What a Salvation Sweet!
My name is Ellen. I emigrated to the U.S. from mainland China to join my husband, Eric, and soon after, I was baptized in the church in Franklin, New Jersey.
My salvation was simple. Even when I was in China, I believed that there was a super power in the universe. However, at that time I didn’t know it was God, and I didn’t know He had anything to do with me. Then, after I came to the U.S., someone preached the gospel to me, and I believed in God right away. Eric was surprised to see how quickly I accepted God, but he remained an unbeliever.
Judicial salvation was finished in a moment. But it took a long time for me to grow in life. Although I liked all the saints in the church in Franklin, I seldom went to the Lord’s Day meetings. I even stopped going to the meeting hall for three or four years. Occasionally, I would join the sisters’ meetings and Friday small group meetings, depending on my mood and situation that day. Because of the lack of a church life and the lack of the revelation of truth, my life changed very little. I got angry often, and felt tired and depressed. I think without all the support from the sisters, I would have wandered away completely.
But praise the Lord, He came to save sinners! The first turning point was not initiated by me, but by my older son, Steven. At that time, Steven was nine years old and my younger son James was around two, and I had just resumed going to the Friday night meetings with them. I didn’t notice when Steven began to enjoy the meetings, but he was the one who urged me to go to the meeting every Friday. Then one day, he declared, “Mom, I want to go to the church meeting on Lord’s Day!” That day, I told myself, “My son needs the Lord too. For his sake, I will go to the church meeting every Sunday!”
From that day on, all three of us regularly went to the Lord’s Day meetings. At the beginning, it was very hard. James was very young, and still needed a lot of attention and care. We were late to the meetings all the time. Sometimes, when we waved goodbye to Eric and went on our way to the meeting hall, I was thinking how wonderful it would be if God could save Eric. He could help me to take care of James and I would not feel so frustrated. Actually, he helped make breakfast almost every Lord’s Day morning in order for us to get in the car on time. However, these thoughts of God saving Eric drifted away quickly because I believed it was not possible for Eric to be saved. I didn’t have the burden to pray for him. Because my growth in life was so little, I didn’t live out Christ in front of my husband either.
Getting More Involved in the Church Life
Gradually, I participated more in the church life. I started to join some services, and I began to enjoy the church life and enjoy being with saints. However, there was one thing that was really bothering me: I felt that I was living a double life. I lived one life in the meetings with the saints. This life was happy, full of hope and energy, and full of a lot of laughter. The other life I was living was not that good. Most of the time I had to ask myself to tolerate what happened. But many times I couldn’t tolerate it and burst out. I was angry and depressed, and found myself quarrelling and crying. I wondered if believing in God had brought me all these bad feelings and made me suffer more; if so, why did I need to have faith in Him?
This question was answered after I joined a network of some sisters having morning revival over the phone. Every morning a sister and I would read a revival portion of the Bible together. These sisters taught me how to pray-read, and they answered the questions I had. They asked me to pray for Eric since God’s salvation is based on families. Every day, I began to feel energized after that short time of prayer in the mornings. It seemed that I was being filled with something from God, something fresh and peaceful, but also powerful, so that I was not afraid of all those negative emotions. I knew that even if I could not overcome them sometimes, I had a Comforter who could support me. More importantly, I had a new realization about the church life. It doesn’t happen only in the meeting hall or at the meetings. I realized that my Christian life and church life should be mingled with my daily life. Whenever I pursue God with the saints, we are participating in the church life.
This understanding dramatically changed my life. First of all, it solved my problem of having a double life. I could not meet God only at the meeting hall or in the meetings. I had to touch Him every day. Day by day, with the help of all the sisters, I developed the habit of reading the messages in the Holy Word and Morning Revival books. I also prayed more often. Most amazingly, I was experiencing the life-giving Spirit working inside me. This work changed me and changed my attitude toward Eric’s salvation in an amazing way.
My Husband Eric
Eric is a loving husband and father; he is gentle, patient, and responsible. But at that time, he was an atheist, which was very typical for someone who comes from China, where religion and faith are regarded as absurd and unpopular. Moreover, he studied physics, which gave him a systematic view in which there is no God, because in physics everything has a cause and a destiny. According to this view, if God doesn’t have an origin and destiny, then God doesn’t exist.
In the first couple of years after my baptism, with such a little flow of the divine life inside of me and with limited revelation about the truth, convincing my husband to believe in the Lord was impossible. I avoided mentioning the Lord’s name in our family, and avoided praying in front of him. These pullbacks actually hid an embarrassing fact: As a Christian, my life just wasn’t any different from others, unless it was for the worse. I was ashamed to call on the Lord’s name because I felt that I didn’t deserve anything. As a result, whenever the saints asked me to pray for Eric, I had two thoughts. I thought it was impossible for him to be saved, and I felt my prayers would be useless because I was such a bad Christian and God wouldn’t listen to me.
