Baoji City, Shaanxi Province
Since I was a little child, I had believed in Jesus with my parents. During the Great Cultural Revolution, I saw that many “great men” who believed in God were put in prison yet I was safe and sound, so I felt that God loved me so much, and that I was probably the “apple of God’s eye” and thus no one on earth dared to touch me. Therefore, I looked on myself as “God’s favored one” and became proud and supercilious. I remember that in 1978, Wang X, a leader of the Three-Self sect, and several county leaders came to Baoji City to deal with us house churches. When Wang X said that we must believe in God according to the constitution, I became furious and argued with him, saying, “If we believe in God in this way, are we faithful to the constitution or to God? …” This made my name spread over the entire Old Local Church. I seemed to have become a hero and a model. From then on, the brothers and sisters looked up to me very much. If they had a meeting without me in attendance, they would feel very disappointed. And some people came by car especially to listen to my preaching and applauded it. That even more made me forget who I was. I boasted that I had never tumbled on the path of belief in God and thought that I had been gained by God. But unexpectedly, when God came the second time and called me to return to him, I rejected, resisted, and ignored him, standing in a high position and treating everything with contempt. It was not until in April 2001 that I fell down before Almighty God.
In 1997 when I first heard the message that “the Lord has returned,” I neither gave it any importance nor sought. Instead, I thought that it was “sheer nonsense” and a “heretical fallacy.”
In the spring of that year, I heard more rumors about “the Eastern Lightning” at a co-worker meeting. They said, “People of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ say that the Lord has returned. That’s not possible at all. Their bewitching power is very great and dangerous. Their means are cruel, and their movements are furtive. Their preaching spreads very rapidly and is going to sweep across the entire ‘Christian world’ like a storm. Even many of those who have a firm foundation have been deceived. So we cannot take it lightly. …” As for these indefensible and absurd rumors, I not only did not doubt them, but believed them to be absolutely true. At that time, I thought haughtily, “God regards me as a ‘treasure.’ No matter how cruel, diabolic, and insidious the people of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ are, they dare not touch me. It’s not a big deal to me.” And I also thought belligerently, “People of ‘the Eastern Lightning,’ if you are really capable, come to preach to me face to face. I’m not afraid. Just come to me if you have the guts. You’ll see how I score you off. I will make you leave ashamed.” After I went back, I repeated all those rumors to the brothers and sisters.
In the winter of 1998, two brothers from Henan Province came to our meeting, yet I did not take much notice of them. Several days later, Brother Qi of our church said to me in secret, “Those two Henan people stayed at my home for five to six days, and finally they told me that the Lord had returned and done a new work. I couldn’t accept it, so I drove them away angrily.” I nodded my head approvingly and said smilingly, “Well done! These ‘heresy’ preachers should be driven away mercilessly.”
One week later, when we went to another church, we saw those two Henan people again. I was very angry, thinking, “You are really too bold! You even dare to run around in our churches to deceive people. Little ones, before you came, you should have asked about the history of our church. (It was established by the Englishman Hudson Taylor in person, and it has a history of about 100 years.) Just by a few tricks of yours, you even want to steal my ‘sheep’! …” Although there were over one hundred people present, none of the two men’s acts and moves escaped my eyes. After everyone sat down, I made a sudden attack on them: I pointed my finger at them and said loudly, “Look at those two men, everybody. They are ‘heresy’ preachers. Brothers and sisters, drive them away!” Thus, before they had time to preach the new work, they were forced away by me.
Over ten days later, I heard that Brother Peter Zhang of our church had accepted God’s new work. So I went with several co-workers to deal with him. Seeing Peter Zhang, we surrounded him. I first said to him sarcastically, “You have believed in God for so many years; why do you follow the heresy? You are even called ‘Peter’? Do you deserve it? Did Peter have so poor a foundation? Is your foundation built on the sand or the rock? You followed those people right away when they deceived you. Don’t you feel ashamed? I advise you to change your name soon. Rein in at the brink of the precipice now.” The other co-workers also joined me in rebuking him. Brother Zhang did not say anything in return, but only smiled and then left.
