A Letter from a Wuhan Pastor – the City at the Centre of the Coronavirus

Editor’s Note: This letter from a pastor in the Chinese church in the city of Wuhan is brought to us by China Source. We commend their website to your support.

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Brothers and sisters, peace be upon you:

During these past days the Wuhan pneumonia [virus] has been at the centre of my thoughts and life. [I am] always watching the latest news, and always thinking about how our family and the church should face this.

As for family, I have gathered masks and foodstuffs and have ventured out of doors as little as possible. When venturing out in public I have worn a mask, but as for the rest, I have placed it in the Lord’s hands.

As for the church, the safety of the congregation, a faithful witness, the possibility that members could contract the illness, have all become a great area of struggle. It is readily apparent that we are facing a test of our faith.

The situation is so critical, yet [we are] trusting in the Lord’s promises, that His thoughts toward us are of peace, and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11), and that He allows for a time of testing, not to destroy us, but to establish us. Therefore, Christians are not only to suffer with the people of this city, but we have a responsibility to pray for those in this city who are fearful, and to bring to them the peace of Christ.

First, we are to seek the peace of Christ to reign in their hearts (Hebrews 3:15). Christ has already given us His peace, but His peace is not to remove us from disaster and death, but rather to have peace in the midst of disaster and death, because Christ has already overcome these things (John 14:27, 16:33). Otherwise we have not believed in the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), and, with the world, would be terrified of pestilence, and lose hope in the face of death.

Why do only Christians have this peace? Because of sin, humans deserve the trials and tribulations that come upon them, Jehovah says: the wicked have no peace (Isaiah 48:22). We were all sinners, but Christ, because of faith, took our penalty and gave us His peace. Therefore Paul says, who can bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. (Romans 8:33). Christians may with the world face the same tribulations, but such tribulations are no longer punishment, but a new opportunity to grow nearer to the Almighty, to purify our souls, and an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel.

In other words, when disaster strikes us, it is but a form of God’s love. And, as Paul firmly believed,

“who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger or sword? …  in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)

Spoken for today, Wuhan’s pestilence cannot separate us from the love of Christ; this love is in our Lord Jesus Christ. These words are so comforting for us; we have already become one body with Christ. We have a part in His sufferings, and we have a part in His glory, all of Christ’s is ours, and our all is Christ’s. Therefore, Christ is with us as we face the pestilence in this city; the pestilence cannot harm us. If we die in the pestilence, it is an opportunity to witness to Christ, and even more to enter into His glory.

Thus, my brothers and sisters, I encourage you to be strong in Christ’s love. If we more deeply experience death in this pestilence, understanding the Gospel, we may more deeply experience Christ’s love, and grow ever nearer to God. Our Lord Jesus through faith experienced an incomparable suffering of death, yet God raised Him from the dead, and sat Him at His right hand.  (Acts 2:32-36)

If in reading these truths you still have no peace, I encourage you to diligently read the above-cited scripture and call on the Lord to give you insight until the peace of Christ reigns in your heart. You must know, that this is not just an observable disaster, but even more it is a spiritual struggle. You should first wage a battle for your heart, and secondarily battle for the soul of this city.

We earnestly hope that you would know that not a sparrow falls without the will of the Father (Matthew 10:29). With so many souls facing pestilence, can it be outside God’s will? All that we are experiencing, is it not like Abraham facing Sodom, and Jonah facing Nineveh?

If God, because of a righteous man withheld judgment on Sodom, or because of 120,000 who didn’t know their left hand from their right, withheld destruction, what of the city of Wuhan in which we live?  We are clearly the righteous in this city — far more than a single righteous person, there are thousands and thousands of us. Yet, may we like Lot be grieved over all those in this city (1 Peter 2:7), and like Abraham who earnestly prayed for Sodom (Genesis 18:23-33). You see, Jonah with difficulty proclaimed the Gospel to Nineveh, and Nineveh repented and was saved. We are this city’s Abraham and Jonah. We must pray for God’s mercy upon this city, and bring peace upon this city through our prayers and testimony.

