"I want to race against time and finish reading the Bible before leaving this world," Sister Chen Li often said before leaving the world to heaven.
Sister Chen, a former salesperson in a shopping mall in Baoji City, Shaanxi Province, quit her job to recover at home since she fell ill during the Spring Festival in February 2016. During her recuperation period, she began to read the Bible. The doctor diagnosed her with motor neuron disease, also called "gradual freezing" which is quite rare.
She spent more than two years reading through the Bible. Soon after she finished the task, she passed away in the fall of that year.
She once introduced herself in the church and said that she was 41 years old and believed in the Lord at the age of 16, being baptized four years later. Although she was very busy with work at that time, she went to the Shilipu Church to worship God every Sunday.
When her illness became worse, she was not able to speak. Sister Wan shared her testimony by texting on her mobile phone for her. Sister Wan read her testimony in tears, and she stood by silently with tears streaming down her face.
Her mother's aunt preached the gospel to her and she was baptized without a full understanding of faith. She was a nominal Christian, as she went to church on Sunday and forgot the sermon after the service. She didn't want to grow closer to God.
It wasn't until she got sick and stayed home that she began to kneel in front of God and weep bitterly, examine herself, confess her sins, and start to read the Bible every day. Little by little, she became closer and closer to God, even though she had no touch of the holy spirit, no revelation given by God or a gentle whisper.
The Bible says that if you come near to God, God will come near to you! God is close to the brokenhearted, and never despises a broken and contrite heart! So she prayed to God every day and begged God to heal her illness. She also started to read the Bible carefully and listened to online sermons.
She came close to the Lord with a humble and repentant heart and learned more as she read the Bible.
But her condition became worse. She coughed when drinking water and eating and swallowing became difficult for her. She couldn’t fasten the buttons on her dress because of weakened fingers, and she couldn’t hold a bowl for a few seconds due to muscle weakness. Thanks to the strength in her legs, she kept coming to church.
She said reading the Bible and listening to the sermons gave her infinite spiritual energy. Despise her illness, she was grateful and thanked the Lord for the gift of life and for giving her the courage to survive.
Later, her health condition became worse, as she could not read the Bible aloud and turn the pages of the Bible with her fingers.
In desperation, she begged her daughter, husband, and mother to turn the pages of the Bible so she could read. She could only read word by word with her eyes and was not able to talk. Because of the deterioration of her condition, after reading for a while, she had to lie down and rest. When she felt a little bit stronger, she got up again and continued reading.
One day in April 2019, Chen completed the task of reading through the Bible. The wish she made two years ago was finally fulfilled.
- Translated by Abigail Wu