Monday, December 12, 2011

A life God blesses, even if everyone else says it stinks..

A Chinese pastor who had spent eighteen years in prison for his faith was introduced to give his witness at a conference of Christ-followers in England. He recalled for the audience his prison experience with these words:

"My friends wonder what kind of work I did in the labor camp to keep me physically healthy. I answered them that life in the labor camp was very, very hard. The authorities in the camp put me to emptying the human waste cesspool.

"Most of the prisoners were afraid to approach the cesspool, but the authorities were aware of my background--I was well-educated, from a well-to-do family--and especially because they were atheists and they knew I was a Christian leader. So they enjoyed putting me to work in the human waste cesspool. But they did not know in those years how I enjoyed working there.

"It was more than two meters in breadth and two meters in length, filled with human waste collected from the entire camp. Once it was full, the human waste was kept until it was ripe and then dug out and sent to the field as fertilizer. Because the pit was so deep, I could not reach the bottom to empty it, so I had to walk into the disease-ridden mass and scoop out the successive layers of human waste, all the time breathing the strong stench.

"The guards and all the prisoners kept a long way off because of the stench.

"So why did I enjoy working in the cesspool? I enjoyed the solitude. In the labor camp all the prisoners normally were under strict surveillance and no one could be alone. But when I worked in the cesspool, I could be alone and could pray to our Lord as loudly as I needed. I could recite the Scriptures including all the Psalms I still remembered and no one was close enough to protest. That's the reason I enjoyed working in the cesspool. Also I could sing loudly the hymns I still remembered.

"In those days one of my most favorite was 'In the Garden.' Before I was arrested this was my favorite hymn, but at the time I did not realize the real meaning of this hymn. When I worked in the cesspool, I knew and discovered a wonderful fellowship with our Lord. Again and again I sang this hymn and felt our Lord's presence with me.

I come to the garden alone.
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
And he tells me I am his own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.

"Again and again as I sang this hymn in the cespool, I experienced the Lord's presence. He never left me or forsook me. And so I survived and the cesspool became my private garden."

These are the words of a simple man whose life God has chosen to bless.

(taken from the epilogue of the book, "The Life God Blesses: Weathering the Storms of Life That Threaten the Soul" by Gordon MacDonald)

Might I suggest that this Chinese Pastor encountered Jehovah Shalom, the God of Peace? My pastor preached on what Jehovah Shalom means this past Sunday. Do you want to hear more about how to crawl into the lap of the God of peace? If you do you can click on the link below and listen to a half hour sermon by Pastor Gene Tanner about Jehovah Shalom. Enjoy...

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