The most heartbreaking moment on my recent trip to China was a visit to Hanwang, a city left in ruins as a memorial after it was destroyed by last year’s massive earthquake.
We walked through streets that were eerily quiet, weaving our way around mountains of rubble and steering clear of cracked and teetering apartment buildings. On the town’s clock tower, the hands are stopped at 2:28–the awful moment on the afternoon of May 12, 2008, that reduced this bustling city to a bleak memorial.
Afterward, I met with Chen Xinyou, the mayor of the Deyang municipality that includes Hanwang. He is also an engineer who owned a turbine factory in Hanwang. Among the 70,000 people who died in the earthquake were 200 of his employees.
We exchanged thanks for the ways that Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association were able to work together with the government authorities last year to help tens of thousands of earthquake survivors. When the mayor told me he had never met an evangelist, I took the opportunity to explain to him how the love of Jesus Christ compels Christians to help others.
Compassion he understood, but the concept of our Lord as Creator was a stumbling block. Like many Chinese (and many engineers) he has been taught that the world began with a big bang. Now we were standing in the dust of one of the most powerful earthquakes in history—and it was obvious that nothing but destruction and chaos could result from it.
In contrast, I mentioned the turbine engines he builds—complex, precisely engineered, heavy-duty machines that generate electricity and power locomotives. Obviously, they were not made by chance. They were designed and created by engineers and built by skilled craftsmen.
“God made the world,” I told him. “God made you, too. And God loves you.” Then I explained from John 3:16 just how much God loves each of us. The mayor seemed moved to hear this and thanked me for sharing the truth of the Gospel. It is my prayer that the Lord will use opportunities like this to build up His Kingdom in China–the most populous nation on Earth.
The Bible tells us that God reveals Himself in creation. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20, NIV).
Jesus Christ is the Lord of creation. “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17, NIV).
God has revealed Himself most clearly in the person and work of His Son. We can personally know God through faith in Jesus Christ, who is not only our Creator, but our Redeemer, who is coming again as our King and Judge.
It is Christ we proclaim, and to Him we give all the glory.