57. Experiencing God’s Special Love
Jiayi Fuyang City, Anhui Province
My nature is especially arrogant; no matter what I’m doing, I always use ingenuity and originality to show my brilliance and therefore frequently violate work arrangements to do things my own way. I am especially arrogant with regard to choosing people for a certain position. I believe that I have unique talent and insight that help me always select the right person. Because of this, when I chose someone, I wouldn’t earnestly probe to understand all the circumstances of the person I wanted to select. I also wouldn’t carefully weigh out the people I want to choose according to the relative principles. The result of this was that I ended up choosing some sly and crafty people who only spoke of letters and doctrines to take upon themselves important responsibilities in the church. This created a big loss for the work as well as for the life of my brothers and sisters. Finally, due to my lack of substantive work in the service of God, I was rejected by God. I lost the work of the Holy Spirit and was removed from service.
When I obtained word that I was to be replaced, I was stupefied. It was hard to imagine that something like this could happen to me. Subsequently, I began to misunderstand God and question Him: The church replaced me and did not give me any duties. It looked like my problem was quite serious. It was likely that I would be expelled. Wasn’t Zhenxin expelled because she worked perfunctorily and cheated God at the time? And wasn’t it that Quanxin became an antichrist because she lifted herself up, testified of herself, and competed with God for the chosen people? Would I not even more so be expelled today because I have worked perfunctorily, cheated God, lifted myself up, and testified of myself as both of them have? In seeing this disaster I had created, I trembled with fear as if death were drawing near. My heart incessantly said: I’m finished. This time I am completely finished. I had resisted and offended God many times. God would certainly not save me. Even though God had said He is doing everything He can to save mankind, it applied to those who were slightly corrupt and those who had committed small transgressions. An arrogant and conceited person such as myself who was blind to God and did all kinds of evil certainly would suffer God’s punishment. Even if I strove to make a fresh start, God would not forgive me, because my actions had caused God to lose hope in me and had grieved Him too much…. Unwittingly, I sank into pain and despair. I didn’t have a thread of hope for survival.
In my extreme pain, I thought about suicide or running away. But I also wished that the church would give me another chance to fulfill a duty. But every time this idea came into my mind, the words “heavy sin” would negate and smother out any gleam of hope. Pain, self-blame, struggle, and my wishes tormented me, caused me so much pain that I didn’t want to live. I nearly fell apart in my despair. Just at this moment, I read God’s word saying, “God does not like cowards; He likes people with determination. Even if you have revealed a great deal of corruption, even if you’ve taken many winding roads, or even if along the way you’ve had many transgressions or have resisted God—or there are some people who hold in their hearts some blasphemy against God or blame Him, have conflict with Him—God doesn’t look at this. God only looks at whether or not a person will someday be able to change. … It is that God’s will to save mankind is sincere. He gives people opportunities to repent and opportunities to change, and during this process, He understands people and deeply knows their weaknesses and the extent of their corruption. He knows that they will stumble. … He understands every person’s difficulties, weaknesses, as well as their needs. Even more, He understands which difficulties each person will encounter in the progression, the process of entering into a change in disposition, and what kinds of weaknesses and failures will occur. This is something that God understands most. That is why it is said God sees into the depths of people’s hearts. No matter how weak you are, as long as you do not forsake the name of God, as long as you do not leave God or this way, you will always have an opportunity to achieve a change in disposition. And if we have the opportunity to achieve a change in disposition then we have hope for our continuing survival. If we have hope for our continuing survival, we have hope of being saved by God” (“What a Change in Disposition Is and the Path to a Change in Disposition to Changes in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks). I also listened to the man used by the Holy Spirit saying, “God is doing all He can to save mankind, especially transgressors. People think that they are beyond saving, but God is not willing to give up on them and still wants to save them. Some people have serious transgressions. God said to them, ‘You just need to return to the devotion you had before and seek after Me. I still want to save you.’ Regardless of what transgressions you have, as long as you have the will to never leave God and the desire to seek salvation, then God will not give up” (“How to Know Christ Is the Truth, the Way, and the Life” in Sermons and Fellowship On Entry Into Life (II)). These words appeared to be sweet dew that moistened the long-lasting drought in my heart. I burst into tears and sobbed. I didn’t realize how many times the “impossible” had unexpectedly turned for the better. God said that He still wants to save me if I don’t give up my pursuit, seek to repent, and don’t leave or forsake Him regardless of my situation. I couldn’t help but prostrate myself before God: “Oh God! I have been an extremely wicked person, I should be killed and cursed for my conduct. I shouldn’t have the opportunity to live, but not only have You not punished me for my transgressions, You have forgiven me with Your limitless and immeasurable love. You have taken me in and given me another opportunity to repent and be saved. Oh God! Your love has eliminated my misunderstandings and questionings of You. It has caused my dying heart to recover and rise out of extreme negativity, pain and despair. It has once again ignited my desire for life—to seek after salvation. Oh God! Your love for me is so deep, so big! Because of Your love for me, You have pardoned all my transgressions, You have pardoned all my contradictions and resistance. You have carried out Your work of salvation on me through Your great patience. Oh God! You are so great, so good! I am speechless when faced with Your love, I am ashamed and unable to show my face. I feel deeply that I would be ashamed to live in Your presence. At this moment, I can only send You my deepest thanks and praise from the bottom of my heart. I can only offer You the song of my heart: ‘Your love has made me unable to choose anything else, I will never let You worry again about me. Corrupt people enjoy Your love so much. You are the only love in my heart, the only I adore, look up to, and rely on. Without Your love, I am only in pain and cannot live on. What joy it is to know You all my life. Regardless of what my circumstances are, I will follow Your footsteps and accompany You to comfort You. In extreme pain, I also want to stand testimony and satisfy You. Suffering and refinement cause my heart to draw closer unto You. I am happy forever with You in my heart’ (“I Am Happy Forever With You in My Heart” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs).”
