WUHAN, CHINA – This was to be no ordinary January. A new coronavirus was about to emerge from Wuhan, the epicentre of the China outbreak. When sister Meimei found herself homebound, she knew she needed to be relentless in prayer: “During my time in isolation, besides taking medicine, my daily practice was pray, praise and ask for the assistance of God’s Holy Spirt. Only with the power of God, could I have had the strength to conquer this illness.”
An Unusual January
In early January, news pertaining to a novel coronavirus began to appear intermittently. Although Meimei heard some of it, she did not take it seriously until 19th January. That day, Meimei went to make Chinese New Year purchases but started to feel unwell after she got home. She had a fever of 38.9 degrees centigrade. After taking some antipyretic, her temperature subsided. However, the next day, Meimei’s fever came back and she decided to go to the hospital. The hospital was crowded with patients, most of whom were wearing masks. A blood test was administered and the results came out negative, but the doctor warned Meimei that there were many ‘suspect’ coronavirus cases and proceeded to prescribe some medicine for Meimei to take home.
While at home, even though Meimei felt scared that she could have been infected by the coronavirus, she took her medication faithfully but also started to pray ceaselessly. Even after two days of medicine, Meimei presented with new symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting and was drained of strength. By the 26th January, even the left side of her face and eyes started to swell.
When Meimei went back to the hospital, she found it even more crowded. There were about 30-40 people during her previous visit but now, there were more than a hundred persons waiting to see the doctors. This round, Meimei was attended by a doctor wearing a protective suit and mask who examined her from a distance. Though the doctor could not figure the reason for her swollen face, he prescribed some anti-inflammatory medicine and asked her to have a CT scan. Two or three days later, her face remained swollen. “I felt helpless, but I knew there was no other choice but to continue with the medicine and prayer.
Experiencing Kindness in Time of Need
It was a challenging time. All the commonly used medicine in her neighbourhood pharmacies were sold out. When Meimei’s husband wanted to buy some medicine, it was only available from another district which was too far away. Knowing this, a pastor who lived close to that pharmacy helped Meimei with the purchase and even delivered it to her home.
“On 29th January, a pastor from a church in Xuzhou contacted me, telling me that a Christian doctor was willing to provide free medical consultation. After checking photos I sent through the internet, he suggested that I buy some Chinese medicine and I took his advice.”
It was not until 8th February that Meimei finally received the CT scan results. She showed it to a doctor friend who explained that her condition was not too serious, and it was only her right lung that was slightly infected. Meimei felt grateful for the help rendered and relieved that her condition was not too severe.
God is Real and Alive
Covid-19 has caused many infections and also many deaths. Many who fell ill did not know whether they would recover. The fear of the unknown is very real, Meimei knows she would have reacted very differently if she did not have God.
“It is because God is real and alive to me that I know, He is with me. During this period, it is God who has always given me strength, peace, courage, and a sense of security.” Meimei is quick to acknowledge the different ‘angels’ sent to care for her. From her time in isolation, church friends sent food. Many fellow Christians from near and far prayed for her as well as the doctors who cared for her.
My Security in Him
“I can never say that people will never get sick after becoming a Christian, but one thing that made me feel different was that I always felt secure even after I fell ill. Experiencing this (security), I find myself seeking and relying on God more. It is also my hope that my husband and others, who are not yet believers, will come to follow Him.”
When health and security are easily available to us, we may think we can do anything. But Meimei reminds us, “It is not until misfortune befalls that we realise how vulnerable and incompetent we really are. I sincerely hope that all this hardship will be over soon and everyone will be safe and healthy, with their hearts filled with strength and joy from above.”
Story adapted from China Christian Daily with permission
Rewritten by: Jenise Lee
2020 © United Bible Societies China Partnership