Stephen Chan

The Late Home-coming Prodigal Son – Chapter 19

A translation from ‘遊子遲遲歸’

Chapter Nineteen        Second Revival and Commitment


My life was more settled after I entered Fu-Dan University, but spiritually I remained miserable and unstable. I did not choose this university, but was sponsored by the student service center. Nevertheless this university had a very strong student fellowship group. It was there I had another spiritual revival.


I accepted Jesus as my Savior at the age of 12. When I was thirteen, I often went with my mother to attend worship services and partake communion services at the Christian Assembly. Under their influences, I had a prejudice against associations and youth fellowship groups, thinking that these were merely social activities, no spiritual values at all. So I resented joining the fellowship group when I came to Fu-Dan. In all honesty, I was at the bottom of my spiritual life and was extremely discouraged. My spirit was blindly ardent and eager for a while, and slumped into absolute frigidity when trouble hit. With broken dream, I lost my goal. I lived day by day aimlessly, what else could I be bothered with now?


The Experience of Revival

The campus was located in Xia dyke (夏霸) of Beipei (北培) Chongqing, beside the River Jia-Ling (加陵江), beautiful scenery, about three hours of ferry ride from Chongqing city. I took the ferry one Sunday afternoon for a scenic ride around the river bank. Suddenly I noticed a sign in front of a house which read, ‘The Chongqing Christian Assembly’, I was very excited to discover this familiar sign, because it belonged to the same church I attended years ago in Hong Kong. Since it was a Sunday, I went in and joined the worship service. The speaker was Mr. Jiang Shou-Dao (江守道). I had heard him speak before in Hong Kong, and he knew my mother very well. There was a communion service that day. Before the communion service, Mr. Jiang asked for the names of the new comers who joined the service. I handed in my name, assuming he should recognize me. There were three new friends including me, but I was surprised that he did not introduce me.


Soon the communion started. First, there was hymnal and someone prayed for the cup and the bread. Then the cup and the bread were passed around. The congregation prayed quietly with all heads bowed, meditating the Lord’s sacrifices for us. I prayed too for the first time fervently in a long while since I left Xikang. But when I finished my prayer and opened my eyes, the cup and the bread had already passed me from the person on my left to the person on my right. I could not understand how I was missed. In that split second, a voice spoke in my heart, “You have fallen, turned away from God, are you worthy to partake His cup and bread?” I forgot that day’s sermon message, but this voice impressed in my heart deeply. I hurriedly went back to my residence after the service. When I arrived at the campus, I was invited to join an evangelistic meeting held by Rev. Zhao Jun-Ying (赵君影). Mr. Yu Li-Kung (于力工Moses Yu) was the praise worship leader. I had not seen anyone led singing with such inspiration and dynamics, and the songs also tied to the message so seamlessly. This meeting held for three nights. God used Rev. Zhao’s message to speak to my heart. A song written by Rev. Zhao with the following lyrics was sung in the meeting:

‘O Lord, I love you, I love you now, I love you forever, I love you even when the seas dry up and rocks disintegrate, I love you LORD!’


Two years ago I had dedicated myself to the Lord, but had completely gone astray because of educational adversities. I was so ashamed of my sins that I broke down before God in tears again and repented whole heartedly.


I followed Rev Zhao’s instructions to repent to the Lord and men. I remembered my parents and wrote a letter to my parents apologizing to my mother for stolen her money, and being angry at the family, … etc. Furthermore, I apologized to everyone that I could remember whom I had offended in the past. After my repentance, I experienced joy and peace in my heart, a freedom and a conviction that the Lord was taking care of me.


However I had trouble recanting one sin, the fake diploma that I produced for admission to the school. Fraudulent document in those days was a criminal offence to the government because universities were national enterprise. If I reported myself, I would receive capital punishment. I struggled for many days, and finally decided to hand in my written confession. The principal took me to his office immediately and reprimanded me. I confessed everything to him honestly and he sent me to the registrar office for dismissal. Later the school recanted its decision due to my sincerity, and allowed me to continue my study till the end of the year. Many schoolmates scoffed at me, but I was at peace with myself, as though a large burden had been unloaded off my shoulders. I also realized that I had closed up all my educational opportunities because no university would accept a fraudulent diploma. But all I care was that I had dealt with all my sins.


MY Commitment and Dedication

Now I had a strong conviction that the Lord was calling me. Through these many years, I sought success by my own efforts and failed. I toiled and labored blindly and went nowhere. I recalled all my afflictions and hardships that I suffered since childhood, and I realized it was my Lord who was molding me, preparing me for His service for the rest of my life. He reminded me of His word to the Apostle Peter at the Sea of Galilee saying, “Do you truly love me more than these?…..feed my lambs.” So I responded to Him and said yes, but I had nothing to lay down, no money, no loved ones, no family, no good job, and no future. I came to Him empty handed and yet He loved me so. Here I am, committed my life to Him till I die. There were seven students who dedicated their lives in the meeting. I was the least and most unqualified. Many had left their loved ones, money, good job and future, dedicated themselves for the Lord, but I had nothing to leave behind for Him.


God’s Identification for my call

I believed firmly that I was called to His service for He had clearly provided me two evidences. Firstly, I felt His guidance and strength in whatever trouble, either suffering or discouragement, and I knew He was watching over me (Isaiah 30: 20, 21) and leading me through all circumstances. Secondly, in all my years of services, He always provided me insights of His words and messages to preach His Gospel and truth. His words were my joy and my heart’s delight (Jeremiah15:16). I always cautioned myself with the story of old priest Eli, ‘In those days, the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions’ (I Samuel 3:1). God’s Word was revealed to the little child Samuel, but not to the old priest Eli. What a calamity! ‘Lord,’ I prayed, ‘don’t stop revealing your Words to me even when I had fallen into sin or betrayed You again.’ I prayed earnestly that He would not turn His back on me, but instead, pour out His admonishment and grace from heaven, so I would not become a preacher without God’s message.

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