20. God’s Light Led Me in the Tribulation
Zhao Xin Sichuan Province
From childhood, I lived in the mountain. I didn’t see much of the world or have higher expectations. After I got married and had children, both my sons were sensible and obedient and my husband was hardworking. Although our family wasn’t very well-off, we lived together harmoniously, feeling very happy and satisfied. In 1996, I suddenly had a serious illness, so I began to believe in Jesus. From then on, I often read the Bible and actively attended meetings. Unexpectedly, my illness got better gradually. Since then, I had greater faith in following Jesus.
Out of my expectation, in 1999, because of believing in Jesus, I was arrested by the police and was detained for a whole day. Moreover, I was fined 240 yuan. The money, though little, was a small fortune for us farmers living in the poor mountainous area. To scrape together enough for the fine, I sold one Chinese acre of peanuts that I worked hard to plant. What puzzled me more was that the CCP imposed on me a charge of “taking part in a counterrevolutionary organization,” and they threatened my whole family, saying that as long as I believed in God, my son wouldn’t be offered a job in the future even if he entered the university and graduated. Just because of that word, my husband, parents, relatives, and friends all began to attack me and persecute me. I became a guilty person in my family. They asked me to do all the hard and tiring work and I had to endure it silently.
In 2003, I fortunately accepted Almighty God’s end-time work. From God’s word, I was certain that Almighty God is the returned Jesus. I was very excited in my heart, feeling it was indeed a great blessing that I could meet God again in my life. However, from then on, I suffered greater persecutions from the government and my family. Facing such an environment, I made a resolution to God, “I’ll follow God to the end no matter how hard and difficult it is!” Later, the CCP evil cops came to my house and scolded me, “Do you know? You have broken the law by believing in God! You’re opposing the state and the government! If you continue believing, you’ll be sentenced and imprisoned!” After my husband heard those words, he persecuted me more and more fiercely. He often beat and scolded me and even didn’t allow me to go back home. Because of that, I was very distressed in my heart, thinking, “Why doesn’t my husband understand me? Won’t I be able to go back home?” Having no choice, I could only bear the pain in my heart and leave my home to perform duty so as to escape the government’s persecution and arrest. At that time, I only hated my family for not understanding me, but had no knowledge of the vicious one behind the scenes that caused my family to reject me. It was not until after personally experiencing a prison life that I had the true knowledge of the CCP government’s reactionary substance of going against Heaven and saw clearly that it is the root of all kinds of evil that ruins people’s happy family and brings them so many disasters!
On December 16, 2012, when five brothers and sisters and I were preaching the gospel, we were forcibly arrested by four cops who drove there suddenly. At the police station, after an evil cop handcuffed me, he cursed, “I tell you, whether you steal or rob, murder or commit arson, or prostitute yourself, we don’t care. But only believing in God is not allowed. You’re opposing the CCP by doing so. You deserve a beating!” While saying that, he slapped my face hard and kicked me fiercely. After a fierce beating, I felt that I could hardly hold on. So I kept calling to God in my heart, “O God, I don’t know how long these devils will torture me. I can hardly hold on. But I’d rather die than be a Judas and betray you. May you care for and keep me and lead me.” After the prayer, I made a firm resolution inwardly, “Even if I have one breath left, I’ll be faithful to God, fight against satan to the end, and stand testimony to satisfy God once.” Afterward, one evil cop searched out 230 yuan from me. He grinned hideously, saying, “This is stolen money and should be confiscated.” While saying that, he stuffed the money into his pocket and kept it for himself. Soon afterward, the evil cops began to interrogate us, “Where are you from? What’re your names? Who sent you here?” After learning my name and address, they soon found out the information about my whole family on the computer. Except for my basic information, I refused to answer their questions about the church matters.