I believe this is the command of God calling those of us living in Wuhan. We are to seek peace for this city, seek peace for those who are afflicted with this illness, seek peace for the medical personnel struggling on the front lines, seek peace for every government official at every level, seek peace for all the people of Wuhan! And we can through online networks guide and comfort our friends and loved ones with the Gospel, reminding them that our lives are not in our own hands, and to entrust their lives to God who is faithful and true.

Over the past few days, I have received many inquiries from foreign pastors. They and the whole church are concerned for this city, even more for us; and confronting this epidemic, seek to serve the city with us.

Thus, I especially ask them to turn their eyes upon Jesus. And do not be concerned with my welfare, nor be agitated or fearful, but pray in the name of Jesus. Good-hearted people are through their actions serving this city, especially the medical personnel who are risking their own lives. If they can take on such worldly responsibilities, how can we not more readily take on spiritual responsibilities!

If you do not feel a responsibility to pray, ask the Lord for a loving soul, an earnestly prayerful heart; if you are not crying, ask the Lord for tears. Because we surely know that only through the hope of the Lord’s mercy will this city be saved.

A Wuhan Pastor
January 23, 2020

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按:以下是武汉房 (   ) 教会谭松华牧师写给弟兄姐妹的牧函。特代为转发。

弟兄姐妹平安

这几天,武汉肺炎几乎成了我的思想和生活的中心,总在看有没有新的消息,总在想家人和教会该如何面对。

家人方面,我储存了一些口罩和食物,尽量少出门,出门戴口罩,其余就交托给上帝。

教会方面,聚会的安全、信仰的见证、成员被传染的可能,都对我们构成巨大挑战,显而易见,我们面临着信心的试炼。

可虽然形式如此严峻,但凭着主的应许相信,祂向我们所怀的是赐平安的意念,不是降灾祸的意念(耶29:11),祂许可试炼临到,不是要拆毁我们,而是要建立我们。所以,基督徒不仅要和这座城市里的人同受苦难,更有责任为这座人心惶惶的城市祈祷,把基督的平安带给他们。

首先,要叫基督的平安在心里作主(西3:15),让基督的平安掌管我们的心(西3:15,新汉语译本)。基督已经把祂的平安赐给我们了,但祂的平安不是没有患难和死亡,而是在患难和死亡里有平安,因为基督已经替我们胜过了这些(约14:27,16:33)。否则,我们相信的就不是平安的福音(弗6:15),会和世人一样在瘟疫中恐慌,在死亡面前绝望。

为什么唯独基督徒有这样的平安呢?因为犯罪的缘故,人配得所临到的任何患难,耶和华说:恶人必不得平安(赛48:22)。我们从前都是恶人,基督却因我们的信,替我们承担了罪罚,把祂的平安赐给我们。所以保罗说,谁能控告神所拣选的人呢?有神称他们为义了(罗8:33)。基督徒虽和世人一样面对患难,但患难对他们而言不再是审判,而是亲近上帝,洁净灵魂,见证福音的机会

换句话说,患难临到我们,是上帝爱我们的一种方式,又如保罗所言,谁能使我们与基督的爱隔绝呢?难道是患难吗?是困苦吗?是逼迫吗?是饥饿吗?是赤身露体吗?是危险吗?是刀剑吗?……然而,靠着爱我们的主,在这一切的事上已经得胜有余了。因为我们深信无论是死,是生,是天使,是掌权的,是有能的,是现在的事,是将来的事,是高处的,是低处的,是别的受造之物,都不能叫我们与神的爱隔绝;这爱是在我们的主基督耶稣里的(罗8:35-39)。

用今天的话说,武汉市的瘟疫也不能使我们与基督的爱隔绝,这爱是在我们的主基督耶稣里的。这话是何等地安慰我们,我们跟基督已经成为一体了。我们在祂的苦难里有份,也在祂的荣耀里有份,基督的一切成了我们的,我们的一切也成了基督的。因此,基督在这座城市里和我们一同面临瘟疫,瘟疫不能伤害祂,也必不能伤害我们,若我们在瘟疫中死去,仍然是基督的见证,更是进入祂荣耀的机会。

