Only a seasoned Saint, who has suffered much for his faith could write the Poem that follows. Zhang Rongliang has spent 1/4 of his life in Chinese prisons for the crime of preaching Jesus. He has been beaten, tortured, starved, humiliated, worked hard and endured countless other forms of punishment simply because he refuses to denounce Jesus and he leads others to Christ. Reflect on these words about suffering and see if they give you a new insight into the hardships you are experiencing:
“Suffering challenges so many people in the world.
Without suffering, how is it possible to taste the depths of the goodness of the Lord?
After tasting, how can one be obsessed with worldly desires?
O Suffering, I used to flee from you.
But today the Lord has commanded me to endure all that you have for me.
O Suffering, did the apostles not welcome you?
Suffering invites the seekers to go along with him.
He calls out to me and says, “Come and shake my hand.”
O Suffering, let me embrace you.
It tastes good that I was with you in the Lord.
O Suffering, how many disciples have you fed?
Without you, life has lost its struggle.
I ask you to visit me.
Let me taste only a bit of the sweetness that you give.
O Suffering, you make the moments with my Lord so much better.
You are the oxygen of the saints.
Without you, they would have stopped breathing.
You are so close to me.
O Suffering, let us walk arm in arm together.”
written March 1978 from Xihua Prison
Rongliang, Zhang and Eugene Bach. I Stand with Christ: The Courageous Life of a Chinese Believer (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2015). 137.