The following excerpt from the international bestseller The Normal Christian Life is no exception.
I’ve shared it several times with friends and family over the past year, and my friend and brother Oscar inspired me to share it through this new blog.
I hope it connects with your spirit as much as it has mine.
This story was shared in Europe in 1938 and translated from Chinese in 1957.
From the author Nee Shu-Tsu (Watchman Nee):
I was once staying in a place in China with some twenty other brothers. There was inadequate provision for bathing in the home where we stayed, so we went for a daily plunge in the river.
On one occasion a brother got a cramp in his leg, and I suddenly saw he was sinking fast, so I motioned to another brother, who was an expert swimmer, to hasten to his rescue.
But to my astonishment he made no move.
Growing desperate I cried out: “Don’t you see the man is drowning?” and the other brothers, about as agitated as I was, shouted vigorously too.
But our good swimmer still did not move.
Calm and collected, he remained just where we he was, apparently postponing the unwelcome task.
Meantime the voice of the poor drowning brother grew fainter and his efforts feebler.
In my heart I said: “I hate that man! Think of his letting a brother drown before his very eyes and not going to the rescue!”
But when the man was actually sinking, with a few swift strokes the swimmer was at his side, and both were soon safely ashore.
Nevertheless, when I got an opportunity, I aired my views.
“I have never seen any Christian who loved his life quite as much as you do,” I said.
“Think of the distress you would have saved that brother if you had considered yourself a little less and him a little more.”
But the swimmer, I soon discovered, knew his business better than I did.
“Had I gone earlier,” he said, “he would have clutched me so fast that both of us would have gone under.
A drowning man cannot be saved until he is utterly exhausted and ceases to make the slightest effort to save himself.”
The author concludes:
“Do you see the point?
When we give up the case, then God will take it up.
He is waiting until we are at an end of our resources and can do nothing more for ourselves.
God had condemned all that is of the creation and consigned it to the Cross.”
What are your thoughts on this story?
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