130. Almighty God’s Word Conquered My Hardened Heart
Rizhao City, Shandong Province
In autumn of 2001, I went back home for the National Day holiday. Before I arrived at home, I heard from a classmate that now there was a very powerful “heresy” called the “Eastern Lightning,” and my mother had been “deceived” by it for seven months. At the news, I was overwhelmed with anxiety, and I hurried to my uncle’s home (who was a preacher I adored). Before I asked anything about my mother, he said to me, “Your mother has accepted the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ and she runs around outside all day long. She went to the brothers’ and sisters’ homes to preach the gospel and even didn’t leave when they drove her. She has really disgraced me. Brothers and sisters in the church all came to ask me what to do with her, and I said to them that I didn’t acknowledge her as my sister anymore, she had been expelled by the church, and they could just drive her away. I heard that those people had discarded the Bible but read a so-called little scroll. That book is very powerful. Once you read it, you will be captivated. Do be careful, Xiao-ni. You must stand the ground. Though she is your mother, this is about belief. That doesn’t count…” Every word of my uncle pierced my heart, and I couldn’t help feeling nervous. “So it is true that the ‘Eastern Lightning’ is a heresy! Otherwise, how could my uncle speak about my mother in that way? How could my mother become like this now? Is it really true that she refused to leave others’ homes even when they drove her? …” I was sad and frightened. How I hoped that my uncle could draw her back! But from his words, I could know that my mother was already “irredeemable.” At that time, I just wanted to go home quickly to see my mother.
The way to home wasn’t far, but I felt that it took me a long time. On the way, my mind was in turmoil. I didn’t know how to face my mother and what I should do to recover her. However, after I got home, my mother showed great care for me as usual, and I couldn’t find anything abnormal about her. Watching her familiar figure, I thought of my uncle’s words. A fit of sadness seized me. I thought, “My father passed away not long before, and my elder sister got married. Only my mother and I were left relying on each other for life. But now, I have to draw a clear line between us for the Lord’s sake. And I have to guard against her lest I be deceived by her. She has been rejected by the brothers and sisters, and the Lord has also deserted her. Now, even her dearest daughter will keep away from her and guard against her…” As I thought of this, my tears gushed out. I called on the Lord in my heart, “O Lord! What is all this about? Why does such a thing happen to me? What should I do, Lord?”
I observed that my mother indeed stopped reading the Bible, so I argued with her many times, in the hope of persuading her back. But she insisted that the way she took was right, and she even tried to persuade me to accept Almighty God. My efforts proved fruitless. As I was sure that she had indeed gone astray, I prayed in the name of the Lord Jesus, asking the Lord to drive the “demon” in my home away. And I also racked my brains for a way to prevent my mother from reading that book. I thought, “If I burn the book, she can’t read it.” But several times when I wanted to burn it, I felt uneasy in my heart. So I failed to do it.
Soon, the holiday was over, and I had to leave home. But I still felt worried about my mother. So I said to my elder sister again and again, “Keep a good watch over Mum. If there is anything wrong with her, do give me a call.” However, my sister said, “Don’t think strange thoughts. I think our Mum is very normal, but the people in your church are abnormal. They abused others, beat others, and threw urine over others. I think they are even worse than the unbelievers.” I didn’t expect that my unbelieving sister could say such words. I had nothing more to say. So, with great worry in my heart, I went back to Beijing. But whenever I thought of what my uncle said about my mother, I felt very distressed. I had never expected that my mother, who had always been so stubborn and proud and never tolerated others’ disrespect for her, could bow to others! “Mum, how could you become like this? Why are you so silly? What force makes you do this? I really don’t understand!” How eagerly I hoped that my mother could “wake up.” I cried to the Lord, “O Lord! Where are You? Please save my mother! …” I prayed like that almost every day, and I hoped that I could go back home earlier to bring my mother back to the Lord.
