The events in China due to the One-Child Policy are heart-breaking and at times it is possible to get discouraged and lose hope. But when we stop to consider the heart and mission of God we can press forward. Hebrews 12:1 states:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let it flow.
One of the “witnesses” to encourage us can be found in the life of Gladys Aylward.
In case you don't know anything about Gladys here is a little information. Gladys was a missionary to China. She went to China out of obedience to a call from the Lord without support from anyone. She went through extreme hardships and trials to get herself to China. One trial was walking through Siberia in the middle of winter by herself for 3 days straight. Needless to say, she almost died.
I wanted to share one story from her life that captured my heart and totally confirmed and revealed to me the power of the ministry of Jesus:
Isaiah 61: 1-3 &; Luke 4:18
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
Gladys had come to China without the ability to speak Chinese and without a backing from a missionary organization. The missionary she had been working with died and so she found herself all alone in China. She owed money to the Madarian, which was like the governor of the land, and she didn't have any money to pay him. One day he came to see her, and her Chinese companion fled because he thought Gladys was going to be arrested for not paying her taxes. What happened next, was absolutely astounding. The Mandarian came to her asking her to do a job for him. This was amazing first of all because it provided the money she needed and secondly because of the job she ended up doing. He was commanding her to go throughout the land and enforce a new law that had come from the head government. It was commanded that all girls under the age of 12 could NO LONGER have their feet bound. It was her job to make sure every village in her area was following this rule. She informed the Mandarian that she would be preaching the gospel while she performed her task. He said it was fine. He gave her second in command status for that area and her word was to be followed. She had the government's permission and support to travel throughout the land preaching the gospel and unbinding little girls feet breaking a horrific tradition that had gone on for generations!
The story recollected the first time she entered a home to unbind feet. She sat down on the ground and took a little girls foot and began to unwind the cloth that had her feet bound so tightly in half. The foot was completely white. She began to massage the feet of the little girl and the blood began to flow again. As she came into people's home with the authority of the government she also had the opportunity to share about the God who loved them so much that He sent His one and only Son so that they could be free.
Do you remember the ministry of Jesus, to set the captives free? For generations Chinese women were in captivity and extreme pain because of this horrible tradition. How beautifully appropriate that a daughter of the King of Kings would be called out to break this terrible curse in such a beautiful and personal way. I don't know why generations of Chinese women had to endure the pain and why freedom didn't come earlier. I just know and can see that WHEN the ministry of Jesus is given the chance to come it is done in a most glorious and beautiful way.
What I've learned from reading Gladys' story is that it is WORTH pushing through the pain and the hardships that try to stop us from going where God has asked us to do. It is WORTH being a willing vessel and that Jesus will use us to bring His freedom to the captives.
The ministry of Jesus is still in effect today and His ministry flows out of His people.
Let it flow.