“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes…” Jeremiah 17:7-8a
Trees were not plentiful in Israel and most grew by sources of water like an oasis or a stream. Jeremiah’s simile indicates a person with confidence in the Lord is like a deep-rooted tree by the stream (see Psalm 1 also) that is not afraid of heat.
Samuel Lamb is a well-known house church pastor in southern China in the city of Guangzhou. He spent time in prison for his faith as a young pastor on two occasions totalling almost twenty years. He was forced to work in a coal mine where the work was hard and dangerous. He is convinced that God’s protection is the only reason he survived.
Upon his release after the second imprisonment, he returned home to find out that his dear wife had just passed away. Now in his seventies, he threw himself fully into the ministry again opening an unregistered house church on the second and third storey of his home while the local police utilized the ground floor for their office. His congregation grew rapidly. He could pack in two hundred sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on the third floor where he preached and another two hundred listening via a speaker system on the second floor. Soon he had to have five services a week to get everyone in. Each person had to walk past the police post to climb the stairs to his meeting.
He soon became the best-known unregistered house church pastor in China. United States President Ronald Regan sent him a monographed pen set. Billy and Ruth Graham visited the location with many photos taken.
Because of his refusal to register with the government Three Self Patriotic Movement Church, the authorities were constantly irritated. Unhappy with his boldness and the growth of his church, they harassed him repeatedly and often threatened to return him to prison. Each time this threat occurred, Samuel Lamb would hold up two fingers and say, “I’ve been to prison twice already. My bag is packed and I’m ready to go again!” Intimidation would not work against him as he had no fear and his trust was completely in the Lord. And each time the authorities would leave to consider what other tactics they could use against him.
Pastor Lamb continues his unofficial, growing church ministry to this day. As an elderly pastor, he does not fear when the “heat” comes.
RESPONSE: Today I will trust completely in the Lord and rely on His wisdom when pressures arise.
PRAYER: Pray other pastors in China will have the fearlessness and church growth of Samuel Lamb.