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The Secret of Walking with God

In his book, Faith That Endures, Ronald Boyd-MacMillan tells the story of a number of conversations he has had with Wang Mingdao, one of China's most famous church pastors of the last century. The first time he met this famous—and persecuted—Chinese pastor, they had the following interchange:

"Young man, how do you walk with God?” I listed off a set of disciplines such as Bible study and prayer, to which he mischievously retorted, “Wrong answer. To walk with God, you must go at walking pace."

The words of Wang Mingdao touched me to the core. How can I talk about the Christian life as walking with God when I so often live it at a sprint? Of course, we "run with perseverance the race marked out for us," but we may fail to run with "our eyes [fixed] on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith" (Heb 12:1-2). Jesus is inviting me to walk with him. Too often, I find myself running for him. There's a difference!

On another visit, Boyd-MacMillan asked Wang Mingdao about his twenty-year imprisonment for proclaiming Jesus in China. That cell became a place of unchosen unhurried time for Mingdao. There was nothing to do but to be in God's presence, which he discovered was actually everything. Boyd-MacMillan summarizes what he learned from Wang Mingdao:

One of the keys to the faith of the suffering church: God does things slowly. He works with the heart. We are too quick. We have so much to do—so much in fact we never really commune with God as he intended when he created Eden, the perfect fellowship garden. For Wang Mingdao, persecution, or the cell in which he found himself, was the place where he returned to "walking pace," slowing down, stilling himself enough to commune properly with God.

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