In October 1998, when I preached in Gong County, Henan Province, a sister said to me, “Someone gave me a book. Can you please help me discern it?” The moment I set my eyes on the name of the book, all sorts of rumors about “the Eastern Lightning” welled up in my mind: “…gouge out your eyeballs, hack off your arms…” I immediately threw the book to her and said angrily, “Throw it away right now. Don’t keep it.” Not only so, but I later incited someone to throw God’s personal word into fire.
One month later, I came into contact with the brothers and sisters of the Stream of Recovery. They gave me a Recovery Version of the Bible, the Life-studies, and some other books. In the Old Local Church, I had only superficially studied some Bible expositions of Witness Lee. Having got all his messages this time, I really felt as if I had got a priceless treasure. However, most of our co-workers opposed the Stream of Recovery openly. After a number of heated arguments, I joined the Stream of Recovery resolutely with several co-workers of our church. After I systematically read the messages of Witness Lee, I felt that I had really found God’s family and stepped onto the path that God had predestined for me. I thought, “Now, I have reached the zenith of my pursuit on the path of belief in God. There is no need for me to go forward to seek anymore. After so many years of painstaking effort, I have finally been gained by God. Well, only God hasn’t come back now; otherwise, I would have long since been taken up by the Lord who comes on the white clouds to his side.”
God’s new work was in full swing, yet I, as a created being, firmly believed that my pursuit had reached its zenith. I was completely in a haughty and supercilious state. The brothers and sisters who prepared to preach God’s new work to me all found me a headache. They worried that I would be so arrogant as to lose my reason and thus blaspheme and resist God more seriously, so they did not have a substantive contact with me. However, I thought that was because they “became terror-stricken” at my renown.
At the end of 2000, we the Stream of Recovery decided to spread the gospel from Shaanxi to Xinjiang via Gansu and even wanted to make it seep into Russia, for Brother Witness Lee had expected to conquer the entire “Christian world” in 30 years. In April 2001, I went to Lanzhou City to spread the gospel. At a host home I met a “brother who was also of the Stream of Recovery.” I fellowshipped with him for two days and found he was very congenial to me. But in the end, he said that the Lord had returned. Hearing that, I immediately realized that I had met a person of “the Eastern Lightning.” “Good! In the past, I only heard that people of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ were very powerful, that a person would be deceived once he listened to their preaching, and that even many of those who had believed in the Lord for many years and who had a foundation had been defeated by them. Today, I have really confronted them. I’d like to see how they will deceive me.” Thinking of that, I was perfectly composed and let the brother fellowship as he pleased. After five days of fellowship and testifying, I not only did not get anything on him, but on the contrary, my views were broadened and I found my many erroneous viewpoints on belief in God. Yet I was still unconvinced and wanted to find out the whole truth. So, they arranged a host home especially for me so that I could keep my mind on eating and drinking God’s word. I, being crafty, also wanted to take this chance to find out “why so many people of various sects and denominations all said that the people of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ would beat others, gouge out others’ eyeballs, and cut off others’ ears.” With this intent, I went along with them outwardly, but in secret I watched their every act and move at every moment.