Finally, in early August of 2002, I had an opportunity to go home. But after I arrived home, I learned that three aunts of mine and my cousin had all believed in Almighty God. I was stunned! It never occurred to me that within less than one year, there was such a big change. What troubled me more was that after knowing that I had come back, they came to preach to me every day. I thought, “You have no discernment and can’t stand the ground. I’m not like you.” So, no matter what they said, I refused to accept it. My mother got very worried about it. So, whenever she had time, she tried to persuade me to read that book. Later, I thought, “Right. If I don’t know what’s written in that book, how could I bring them back to the Lord? They are ‘captivated’ because of reading the book. What is there in the book that makes them so obsessed?” With that thought, I went to my uncle and discussed with him. However, he opposed it strongly. He said that reading that book was testing God. Hearing his words, I dared not read it. And I prayed for the Lord to strengthen my faith, so that I could stand and not be swayed by the “heresy.” Seeing that my heart was so hardened, my mother said to me, “My child, please read the book. Otherwise you will regret it! God has revealed all the mysteries and made clear all the truths to man. You will be clear after you read it.” “No, I won’t regret. I believe that the Lord Jesus won’t desert me.” I said determinedly. My mother cried, saying, “I am your mother. I won’t harm you. I have never begged you for anything before. But today I beg you. My dear girl, read it! This is indeed God’s word. If you don’t read it, how could you know whether it’s true or false? If you don’t read it now, it will be too late for you to regret when the fact is revealed…” My mother’s heartfelt words cut me like a whip. I began to struggle in my heart. “If Mum’s words are true, will I really not regret it then?” But I again remembered my uncle’s words, “Do be careful! Stand the ground. We should never betray the Lord Jesus! …” I was in a great dilemma, not knowing what to do. So I cried with tears, “Enough! Stop it! I don’t want to read it! You believe in yours and I believe in mine. Let’s not interfere with each other…” Hearing my words, my mother knelt on the floor and prayed in bitter tears, “O Almighty God! I have received such a great grace from You, but I can’t testify You. I’m really useless. I’m too ignorant and have hindered Your work. God! Please enlighten my daughter, so that she can understand Your eagerness of saving man and not be deceived by rumors anymore…” However, my mother’s earnest words didn’t move my numb and hardened heart. I watched her crying bitterly there with cold eyes, and even heartlessly took it as Satan’s scheme. I thought to myself, “What other trick do you have? Just play it! …” In the end, I could no longer bear listening to any of her advice, and only wanted to escape from there. Just when I turned around and was about to leave, my mother stood up and took hold of me, asking me not to leave. But I refused to hear anything. I flung her hands off and opened the door and ran out. “Child, come back! Listen to me…” My mother’s cries kept resounding in my ears… I wandered aimlessly, tears flowing down my cheek incessantly. I kept asking myself, “Why? Why is it so hard to believe in the Lord? Must my mother and I become enemies? …”
After walking around outside for a while, I went back home. I saw that my mother’s eyes were red, her voice became hoarse, and there were blisters on her lips. I couldn’t control my tears, and I covered my head with the quilt, and cried loudly. Distress, confusion, and despair welled up in my heart. I cried to the Lord, “Lord! I don’t want to leave You, and even less do I want to betray You. But You know I don’t have the ability to discern. You said that You would come again. Is Almighty God my mother preached really You? O Lord! I’m willing to seek You. If You have really come back, please enlighten me and give me guidance. I have no strength to struggle and no longer want to struggle. I’m willing to commit everything into Your hand…”
In the afternoon, my mother saw that my attitude changed for the better, so she asked two brothers to come to testify to me. At that time, I thought, “Anyway, I must make the matter clear!” One brother said, “Sister, I know that you feel pain and distress in your heart. We once experienced this as you do today. If you have anything you don’t understand, we can fellowship about it together…” Strangely, when I heard their words, I felt as if they were my relatives, and I didn’t feel strange to them at all. They were amiable and ordinary and were not as frightening as what those rumors said at all. So I put forward the question I was puzzled about all along: Why don’t you read the Bible anymore? One brother took out the Bible and showed me Hebrews 8:13, which says, “In that he said, A new covenant, he has made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away.” And