The Value of Suffering:
Joyful Accounts from the Valley of the Shadow of Death
Web Edition Divided into Four Parts
Author : Jing Rong Wang
Translator: Winnie Yee
Editors: Sarah Yong, Elena Villa-Real
Illustrator: Shierina R. Villa-Real
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise specified, are from The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Bible. ©Wm Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., 1952. All rights reserved. The Scripture quotation of Psalm 34 is from The New Jerusalem Bible. © Doubleday, 1985.
© 2003, Christian Gospel Disciples Church
First edition, June 2003
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
What stands out in this testimony is the depth of the experience of suffering which this sister has endured. In this connection, several other facts will impress themselves upon the reader:
First, we notice that suffering occurs constantly throughout her life. It is known to us that even now in her old age (she is in her mid-seventies) she suffers from physical weaknesses and ailments, probably in part at least, because of the things she had to endure earlier in life.
Secondly, the normal attitude we may expect to find in one who experiences intense and extended suffering, namely, the sentiments of self-pity, of bitterness against the people who caused so much pain, and of complaining about God’s unfairness in allowing her to suffer more than many other people — this attitude and these sentiments nowhere find expression in her testimony. This is, of course, not to say that she never had to struggle with such thoughts. But what is seen is that, by God’s triumphant grace, she was victorious over them.
Finally, what clearly comes through in her testimony, therefore, is the quiet and steadfast faith by which she was enabled to overcome the world with its tribulations. Just as the Scripture says, This is the victory which overcomes the world, our faith (1 John 5:4; John 16:33).
In an age in which the prevailing mentality is summed up in the question: “What can I get by being or becoming a Christian?” we are surprised, indeed almost startled, to find one who never asks such a question. Is this because she had learned from the example of her father, who though he and his family lived in abject poverty nevertheless gave away the only possession he had of any value — a donkey — as an offering to the Lord?! Does this not remind us of the poor widow and her two mites, which was all she had (Mark 12:42-44; Luke 21:2-4)?
So many become Christians today because they want to get all sorts of benefits from God. Physical benefits like healing and health are high on the list. But it also includes material benefits like prosperity and riches, as well as psychological benefits like peace of mind and happiness (without suffering, of course).
So it is clear that there are two kinds of Christians: (1) those who habitually ask what they can get, and (2) those who prefer to ask if they have anything to offer — no matter how little it may be — to him who loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5:2; Galatians 2:20). It is also clear that those of the first kind will find it impossible to understand those of the second kind. Indeed they will probably find this testimony quite depressing! But this will raise the question: Which of these two totally different types of Christian is the true Christian according to the Lord’s teaching in particular and the New Testament in general? Perhaps the Lord’s commendation of the poor widow mentioned above is already a sufficient answer.
In these last days, during which the level of temptation and suffering will steadily increase for the true believer (as the Scriptures warn us), it is particularly important that we learn from the testimony and example of this dear sister. Jesus’ call to his Church is, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). In this testimony I hear this sister’s response in the words of Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15-KJV). What will our response be?
March 26, 2001
I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation to the following: Sarah for editing, skillfully shaping the original manuscript with the help of her friend, Maria who gave suggestions to improve the translation; and Winston and Elena for meticulously proofreading to ensure accuracy, logic and flow. I say with no trace of false humility that the completion of this English translation would not be possible without their labor of love.
When I first read the powerful testimonies of Sister Jing Rong and her son, Jonathan, I was moved to tears. I had never heard of anyone going through starvation and so many hardships from birth onwards right through most of one’s life. Furthermore, I was struck by how their trust in the Lord enabled them to live in consistent thanksgiving and joy as they suffered to remain faithful to him. Thus I was compelled to translate this book into English so that the English-speaking part of the world can come to know the extent and intensity of suffering endured by many outstanding Christians in China. I think this three-generation Christian family is a good representation of what Christians in China had to suffer and to a great extent still have to suffer if they choose to be true to God through our Lord Jesus.
And as I worried about how I could ever stand steadfast in the face of severe suffering for God’s sake, these faithful ones bore witness to me that he is
him who is able
to keep you from falling
and to present you without blemish
before the presence of his glory with rejoicing,
to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority,
before all time and now and forever.
Amen. (Jude 24-25)
May 11, 2003
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