The evil cops used a trick. They got more than ten unbelievers from the street and told them that I preached the heresy, and asked them to allege it. Those people sneered at me and slandered and insulted me. I felt badly mistreated, not knowing how to experience that environment. So, I just kept crying to God in my heart, asking him to give me faith and strength. Then, a passage from a hymn of God’s word came into my mind, “The God in the flesh suffers the ridicule, abuse, judgment, and condemnation of all sorts of people, the hunting by the devil, and the rejection and hostility of the religious world. The wound in his heart cannot be remedied by anyone! He saves corrupt mankind with great endurance, and he loves man with wounds, loves man with wounds. This is the most painful work. Mankind’s fierceness and resistance, condemnation and slander, framing and persecution, and hunting and slaughter, make God’s flesh take a great risk to do this work. Who understands his sufferings and can comfort him?” (from “God Loves Man with Wounds” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) In the past, I only had some superficial understanding of God’s suffering for saving mankind. Today, in such a practical environment, I experienced a bit that the sufferings God undergoes are so great! The righteous and holy God is incarnated and lives with us, the filthy and corrupt men. He endures the ridicule, abuse, condemnation, slander, hunting, and slaughter of all sorts of people to save us. Even we believers in God often don’t understand God, or even misunderstand and complain against God. These various kinds of blows hurt God’s heart so greatly. However, God still loves man with wounds. God’s disposition is so great and so honorable! Before, I read these words in the Bible, “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.” (Luke 17: 24-25) Today I saw that these words were indeed being fulfilled! Thinking of that, I was very distressed in my heart. I felt remorseful for not caring for God’s will before…. Before I came to myself, the evil cops hung a sign around my neck, on which was written “cultist,” and took photos of me. Then, they ordered me to squat down and point my finger at the gospel materials and took some photos. My legs were unbearably painful and I simply couldn’t squat down. At that time, my cell phone suddenly rang. I was startled, “It must be from the brothers and sisters. I mustn’t get them into trouble.” So I grabbed the phone and threw it hard on the floor. The phone broke. My action immediately infuriated those evil cops. They seized me by the collar like mad and lifted me up and slapped my face violently several times. Instantly, my face ached as if being burned by fire. My ears buzzed for a while and then couldn’t hear anything. Then, they kicked my legs hard. The evil cops still felt dissatisfied. They dragged me into a dark room, had me stand against the wall, and slapped my face violently. After that, they kicked and struck me. At that time, I forcibly held back my tears and prayed to God silently, “O Almighty God, I believe that there is your good purpose in all this. All that you do is good. No matter how you manipulate, I’m willing to obey. This suffering is what I should undergo. May your will be done!” Unexpectedly, after I prayed, my ears suddenly could hear. I heard an evil cop saying, “This woman is too stubborn. She hasn’t dropped a single tear or let out a cry. We haven’t fixed her hard enough for her to feel the pain. Bring an electric baton. Let’s see if she cries!” Another evil cop jabbed my thighs violently with the electric baton. Instantly, the sharp pain pierced my heart. I ached so badly that I fell to the floor and banged my head against the wall. Blood immediately streamed down from my head. Those evil cops pointed at me and roared, “Drop the act. Get up! You have three minutes. If you don’t get up, we’ll go on beating you. You wanna play dead?” However, no matter how they shouted, I really couldn’t move. In the end, they stopped after kicking me savagely for a while.
Facing the evil cops’ inhuman tortures, I really couldn’t hold on. So I prayed to God earnestly, “Almighty God, I can hardly hold on. May you give me faith and strength.” When I was extremely distressed, a hymn of God’s word rang in my ears, “Since you believe in God, you should present your heart before God. If you offer up your heart and present it before God, then you will surely not deny God in refining. … One day when God’s trial suddenly comes upon you, you will not only be able to stand on God’s side, but will also be able to bear testimony for God. At that time, you will be like Job and like Peter. As you have borne testimony for God, you will be a person who truly loves God and a person who willingly lays down his life, and you will be God’s witness. Only a refined love will be strong, not fragile. No matter when and how God tries you, if you can give no thought to your life and willingly give up everything for God and endure everything for God, your love will be pure and your belief will have reality. Only at that time will you be a person truly loved by God and a person truly perfected by God, a person perfected by God.” (from “Since You Believe in God, You Have to Put Your Heart Before God” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) God’s revelation made me understand his will. Then, I prayed to God, “O God! I believe that today everything I encounter is out of your permission. Now I see clearly that the law enforcement agency under the CCP system is an agency of violence. I’m willing to give my heart to you and present it before you. O God, I know that only after I experience such a trial and refining can my heart of loving you be stronger. If today satan puts me to death, I’ll make no complaint. It’s my honor that I, a created being, can bear testimony for you. In the past, I didn’t perform my duty properly and was indebted to you too much. It’s most meaningful that I can have the opportunity to die for you today. I’m willing to obey.” After the prayer, I was greatly moved in my heart, feeling that it was so meaningful for me to suffer this for following God, and that even if I died, it was worthy. God’s words gave me infinite faith and strength.
About over ten minutes later, a female cop came over and got me up, and said hypocritically, “You’re at such an age. Your child has been in college. Is it worthwhile to suffer this? If you tell, you can get out immediately. You see, you dress like a poor beggar. What good is it?” Seeing that I didn’t have any reaction, she continued, “As a mother, you should think for your son. This matter will influence several generations of your family: your parents, your husband, your son, and your grandchildren. In the future, not to mention joining the army, rising as a cadre, or being a public servant, even being a security guard is impossible. Do you want your son to labor hard and do odd jobs living a poor life like you when he grows up?” Just when satan was carrying out its scheme, God’s words flashed within me, “Everything in the whole universe, without exception, is decided by me. Is there anything that is not in my hand? I’ll accomplish as I say. Among men, who can change my will?” (from “The First Piece of Word” of God’s Utterance to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words made me see through satan’s scheme. I knew that they were threatening me with my child’s future. But I knew that man’s destiny is not in his own hand, nor in their hands, but in God’s hand. I wasn’t in the least restrained by them in my heart. The guidance of God’s words made me truly feel that God was with me and was keeping me. I had a firmer trust in God. Then I turned my head aside and kept silent. The female cop abused me and then went away angrily.