he also read me Revelation 5:1-5, “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. … And one of the elders said to me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” Then he asked me, “God has opened the book and revealed all the mysteries of the Bible to us. Which one should we read, this opened book or the Bible?” I thought to myself, “Only God can open the book. Could it be that God has really come and opened the book? Is the book I wanted to burn the book opened by the lamb? If it is so, who will still read the Bible?” The brother seemed to read my thoughts. He opened the book of God’s word and read these words to me: “You all need to understand the Bible—it is very necessary that you do so. Today, you don’t need to read the Bible any longer, for there is nothing new in it; it’s all outdated. The Bible is a history book. If during the Age of Grace you were to eat and drink the Old Testament, practicing the requirements of the Old Testament age, then Jesus would forsake you, condemn you. If you had tried to impose the Old Testament on Jesus’ work, you would have been called a Pharisee. And so today, if you eat and drink and practice the Old and New Testaments, then the God of today will condemn you; you cannot keep pace with the work of the Holy Spirit today. If you eat the Old and New Testaments, then you are one outside the stream of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ day, He led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the work of the Holy Spirit in Him. He did not look to the Bible for evidence, but spoke as His work dictated. He did not concern Himself with what the Bible said, did not lead His followers down a path found in the Bible. From the very beginning, He preached the way of repentance, and the word ‘repentance’ was not mentioned at all in all the prophecies in the Old Testament. Not only did He not follow the Bible, He brought forth a new path and did a new work. He did not make reference to the Bible when He preached, and the miracles He worked—healing the sick, casting out demons—had never been performed by men during the Age of Law. No one in the Age of Law did the work He did, taught those lessons, had that authority. He simply did His new work, though many people condemned Him, even crucified Him, by using the Bible. His work went beyond the Old Testament; if that had not been the case, why would they have nailed Him to the cross? Was it not because His teachings, His power to cure the sick and cast out demons, had never been recorded in the Old Testament? The work of Jesus was to bring forth a new path; He did not deliberately set out to ‘wage war’ against the Bible or abolish the Old Testament, but simply performed His ministry, bringing the new work to those who thirsted for Him and sought Him out. He was not trying to explain the Old Testament or defend its work. Carrying on the Age of Law was not His goal, for He did not care in the least whether His work was grounded in the Bible, but simply did the job that He needed to do. So He did not attempt to explain the Old Testament prophecies, did not base His work on words spoken in the Old Testament Age of Law. He did not concern Himself with what the Old Testament said, whether it accorded with His own work, did not care how other people saw His work or condemned His work. He simply kept on doing the job He needed to do, though many people condemned Him, invoking the words of the Old Testament prophets. In people’s eyes His work was not based on a shred of evidence, and in many ways it ran counter to what was recorded in the Bible. Were they not grossly in the wrong? Must God’s work obey any rules? Does He need to follow the words of prophets? Which is greater, the Bible or God? Why must God’s work be in line with the Bible? Is it really not within His right to stand above the Bible? Can He not depart from it and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not observe the Sabbath? If He was to observe the Sabbath, to practice the commandments of the Old Testament, then why, after His coming, did He not observe the Sabbath, but washed others’ feet and covered His head, broke bread and drank wine? Were these commandments mentioned in the Old Testament? If Jesus was to adhere to the Old Testament, why did He break these rules? You must know which came first, God, or the Bible? As He is the Lord of the Sabbath, can’t He also be the Lord of the Bible?” I was greatly enlightened by God’s words, and I understood this: “God does not work according to the Bible, but speaks according to His work. God has already come now, and He has opened the book, expressed new words, and brought new ways outside the Bible.” At that time, I knew why my mother and those people didn’t read the Bible. Then the brother said to me, “God has unlocked all the mysteries in the Bible, and all the truths have been made clear to us. You will understand everything after you read the book of God’s word.” So, I agreed to read the book and make an investigation.
