Adapted from the February 8 Standing Strong Through the Storm daily blog at: http://www.opendoorsusa.org
Micah 7:7-9 — But as for me, I keep watch for the Lord, I wait in hope for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his justice.
Chinese Pastor Wang Ming-dao (1900-1991) has been called the Chinese church’s ‘man of iron.’ He endured great persecution in his 91 years, and only one time did he give in to his persecutors.
He was under tremendous pressure after his first arrest in the mid-1950’s. He was promised release from prison and return to his pulpit if he would just “preach for the government.” In his mind this would be lying and he was certain he could not live a hypocritical life.
Pastor Wang was firm in his resolve–, until he heard that his beloved wife, Liu Jingwen, had also been arrested and was in grave danger. He heard that she was not eating properly and was growing critically weak because of the poor food she was receiving in prison. She would not survive if something were not done. This news so disturbed him that he broke and agreed with his persecutors that he would preach “a lie” and join the government-controlled church.
His plan was to get his wife to safety with her mother and then he would commit suicide. He could not live with what he had done. He reportedly wandered the streets murmuring “I am Peter…I am Peter…I have denied my Lord like Peter,” and his heart sickness began to affect his body. Finally, he decided he would not commit suicide, but would disobey the government and go back to preaching the whole truth of Jesus Christ as he did before.
When the authorities realized that he would not compromise himself by preaching in the government-controlled church, Pastor Wang and wife were re-arrested. She received a fifteen-year sentence and he life imprisonment. He was frequently tortured.
Early in this second imprisonment, God brought these verses from Micah 7:7-9 (above) to his mind, which he had memorized at the age of twenty-one.
Wang Ming-dao was no longer afraid—for himself or his wife. He was finally released in 1980 at eighty years of age—very frail, nearly blind and all-but-deaf. He had served over twenty-three years in prison. His wife had been released three years earlier for health reasons. For the remaining eleven years of his life he was a great encouragement to the church in China as well as the many foreign visitors who came to see him and Liu.
Matthew 26:74-75 — Then Peter began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the cock crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
After the resurrection:
John 21:17 — Jesus said to Simon Peter the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
Almighty God, you have taught us through your Son Jesus Christ that those who follow Him may be persecuted. Strengthen, comfort, and encourage all those who suffer harassment, violence, imprisonment, and even death for being followers of Jesus. We pray also for those who persecute your people. May their hearts be turned towards you through the faithful witness of those they persecute. Protect members of the families and church communities of those who are persecuted, and bless the work and ministry of the organizations that support them. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.