James Liu—Newcastle, UK
In the name of our Lord Jesus, I testify.
For those of us who grow up in the True
Jesus Church, we are always taught to trust in God. Although we may experience
difficulties in life, it is not until we face a true challenge that we come to
understand what it means to trust God fully. Until then, trusting in God may
only take the form of mentioning our hardships in prayer.
My wife and I grew up in the church. We
were active as youths, taking part in many church works, and were eventually
married in church. Having children was the natural next step for us as a
couple. After praying about this matter, my wife conceived in 2018, by God's
grace. The pregnancy was healthy, and the first six months proceeded smoothly.
We experienced the joys of all the normal milestones: the scans, kicks, and
baby movements. As soon-to-be parents, we eagerly looked forward to our baby
In May 2019, my wife started to notice that
the foetus would not move and kick as much as she used to. Our midwife advised
that it was still early in the pregnancy, so quiet times could be expected. It
may just be that the baby is sleeping more or is in a different position. But
if we had concerns, we could request a checkup for reassurance. Despite the
midwife’s words, we still felt uneasy. Therefore, we put this into prayer,
asking God to guide us to make the right decisions and for God to protect the
child no matter what happens. Finally, we decided to request a checkup in the
hope that it would at least give us peace of mind.
The checkup consisted of a period of
monitoring the baby in the womb. It was supposed to last twenty minutes but
turned into an hour. Suddenly, a team of doctors arrived and explained that
there were serious concerns for the baby. An emergency cesarean section was
advised. My wife was swiftly taken into theatre, and our baby girl was born.
She was exactly three months premature, weighing only 810 grams (one pound and
twelve ounces)—small enough to fit into the two palms of my hands. We were
overwhelmed with uncertainty over the future. What would happen now? Would she
have long-term health problems? How will we take care of her? Would our
daughter even survive? She was immediately taken into the Special Care Baby
Unit (SCBU), where she was put onto a ventilator and various other life-support
equipment. The doctors informed us that the only abnormality they could find in
the womb was the beginning of placental abruption, where the placenta begins to
detach from the uterus. This usually results in a failure of the placenta,
meaning the baby would no longer receive oxygen and nutrients. If we had not
requested an examination, the problem would have become more serious.
Truly, life is in the hands of God. In
discovering the problem early, our daughter’s life was preserved. True enough,
while in SCBU we met another family in a similar situation, they had not
requested a checkup. Their baby was in a more serious condition than our
daughter. Undeniably, God moved us to make the right decision to protect her
life. Knowing that all life is in the hands of God, gave us comfort. Even
though we faced uncertainties over the future, we came to realize that we can
be certain of God, our immovable Rock and steadfast Refuge (Ps 62:6–7). He will
sustain and guide our family regardless of what may come to pass.
Eventually, my daughter was diagnosed with
cerebral palsy. Although my daughter continues to have lifelong disabilities,
her condition is good for someone with her diagnosis. Step by step, she has
been able to make positive progress. Her life is also full of wonderful
testimonies of God's grace, a few of which I will share here.
THE POWER OF INTERCESSION
The SCBU is divided into three color-coded
sections to differentiate the level of support needed: red for intensive care,
blue for reduced care, and green for minimal care in preparation for discharge.
Since her birth in May, my daughter had remained in the red area.
In July 2019, our local church hosted the
annual National Student Spiritual Convocation. As one of the religious
education coordinators, I was assigned to oversee this convocation. At first, I
was conflicted about whether or not to continue with my responsibilities. On
one hand, I desired to be with our daughter as much as possible, yet, on the
other hand, I felt a sense of duty to the church. Since my daughter was still
in the red area of SCBU, there was not much we could do for her except visit.
We took faith in the words of Jesus, that if we seek God’s kingdom first, He
will provide for our needs (Mt 6:33), which meant He would also take care of her.
Therefore, I continued with my church duties. In doing so, we had several
opportunities to take the visiting preachers, who were there for the
convocation, to the hospital to pray for my daughter.
After one particular visit in the morning,
a preacher requested the intercession of the students for my daughter during a
prayer session. That evening, during our visit, we discovered that our daughter
had been transferred from the red to the blue area. The sudden move showed that
her condition had vastly improved during the day. We felt immense joy and
encouragement to experience God’s power. It was also greatly encouraging for
the students to see for themselves the power of united prayer. We praise God
for fulfilling the promise of our Lord Jesus that when "two of you agree
on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by [our]
Father in heaven” (Mt 18:19).
