JILIN, China - Cao Jifa, 76, has been a Christian for 16 years now. Before coming to faith, he did not know much about religions and was eager to seek the one true God. He checked around, and asked some “seemingly religious people”. Once, Cao met a non-believer who surprisingly encouraged him to put his faith in Jesus. “It got me really interested to find out who Jesus is,” recalled Cao.
In God’s providence, at around the same time, an elderly Christian man from the same village preached the gospel to him and brought him to church. “Gradually I came to understand God's love and salvation. I felt that this is the God whom I have been looking for.”
The church gave Cao a pocket-size Bible and he began to read it. When he first started reading the Bible, he didn't understand a lot of it. But he persisted and continued reading the Bible and, gradually through reading the Bible and listening to sermons, he was able to understand it better.
“God graciously speaks to me through His Word. When I’m weak, I turn to the Bible. I have become more and more mindful of God's Word and the truths in it,” Cao shared joyously.
As time went by, Cao's eyes began to age, and he needed to wear glasses at 400 degrees to read the Bible. His eyes became very tired over time. Cao then prayed to God for a large print Bible to read it with ease. “Amazingly, God answered my prayer! I received a large print Bible from my church with the support of the United Bible Societies (UBS). It even has a thumb index for my convenience. I don’t have to use my reading glasses and could read the Bible any time I want to!” Cao exclaimed.
God's Word has strengthened Cao’s faith and given him hope. He was able to draw confidence and power from the Bible to guide him out of troubles. Cao was once upset about "bad people" and some unbelievers who were better off than him, whilst he had to suffer. He had questioned God's justice, “Why did God allow such a thing to happen?” During times when his faith was weak, he read the Bible and learned that temporary afflictions were also trials. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, ESV).
“My faith is strengthened through trials, and in times of adversity, I could experience God's justice and love more deeply. God's righteousness cannot be questioned, and all difficulties and trials are His ways to strengthen my faith in Him. I have learnt to rely on and look up to God in difficult times,” Cao shared.
“Without the Bible, I would neither know the truth nor know the true God. My life would be ruined for believing in evil spirits. Thankfully, I took the step of faith to go to church and received my first Bible. My life has been transformed by God’s grace. Thank you, UBS, for the gift of the Bible!” Cao shared gratefully.
Story: Priscilla Fan & May Ang
Photos: UBS CP
2023@UBS China Partnership