Once Stiff-necked and Foolish
In the name of Jesus, I testify.
My father came to believe in the Lord when he was in his thirties. He used to
gamble and, even after his conversion, he did not stop until God personally
reminded and moved Him through a series of events. Like my father, I am also a
rather stiff-necked person.
REFUSING GOD’S CALLING
In 2008, a few preachers proposed
to the board of ministers at my local church to ordain me as a deacon. When I
heard the news, I was shocked. I was extremely unwilling to serve as a deacon; I
felt that a person with my character would not be suitable. I rejected the
When a few ministers reprimanded
me on my rejection, I believed I was in the right and I even became upset with
them. I felt that it was good enough to be active in the church without being a
deacon. I had a very good career, and I enjoyed my personal and church life.
Moreover, I thought that this was my life and the church had no right to decide
what I should do. I was wrong. From the moment we are baptized, our life does
not belong to us because it has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus; our life
belongs to Jesus Christ and we are members of His body—the church.
A STRANGE CONDITION
Not long afterwards, however, something
happened to me. One night in 2008 at 3 a.m., I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my
back, as if somebody had just punched me very hard. I woke up and asked my wife
for a massage. But that did not help. I walked up and down the stairs in my
house, trying to relieve the pain. Suddenly, I lost all motor functions and
could not stand. Before I collapsed, I called to my wife, “I’m going to fall!” Lying
on the living room floor, I could only move my head. The rest of my body felt
completely numb. I was shocked but I tried to calm myself. After my wife and I prayed
together for about an hour, amazingly, there was a soothing feeling in my neck
and suddenly, I could move again. Deep in my heart, I knew something was wrong,
but I suppressed the feelings of my conscience.
After the incident, I went for an
MRI scan but the results showed that there were no problems. I was relieved and
continued my life as usual. About one year later, in 2009, the symptoms
reoccurred, and I collapsed another three times—twice at home and once at
church. Each time, after prayer, I recovered. Clearly, God was trying to tell
me something. My wife even asked me, “Have you done something wrong? Do you
need to repent?” I answered, “Of course not.” However, deep in my heart, fear
began to build up. I knew that God was trying to teach me a lesson, but I kept
suppressing that feeling. I was stubborn and foolish.
After these incidences, we consulted
various doctors. All of them said that there was nothing wrong with me. One
physician wanted to refer me to a psychiatrist, and another doctor even asked
me to see a medium. I also went to see a Chinese physician for acupuncture. I
almost died in that clinic. About five minutes after the physician had started
the acupuncture and had left the room, I lost all my motor functions yet again.
In addition, I could barely breathe and I felt as if I was going into a
seizure. It was terrible. I was shaking, and I shouted for help but no one
came. Then I prayed and struggled to reach out to grab my mobile phone. Thank
God, I managed to call my wife, who then rushed into the treatment room with
They were shocked when they saw
me. At first, I couldn’t move but after about an hour, I regained mobility and went
home. The Chinese physician urged me to see a surgeon immediately.
The next morning, on June 14,
2009, I went to the hospital and was admitted straight away. For that whole day
I just lay in bed, without anyone coming to check on me. The surgeon checked my
MRI scans, which had been performed one year earlier without revealing any
problems, and he thought that it would be impossible for anything to happen to
me in such a short time.
However at 7 p.m. that night, my
pain returned and I endured it until midnight. I was given painkillers but to
no avail. The pain reached a point where my body couldn’t handle the stress and
I went into a seizure. I started convulsing horribly on the bed. I don’t even remember
what happened afterwards, but it was as though I had completely lost all my
senses. According to my wife and my sister, I began randomly shouting at people.
Apart from the pain, my whole body
felt numb and I could not breathe. The doctor came with some nurses and they pricked
my body with needles to test my sense of touch—I could no longer feel anything.
I truly thought that I was not going to survive. Yet, even at this agonizing
moment, I remained stubborn. Other people would have started to repent and ask
God for forgiveness, but I did not. I did not want to promise God anything.
That night, I went through another
MRI scan and CT scan before the doctor finally found bleeding behind my neck. I
had to undergo life-saving emergency surgery. The doctor was still uncertain over
the cause of the bleeding and told me that the surgery would be very dangerous.
He also said that if I did survive, I might lose some of my motor functions. Deep
within me, I knew that I would not die, yet I told my wife that I loved her,
just in case I did not wake up.
The next morning, I underwent the
surgery. Thank God, I did wake up afterwards, and I recovered within the week, despite
having three vertebrae removed from my neck. I also thank God that I did not
have any side effects from the surgery apart from some memory loss.
SERVING GOD STARTS WITH SUBMISSION
After this incident, I started to think
about why this had happened. I started to pray to God. I knew that I was not
submissive and that a deacon who is not submissive would cause much trouble in
the church. I told the Lord: “God, if you want to use me, you have to change
me.” Later on, I realized that God had indeed changed me through this
experience. He left a very deep scar on my neck, which would always remind me
not to be stiff-necked.
In 2013, local church board
members once again approached me regarding deaconship and this time, I accepted
the calling. Ever since, my views regarding divine work have changed
significantly. In the past, I was quite self-centered and I would only do divine work that I liked. However, I came to realize that
church work is not a hobby; it is our service to God. So when we humbly carry
out divine work that we do not like, we are submitting to and truly serving
After my ordination as a deacon,
God continued to change me. Today, I always pray to God to mold, change, and
help me to do things according to His will instead of my own will. Sometimes, I
still have negative or stubborn thoughts. Whenever that happens, I reach out
and touch my neck. I truly thank God for the second chance to serve Him
according to His will and for teaching, molding, and changing me the hard way.
If we are stiff-necked and try to
challenge the Lord, we will find that we have already lost the battle, because
we will never win against God. However, if we submit ourselves completely to
God, we will find peace and joy in our service to Him.
May all glory be to our beloved Lord Jesus. Amen.