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 (Manna 88: Our Walk With God)
The Lord Delivers His Servants
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Editor’s note: When the apostle Paul implored God to remove the thorn from his flesh, God replied “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). The Lord does not promise that our service to Him would be without suffering and difficulties, but He does promise to be with us—that, if we rely on Him, He will give us help and grace in our time of need. Servants of God who pray for healing may not receive a miraculous, on-the-spot healing. But, without fail, God’s grace is sufficient, and He strengthens faith. Here are the testimonies of two ordained workers who have experienced such amazing grace from God.  

GOD’S MARVELOUS HEALINGS

Lemuel Leong—Tuaran, Sabah, Malaysia

Having been born into a True Jesus Church family, I have received abundant grace from God all my life. Here, I would like to testify of two occasions when I received God’s marvelous healing. I cherish these experiences for life and, by sharing them with a heart of gratitude, I hope to give all glory to God.

TESTIMONY 1

Finding Faith through Illness

In 1982, as an eleven-year-old school student, I contracted a strange illness. I could not control the muscles on the right side of my body and, at times, I would suffer from cramps and spasms in my right arm and leg. I would drop my utensils during mealtimes, or knock over food or drinks, and my right leg dragged so much when I walked that my shoes would quickly wear out from the friction.

My parents consulted a highly respected doctor in my hometown of Tawau, Doctor Matthew Chen, who once headed the central hospital in Tawau. Despite three months of treatment under him, my condition did not improve and there was no diagnosis. I then went to the central hospital for further treatment. However, even specialist doctors could not diagnose my condition; I was admitted to hospital for eight days of observation.  

During my hospital stay, I would wake up every morning unable to control my hands. If I woke with my palm open, I would not be able to close it; if I woke with a closed fist, I would be unable to unfurl it. My mother would have to massage my hand for three to five minutes before it returned to normal. When I was first admitted to hospital, my father had decided to fast and pray for five days. But when he saw the lack of progress, he became more resolved to rely on the Lord. He vowed that, if God were to heal me, he would let me serve the Lord when I grow up. Miraculously, God’s amazing intervention came on the fifth day, when my condition rapidly improved. I was able to hold a pen to write, and move around as normal. On the eighth day, I was discharged from hospital.

Called By the Holy Spirit

During my formative years, my mother would constantly remind me that God had sustained my life, and that I should share this grace. One day, when I was twenty-three, I joined the 5.30 a.m. morning prayer at the church in Tawau. As I prayed, I was suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit and my heart was greatly moved. In my mind, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Jump out! Jump out!” Immediately, my body felt weightless, like a leaf carried by the wind, and I steadily moved from where I had been praying—on the left side of the seventh row—to the front of the pulpit. After this, the Holy Spirit said, “Bring Huang Gang-qian with you.” Brother Huang was praying in the back row at the time.  

God had released me from the woe of a persistent illness, and now He had called me to take up His commission. This was confirmation of the path God wanted me to take in my life. A year later, on January 8, 1995, I responded to God’s call and entered the first theological training program run by the Sabah General Assembly. Three years later, Brother Huang also took the entrance exam to join the second intake of theological students, and was later ordained as Preacher Boaz.

Lingering Health Problems

Despite God’s healing, I still suffered from lingering side effects, this time emerging on the left side of my body. Whenever I was too tired, I would feel weak and numb from my cheek down to my leg; and my fingers would quiver, affecting my fine-motor skills. These did not impact my day-to-day life, but it gradually became a burden, physically and mentally, much to my shame and misery. I spent a lot of money seeking treatment from doctors trained in Western medicine as well as traditional Chinese medicine. I also adjusted my diet and daily routines. On top of these, I prayed persistently and earnestly. But all to no avail.  

Eventually, I decided to accept and live with my ill-health as a mark of grace. I stopped seeking a cure. Instead of praying for healing, I relied on God’s mercy. Indeed, the Lord covered me with His strength, which was made perfect in my weakness. My illness was not an obstacle in my full-time ministry, and I was even able to climb to the top of Mount Kinabalu—the tallest peak in South East Asia. This goes to show that the Lord’s grace is sufficient for me—in fact, it was more than sufficient (2 Cor 12:9)!