Fortunately, I had two young companions. With the spiritual growth of my sons Steven and James, it gradually became easier for me to stay connected with the Lord. We started to pray before meals and to read the Bible together. Sometimes, we would talk about my husband’s salvation, but we didn’t take it seriously. Therefore, our prayers for him were on and off. Every time I saw the saints meeting together as whole families, I would pray that one day Eric could come to the church meetings with the three of us. When I was mad at him, I automatically stopped praying for him.
But several times, when I was really frustrated and felt there was no way to live out the Lord in front of him, I burst into tears for the Lord to give a way for Eric to believe. I wanted him to find out how wonderful our Lord is, how amazingly this life-giving Spirit can change his life, and how sweet it would be if we could both come into the kingdom of God. Then we could pursue together with the same purpose. Then, the world and death wouldn’t be able to separate us, and we would be together in eternity too.
The Role of Prayer
For this reason, I started to consistently pray for him. I realized that God has a way for everyone. My job is just to pray. The strength of my prayers would show God how seriously I wanted Him to save my husband. Therefore, Steven, James, and I prayed for my husband every night before dinner. Sisters prayed for him at sisters’ meetings, and other saints prayed for him in the Friday Bible studies. Sometimes I really had doubts about the usefulness of our prayers. Then I met an elder brother at our sisters’ meeting. After I told him Eric’s situation, he just said, “Don’t worry, he has been saved.” Although I didn’t argue with him, in my heart I told myself, “No way. How could he have gotten saved without me knowing it?” A couple of months later, this brother visited us again. This time he told me the same thing: “He has been saved!” This time, I didn’t murmur anything in my heart but just prayed for Eric and for me. I wished God would show him the way. I wished I could live out Christ more in front of him so he could see God through me. I didn’t know how and when God would work inside of him. I just prayed and prayed.
The Gospel Touched Eric
Eric had been working in Chicago for two years. Steven graduated from high school and was starting college in Chicago. Our family decided to relocate from New Jersey to Chicago. It was a hard decision. We had lived in Franklin for 16 years. We loved all the saints there, and consider them as our family. However, before we moved, I tried to avoid all the farewell love feasts held by the brothers and sisters. For 15 years, the brothers and sisters had been praying for Eric and for our family, but at the time of our move, he still wasn’t able to come into the kingdom of God. I felt that I was unable to face all the saints.
But praise the Lord, He has the way! Although I used many excuses not to attend the love feasts, I didn’t expect that Steven would accept an invitation from the brothers and sisters. I also didn’t expect that Eric would agree to attend the love feast, which was held three days before we left New Jersey. That night, the Lord touched Eric.
After we sang some hymns, a sister said: “See, you will leave us to go to Chicago. Maybe you will no longer be able to meet us for your rest of life, because the distance pulls us apart. You love your family very much, but you know that death will separate you from them, just like the distance will separate us. No one can escape death. But we do have a better place to go after our flesh decays. If you want to be with your family forever, you have to come into this kingdom.”
I knew that Eric had searched for God in the realm of science and knowledge, but he couldn’t find Him. Therefore, he didn’t believe in God. That night, God told him that nothing can conquer death, not even science and knowledge. Only God can. Only His divine and eternal life can. That night, God took Eric out of the system of science and knowledge, and put him into the realm of God’s love and life. God’s love and life are so strong and powerful that they can overcome the world and death.
Eric’s Questions and Salvation
The next day, he asked me a question: “If there is a next life, do you want me to be your husband again?” Although I thought he was joking with me, I still answered yes. Then he asked James almost the same question: “In your next life, do you want Daddy to be your Daddy again?” James answered yes too. Then on Saturday morning he told me he would like to be baptized. That night he was baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It was so simple, yet complex. It was simple because God gave him only one touch and the work was done. It was complex because all of us waited 15 years for this moment.
That Saturday night, many sisters cried with me. We cried with tears of joy. I was praising God not only for His sovereignty and His power, but also because He finally answered my prayers. He listened not just to my prayers, but also to the prayers from the saints in the church in Franklin and the church in Chicago. This fruit testifies to the glory of God and the glory of Body! Every time I think about what God has given to me, I will praise Him from the depths of my heart. He gave me a husband who I can love and trust. Now He gave me a new brother so that we can enjoy this wonderful new life with our family together and forever! What a grace and mercy! Praise the Lord for the great work He has done!