On the day when we arrived at the host home, I saw that the host family had an innocent, lively, and sweet little girl, but I did not see her the next day. I asked the sister of the host family and knew that she had sent her to her grandparents’ home in order for me to eat and drink God’s word without disturbance. My conscience was deeply touched. Then I quieted my heart to seek seriously. In the course of my eating and drinking God’s word, a passage touched me in particular. It says: “God can humble himself in the extreme to do his work on these filthy and corrupt people and perfect this group of people. He is not only incarnated, eats and lives with people, and shepherds them to supply their needs, but more importantly, he does his great saving work, great conquering work, on these extremely corrupt people. He comes to the heart of the great red dragon to make these most corrupt people, causing them to be transformed and renewed. The great suffering God endures is not only the suffering the incarnated flesh endures, but mainly the great humiliation God’s Spirit suffers. He humbles and hides himself to the extent of becoming an ordinary person. He is incarnated and takes an image of flesh, letting people see that he has a life of the normal humanity and has the needs of the normal humanity. This is enough to prove that God has humbled himself in the extreme. God’s Spirit is realized in the flesh. His Spirit is so supreme and great, but he takes an ordinary and small person to do the work of his Spirit. As far as the quality, sense, reason, humanity, and life of every one of you are concerned, you are too unworthy of receiving such work of God and too unworthy of God enduring such great suffering for you. God is so great. God is supreme in the extreme and people are lowly in the extreme; however, God still works on them. He not only is incarnated to supply them and speak to them but also lives with them. God is so humble and so lovely.” Every word of God touched my heart very much and revived my spirit. I couldn’t help falling down before him. “O God, I’m so indebted to you. Is this really you? Have you really returned? Could it be that ‘the Eastern Lightning’ condemned by me as a ‘heresy’ is indeed the work of your incarnated flesh? God, I have believed in you since my childhood and have gone through trials and hardships for more than forty years, and I have received countless graces from you. However, I take these as the capital for my arrogance and self-importance, and always think of myself as an unusual person who loves you deeply, but I have never paid any attention to the direction of your working and even used a scheme to maliciously have the word of life bestowed by you thrown into fire. I’m really no better than a beast! O Almighty God, today I see your greatness and your selfless dedication to mankind. To save us who are devoid of gratitude, you have personally endured so many sufferings and humiliations. O God, you are so lovely! Even you God incarnate is so humble, so how can I, a corrupt man, be honorable? How can I be qualified to be arrogant before you? Although all my past cannot be obliterated, I am willing to start afresh and do my utmost to repay your love for the rest of my life.” Guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit, I gradually became certain about this stage of the work.
Before I left, I said to the sister of the host family, “We’ve caused you so much trouble by staying at your home so long.” Reluctant to part with us, she said in tears, “It is Almighty God’s uplifting of me that I can receive the brothers and sisters. I’m so glad you have been certain about the work of Almighty God. Brother, I hope you can come again, because we are a family in God’s love.” My heart was touched once again. I had believed in the Lord for so many years, but never had I seen a believer who had such great love. Her heartfelt words moved me to tears. Then the scenes at her home appeared before my eyes: We seven or eight people stayed at her home for more than ten days, but she never made any complaint. She served us three meals a day on time, each including several delicious dishes. She ran back and forth to serve us during the meal, and ate leftovers all by herself. … Even today those touching scenes are still memorable to me. Whenever I think of them, tears come to my eyes. How could I regard such kind people as the executioners who gouged out others’ eyes, cut off others’ ears…? If they were truly so cruel, how could they have treated me otherwise? How could they have taken care of me so whole-heartedly? “O Almighty God! You are so wonderful. You have made the hearts of us strangers so closely linked together. This is the proof of your almightiness! Seeing the fact that you have accomplished, I have been fully certain about your work and have seen through the falsehood of the rumors. The brothers and sisters who believe in you treat people with such love, but at that time I confused right and wrong and called black white, almost missing you and bringing eternal pain upon myself! Thank you for your timely salvation! Thank you!”
Brothers and sisters, who will not be shaken after knowing the truth of the matter? Will you still cheer for those false shepherds “shining with exploits” and resist Almighty God? Will you still serve as the “daring vanguard” of satan bewilderedly and stubbornly? Today, Almighty God has already made a group of overcomers in Mainland China, and his work has been crowned with complete success. Only the number of those chosen has not been completed. Don’t you like to take this opportunity to gain this eternal salvation? If we, while believing in God, fight and wangle throughout our life only for seeking after vain fame, gain, and position, but cannot truly return to God’s family or be gained by God in the end, what’s the point of believing like this? And why do we believe in God then?