To request intercession is not always an
easy matter. It makes us feel exposed—as if we are confessing our weaknesses
before others. Or sometimes, we feel like our challenges are too mundane to
bother the brethren with. Yet the power of intercession is undeniable. Having
experienced it firsthand, I have come to realize that the benefit of
intercession far outweighs the discomfort of requesting it. I learned to forgo
my feelings and reach out for intercessions whenever needed. Through the
continued prayers of our brothers and sisters, my daughter was discharged from
the SCBU altogether in October 2019, after just over four months. She came home
with a portable oxygen tank to support her breathing, which she was weaned off
a year later.
TO RELY ON GOD IS TO EMPTY ONESELF
Throughout the first two years of my
daughter’s life, she was constantly readmitted to hospital for various reasons.
On a few occasions, she had to stay in the hospital for nearly a month. This
was particularly difficult once the COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020.
Government-imposed restrictions meant only one parent could remain in the
hospital, while the other could not even visit. This created a great sense of
helplessness for my wife and me. On a few occasions, our daughter was admitted
to hospital because of symptoms with unknown causes. As parents, we could not
do much for her apart from being with her and waiting for tests and results.
This further added to the feelings of powerlessness.
On one occasion before my daughter’s first
birthday, I remained in the hospital with her for a few weeks while my wife
stayed at home. Our daughter was struggling to feed properly, sometimes even
refusing to feed. One evening, I talked to my wife via video call about how
difficult it was. After our conversation, I tried to feed her again;
miraculously, she drank her milk without a problem. When I reported this to my
wife, she revealed that after our conversation, she had knelt to pray and
continued praying until I messaged her to say that our daughter had taken her
We were completely amazed at the power of
prayer. When we came before God in our helplessness, God revealed His power.
Through this experience, we understood what it means to trust in God. We had
previously put many matters into prayer, but it was only when we hit rock
bottom—when we felt like we had nothing left—that we sincerely yearned for
God's help. This is mirrored in Paul's experience, that when we face our
greatest weakness, God's strength is manifested (2 Cor 12:9–10). When we empty
ourselves, we truly see how much we need God.
We thank God for allowing us to experience
this. As our daughter continues to grow, she will face a range of health
problems. Yet we now know how to fully rely on our God to meet these
challenges. We have learned to fully empty ourselves before God to seek His
power and grace. Time and time again, God has revealed His great power and
mercy to us.
BAPTISM INTO THE FOLD
Because of the pandemic, no baptisms were
conducted in our local church during 2020 and early 2021. As a result, our
daughter was not baptized until August 2021, at the age of two. The two years
of waiting were a period of anxiety due to her numerous health problems. We
were constantly concerned that something might happen before she could be
baptized. But because of the pandemic, all we could do was put the matter into
prayer. Upon reflection, we found that God's timing was good. If the pandemic
had not occurred and baptism had been possible during 2020, it would have been
challenging as my daughter’s health was weak, and she still required oxygen
support. Having her baptism delayed meant that her body was much stronger. On
the day of her baptism, we were greatly moved. Everything went smoothly, and my
daughter experienced no complications. We saw how precious it was for our
daughter to be baptized into God’s fold.
In the True Jesus Church, the water baptism
sacrament is followed by footwashing and Holy Communion. We were worried about
the Holy Communion because our daughter was incapable of eating solid foods,
even though she was two. She could not swallow solids, and any attempt to do so
usually resulted in vomiting. In the weeks leading up to the day, we sought
advice from a number of ministers. Ultimately, we were advised to do our best,
and even if she could only take a little of the bread and the cup, it would
suffice. We also put the matter into prayer. We thank God that when the time
came for Holy Communion, we followed the ministers’ advice with faith. By God's
grace, and to our surprise, our daughter could take a little of the bread and
Now that she had received all three
sacraments of the True Jesus Church, we felt an overwhelming sense of relief.
Our daughter is now a child of God, with the hope of eternal life. No matter
what may come to pass in her physical life, her soul is preserved by the
heavenly Father. All our anxieties had turned into peace and comfort.
Although the health of our daughter has
provided many challenges, my wife and I have come to understand the truth of
what Elder James wrote, that we could "count it all joy when [we] fall
into various trials, knowing that the testing of [our] faith produces patience"
(Jas 1:2–3). Though the trials are great, they have become an even greater
testimony, strengthening our faith in our heavenly Father. They are times when
God has shown His abundant mercy and compassion to us. We can only give thanks
to our Lord Jesus Christ and continue to hold fast onto Him with joy, knowing
that He holds all things in His hands.