Early next morning, my mother said to me, “Read the book carefully. As long as you have a seeking heart, God will enlighten you.” So I began to read the book seriously. I sat there motionless for over four hours, reading the book in tears. God is really wonderful. When I read with a seeking heart, all the hindrances in my heart disappeared. I felt that God was speaking to me, communing with me like a bosom friend, so kindly and warmly. God says: “No one who believes in Jesus is qualified to curse or condemn others. You should all be someone who is rational and accepts the truth. Perhaps, having heard the way of truth and read the word of life, you believe that only one in 10,000 of these words are in line with your convictions and the Bible, and then you should continue to seek in that 10,000th of these words. I still advise you to be humble, to not be over-confident, and to not exalt yourself too highly. With your heart holding such meager reverence for God, you will gain greater light. If you carefully examine and repeatedly contemplate these words, you shall understand whether or not they are the truth, and whether or not they are life. Perhaps, having only read a few sentences, some people will blindly condemn these words, saying, ‘This is nothing more than some enlightenment of the Holy Spirit,’ or, ‘This is a false Christ come to deceive people.’ Those who say such things are blinded by ignorance! You understand too little of the work and wisdom of God, and I advise you to start again from scratch! You must not blindly condemn the words expressed by God because of the appearance of false Christs during the last days, and must not be someone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit because you fear deception. Would that not be a great pity? If, after much examination, you still believe that these words are not the truth, are not the way, and are not the expression of God, then you shall ultimately be punished, and be without blessings. If you cannot accept such truth spoken so plainly and so clearly, then are you not unfit for God’s salvation? Are you not someone who is not fortunate enough to return before the throne of God? Think about it! Do not be rash and impetuous, and do not treat belief in God as a game. Think for the sake of your destination, for the sake of your prospects, for the sake of your life, and do not play around with yourself. Can you accept these words?” After reading God’s words, I felt extremely ashamed. It was clear that these words were the truths. However, I believed others’ rumors and didn’t seek or investigate but blindly condemned and jumped to a conclusion. Wasn’t I trifling with my life? I believed in God yet denied God and even held to the Bible like the Pharisees of that time, thinking that it was wrong not to read the Bible and it was forsaking the Lord’s way. I was really too blind and ignorant!
I also read these words of God: “Are you aware of the burden you shoulder, your commission, and your responsibility? Where is your historic sense of mission? How will you serve as a good master for the next age? Do you have a great sense of masterhood? … How many people are waiting for you to be their shepherd? Is your task a heavy one? They are poor, pitiable, blind, and at a loss, wailing in the darkness, ‘Where is the way?’ … They have long been sealed off by the ruthless ropes and the history that is frozen in place. Who has ever heard the sound of their wailing? Who has ever seen their miserable visage? Have you ever thought how grieved and anxious God’s heart is? How can He bear to see the innocent mankind He Himself created suffering such torment? After all, mankind are the unfortunates that have been poisoned. Though they have survived to this day, who would have thought that they have long been poisoned by the evil one? Have you forgotten that you are one of the victims? Out of your love for God, are you not willing to strive to save those who have survived? Are you not willing to use all your effort to repay the God who loves mankind like His own flesh and blood?” After reading these words, I thought of what my uncle said, “Believers in Almighty God have gone astray. They abandoned their families…” Now, I fully understood why the believers in Almighty God were willing to give up everything. It was because they were burdened with the sacred mission to cooperate with God to rescue souls. Those rumors were purely slanders of the unreasonable people who were ignorant of the inside story. They were made out of nothing! We only saw that the believers in Almighty God ran around all day long, but we never quieted ourselves before God to think about and seek why they did so and what drove them to run around. Now when I thought about those rumors again, I realized that they were actually poorly fabricated, and if I had given them some thought, I could have discerned them. I really hated myself for having been so foolish and ignorant that I believed whatever others said and didn’t read God’s word earlier. I was too stubborn and too hardened in my heart, so that I missed many opportunities to be saved by God. I was really a muddlehead without any discernment! At that time, I regretted a lot. I was ashamed of my yesterday’s ignorance, blushed at my echoing others’ words, and felt bitterly remorseful for my stubborn disobedience. I knelt on the floor and prayed in tears, “O Almighty God! I’ve misunderstood You and grieved Your heart! You are the Lord Jesus we have been expecting, but I didn’t know You and thought that my mother had been taken captive by a ‘cult.’ Actually, she had already returned to Your bosom, but I resisted You and offended You! O Almighty God! I thank You that although I have been so disobedient and detestable, You have tolerated me and taken me back to Your home. Now, I won’t escape nor struggle. I only want to quiet my heart before You to enjoy Your words and seek to know You!”