“But blessed is the one who trusts in the
LORD, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the
water that sends out its roots by the
stream…its leaves are always green…”
Jeremiah 17:7-8b

Trees were not plentiful in Israel and most grew by
sources of water like an
oasis or a stream. Jeremiah’s simile indicates a person with confidence in the
Lord is like a deep-rooted tree by the stream
whose leaves never die but are
always green.

Aunty Esther was the
first Christian I met inside China thirty years ago. She
was a diminutive
elderly Chinese medical doctor with a soft, kind voice that
masks the many
years of suffering through which she has passed.

“During the Cultural
Revolution,” she says, “I was called in by my superior
one day. At that time
I was in charge of eight large pediatric wards in my
hospital. “The
communists were cracking down on people who did not toe the
current party
line. My superior warned me that I should deny my faith and join
communist party or I may have to face the serious consequences of
demotion and salary reduction.

“A few days later, I was rudely
awakened by four nurses who roughly pulled me
from my bed and marched me to
the hospital. En route they stopped at a
barbershop and shaved off half of my
hair. In front of the rest of the staff,
I was confronted to renounce my
faith in Christ and join the communist party.

“I responded, ‘I can’t deny
Jesus. I love Jesus!’ At the mention of his name
they threw me down on the
ground and cursed. Later, the communist cadre at my
hospital tore the
stethoscope from my neck and said, ‘You are no longer
Esther; you are now The

Esther continues. For the next eleven years she lived in the
basement of the
hospital and obediently submitted to her new task—cleaning
the floors and
toilets of the hospital wards that she previously headed. Her
already meagre
salary of 50 dollars per month was reduced to 15 dollars. And
she had to buy
the cleaning materials from it. The rest was used up on

But Esther practised the presence of Jesus in her job. She sang as
she toiled.
With a twinkle in her eyes she adds, “My hospital had the
cleanest floors and
cleanest toilets in all of China!” Hospital staff would
come to her and with
great envy question her source of joy in spite of her
troubles. Esther
responded, “When you have Jesus in your heart, it doesn’t
matter what job you
do or what position you have. It only matters that you
love Him and are
faithful and loyal to Him!”

When the Cultural
Revolution period ended, Aunty Esther was reinstated in her
original job and
given back pay for all that she had been deprived during
those eleven years.
This amount enabled her to send one of her children to the
USA for higher
education. She faithfully carried on her public witness for
Jesus until the
day she died in her late nineties.

RESPONSE: I will allow my roots to
grow deep in the Lord so that my leaves
will always be green.

Lord, thank You for the example of faithful Aunty Esther whose life
Your love.

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