68. Having Struggled in Sin, I Bitterly Regretted Before the Truth
Nanyang City, Henan Province
I was formerly a mid-level leader in the “Stream of Recovery.” I followed the Lord Jesus in 1979 because of having hyperthyreosis. Soon afterward, I recovered from the illness miraculously, and because of this miracle, my husband, my second son, and my neighbors all believed in the Lord. So I ran around everywhere preaching the Lord’s name. The Lord particularly blessed me. All my five sons and five daughters-in-law had much filial piety, and the acquaintances in and around my village all envied me. In the church, the brothers and sisters even more treated me with special esteem. So I couldn’t help feeling self-satisfied, regarding myself as a loyal servant of the Lord and taking on airs of that. I controlled the brothers and sisters in my hand and dreamed that one day I could really ascend to the position of a “big leader.” So when Almighty God’s gospel of the last days spread to my “territory,” I was seized with terror and staged acts of viciously hindering the brothers and sisters from accepting God’s new work by all means.
In April 1996, in a co-workers’ meeting, the leader said, “A group of people who believe in the ‘Eastern Lightning’ are preaching that the Lord has come back and has done a new work in China. And they are drawing believers in the churches everywhere. You can never have contact with them. Once you do, you will be captivated. If you hear their preaching but do not accept it, they will cut off your ears, gouge out your eyes, or break your arms or legs! From now on, never receive any unfamiliar preacher! …” Hearing that, I was scared and afraid, fearing that “my lambs” would be taken away by that group of people and I would thus lose my position. After I came back, I immediately called a co-workers’ meeting and communicated the leader’s words. And I condemned by saying, “That is a false Christ, of Satan and an evil spirit! …” Since then, in each meeting, I didn’t forget to condemn and blaspheme the “Eastern Lightning” wantonly.
In March 1999, because of my “excellent achievement,” I was promoted to be a leader in the city. To win favor of the big leader and get an even higher position, I exerted more efforts to resist Almighty God’s work. I often wantonly preached in meetings, “‘Eastern Lightning’ is a cult, a heresy, and an underworld organization. Their members are filthy and licentious. They use various ways to trap believers. They can give you money or mate according to your preference. They will give one 4,000 yuan if he converts a leader and 2,000 yuan a co-worker. To keep the Lord’s way, we shouldn’t incline to our relatives either. Even our father or mother comes, we shouldn’t receive them! …” And I gave an order, “We should all watch each other; if anyone is found to have accepted the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ he will be expelled immediately!” Moreover, I took the lead to curse the believers in Almighty God in prayers, asking the Lord to make them restless day and night and exterminate them all. Even when I met one brother or sister, I wouldn’t lose the opportunity to spread poisonous ideas. And I also dragged a dozen brothers and sisters who had accepted God’s new work back to our denomination.
Just when I was doing my utmost to resist God’s new work in my position, God arranged an environment for me. In June 1999, as I returned home taking care of my daughter-in-law who gave birth, some other person took my place. Since then, I, who had been faithful to position all along, became severely depressed. I thought that I had been serving so diligently looking after the flock, yet they could actually replace me so easily when they didn’t need me, and that was really inhumane. I also thought that during these years, the church had become more and more desolate, the brothers and sisters were all passive and weak, many even went back to the world, and the gospel preaching met with failure, and my contribution had all been in vain. So, in a fit of temper, I went to Xinjiang to make money by picking cotton. Believers there didn’t know rumors about the “Eastern Lightning” before, yet as I wanted to show myself off, I played the same old trick and said to everyone that the “Eastern Lightning” was an underworld organization, their members were very filthy and corrupt, and their way absolutely couldn’t be accepted. Just in that way, that “pure land” was defiled by me.
Although I resisted and condemned God’s new work so frenziedly, God’s love never left me. After I came back from Xinjiang, Almighty God sent brothers and sisters to preach the gospel to me time after time. But I, being arrogant and ignorant, pushed away God’s grace of salvation with my hands. Whenever I saw the gospel preachers coming to my house, I roared at them, “You are licentious and corrupt, not keeping a clear line between male and female. You are a group of shameless people. Go away! …”An old sister came to preach to me many times, and I said inhumanely, “What cheek! I’m sick of seeing you! …” When my niece came to read God’s word to me, I said arrogantly, “Where is God? The place where I stand is God’s home! If you do not turn back, don’t step into my house again! …”
While I was inhumanely resisting God’s new work, God’s wrath came upon my family: First my husband died of cancer; then my second son was held up by illness; my third son frequently fought with his neighbor, and once he even injured his neighbor so that he was hospitalized, and we had to pay more than 800 yuan for his medical care alone; later, there happened one fight after another between my sons and between their wives, and my third son almost lost his life in fighting, and his wife left home and there was no news about her since then. My once harmonious family which I took as an honor was thoroughly broken.
