Elder Who Suffers From Lupus for 20 Years Confesses 'Ministry Is Supported by God’s Grace'

A gesture of love.
A gesture of love.
By Ai Mo November 24th, 2021

Editor’s note: Suffering can sometimes seem like a crisis as well as a turning point.  Preachers often say that the end of man is the beginning of God. No one can fathom God’s work, and God has a unique guide for everyone.

Recently, sister L, who has been serving the Lord for years despite suffering from lupus erythematosus, shared her "different" ministry with Gospel Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper. 

Sister L was diagnosed with lupus erythematosus when she was 16 years old. The disease has been developing for 20 years now, but this year she is going through an extremely difficult time. Due to renal failure, she has to receive dialysis treatment and even faces the possibility of a kidney transplant.

Looking back on her life, she has been in despair many times. When she saw her elderly parents worried about her illness all day, but they dared not express that in front of her, she did not know where God was. But God gave her strength again and again through her loved ones and his believers.

L is the third generation Christian in her family, with both her grandmother and her mother following Christ. But before she got sick, God was just the God of her elders. Due to the fact that the poor family was often looked down upon, her mother taught her from an early age that she should study hard, and that only learning can change her fate. Perhaps it was exactly such an environment that shaped her unyielding and independent character.

L has been very eager to excel since she was a child. After she went to school, she became more and more independent. She thought she should rely on herself for everything. “Only you can change your destiny,” she recalled.

However, in the second half of the year when she was 15, she began to have health problems frequently. She had to go to the hospital every few days, so she received treatment during the day and attended classes at night. Finally, she was diagnosed with lupus erythematosus. She was forced to suspend classes, and when she looked at her swollen, ball-like body, she was filled with confusion and reluctance, “How could this happen?”

“I had always felt that I could do anything, that I could do anything, but at that moment, I suddenly felt very weak.”

L was so upset at the time that her mother took her straight to church. As soon as she got there, she heard voices saying, “Confess and keep confessing, and God will heal you”; and “you must serve God and do things for him so that God can heal you”.

Surrounded by all this information, she put her hope of healing in God. She began going to meetings with her mother. In one group meeting, they prayed together. She knew she was praying to God, but she began to wonder, “Who is God? Where is he?”

After attending the church for several years, she thought many times that God would heal her disease, but she gradually became frustrated when she did not get better. She had many misunderstandings about God and doubted whether God even listened to her prayers.

Seeing that she was young and a frequent churchgoer, the church staff recommended her to study theology. “At first I thought theology was going to be a different place of worship, but when I went there, I realized it was systematic Bible study.” But thankfully, the confusion and doubts that had accumulated in her heart were solved during the three years of studying theology.

She realized that “all those years of faith were just utilitarianism.” Then, her values changed from relying on herself to relying on God. Looking at her illness experience, she said, “If it wasn’t for such a difficult time, it might have been hard for me to surrender to God and admit that I couldn’t do anything without God.” She realized that the illness had been a blessing as well as a hardship for her. “If God had not chosen me through illness, I don’t know if I would have believed in Jesus all my life,” she added.

After graduation, L did volunteer service in the church: preaching, conducting sacraments, and playing the piano. She had experienced confusion and depression in the ministry but realized that God’s grace was enough. She was appointed as an elder last year and received an annual subsidy of 2,000-3,000 yuan.

When life was too hard, she did not know how to serve God with such weakness. “When I am weak, I don’t seem to know how to tell all brothers and sisters that God is powerful and God is healing.” But it was at such times that a sermon started, and “the believers shared with me the grace they had received after hearing the sermon as if they had imperceptibly brought me strength.”

For L, her frail body is also a challenge for her ministry, especially after her condition worsened this year. Sometimes she is not sure whether her body can handle a church service, which is exactly why she has to rely on God every step of the way.

Finally, she witnessed God’s blessing on her marriage. God gave her a husband who loved and cared for her. Her husband, though not yet a believer, supports her in her ministry and accompanies her through every difficult moment.

- Translated by Nicolas Cao 

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