Unexpected Grace and Healing

The year 2017 was the centennial of the True Jesus Church’s founding. I was serving in the evangelistic and pastoral department of the Sabah General Assembly at the time, and we were responsible for organizing and promoting five major outdoor evangelism events across the state. This meant many choir and orchestra rehearsals, plus a series of intensive conferences to prepare for these events. All this was on top of our usual ministerial responsibilities: regional pastoral affairs, theological seminary matters, overseas ministries, and other important duties. This was perhaps the most challenging year of my twenty-two-year service as a preacher.

In order to support the heavy workload, the evangelistic committee members fasted and prayed every Sabbath, earnestly asking for the Lord’s guidance and spiritual strength. As these events approached, true to God’s faithfulness and mercy, He did not disappoint. We were able to resolve every difficulty, and each event was well attended, so that God’s name was lifted high and glorified.

On August 19, 2017, after one of these evangelism events, it suddenly occurred to me that the left side of my body felt fine and that my fingers no longer trembled. The Lord had healed me from the ill-health that had plagued me for thirty-five years! The gracious Lord was compassionate and merciful towards me, even though I had not asked for it. He quietly healed my fragile body so that I would have the stamina to serve Him. I felt so undeserving of such immense grace. God indeed fulfilled the promise He gave His servants:

“So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will  take sickness away from the midst of you.” (Ex 23:25)

TESTIMONY 2      

Stricken by Partial Deafness

On August 30, 2018, as I drove home to Tuaran after a general assembly meeting, I suddenly lost hearing in my left ear. I felt an intense nerve pressure in my head, particularly my forehead, and all I could hear was a sharp metallic sound. I was due to fly to Indonesia three days later, and I could not help but worry that my ear problem would worsen due to the changing air pressure on the five-and-a-half-hour flight.

The following Friday and Sabbath, I was assigned to speak three sermons. As I spoke, I was unable to hear the interpreter properly, and I became increasingly anxious over the accuracy of the interpretation. After I finished delivering the Sabbath morning sermon at the church in Kolombong, Deaconness Mary Wong enquired about my condition. When she realized how bad it was, she took me to a nearby clinic. It turned out that I had an ear infection, even though I felt no pain. The doctor injected oxygen into both ears to reduce the pressure, but it did not improve as expected. So he prescribed three different types of medication, including antibiotics. During the closing prayer of the Sabbath afternoon service, I prayed earnestly for God’s help. Indeed, after the prayer I distinctly felt God’s comfort and peace in my heart.

That night, when my father-in-law, Deacon Thomas, learned of my ear infection, he specifically made the trip from the mountains of Tinuhan to come and lay hands and pray for me. After the prayer, he gave me these solemn instructions: “Go ahead with your trip to Indonesia; you will get better gradually until your ear fully recovers.” I truly admired his faith, and was greatly touched that my ninety-two-year-old father-in-law would travel such a great distance—twenty-five kilometers from Tinuhuan to my home—to show his love and concern for me. It is indeed a rare grace for a preacher to receive the laying of hands.

Actually, I had been struggling within myself about whether to delay or cancel the Indonesia trip. But, encouraged by my father-in-law, I decided to take the leap of faith and proceed with it. After all, the God I serve is the merciful, Almighty God.

A Stress-Free Trip

On the morning of September 3, I flew to Kota Semarang, Indonesia. Thanks to the prayers of my family and the church members, I felt no pain from the pressure in my ear. Following this flight, I spent another hour on the road to reach my destination, Salatiga, in central Java. Under God’s protection, the entire journey was free of further issues.

As my father-in-law predicted, my ear infection gradually improved and the sharp sound faded during my stay at the theological seminary in Salatiga. However, my ear did not fully recover, even after I had completed the course of medication.

Slow Road to Recovery

My dormitory in the theological seminary faced a busy and noisy street, but because my hearing was still muffled I was able to enjoy good quality sleep at night. Funnily enough, my ear infection meant I was well-rested and could concentrate on my work better.

On September 7, I could faintly hear the sounds of the busy street and motorcycle engines when I covered my right ear. The ringing in my left ear was still there, but I estimated that I had recovered about twenty percent of my hearing.

