Imprisoned Chinese pastor’s poetry inspires


Pastor John Cao, a U.S. permanent resident, is currently serving a seven-year prison

Pastor John Cao

sentence in China. He encourages others through poetry that rests in Jesus’ promises that He will never leave nor forsake His children.

From Over the Mighty Waters**

You can take away my freedom,
but you can’t take my prayers.
My prayers have wings
and leap over
the towering iron mesh wall.
Many brothers and sisters
have heard them.
They fly freely every day
and reach Heaven
above the blue sky.
You can impose
heavy punishments on me,
but you cannot hold
My spirit and my soul.
Like cheerful yellow birds,
Raise gentle praises
Over the iron gate.
My Savior hears my voice.
You can deprive me of the sun
and of warmth.
I eat cold leftovers every day,
But you can never
Extinguish the brightness
that the Lord placed in my heart.
from all over the world
Warm my heart.
My passion flutters.
Do you think that I am lonely?
In your 70 years of persecution,
Have you ever seen
any Christian walking alone?
Turning onto the history of the millennium,
which page does not reveal
Christians suffering with joy for the Lord?
Which page does not show
His blood sprinkled
on the narrow path of thorns?
You think that the walls around me
block my vision
and make me uncertain
of the direction.
I never focus on my environment,
but with my eyes.
I look up.
You, like one blind riding on a horse,
thinking that everyone crosses the river
by feeling the stones.
The rod of my Shepherd
Comforts my heart,
and my Lord helps
and leads me to move forward.
The National Party jailed your ancestors.
How can I not endure your hard labor?
I really love you
and long for you to repent.
Like Paul, I wish that
I myself were cursed
and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my brothers,
for those of my own race.
You see me
as an irreconcilable enemy
and thrust me
into the meat grinder.
I regard you as my blood brother,
Not because I fear you,
because Jesus loves you.
I love you.
             ~ Pastor John Cao

Poem released by ChinaAid. China Aid exposes abuses in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.To learn more, go here

*Chinese authorities arrested and charged Pastor Cao with “organizing illegal crossings of national borders” in 2017. He is known for his work among underprivileged communities in Myanmar’s Wa [an autonomous region within Myanmar (Burma)] State.

When his mother and sister could finally visit him for the first time on July 25, 2019, Pastor Cao comforted them. Later, in response to his application to be moved to a prison in Kunming to make it easier for his 82-year-old mother who lived 800 miles away, CCP authorities transferred him there.
On August 29,2020, Pastor Cao’s mother traveled to Kunming and remained for one and a half months trying to see him. Due to the government’s pandemic regulations, however, Pastor Cao’s mother did not get to visit him.
** From Over the Mighty Waters (previous post), to be included in Pastor Cao’s forthcoming book sharing his poetry