THE SPIRITUAL MAN WRITTEN IN SICKNESS
After praying for over a month, I felt that I should write a book concerning what I had learned before God. My concept had been that one should not write books until he was old, but when I considered that I might be leaving this earth, I felt I should begin writing. I rented a small room in Wusih, Kiangsu province, where I shut myself up and spent my days writing. At that time my disease became so aggravated that I could not even lie down. While writing I sat on a chair with a high back and pressed my chest against the desk to alleviate the pain. Satan said to me, "Since you will soon be dying, why not die in comparative comfort rather than in pain?" I retorted, "The Lord wants me just like this; get out of here!" It took four months to complete the three volumes of The Spiritual Man. The writing of this book was a real labor of blood, sweat, and tears. I despaired of life, yet God’s grace brought me through. After completing each time of writing, I would say to myself, "This is my last testimony to the church." Though the writing was done in the midst of all sorts of difficulties and hardships, I felt that God was unusually near to me. Some felt God was ill-treating me. Brother Cheng wrote saying, "You are exerting yourself to the uttermost; some day you will regret it." I replied, "I love my Lord and I would live for Him."...
Following the publication of the book, I prayed, "Now let Your servant depart in peace." At the same time my disease worsened. I could not sleep peacefully at night, and when I awoke I turned incessantly from side to side. Physically, I was a bag of bones. I had night sweats, and my voice became hoarse. People had trouble hearing me speak, even when they placed their ear to my mouth. Several sisters took turns waiting upon me, one of whom was a veteran nurse. Whenever she saw me, she would weep. She testified, "I have seen many patients, but I have never seen one whose condition was as pitiful as his. I am afraid that he can live only three or four more days." When someone told me of this, I said, "Let this be my end. I realize I am going to die soon." One brother telegraphed the churches in various places, telling them there was no more hope for me and that they need pray for me no more.
One day I asked God, "Why are You calling me away so soon?" I confessed my trespasses before God, fearing that I might have been unfaithful concerning some matter. At the same time I told God that I had no faith. On that same day I devoted myself to fasting and praying and presented myself to Him once more. I told Him that I would do nothing but what He assigned me. From morning until three o’clock in the afternoon I fasted. At the same time the co-workers earnestly prayed together for me in Sister Ruth Lee’s home. As I prayed to God to grant me faith, He spoke His words to me, words which I could never forget. The first sentence was, "The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17). The second sentence was, "By faith you stand" (2 Cor. 1:24). The third sentence was, "We walk by faith" (2 Cor. 5:7). These words filled me with great joy, for the Bible says, "All things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23). I immediately thanked and praised God because He had given me His words. I believed that God had cured me.
The test came immediately. The Bible says, "By faith you stand," but I was still lying in bed. A conflict arose in my mind: Should I get up and stand or remain lying down? We all know that human beings love themselves and consider it more comfortable to die in bed than to die standing. Then the word of God manifested its power, and ignoring all else, I put on my clothing, clothing which I had not worn for a hundred and seventy-six days. As I left the bed to stand, I perspired so profusely that it was as though I had been soaked through with rain. Satan said to me, "Are you trying to stand when you can’t even sit up?" I retorted, "God told me to stand," and I rose to my feet. Being again in a cold sweat, I nearly fell down. I kept repeating, "Stand by faith, stand by faith!" I then walked a few steps to get my trousers and socks. After putting on my trousers, I sat down. No sooner was I seated than the word of God came to me that I should not only stand by faith but also walk by faith. I felt that the ability to rise and walk a few steps to get my trousers and socks was already something marvelous. How could I expect to walk further? "Where do You want me to go?" I asked God. He answered, "Go downstairs to Sister Lee’s home at number 215." A number of brothers and sisters had been fasting and praying for me there for two or three days.
Walking within the room might be all right, I thought, but how could I walk downstairs? I prayed to God, "Oh God, I can stand by faith, and by faith I am also able to walk downstairs!" Immediately, I went to the door leading to the staircase and opened it. I tell you honestly that when I stood at the top of the staircase it seemed to me to be the tallest staircase I had ever seen in my life. I said to God, "If You tell me to walk I will do so, even if I die as a result of the effort." But I continued, "Lord, I cannot walk. I pray that You will support me with Your hand while I am walking." With one hand holding onto the rail, I descended step by step. Again I was in a cold sweat. As I walked down the stairs, I continued to cry out, "Walk by faith, walk by faith!" With each step down, I prayed, "Oh Lord, it is You who enable me to walk." While descending those twenty-five steps, it seemed I was walking hand in hand with the Lord in faith.
Upon reaching the bottom of the stairway, I felt very strong and went quickly to the rear door. I opened the door and headed straight for Sister Lee’s home. I said to the Lord, "From now on, I will live by faith and will no longer be an invalid." I knocked at the door just as Peter did in Acts 12:12-17, but without Rhoda to open the door. When the door was opened and I entered the house, seven or eight brothers and sisters gazed at me. They were speechless and motionless. For about an hour everyone sat quietly as if God had appeared among men. I also sat there full of thanksgiving and praise. Then I related all that had happened in the course of my being graciously healed. Exhilarated and jubilant in spirit, we all praised God aloud for His wonderful work. That same day we hired a car to go to Kiangwan in the suburbs to visit Dora Yu, the famous woman evangelist. She was greatly shocked to see me, for she had received recent news of my imminent death. When I appeared, I was looked upon as one who had been raised from the dead. That was another occasion of joyful thanksgiving and praise before the Lord. On the following Sunday, I spoke on the platform for three hours.
(Watchman Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)