On the evening of September 11, I received a call from a Taiwanese brother, and we talked for about twenty minutes. A few minutes into the call, I suddenly realized that I was holding my mobile phone to my left ear—and I could hear every word! I could not suppress my emotion, crying out, “Thank God!” My left ear was more than ninety percent recovered.

My work in Indonesia ended on September 25. Before I departed, I used my earphones to test my left ear—indeed, the ringing had disappeared and my hearing had fully recovered. I recalled my father-in-law’s words, and gratitude filled my heart.

After this experience, I could now relate to and empathize with those who have hearing impairment. I am resolved to listen to God more attentively, to praise Him through hymns all the days of my life, and to proclaim God’s amazing work. May all thanksgiving, praises and glory be given to our Lord Savior and true God, Jesus Christ. Amen!

SAVED FROM THE BRINK OF DEATH

Helen Choi—Edinburgh, UK

Hallelujah, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I testify to the Lord's abundant grace and mercy—of how He delivered my husband, Elder Simon Hsu, from the brink of death.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6–7)

There were two occasions when the Lord stretched out His hand to save my husband.

HEALED FROM MALARIA

In 1980, when my husband was serving as a preacher, he was sent on a missionary trip to Lagos, the capital of Nigeria at the time. He traveled with Deacon Meishi Tsai from the USA. Unlike today, where preachers are given information and training on how to prepare for such trips, my husband and Deacon Tsai knew very little about practicalities such as taking anti-malarial tablets. They set off submissively, full of faith and fervency to serve the Lord.

A week after my husband’s return from Nigeria, he started to have heavy flu-like symptoms. He consulted our GP (general practitioner), who assured him that it was nothing serious. However, after delivering a sermon during a spiritual convocation, he went to his room and found a note from the GP saying he needed to go to the hospital immediately. We followed this instruction and my husband was admitted to the local hospital. That night, he became delirious and was urgently transferred to the Royal Infirmary, the best-equipped hospital in Edinburgh. Doctors confirmed he had contracted malaria—the first case of its kind in Edinburgh.

The parasites had affected him severely, damaging almost every internal organ and causing kidney failure, which meant he needed emergency dialysis (the scar from the shunt on his wrist is still visible today). We were only allowed to communicate with him through a glass barrier.

When the church members learned of his condition, they prayed earnestly for him. Most members owned and worked in Chinese takeaway businesses, so they would gather at church after work, around midnight, to pray and beseech God to have mercy on my husband. Thank God, I was able to devote myself to caring for him with a God-given peace. With complete trust towards the Lord, I prayed, "Oh Lord, he is Your servant. I am sure You will take care of him, as he contracted malaria whilst preaching Your word. But even if You decide to receive him into Your heavenly home, I will not contend with You, as I know that You will surely provide for me and my two boys. Let Your will be done.”

With the earnest prayers of the brethren, God showed us mercy and grace. My husband gradually made a full recovery. As it transpired, Deacon Tsai had also contracted malaria and suffered liver damage. The Lord likewise showed mercy on him, and he too made a full recovery.

POST-SURGERY COMPLICATIONS

The second occasion where God saved my husband was three years later, in 1983. After undergoing a minor operation under general anesthetic, he stayed in hospital for a few days before being discharged.

A few weeks later, one of the nurses who had cared for my husband joined the Sabbath worship at church, having been invited by my husband. It was after the service that she spoke of an incident that had happened after my husband’s operation. While she was doing a ward round on night duty, she had shone a torch onto my husband and discovered that his lips and nails had turned blue. She immediately called the doctors, who took emergency measures to save him. My husband had suffered an adverse reaction to the general anesthetic.

Once again, God had saved my husband from a life-threatening situation. This time, it was through the mouth of a stranger that we learned of the Lord's deliverance, for even my husband had not been aware of his brush with death.

The love of God is truly marvelous. We could never repay His kindness. May God continue to accept our service and guide our path ahead. All glory be unto His holy name!

FINAL NOTE FROM ELDER HSU

Twice the Lord has delivered me from death’s door. His grace is truly immense!

“In whose hand is the life of every living thing,

And the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:10)

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. (Eccl 9:10)

For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. (Rom 14:7–8)

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Author: Lemuel Leong and Helen Choi
Publisher: True Jesus Church
Date: 06/12/2019
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