Another chapter and once again more miraculous events transpire in the life of Brother Yun. Again, while the miraculous – or at least the obvious movements of God if it be improper to label some as “miraculous” – are exciting, there are also several concrete things we can both learn and apply to our lives from this chapter. Among them are a commitment to God’s Word (memorizing and sharing it), seeking the Holy Spirit, obedience when God directs, as well as the undeniable truth that our Theology (which is, perhaps in more ways than we realize, impacted/shaped by the songs we sing) ought to impact our lives..
These themes are important because in this chapter the “miraculous” happens (or God simply moves) in relation to what His people do. It is relatively easy to pray and hope for “miraculous” things; it is quite another to live your life in such a way that God will “show up” in order to validate His people and therefore glorify His name.
An amazing example of this (our work and God’s power) occurs after Yun had his long sought for Bible. He read it daily, in spite of having only a third grade education, until he had read it cover to cover. Yet God did not miraculously enable him to read despite his low literacy skills. Rather, Yun had to look up most words (which are made up of characters in the complicated Chinese language) as he progressed through the Bible. Then after having read through the Bible he started to memorize a chapter a day; after 28 days he had memorized Matthew. Next he read the other three gospels quickly and then started to memorize the book of Acts.
All of that is “our work” – what we can do. Sadly, too often it seems we think we “own” the Bible just because we have purchased it, have received it as a gift, or can put it down and stop reading whenever we want. Yet more accurately the Bible is the subject and we are the object…it pokes and prods our lives and we are to conform to it. This is made abundantly clear in what happens a bit later in the chapter.
Basically, Yun is told by God to go and be His witness. God directs Yun to people who had been praying and fasting for him to come after they heard how he miraculously received a Bible. They wanted Yun to teach them, but he did not know how to preach. So Yun did what he could; he recited Scripture – as in the whole book of Matthew. Yun did what he could, and what did God do? After Yun recited all of Matthew, with his eyes tightly shut, the Holy Spirit led him to sing Scripture-based songs Yun previously did not know. After finishing and opening his eyes he saw the people kneeling in repentance with tears running down their cheeks. That is clearly the work of God…yet it came about as a man did what he could.
As far as songs influencing our Theology, we will cover them in the next post. Until then, may continue to grow in our understanding of how to appropriately handle God’s word.