Coming Home (Part 1)
By Muyi, South Korea
“God’s love overflowing is freely given to man, God’s love is around him. Man, innocent and pure, without a care to tie him down, lives in bliss in the eyes of God. … If you are a person of conscience and with humanity, you will feel warm, being cared for and loved, you will feel blessed with happiness” (“How Important God’s Love for Man Is” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Every time I start to sing this hymn of the word of God, it’s hard to keep down the emotions stirring inside me. That is because I was once far astray from God and went against Him. I was like a lost sheep, unable to find the road home, and it was God’s steadfast love that led me to return home. In what follows, I wish to share my experience of returning to God’s house with both those brothers and sisters who are part of the Lord as well as those friends who have not yet turned to God.
Because my mother and father were always fighting, I was living my life in fear every day. I felt that I had no purpose in my life, but I was also afraid of dying. I didn’t know why people were born and die, but I also intangibly felt there was a pair of hands pulling the strings of my life.
After I graduated from high school, my mother began to believe in the Lord Jesus at the urging of a neighbor, and I followed her into the church. From that time on, I knew that God is the Lord of all created beings, and that to redeem mankind from sin, the incarnate God Himself was crucified on the cross to become a sin offering for man. How great is God’s love for man! With the inspiration of the love of the Lord, I resolved to believe in the Lord in earnest and to recompense the Lord for His love. Because of this, I had direction and purpose. After that, I frequently attended gatherings, read the Scriptures, and gave praise to the Lord. I began to become happy. Especially when I saw in the Bible that it said that in the last days the Lord would come again upon a cloud and welcome us into the kingdom of heaven, my heart was filled even more with hope. On top of that, the pastor often explained the scripture to us at gatherings: “You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). I was even more convinced that the Lord Jesus would descend upon a white cloud to welcome us into the heavenly home!
In 2005 I met a Korean boyfriend and followed him to Korea. Because of the language barrier, I never found a church of Chinese expatriates, so my spirit grew weaker. Without knowing it, I grew distant from God. Once we got married, there was no way we could continue living together because the cultural difference was too great, so we got divorced after not too long. The setback in my marriage was a great shock to me spiritually, which was quite painful. On top of being in a foreign land without any friends or family, I felt even more all alone. All I could do was pray silently to God and relate my internal suffering to Him. I sought for God to guide me to a Chinese church and return to the house of God.
A year later I found a religious service for Chinese in a Presbyterian church, and at the time I was extremely happy. Finally, I was able once again to give praise to God in church. But what disappointed me was that whenever we held a gathering the pastor would just read passages of scriptures to us and explain a little to us about the literal meaning. It was totally devoid of any light or anything to enjoy. It didn’t supply anything at all for our lives, and the gatherings just started to be a way of going through the motions. There were people whispering to each other at gatherings, some people playing games on their cell phones, some sleeping, some looking for girlfriends or boyfriends, and there were even some people putting their arms around each other. I thought: “The church is a temple, a place to revere God. We come here, but come but without hearts that are reverent to God, and God has to be looking upon us with contempt! Wouldn’t the Lord abandon a place as sordid as this?” But the pastors and preachers acted like they didn’t notice at all and paid no attention.
Living in this huge dyeing vat of evil that is the world, I gradually began to become immoral, and would often go out drinking with friends in my free time, never seeing so much as the shadow of anyone who believed in God. However, whenever my heart grew especially distant from the Lord, the words of God would appear in my mind: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he said, I will return into my house from where I came out; and when he is come, he finds it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goes he, and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Matthew 12:43–45). The Lord’s words restrained and guarded me, and stopped me from daring to get too far away from God or doing anything too extreme, out of fear that I would anger the Lord and meet with God’s anger. I was afraid to be abandoned by the Lord and to fall into the hands of the unclean spirit.
At Christmas in 2016, to raise the church’s spirit, the church got a group of talented artists to put on a show. There was a sister whom I had never seen before who sang to us a song in praise of God: “The scene painted in the Bible ‘God’s command to Adam’ is both touching and heartwarming. Although the picture contains only God and man, the relationship between the two is so intimate we start to feel wonder, wonder and admiration. God’s love overflowing is freely given to man, God’s love is around him. Man, innocent and pure, without a care to tie him down, lives in bliss in the eyes of God. God takes care of man, and man lives under His wings. All that man does, all his words and deeds, are bound up with God, can’t be apart. From the first moment God created the human race, God had them in His charge. What kind of charge is that? It’s for Him to protect man and to watch over man. He hopes for man to trust in, to trust in and obey His words. This was the first thing God expected of the human race. … Is there love in His heart? Isn’t there care and concern? God’s love and care is something that can be both felt and sensed. If you are a person of conscience and with humanity, you will feel warm, being cared for and loved, you will feel blessed with happiness. When you feel these things, how will you act towards God? Will you cleave to Him? Will reverential love, will reverential love not grow in your heart? Will your heart draw close to Him? From this we see, how important God’s love for man is. But even more important than this is that man can feel and comprehend God’s love” (“How Important God’s Love for Man Is” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs).
