I was born and grew up in southwest China. My hometown is known for its mountainous landscape, spicy food, humid hot summers, and big thunderstorms. I lived with my grandparents for most of my childhood since my parents worked in another town.
I was a timid kid living an ordinary life. I was the girl who preferred a quiet corner to a crowd, struggled to finish 600 meters run, and refused to take any physical risk. Since I didn’t have any siblings and too shy to reach out, I became familiar with the feeling of loneliness from a young age and was forced to cope with it with many books and imaginations.
I observed how the adults around me living their lives and often felt deeply disappointed and dissatisfied. Everything about my family and my extended family was material. They worked to earn money to put me to school, then go to university and graduate with a degree to make more money and take good care of them.
I often wondered if there was anything more to life than just feeding the belly, watching TV, and earning money. I wondered if any of the beautiful fairytales I read could be true. Perhaps I was an indeed princess snatched away by some bad witch and hidden in a pagan family, waiting for a Prince sent by my Father King to rescue.
On one summer afternoon when I was about ten years old, a thunderstorm was approaching my city. I’d seen big thunderstorms many times before. I’d learned from my dad when a thunderstorm hit, we not only shouldn’t use any electronic devices but also should unplug them from the electricity source. I’d also learned that even though many buildings in my town had lightning rods to divert lightning harmlessly into the ground, we should still avoid going to high places to be safe.
However, after watching the trees shake violently in a strong wind from my bedroom window for a little while, I made a strange decision on that particular afternoon. Without telling an adult, I snuck out and climbed up to the rooftop of our six-storage apartment building! I made that decision on a whim and couldn’t recall why. It was an urge to see what was out there in the wind, before the thunderstorm hit.
There I was, on the rooftop, listening to the thunder rolling loud, with hair wafting in all directions in a strong wind under a darkened, thick-clouded sky where bright flushes of lightenings struck over and over again. I was in awe.
Though I’d well known that lightning could kill, I was somehow not afraid a bit. On the contrary, I felt safe and an unexplainable sense of peace. I felt I was right where I should be, witnessing it all. These feelings made me want to linger, to breathe deeper, and soak in the present. I felt sure that somebody was out there watching over me to make sure I was safe. And the lightning and storms, they didn’t just happen. Someone made them happen.
What if there is a God that I couldn’t see, but made me feel Him in the sound of rolling thunder? What if there is more to life than just what meets the eyes?
I stayed there until I heard my grandma anxiously calling my name as the big raindrop started to hit my face. I rushed back home, feeling profoundly comforted and happy. Not only did I knew I was safe, but also a sense of hope and excitement filled me for what was possible for the future.
Nine years later, I learned the name of this God who created thunders and lightning, and became a Christian. When the memory of that rooftop experience came back to mind, I realized it was a gift from the Father to a girl who wished more from the life that had been modeled for her, to confirm her notion that extraordinary things could happen, no matter how lonely and insignificant she had felt about herself.
Dear reader, do you believe that extraordinarily beautiful things could still happen in your life? In my wildest imagination as a little girl, I had never thought one day I would live in Europe where all the fairytales I read took place. I’d like my story to offer you just another glimpse of the kindness and power of God. Take comfort; He indeed is watching over you today.