Shanghai Parable 5: The Parable of the Surprise Visit from the Family—at Midnight

Shanghai Parable 5: The Parable of the Surprise Visit from the Family—at Midnight

Once upon a time there was a young couple, both working in Shanghai, living in a small but comfortable flat. They’d lived here for several years, but never had the money to go back and visit their family in Canada, who they missed very much and longed to see.

One night after they were already in bed, there was a knock at the door. They received the surprise of their lives! It was their entire family! The wife’s parents, an aunt and uncle, and a niece, all tired from the long flight which had been severely delayed.

As they tried to make space for their beloved family members who were hitting the brick wall of jetlag, they realized they would need more blankets and pillows than they owned. While they were very excited to be surprised in such an amazing way, they were also embarrassed at not being able to provide everything their unexpected loved ones would need for a weeklong stay. It was late, and they didn’t know if anyone would be willing to help. They said a quick prayer, lowered their pride, and began to call friends.

When no one answered their phones, they started texting and sending WeChat messages, and even posting an urgent notice for help on the Table. As their pleas grew more desperate and their young niece fell asleep sitting at the table, someone finally responded to their persistent call for help. A friend brought over two air mattresses, armfuls of blankets, and many pillows. They even brought a stack of towels.

The young couple was overwhelmed by their friend’s generosity at such a late hour. If a friend is willing to get out of bed to help someone they know in the middle of the night, how much more is God, who has no need of sleep, willing to do for anyone who asks?


Looking for more? Listen to the audio for the sermon “Can You Hear Me Knockin?” here.

Story imagined by Heather Rose Chase
Header images designed by Dean Liaw