We are all made in the image of God, and no one is of greater intrinsic worth than another, yet it is undeniable that God uses some people in bolder and starker ways than others. Some people’s life experiences are extreme, while others’ are quiet and understated. Some people endure unspeakable hardship while others appear to be relatively unscathed by heartache. And some people know both the challenge of hardship and the blessings of bounty and peace. Chai Ling is a woman who has an amazing story, a story of leadership and hope, peace and love, of fear and persecution, of great loss and great blessing, of calling and devotion. The student protestors who survived the massacre in Tiananmen Square are a unique group and a number of them have given their lives to Christ, recognizing that true freedom and hope are found in Christ alone. Chai Ling is among that group and is now an ambassador for Christ. She still works to bring peace and freedom to the Chinese people, but realizes that ultimate victory cannot be accomplished without Divine Intervention.
I had the privilege of hearing Chai Ling pray last month at the closing dinner of the National Prayer Breakfast. It was one of the most beautiful and yet desperate prayers I’ve ever heard. The sorrow with which she prayed for the Chinese woman who are committing suicide after forced abortions (every day in China 500 women take their own lives and China is the only country on earth where the suicide rate is higher for women than men), and for the horrific ramifications of China’s One Child Policy (a baby is aborted in China every 2.4 seconds, read this article for more information). All Girls Allowed is the 501(c)(3) that Ling started to “to restore life, value, and dignity to girls and mothers, and to reveal the injustice of China’s One-Child Policy.” That night, to close out the National Prayer Breakfast, Chai Ling prayed for China with passion. She prayed for religious freedom, for the children who are trafficked, for the millions of Christians there to be able to worship the Lord without fear. She prayed for a long time, but I hung on every word, growing in appreciation for how bleak things remain in China, and joining her in asking the Lord to do great things through the Chinese people.
You can read the full story of how she came to know Christ here, but many aspects of her testimony really resonated with me. She said that accepting Christ gave her a sense of complete peace, saying, “Finally, God is in charge.”
What a paradox that liberation comes through submission! Yet for anyone who retains any sense of awe or wonder about the world around them, submission is not counter-intuitive. Because once you acknowledge a Creator, logic leads you down a steady but gentle path that ends with the assurance of knowing that you are loved.
As Henri Nouwen writes in Life of the Beloved, “From all eternity, long before you were born and became part of history, you existed in God’s heart. Long before your parents admired you or your friends acknowledged your gifts or your teachers, colleagues, and employers encouaraged you, you were already ‘chosen.’ The eyes of love had seen you as precious, as of infinite beauty, as of eternal value.”
Zepheniah 3:17 says, “He will take great delight in you; he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
With this love and affection that pursues us relentlessly, why would we resist? May we be like Chai Ling and know the peace of willfully putting God in charge of our lives.