Faced with such a misery of the ruined family, I was heartbroken. I ever called on the Lord’s name earnestly, yet I always felt that the Lord was so far from me. My former faith was completely gone. “Ay! Go to have meetings? Yet I can’t get enjoyment from them at all. But if I don’t go, my years of painstaking efforts will be in vain. How can I welcome the return of the Lord in such a state? It might be better for me to die. But that will bring shame to the Lord’s name.” In those days, I was sleepless all night walking up and down the yard, simply like an insane person. Days wore on like years! I had never thought that the curse in my prayers upon the believers in Almighty God that “let them be restless day and night” would actually fall on me. I also thought of Yang XX, a big leader of our church, and his mother. To prevent the believers in the church from accepting the “Eastern Lightning,” they resisted most severely, and all those slanders and words of blasphemy came from them. But by now Yang XX died of a relapse of his heart disease, who was only 51 at his death, and his mother was in bed suffering from paralysis. “We have been so faithfully looking after the flock for the Lord, sparing no efforts in resisting the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ but why do we have such an end? Why are there more and more people turning to this way?” I couldn’t help pondering in my heart, “During these years, many leaders and workers in our denomination have accepted the new work one after another, and there are also people who heard yet didn’t accept, including me. Aren’t we all very well now? Whose arms or legs were cut off by the ‘Eastern Lightning’ as our leader said? I’ve been condemning and slandering like this without investigation, and what if the way they preach is the true way?” But on second thoughts, I considered: They say that the Lord has come back and has done a new work in China. Why is there no such prophecy in the Bible? Ay! I wanted to go to have a fellowship with them, yet I was afraid that it might be false and that I would be expelled if the leader knew it. I thought over and over again but couldn’t make up my mind. I really suffered unspeakably! So, in so many sleepless nights, I fell down before God and broke out in tears, “Dear Lord! Where are You? Please don’t abandon me! I feel so bad in my heart now. You are my only reliance, and I can’t lose You. May You enlighten and illuminate me, so that I can know what to do to be after Your heart…” I suffered such bitterness for several months. Thank the Lord. One day, I read Psalms 91:15, “He shall call on me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble.” Yes! God is almighty and is man’s help at any time. What shall I fear? The leader said that we shouldn’t have contact with the believers in the “Eastern Lightning,” and whoever had contact with them would be captivated. But rather than suffering like this, I might as well go to meet them by relying on the Lord. Thinking of that, I surprisingly felt peace in my heart.
Thank God for His great love. In July 2002, Brother Liu, a former believer of our denomination, came to preach the gospel of the last days to me with another brother. They fellowshipped with me in detail about the inside story and the facts of God’s three stages of work, and the truths about why God is incarnated again this time, the significance of God’s incarnation, and so on. Then, regarding my notion, they read me the following passages of God’s word: “The prophecies said that Jehovah’s name would be great in the Gentile nations and that Jehovah’s name would be spread to the Gentile nations—why would they say this? If God were only the God of the Israelites, then He would only be at work in Israel. Furthermore, He would not expand this work, and He would not make this prophecy. Since He made this prophecy, He would need to expand His work into Gentile nations and into every nation and place. Since He stated this, He would thus do so. This is His plan, for He is the Lord who created the heavens and earth and all things, and the God of all creation. Regardless of whether He is at work with the Israelites or in all Judea, the work He does is the work of the entire universe and the work of all humanity. The work He does today in the nation of the great red dragon—in a Gentile nation—is still the work of all humanity. Israel could be the base for His work on earth; likewise, China can also become the base for His work among the Gentile nations. Has He not now fulfilled the prophecy that ‘the name of Jehovah will be great in the Gentile nations’?” (from “God Is the Lord of All Creation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “The work of Jehovah was the creation of the world, it was the beginning; this stage of work is the end of work, and it is the conclusion. At the start, God’s work was carried out among the chosen ones of Israel, and it was the dawn of a new epoch in the most holy of all places. The last stage of work is carried out in the most impure of all countries, to judge the world and bring the age to an end. In the first stage, God’s work was done in the brightest of all places, and the last stage is carried out in the darkest of all places, and this darkness will be driven out, the light brought forth, and all the people conquered. When the people of this most impure and darkest of all places have been conquered, and the entire population has acknowledged that there is a God, who is the true God, and every person has been utterly convinced, then this fact will be used to carry out the work of conquest throughout the entire universe. This stage of work is symbolic: once the work of this age has been finished, the work of 6,000 years of management will come to a complete end. Once those in the darkest of all places have been conquered, it goes without saying that it will also be so everywhere else. As such, only the work of conquest in China carries meaningful symbolism.” (from “The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “If the work of the last days were still done in Israel, then there would not be any significance at all. Why is it done in China, the darkest and the most backward place? It is for revealing God’s holiness and righteousness. In a word, the darker a place is, the better God’s holiness can be revealed. Actually doing so is all for the sake of God’s work. Now you have known that the God in heaven has descended to earth and stood among you and has been set off by your filthiness and disobedience, and thus you have had knowledge of God. Isn’t this a great uplifting? Actually, you are the group of people who are chosen in China. Because these people are chosen and enjoy God’s grace and because these people are not worthy to enjoy so much grace of God, it proves that all this is an extremely great uplifting of you. God has appeared to you, and revealed and bestowed to you all His holy disposition, so that you can enjoy all the abundant blessings; you have not only tasted God’s righteous disposition, but even more tasted God’s salvation, God’s redemption, and God’s immeasurable love for man. You most filthy people have enjoyed so much grace; isn’t this a blessing? Isn’t this God’s uplifting?” (from “How Does the Second Step of the Conquering Work Achieve the Results” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Only then did I suddenly understand that actually God’s working in China not only fulfilled the biblical prophecy but also had such great significance! Before, I often envied the Israelites who could be led by God personally. Yet I never expected that today we could also hear God’s voice with our own ears and receive God’s personal shepherding face to face. “This is really God’s exceptional uplifting. No wonder the leader said that ‘you will be captivated once you have contact with them.’ It is actually like this.” At that time, my mind was completely clear, and I lived in the happiness that I had never had.
