Reminiscing a Faithful Servant
Second daughter-in-law, Sister Huifang Liu Du
My father-in-law was just like a grain of wheat, burying his worldly delight: his future, his dream, his interest, hobby, flavor, and his family. Yet he had borne many remaining fruit throughout Taiwan. I myself also was led to salvation by elder Brother Liu. Before marriage, I simply believed in the Lord in my heart, worshipped in the denomination, and was not baptized yet. At that very day when I and Brother Qianjun got married, my father-in-law indicated clearly: “All our family members are Christians, and a believer cannot be yoked with an unbeliever.” I could not understand his word at that time, but later I just knew that my father-in-law had been loving the Lord absolutely. Whether this was a requirement or an exhortation, he had been always hoping that his whole household would be sanctified wholly, with no one left out. I was the fruit borne by my father-in-law through his constant watering and nourishing.
Before long, his four grandchildren were born in succession, and my father-in-law gave them nicknames respectively: Hao-min’s nickname is Yong-yong in Chinese, Hao-en’s nickname is Yuan-yuan, Hao-hang’s nickname is Heng-heng, and Hao-fen’s nickname is Xin-xin. Their nicknames were taken from one Chinese expression “Yongyuanchangxin”, which means “ever new.” He hoped that his children and his grandchildren, generation after generation, would serve and remember this very God who is ever-unfailing, who never fades away, and who is ever new to last forever.
My father-in-law was even more so a faithful servant. One time I got up at five o’clock in the early morning, just finding that he was kneeling down before his bed to pray for the church. The image that he was kneeling down to pray before the dawn when others were still in their sleep has been deeply imprinted on my mind by now. In his last few years, my father-in-law slowly could not remember us, neither could he call out our names, nor tell the time on the clock, nor wear clothes, nor find the door of his room. Even so, he still could do one thing, that is, “to call on the name of the Lord”. When he was in good condition, he also prayed for us. In his memory all the people in the world were forgotten, were blurred, and went away. However, it was only the name of the Lord that was engraved deeply within him; that was the constitution that could not be uprooted after he had lost his intellect and memory. When his mind, emotion, will, and flesh gradually disappeared, only the Spirit came out.
My father-in-law was diagnosed with diabetes when he was just over fifty years old. Therefore, during the rest of his over thirty years, he was living a strictly moderate life on his diet. When I saw a scale on the dining table, I thought this one was used by my mother-in-law to measure the flour. However, beyond my expectation it was used by my father-in-law to measure the weight of his food. During every meal, he would weight the precise portion that he should eat according to doctor’s orders; nothing more, nothing less. He would skim off the oil on top of the soup before he drank it; sometimes he even didn’t drink the soup. He never ate more food because it was delicious, neither did he eat no food because it was hard to swallow. The food was so bland, yet he ate as if it was very delicious. He dealt with himself so strictly because he hoped that his physical body would be used by the Lord and walk a longer way.
One Spring Festival, my family of four took my father-in-law to have a trip to Kenting. We encountered a heavy traffic congestion on our way to Kenting. While sitting there, I had a pain in the back, got extremely impatient, and even lost my temper; I thought that my father-in-law would surely feel more uncomfortable, unwilling to stay in the heavy traffic. However, he did not utter a single word of complaint, and even had no impatient expression at all. He just rested quietly in the back seat, full of peace. It seemed that the outward disturbance and maltreatment could not touch him. Because I saw my father-in-law’s quiet countenace, my impatience was appeased. Even in the last days of his life, when his physical body felt painful and uncomfortable during the therapy of intubation and kidney dialysis in the intensive care unit, I still could feel his resting and obedient spirit and the firm brilliance manfested from his weak body. This reminded me of the word in the book of Isaiah: “He will not cry out, nor lift up His voice, / Nor make His voice heard in the street.” My father-in-law spoke little. However, his strict living, obedient spirit, and his absoluteness and faithfulness toward the Lord have laid an excellent pattern for us.
What my father-in-law has left for us was not the money, not the luxurious house, not the rank, nor the position, but the eternal inheritance, that is, “Christ.”