So I was reviewing my blog at the back end of last year, and I realised that despite reading nearly 30 books I only told you about 1, which is pretty shocking given that I read some goodens and the 1 I told you about was far from my fav.
Anyway, thought it was about time I told you about 3 that touched me.
I was going through my Goodreads 2012 reading list and I realised that 3 of the books that inspired me most had a common theme running through them ‘China’. This struck me because these are 3 very different books, I read them for different reasons and came across them in different ways.
The first was Pearl of China by Anchee Min:
I found this whilst searching Audible for an easy read, with a light theme. I read books like people watch TV, I switch between books like most switch between channels and often settle on the one (of about five at any given time) that best suits my mood and frame of mind. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this on my drive to and from work, it was an easy read that eased my mind and helped me switch mental gears during my daily commute. It gave me a glimpse of Chinese culture in the late 20th century that both engaged and intrigued me.
Although perhaps not historically accurate it stirred in me a curiosity to find out more about China and its people. To be honest I didn’t and still don’t know that much about China other than the speel that is pushed out by mainstream media, but it at least painted a picture for me of the softness of missionary hearts and that of underground Christians set against the harshness of Communist rule and dire poverty, a picture that although fictional resembled truth during this period of time.
This book, a work of non-fiction moved me and cut me to my core, it’s a dramatic autobiography of one of China’s dedicated, courageous, and intensely persecuted house church leaders ‘Brother Yun’. I’ve known about this book for a long-time and have actually had the paperback on my book shelf for a few years but never read it. There are some books that you just know will challenge you and course you to face internal truths that you’d rather avoid, this was one of them.
Anyway, for me, last year was about ‘facing God’, re-igniting my relationship with Him and conforming to the simple word I heard burning in my spirit ‘stay close’. So I purchased this and began listening, what moved me the most was how utterly dependent Brother Yun and the Chinese brethren were on God. When you are faced with the reality that you have nothing apart from God, ‘Christianity’ takes on a whole new meaning, which was apparent throughout this book. God is Brother Yun’s ONLY source and the miracles that ensued in Brother Yun’s life as a result of his unyielding trust, belief and dependence on God, is utterly mind blowing. In places this book reads more like fiction than fact and I was blown away by the fact that these things were taking place in China as recently as the 80’s and early 90’s, probably still today.
I was both encouraged by this book and saddened. Encouraged by the powerful and intense way God shows up when we simply trust and depend on Him. But also saddened because in the West few of us experience the reality of God in this way, I believe this is because we rarely reach the end of ourselves, the point of utter surrender and helplessness. For me Brother Yun exemplified what it means to truly ‘let go and let God’, in the midst of being tortured, battered and beaten almost to death he let go and experienced unfathomable peace in the midst of unspeakable hardship. This book was a stark reminder to me that to truly meet God we must first reach the end of ourselves, the benefits of doing so are amazing, there is no safer place than the arms of God.
So, at the beginning of this post I said I’d tell you about 3 books, However you might have realised I’ve only covered 2 – at 746 words and 11:34pm I figured it was time for me to sign off and tell you about the other book another time, but I will give you a hint Watchman Nee.