With each word of the hymn, my heart began to get more and more excited and my tears of emotion would not stop running. I felt I was in a beautiful picture accompanied by God, enjoying God’s love and all the things He bestowed upon creation. The air, light, and water alike were all brimming with God’s love! Enjoying everything that God has bestowed upon us but I had grown distant from God, and how saddened God must be by this. I especially felt that the words “If you are a person of conscience and with humanity, you will feel warm, being cared for and loved, you will feel blessed with happiness” were God calling out to my heart and spirit. In 2007, when my husband and I decided that we could no longer live together and I had no place to call home, God arranged a female emigrants’ safehouse for me. They provided food and housing for me there and found me a lawyer. They took care of the legal proceedings for me at no cost. When it was time for me to apply for naturalization, God moved a minister from the Presbyterian church to serve as my sponsor. Normally, Koreans won’t agree to vouch for someone, especially since I was a foreigner as well as the fact that I had only gone to that particular church three or four times. I knew this was all made possible through the hidden help of God. There was also the fact that foreigners applying for naturalization have to have 30,000,000 won in fixed assets, but I didn’t even have 3,000,000. The Immigration Office asked me to provide proof of employment to demonstrate that I was able to provide for myself, and they didn’t make it difficult for me at all…. God always produced miracles for me when I was most in need. This is God’s sovereignty! God’s love is vast and deep, but I was too rebellious. I had forgotten God and broken His heart. This hymn touched my spirit, and I determined to regain my faith and never again descend to the state of doing harm to God.
On February 19, 2017, because my head and eyes were in pain, I went to the hospital but they couldn’t treat what I had. Sister Li, who was in our church, introduced me to one of her friends who knew Chinese traditional medicine and said that the treatment takes a course of only one week to be effective. I went along with her to get treated. That day we met a brother named Jin, who was a friend of the one who knew Chinese medicine. I did not expect that I would meet a brother in the Lord, and I thought it must have been arranged by God. I got to talking about the Bible with Brother Jin. Brother Jin read to us the parable of the ten virgins from the Bible. He asked me, “Sister, are you looking forward to the Lord’s return?” I said, “Of course!” The brother said, “Then how will the Lord return?” I said without hesitation: “The scripture says He will descend on a cloud!” The brother said: “You know what? The Lord has already returned.” I was startled to hear that, and said: “Mark chapter 13 verse 32 says: ‘But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.’ No one knows when the Lord will come. If you’re saying that the Lord has returned, how could you know?” Brother Jin didn’t give me a straight answer but found some passages in the Bible about the Lord’s return. Luke 12:40 says: “Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not.” Luke 17:24–26 says: “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Revelation 3:20 says: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” John 10:27 says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Once he was done reading, Brother Jin said: “The Lord asks us to be awake and waiting because no one knows the day on which He will come. But according to what the prophecy says, when the Lord comes again it will be in the form of the Son of man. The ‘Son of man’ is God become man, which means the incarnate God. Even though we don’t know the exact time the Lord will come, we will know Him by God’s voice because the sheep of God hear God’s voice, and when they hear it, they follow Him….” I thought then about my pastor who had said that any testimony that said the Lord Jesus had returned in the flesh was false. I could no longer listen to what Brother Jin was saying, so I sent a text message to the pastor: “Someone is telling me that the Lord has returned incarnate. What kind of church do they belong to?” The pastor said, “They are from Eastern Lightning.” He wanted me to leave right away and not to have any contact with them again. He also wanted me never to read their books, and went on to send me some lectures on how to guard against heresy. I thought that whatever the pastor said must be correct. I decided not to listen to what they fellowshiped ever again and not to pay any attention to them.
Who would have known that on the afternoon of the 20th, Brother Jin and his sister would come to the place where I was getting treatment and tell me so much about the work of the Lord’s return. However, because that morning I had just received news of my mother’s passing, as well as having some doubts about what they were saying, I just couldn’t listen to anything they said. This went on for three days, and it seemed like Brother Jin never gave up spreading the gospel to me. But because of my inward turmoil, I told him to get lost. I said, “Let it go. If you keep talking to me, then if you don’t go, I will!” Brother Jin saw that I really wasn’t listening and had no choice but to leave. I thought he wouldn’t be back around. I didn’t expect that the next day Brother Jin would bring someone named Brother Cheng along with him and continue to preach the gospel to me. I thought to myself: “How could he still not be finished?” To save face, it was better for me just to deal with it, but I didn’t take the initiative to talk with them. Although I didn’t care too much, Brother Cheng kept patiently talking to me. He said: “The Lord has already come incarnate into the world to do the work of judgment and chastisement….” Taking note of the patience and kindness he had in speaking with me, I thought, “The people in our church are weak. Their faith and love have grown cold. Why is it that the faith and love of people who believe in Eastern Lightning is so great? What power is it that supports them in persevering with their efforts in spreading the gospel to me? If it weren’t for the work of the Holy Spirit, it’s impossible for this to be done through reliance on human strength alone!”