A Long Wait for Lasting Peace

Christina's Story by Jamie Robison

She didn’t dare sleep in the dark. There was something haunting about the room even with the lights on, like she was never alone. It was impossible to sleep or let her mind rest. Insomnia had gripped her ever since she can remember—troubled by unknown spirits from night to night. She didn’t know how to find peace. There was constant fear, but who could she tell?

With her sheets pulled up to her chin, she recalled the way her grandpa had looked at her. Disappointment. Disregard. He often sighed at her successes because she was the girl born into her Taiwanese family. “If only you had been born a boy,” he would express—memories that imprinted themselves in Christina’s heart. Women served men in the culture of her family. They didn’t pursue their own lives or dreams. Christina’s troubled mother was the prime example to her of what it meant to sacrifice oneself.  

“Women were not bothered by it. It was the only tradition we were exposed to. We just naturally followed it,” Christina shared. Though overlooked, Christina still loved her family and had unique relationships with each of them. And despite their deeply rooted culture, her strict and burdened father still secretly showed his admiration for his only daughter.

Growing up in a huge family, her father always needed to distinguish himself in some way. As a result, he was always tough and self-reliant, focusing on success. And yet, he had a soft spot for his daughter. “He always encouraged me. He saw a bigger world than just my family, and hung all my awards in our private room in the family complex. He’d say, ‘Keep on studying, it’s okay. Never mind what your grandpa says.’” The thought of her father’s kindness still brings tears to her eyes.

As Christina sharpened her intellect in school, she had a dream of being the first in her family history to attend college. Christina also had a second dream: to continue her graduate studies in America. “Why waste so much money on a girl?” her uncles would reprimand her dad. However, he privately wanted her to pursue the dreams he was never able to chase due to family expectations to fulfill his duties as the firstborn son. With his blessing, Christina made plans to leave her home in Taiwan.

She never knew that stepping onto new land would begin a process of relieving a burden she didn’t even know she carried.

Not surprisingly, Christina thrived in her studies and met two other Taiwanese girls who needed roommates. Christina had received a teaching assistantship allowing her to rent an apartment, so she graciously opened her home to them. The older of the two girls immediately exclaimed, “I am a Christian,” and announced she planned to start an English Bible study in their apartment. Though Christina and the other younger roommate didn’t know much about Jesus, they didn’t want to culturally disrespect the eldest. They agreed, viewing it as a way to improve their English.

The Bible study quickly grew. It was in this nurturing environment and consistent time spent reading the Bible that Christina found what it meant to know the peace of Jesus. It meant freedom. It meant rest. And it was when Christina was first able to sleep peacefully—with the lights off and without fear.

“When I accepted Jesus, it was the first time I began sleeping through the night. It was an overwhelming experience. And the peace that was brought in my heart was beyond explanation. I didn’t realize it was possible to live without suppression. The more I entered into life with Jesus, the more the burden of my baggage left me.”

Christina was captivated by this newfound peace and freedom. “I would pray and God would interact. I realized that he was a living God, not just words to read. He was leading me,” Christina reflected.

She wanted this peace so badly for her family, so she prayed to her living God fervently for many, many years. Initially, Christina tried to maneuver situations to tell her family about Jesus. When her Buddhist parents learned their daughter was now a Christian, she was spared their criticism on the grounds that she could be a Christian while she was living in the United States. But Christina knew in her heart she would never turn back. Friends prayed that she and her mom would one day be intercessors in prayer together. “Impossible,” Christina thought. She prayed and she waited. But nothing seemed to be happening.

Until 14 years later.

Christina was now married to her husband, Daniel, and settling into life in Colorado Springs with their daughter Natalie, when her mom came to visit. It was Christmas Eve, and a pastor from Christina’s Chinese church came to visit them in her home. He spoke to her mom about salvation. “Please…please let my mom listen. And please let her not be displeased with me!”  Christina prayed silently. Desperately. “Please Lord, I have to see my parents in heaven.”

“OK,” her mom said too easily, leaving Christina speechless. “I will accept Jesus Christ.” Christina’s heart was racing and her face couldn’t contain her joy.

“All this time, I prayed, but didn’t dare to expect it would happen. How impatient and unfaithful of me, not knowing that God is the master of timing, insuring that things work together at the best possible moment.”