After I accepted the new work, I ate and drank God’s word thirstily. I realized that every word of God is the truth and the fact, and every word can point out man’s substance clearly, hit man’s vital spot, and show man the ways of practice. I, a sinful person, was completely conquered by Almighty God’s word which is with power and authority. Thinking back to what I had done before, I bitterly hated myself: I hated myself for not seeking or investigating but blindly condemning and slandering God’s new work and blaspheming God Himself; I hated myself for sealing off the churches in various places and controlling God’s “lambs” under my power to resist God in order to get position; I hated myself for viciously cursing the brothers and sisters who believed in Almighty God and insulting and driving away the gospel preachers and disturbing the brothers and sisters who had accepted the true way; and I even more hated myself for being utterly devoid of conscience and crucifying again the Lord Jesus who had returned in the flesh, Almighty God, acting as a Pharisee of the present age. I was really a wicked servant through and through and was one of the brood that should be in the eighteenth hell. However, God, who loves man, never abandoned me. While I was struggling in sin and suffering in the sea of bitterness, Almighty God stretched out His saving hand and pulled me up from the edge of death and gave me the second life. God’s love is really so great and practical! How could I, a person guilty of grievous sin, be worthy to receive God’s such grace! At that time, I was already in floods of tears. “O Almighty God! I’m really not a human, even worse than beasts. I’ve been believing in You, waiting for You, and expecting You. Yet when You come, I actually do not know You and even regard Your grace of salvation as the deception of a false Christ. And I wantonly fabricate and spread rumors, resisting Your work crazily for as long as six years. I really deserve to be damned! But You have still saved me to the utmost, so that I can come back to Your family. O God! Even if I offer all I have, I’m unable to repay Your love. I only wish to exert all my efforts to cooperate with Your gospel work, so as to make up for the monstrous crime I have committed, even though I can never make up for this sin! …”
After I accepted God’s new work with my son, I witnessed with my own eyes that in preaching the gospel, the brothers and sisters who believed in Almighty God never minded the beating, abusing, blaspheming, and slandering of the people from various denominations and sects, but perseveringly helped them with love. They were very godly in their living out and had principles in getting along with each other. They all kept a clear line between male and female and conducted themselves decently, and two people of different sexes never coordinated alone. It is stipulated in the fourth administrative decree of the Kingdom: “Man has corrupt disposition and even more has emotion. So, in the service in coordination, two people of different sexes are forbidden to coordinate alone. If discovered, they shall be expelled, no matter who they are.” Not long afterward, rumors spread in my former denomination, saying that people of the “Eastern Lightning” found an elderly lover for me and a young girlfriend for my son, and we were given 2,000 yuan. Those were really things made out of nothing! Thus, through the comparison between the truths and facts, I saw even more clearly that what I heard and spread blindly before were pure fabrications, slanders, and vicious remarks. In them, I saw my former self. I even more felt too ashamed to show my face. All these are the evil consequences I myself have caused. O God! In future, even if more slanders and insults come upon me, I only wish to do what I can to preach Your work of the last days to those blinded brothers and sisters, so that they can return before You earlier, through which I can repay Your grace of salvation for me!
This is the process of how I, a wicked person who resisted God, was conquered by God’s word, and was also the deep regret from the depth of my heart. I hope that more brothers and sisters will take me as a warning and not repeat the tragedy of the Pharisees anymore, and accept Almighty God’s salvation of the last days promptly!