Running on insufficient sleep and even less energy, I asked God to enable me to represent the Gospel well this afternoon when I lectured on Christianity and American Culture in the Culture Department of National Tainan University.
The department chairman gave me a warm introduction, as she did last year, only this time she said that she had gleaned a lot that was helpful from the Chinese edition of The Lord’s Healing Words, which she had read in the past few months.
Of course, in order to explain the relationships between Christianity and American culture, I had to describe American Christianity, including the basic tenets of the faith. At the end of the 90-minute lecture, the floor was opened for questions.
Dr. Chen, who had come last year also, said, “You have spoken about prayer. What is the difference between how Christians pray and the way that believers in traditional Chinese religion pray?”
That was a hard one, because many Christians ask for pretty much the same things as do their pagan counterparts here, but I was able to say a bit about how we should pray, asking for God’s glory, will, and kingdom to come, etc., and also how we take our petitions to a heavenly Father through the mediatorial work accomplished in history by Jesus.
The chairman then asked, “So how has prayer helped you in your own life?” Another opportunity to talk a lot about answered prayer and unanswered prayer, seeking the Lord above all else, communion with God the Father through God the Son, and obtaining grace to help in time of need.
“Today, for example,” I said, “I wasn’t able to sleep at noon as I usually do, so I asked God for strength to give the best possible lecture to you this afternoon.”
Then the sole Christian student in the class, at the urging of the chairman, asked, “How has God changed your life?” I tried to be brief, but it still took ten minutes to describe how the Lord had helped me to gain substantial freedom from worry and resentment and disappointment. They really perked up when I told them about the mild depression I had had to deal with a few years ago.
I’m pretty tired now, but I must say that God has provided the necessary strength all day long. After supper, one of the other speakers at the conference I am attending, a Christian who ministers to deaf people in China, wanted to talk with me. Fighting fatigue, I spent about an hour with her in the lobby of their hotel before returning to my quarters at the university. I’m glad I acceded to her request, for I was greatly encouraged by her testimony, and even thought of a way that perhaps I might be able to connect her organization with a Christian foundation.
There was more today, but gives you an idea of how God can manifest his strength in and through our manifold weakness.