The Normal Christian Faith, by Watchman Nee

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We have seen the greatness and smallness of the universe, the order of the universe, and man’s psychology, and pointed out that they all prove the existence of God in the universe. We will now consider another aspect, which is the Christian experience of God. In this world, Christians know God the best. We can prove the existence of God from the experience of Christians. We know God from His answers to prayers, from the grace of forgiveness, and from God’s special protection. If there is no God, there would be no believers.

I will relate to you a little of my own experience in prayer. I do not usually tell others about my experience in prayer, but I will say a little today. During the Chinese New Year of 1926, I was working in the villages. At that time, a few brothers like Brother Wang Lien-chun, Simon Meek, and Faithful Luk were in Foochow preparing for an evangelistic meeting. They invited me to join them, but I thought that there were so many already, and that I did not need to go. I thought that I would go to preach in the countryside instead. Subsequently, I invited six brothers to come with me. Two of them are now helping Mr. ____ in Kun-shan Garden in Shanghai. One is in Pai-ya-tan in Fukien, two are learning to fly airplanes in Amoy, and one is in Lien-jiang. I mention them because they were all involved in this incident, and they can testify to this. We took a boat and went to a village called Plum Flower Village. There are many fish in that place, and the fishermen there make a great deal of money from fishing. Among the six brothers, one was only sixteen or seventeen years old. He was expelled by his school. His mother could do nothing with him, and she brought him to us. During the first month, we had practically given up hope in him. But in the second month, he was saved. After he was saved, he loved to work. In the third month, he went with us to preach in Plum Flower Village. I had made arrangements ahead of time with a teacher whom I knew in that village to stay at a school while we were there. But when we arrived, the teacher rejected us and would not allow us to stay there, because he found out that we were there to preach the gospel. We walked around back and forth until dark and still could not find a place to stay. Finally we came across a herbal shop, whose owner was willing to put us up, and we stayed in his attic.

We went out on the evening of the 7th for the first time. There was one thing that was special about the people there: they were all very courteous. But all of them were quite reserved. Before we would finish a sentence, they would walk away. After we spoke with them a little, they would ask us to stop. We asked them for the reason, but they would not say anything. We were quite bewildered. In the evening when we came home, we realized that we all felt the same way and had the same experience. We asked the owner of the herbal shop, with whom we had become more acquainted, about our experience. He told us not to be bothered by these things. The next day we went out to sell gospel literature and preach the gospel again. The young brother eventually got into trouble. He was not able to contain himself anymore on that day, and he grabbed a villager and forced him to tell him what was happening. The villager said, "You don’t know how many gods we have here already. We cannot have any more gods. We have a Great King (Dah-wang-shen) here who comes out every year for the parade and carnival. You have come at the wrong time because we will have the carnival on the 11th, and everyone is too busy to hear about your Jesus. This great god has been faithful since the Ming dynasty. From the Ching dynasty until now, it has been two hundred years, and every time the carnival comes, it has always been a clear day. Not once has there been rain." The young brother became angry when he heard this and said, "This year it will rain during the carnival." Many young people were there when he said this. When they heard it, they broke into a commotion, saying, "These preachers are saying that it will rain this year when the great god comes out for his parade." In less than two hours, the whole Plum Flower Village had learned of this matter. They spread the word that the preachers claimed it would rain on the day the Great King came out for the parade. Some began a rumor, saying, "If it rains, their God works; if it does not rain, the Great King works." After we returned home, we knew that this was not a light thing for our brother to have said. I told the young brother, "No one can control the weather. How could you have said that?" He said, "We can go and pray." I said, "Yes, we can pray. But will God answer our prayer? Is this something according to His will?" However, we all went and prayed. A meal was prepared, but none of us would eat. We all went and prayed until our anxiety was gone and we were peaceful and confident. Then we went back to eat. While we were eating, we told the owner of the shop, "We all know that it will rain on the 11th when the Great King comes out for the parade." The owner said, "I do not think so. Don’t try to talk such nonsense anymore. First, there are over two thousand households in Plum Flower Village, and all of the males depend on fishing for their livelihood. Do you think that they are ignorant about the weather? They can tell the weather a few days ahead of time. Second, please take care of my little shop. I depend on this shop for my living. Don’t put my little shop in jeopardy." Yet we were all very peaceful and confident, and we were sure that God had heard our prayer. The next day was the 10th, and we went out again. This time, not only was the young brother telling others that it would rain on the 11th, but all of us were saying the same thing. We all said that it would rain the next day. When we tried to sell them the gospel literature, they would not buy it and would not receive the word we preached. They all said, "Let’s wait and see what will happen tomorrow. If it rains, Jesus is God. If it does not rain, our Great King works."

(The Normal Christian Faith, Chapter 17, by Watchman Nee)