my condition didn’t improve, even after three surgeries. The surgeon was quite young and without experience. My son suggested that I charge the doctor for the failure. Having spent more than 20,000 yuan, I got butterflies in my stomach.
I had a difficult struggle within myself, but I heard God’s word in my ears, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)”
Like a warm current, God’s word melted my heart. Like an array of light, it lightened my eyes. I determined to forgive that doctor and persuade my son to give up the accusation against the doctor. I shared Jesus’ story with the doctor and gave him part of the Bible. We became good friends.
In the next nine months, I experienced the pain of losing my eyesight. But even while suffering, God gave me infinite faith and the strength so that I prayed every day for healing. I was convinced that God would restore my eyesight.
I had been to other hospitals in Liaoning and seen many expert doctors, but I could find no one who could help me. One day a doctor referred a skilled chief physician to me. Director Gao told me that a possibility to regain my sight was to transplant endothelial cells. He promised to operate on me when a fresh cornea was donated. The time was uncertain, perhaps some months or even half a year.
Back home, I knelt on the ground and prayed to God, “Lord, I thank you deeply! In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
About forty days later, I received a call and was told to be prepared for surgery. A young undergraduate student donated his cornea and the surgery had to be done within 24 hours. I hardly felt any pain during the process. One week later, I was discharged from the hospital with joy. The vision of my right eye reached 0.8.
The Bible says, “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.(Luke 11:34.)”
I would never know how much eyes matter if I had not lost my eyesight.
The day before my 80-year-old birthday in 2019, my second book on time, was released.
Different from my first book, this one is a revelation of the Holy Spirit.
On November 25, 2018, I was in bed and quietly thinking about the mystery of time. A clear voice said that time was a super universe software created by God. It was a time field. I had a moment of enlightenment. The problem which I had pondered for over five years and that has puzzled humankind for more than 2,000 years was solved. It only took me a month and a half to write the book. After revisions and proofreading, the book was published by China International Culture Press in Hong Kong.
I’m deeply aware that this book does not belong to me. It is entirely a revelation from God. God chose an ordinary man from the dust. He did write an extraordinary book which uncovers the mystery that has been hidden about one thousand year. Everything is God's grace, thanks be to God!
- Translated by Karen Luo