Her mom then revealed to the pastor that she was plagued with insomnia and never slept—exactly what Christina had experienced until she accepted Jesus into her life. The pastor shared Psalm 4:8 with them: “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” He told her to repeat this scripture at night when she wasn’t able to sleep.

That night, her mom read the verse, and a blinding light suddenly filled the room. Though afraid, she felt a heavy burden release from her heart and leave through her tingling left arm. Immediately, she began to speak in a language she couldn’t understand, and was filled with peace. She had no idea what this meant and hid the experience in her heart.

It wasn’t until 10 years later that Christina even heard of her mom’s experience. They were praying in a group together and laying hands on a woman who was experiencing a tumultuous time in her home. They started to pray that she would be filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to speak in a heavenly language. The peaceful language of heaven then flowed from her mouth, intriguing Christina's mom. “Was that woman speaking in tongues?” asked Christina’s mother. “If so, then I do that, too! Remember that night on Christmas Eve when the pastor gave me the verse to read? I did what he told me, and started to speak in a language I didn’t understand.”

Christina was astounded and asked her mom why she had never spoken of it. “Because I was afraid and didn’t want to worry you.” Despite her excitement over her mom’s commitment to Jesus, Christina was still cautious about talking to either of her parents—especially her Dad—about Christianity because of the cultural boundaries of respect she had grown up with. However, she continued to praise Jesus for the miracles he was working.

In 2015, Christina and Daniel dove into the Mosaic Ministry and hosted multiple life groups at Beaverton Foursquare. They prayed for a man named Ken in the Mosaic Ministry who was faced with the exciting, yet challenging, decision of either accepting a medical residency at Harvard or staying at OHSU, nearer to his family. Finally, he decided to move to Boston, unaware that he was being positioned to play a lead role in the next round of God’s amazing miracles in Christina’s family.

Just 3 weeks after Ken started at Harvard, Christina received a message that her dad had fallen off a ladder while visiting her brother who lived in Boston. Among the injuries were two burst spinal discs that would leave him paralyzed unless surgery was performed immediately. Her dad stubbornly refused surgery. Christina contacted Ken and requested he speak with her father. In God’s orchestration, the ambulance that should have taken her father to a nearby hospital instead drove him to the hospital where Ken was working. Ken was then able to introduce a Christian doctor to the scene, Dr. Lu, who spoke in her father’s exact Taiwanese dialect

Christina’s father relented and allowed the surgery to go forward. This change of heart, orchestrated by God, saved his ability to stand and walk, and would soon save him eternally. Ken and Dr. Lu visited her dad every day while he was in the hospital. Whenever they visited, they kneeled and prayed, regardless of where it was or who was around. Dr. Lu brought a pastor from his Chinese church, which was the first time Christina’s dad had interaction with Christians.

He was deeply moved by their love — a love of giving without expecting anything in return. A love motivated purely by grace, and not by his own success. 

That night both of Christina’s parents decided they would be baptized. Christina was overjoyed and overwhelmed at God’s goodness. “There was such peace on his face,” she reflected. They had been surrounded and filled with the love of a Chinese church, all because Ken had moved to Boston and connected them with a Taiwanese doctor. A few months later, Christina’s mom, dad, and her daughter Natalie were baptized together.

Christina continued to pray, this time that her parents would settle in a church back home in Taiwan. In God’s heavenly timing, Christina’s dad met a man who had worked for him over 30 years ago—a man who had also become a Christian. This man invited her dad to his church where he rooted himself. Since then, a once hard-hearted man has transformed into a gentle soul.

“Later,” Christina said through tears, “he even thanked me. Me! Unthinkable!” He became a member of the church and even joined a life group. Her mom continues to frequently visit her children in different parts of the United States, thriving in her life with Jesus and as a prayer warrior with Christina.

Suppression and unrest in a deeply rooted patriarchal family was unraveled and replaced with the peace and freedom of Jesus that cannot fully be comprehended apart from him.

God is so great. A long, 24 years of waiting, but it was done so beautifully. We watched a great performance unfold in a front row seat. God has accomplished an astounding miracle that I never thought could happen.

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