所以弟兄姐妹,我鼓励你们靠基督的爱刚强,如果我们在瘟疫里更深地体验死亡,理解福音,也会更深地经历基督的爱,与上帝也更加接近。好像我们的主耶稣,祂因信经历了残酷无比的死亡,上帝却使他从死里复活,使祂坐在自己的右边(徒2:32-36)。

如果你看到这些真理仍然没有平安,我鼓励你用心读以上所列举的经文,呼求上帝使你明白,直到基督的平安统治你为止。你一定要知道,这不仅是一场看得见的灾难,更是一场看不见的属灵的争战,先要为你的心争战,然后为这座城市的灵魂争战。

我更盼望你们知道,一只麻雀掉在地上都须上帝允许(太10:29),武汉市这么多的生命面临瘟疫,岂不更在上帝的旨意里?我们所经历的,岂不像从前亚伯拉罕面对所多玛,约拿面临尼尼微?

如果上帝因为所多玛城里有义人而不予灭绝,因尼尼微有十二万多不能分辨左手右手的而不予灭绝,更何况我们所在的武汉市呢?我们分明是这个城市的义人,何止一个义人,至少有成千上万。但愿我们都像罗得那样为所在的城市忧伤(彼前2:7),像亚伯拉罕那样恳切地为所多玛代祷(创18:23-33)。你看,约拿勉强传福音给尼尼微,尼尼微城就悔改得救了。我们就是这个城市的亚伯拉罕和约拿,我们要替基督求这座城市与上帝和好,也要替这座城市呼求上帝的怜悯,叫整座城市因我们的祷告和见证得平安。

我相信,这就是上帝呼召我们生活在武汉的使命,我们要为这座城市求平安,为感染的病人求平安,为战斗在一线的医护人员求平安,为各级政府工作人员求平安,为武汉市的所有百姓求平安!我们也可以通过网络,用福音引导和安慰亲朋好友,提醒他们生命不在自己手中,要把生命交托给信实的上帝。

这几天,我收到好多外地牧者的问候,他们和所在的教会牵挂这座城市,更牵挂我们,在和我们一起在面对疫情,一起服侍这座城市。

因此我特特邀请你把眼光转移到主耶稣那里,不再为自己的安危担心,也不再彷徨失措,而要奉主耶稣的名祷告。世上善良的人们在用他们的行动服侍这座城市,那些冒着生命危险的医护人员更是如此。他们在担当属世的责任,我们岂不更要担当属灵的责任!

如果你没有祷告的负担,就要求主赐给你爱灵魂、恳切祷告的心;如果你没有哭泣,就求主赐你眼泪。因为我们深知,唯有仰望主的怜悯,才是这座城市的拯救!

2020年1月23日

[Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash]

By |2020-03-13T22:33:53+11:00March 16th, 2020|Faith, Prayer, Safety & Security, World|7 Comments

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7 Comments

  1. warwick Marsh March 17, 2020 at 10:54 am - Reply

    We can pray together for both Australia and for the world for God to intervene! https://www.facebook.com/CanberraDeclaration/insights/?section=navPosts

  2. Susani van der Linde March 18, 2020 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Praying and crying with you before God our Father, Our God who speaks and summons the Earth from the rising of the sun, until where is sets! With much love in our hearts for Wuhan and everybody affected by this virus.

  3. Beryl Bool March 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this pastors letter from Wuhan.

    I am praying for God’s Holy Spirit to be moving through our world bring courage, comfort, strength & healing to each person, government & country, their leaders & governments. They need the H Sp wisdom as they help & lead their people not to panic but look to God whose world we live & breath in.

    I especially want to pray for & encourage the church in Wuhan through this difficult time. Thank you for this pastor sharing his story. I pray for all the pastors across China & the world as they guide & sustain their people to keep looking to our heavenly Father.

    May our world fall to their knees & seek God’s forgiveness for turning aside from Him. Help us all to acknowledge our Father God, working with Him through these difficult days.

    We have the victory through Jesus shed blood on the cross to show the world we are people of faith & our desire is to follow & trust ourselves & our world with all it’s faults & difficulties to our loving, gracious & forgiving God.

    Praise be His name.

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