I read this story long ago. I ‘found’ it again today. It has touched me then and it still touches me now. A Chinese pastor called Pastor Wu, was arrested because he was preaching the Gospel. He was sent to one of the worst prisons in China. He continued to share the Word even in the prison. The prison guards flogged him each time they found him praying or singing Christian songs. But he remained faithful to God. One day, to punish him more, the guards put him in charge of cleaning the toilets. Using a metal bucket, he was to collect the excreta of all the prisoners. He will carry it outside the prison, onto an open field. He did not complain. He thanked God for this ‘promotion’. He soon became very happy. Why? Because of the terrible smell, the guards refused to come with him. He did this work alone. He used the excreta as a fertilizer. He planted flowers on that field. Each morning, after carrying the excreta, he was free to stay alone in his garden for hours. He never took advantage of this ‘freedom’ to run away. With time, the smell of the flowers he planted overpowered the smell of the excreta. He said that each morning, as he went to his little garden, he will sing:
“I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses
And He walks with me and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known!”
With time, some of the prisoners and even the guards became convicted of sin and surrendered their live to Jesus! After five years, Pastor Wu was released. By this time there was more freedom of religion. He went back to his village church to continue his ministry as a pastor. Praise the Lord!
What are some of the lessons? All things work together for good for the children of God! Be faithful! Be persistent! Don’t complain! Pray that you understand God’s mysterious ways! God can use any means (even difficult circumstances) to help you come closer to Him and to establish your testimony among men! To God alone be all the glory!
(Bellow, some years ago, my husband took me a picture at the flower market in Amsterdam)
I love the hymn and the story.
Me too! I love to be challenged, to go higher!
One of my favorite hymns. So quiet and personal. Such a necessary meditation in this chaotic and fearful time. May God give courage to all the Pastor Wu’s of China today.