After I eliminated my misconceptions of God, I began to calm down and examine my past behavior: In my work, I never relied on God nor looked up to Him. I didn’t seek God’s will and I didn’t execute based on work arrangements or church requirements. I completely relied on my own mind, inner qualities, and experience to do things my own way. I never viewed or handled matters according to the word of God, and I didn’t seek the principles of my work. I relied on my own feelings and thoughts to infer and judge. I never counseled with others and I frequently did things on my own. Even if I did counsel with others, it was only so I would appear humble. In reality, I already had a plan in my mind and because of this, I rarely incorporated other people’s ideas. I would not carry out the work arrangements from the above well if they did not conform to my notions and if someone tried to deal with and prune me, I was even more so unwilling to accept it. I especially wanted to be outstanding; no matter what I did I wanted to surpass others. I believed that I was better than everyone and that there was no work in the church that I couldn’t do and that everything I did was good. … Because of being controlled by the archangel’s arrogant nature, I relied on the nature of Satan that was in me to run amok in my work for many years. I basically did not seek truth and I didn’t emphasize knowing myself. I wholeheartedly sought after high positions, and wanted to be a great leader. In consequence, I completely didn’t understand the disposition of God nor the substance of God. I didn’t have the slightest degree of reverence or fear toward God. I acted recklessly in front of God and I stopped at nothing. I would dare to say anything and do anything. I didn’t realize that I was being a false shepherd; I was playing the role of the antichrist; I was taking up the path of serving God while resisting Him. Although the brothers and sisters reminded me many times, I didn’t accept their well-intended help. I was too arrogant and continued in my ways. Because of the many times I resisted God and went contrary to Him, I provoked God’s anger and ultimately was removed from service, which brought me into self-reflection.
Upon examining this, I gradually began to awaken out of my stupor. All along, God had put a lot of thought into all the things that befell me with the intent of saving me. I couldn’t help but prostrate myself again before God: Oh Almighty God, I thank You! Even though being replaced this time felt just like dying and my pain was incomparable, it served as the pretext for me to experience Your great love and salvation for me. If I had not been replaced this time, I would still be living inside my own conception and imagination, continuing to do things the wrong way. I would still believe that forsaking my family and job for working in the church was faithfully serving You. I wouldn’t have reflected on my conduct, and wouldn’t have realized that my service was resisting You, and that it was doing evil. If things went on like this, I would only become more and more arrogant and conceited. Ultimately I would be resisting You as an antichrist; I would truly be finished and cast away. Today, Your timely chastisement and judgment has stopped me from walking in the ways of evil. You have caused me to no longer be defiant and continue to do evil. Oh God, Your love for me is so great and so real! Today’s replacement is truly how You are saving me. Your chastising love has conquered my heart. I thank You from my heart for saving me and protecting me. I thank You more so for causing me to truly experience through Your revelation that Your righteous disposition cannot tolerate offense; I thank You for letting me see the profound fatherly love You have in the heartless lashings and painful trials of man. At the same time, You have also allowed me to recognize my own corrupt substance and to see that I have been corrupted very deeply by Satan. The arrogant nature of the archangel is deeply rooted within me and I greatly need Your chastisement, judgment, trials, refinement, and even Your punishment and cursing to cleanse and save me. It is only through this work that I am able to emerge with reverence toward You and to be protected and cleansed. Oh God, from this day on, I am willing to diligently seek after truth and truly submit to Your work. I will accept Your judgment and chastisement. Regardless of how You treat me, I will absolutely submit to You and give in to Your arrangements. I will not misunderstand nor complain. I will be a genuine person and live with value and purpose.