Wading and fishing the rivers of my Ozark childhood, I thought I knew what it was like to wade in too deep and be swept away by the powerful current.
The true reality of that experience only became mine when I waded into the rivers of China's lost humanity and found myself swept into the depths of both their lostness and God's great salvation.
There are more lost people in China than in any other nation on earth: 1.2 billion. The number staggers us but not Christ and not His Church there. The Chinese church, in its many-faceted expressions is strong and fervent while at the same time harassed and oppressed. It also is humbling in its passion.
Recently, a worker sought to discover if there were any believers in an unreached Chinese mega-city. Finding a few, he offered training in evangelism and church planting. The four who showed up were dirty and scruffy. He was discouraged. At a loss as to where to start, he pulled back the curtains and asked, "How many Christians do you think there are in your city?" Their consensus estimate was miniscule.
He then followed with the question, "How do you think God feels about this?" He was not prepared for their response. Without a word they fell to their knees sobbing. In the next instant he was on his own knees crying out with them to the God who so loved all the peoples of the world, that He sent His Son to purchase salvation for them with His very own life's blood.
One moment, hopelessness, the next, hope — great hope. The difference? Prayer.
A century ago missionary Jonathan Goforth was swept away by the lostness of just one of the vast provinces of China. Writing his friend Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, he asked counsel. Taylor's reply still rings clear for our day:
"My brother, if you would win that province for Christ, you must advance upon your knees."
The question for us is: will we?
More than a billion lost Chinese wait.
On Pentecost Sunday, June 8, we as Southern Baptist will again unite in prayer during our annual Day of Prayer and Fasting for World Evangelization. Order a free video and materials for your church by contacting the International Mission Board at www.imb.org/resources, via email at [email protected], or by calling 1-800-866-3621.