It was getting dark. Seeing that they couldn’t get anything from the sister and me, they could only send us to the county detention jail. But the cops there said that our case was very serious and we should be sent to the city detention house. When we arrived there, it was already past 1 a.m. There was a gate made of lines of iron sticks before our eyes, so ghastly and horrible. After we entered, first we were stripped naked for a search, and all the buttons and zippers on our clothes were cut off. Wearing the torn clothes, I felt that I was just like a beggar. Then we had to receive physical examination. They saw the wounds on my legs from the evil cops’ beating and saw that I even walked with difficulty, yet they made up lies through their teeth, “It’s very normal. It’s not serious.” The prison regulation stipulated clearly that we would be given medicine when we were found to have illness after examination. But actually they didn’t care about my life at all and even mocked me, “Since you believers in Almighty God have God as your protector, just bear it.” Then I was taken to a cell. A prisoner put her head out of the quilt and shouted at me, “Strip!” I begged her not to let me take off my underwear. She laughed insidiously and said, “Since you’re here, you should obey the rules!” Then, the other prisoners all put their heads out of their quilts and uttered various strange sounds. There were eighteen prisoners in the cell over twenty square meters. They were drug traffickers, murderers, embezzlers, and thieves. There, the job of the “boss,” the head of the cell, was to fix us by various means every day and she took delight in torturing us. In the morning, the “number two” in the cell taught me the rules. She ordered me to mop the floor twice every day and kept finding work for me to do. Moreover, I had to make products as many as others’ and even had to do faster.
Otherwise, I would be punished. The prison guards, like beasts, often fixed us without cause. One of the guards even threatened, “I’m the boss. I’m not afraid of your telling on me. If you dare, just do it. I’ll let you suffer enough! …” That gang of evil cops were simply lawless and rampant to the extreme. There, “money makes the mare go.” As long as the prisoners gave money to the guards, they could be beyond the arm of the “law.” An official’s wife who embezzled a huge sum of money often gave money to the guards and bought special dishes to the “boss” every day. So, she didn’t have to do anything all day long and had others wash her bowl and fold her quilt. Living in that hell, I still thanked God, for there were two sisters who believe in Almighty God there and we were like family. In those days, we three sisters would fellowship together once we had the opportunity, and we relied on God all the time, asking him to give us faith and strength. We sustained and helped each other and got through the difficulties together.
There, I was interrogated by the evil cops four times. Once, the interrogators introduced themselves, saying that they were from the City Public Security Bureau and the National Security Team. I thought to myself, “People from the City Public Security Bureau must have better quality and breeding than the ones from the small police station. They should enforce the law impartially.” However the fact countered my imagination. The man from the City Public Security Bureau entered the room and then lay on the chair, with his feet on the table. His whole body shook with smugness. He took a glance at me with scornful eyes, and then stood up and walked over to me. He lit a cigarette and took a deep draw on it and blew the smoke into my face. Seeing his look, I felt it too ridiculous. So, I prayed to God silently, “Almighty God, may you give me wisdom to defeat satan so that I can glorify and testify you.” At that time, the lackey from the National Security Team said, “We’ve known things about you. As long as you cooperate with us, we’ll release you immediately….” I took a look at him and sneered. They thought that I compromised, and said, “You’re willing to cooperate?” I answered, “I’ve long told you all that I can say.” The evil cop immediately became furious and cursed, “You this woman don’t appreciate my kindness. If you don’t say today, I’ll have plenty of time to accompany you. I’ll find your son from his school, making him drop out of the school….” Then, they took out my cell phone and threatened me, “Whose numbers are these in your SIM card? If you don’t speak clearly today, you’ll be sentenced to seven or eight years. We’ll let the prisoners torture you every day and make you feel worse than death.” No matter how he questioned me, I didn’t answer him the whole time. At that time, I didn’t feel afraid, because God’s words inspired me within, “This is because if you want to be saved and left, you have to undergo these sufferings. This is ordained. So it is a blessing that these sufferings come upon you. … The significance in it is very deep and very great. …” (from “He Who Has Lost the Holy Spirit’s Working Is in the Greatest Danger” in Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers) That interrogation lasted two and a half hours, but it was resultless. Even before they left, they still threatened me.
On January 6, 2013, the cops handling my case asked me to put on prison clothes and handcuffed me and took me back to the police station of my hometown in a prison van. There I learned that those evil cops had already found my son and in-laws, searched my house, and inquired about the information about me in those years. A cop of the local police station said, “We’ve been hunting this woman for years but failed to catch her. When her husband died, she came back and just stayed for one night, making us keep watch for several days in her house in vain. When her son had a heart operation, we went to the hospital and didn’t find her. Because of believing in God, she even abandoned her family. We must fix her hard this time….” Hearing those words, I cried in my heart, “Didn’t I want to go home? My husband’s death made me extremely grieved. When my son had an operation, I was deeply worried. How I wished to stay at his side. It wasn’t that I didn’t miss them, but that the CCP government had been persecuting me and I couldn’t go home!”
The car sped on the road to my home. I cried silently in my heart and kept praying to God, “O God! I’ve been away from home for several years. I’ll see my family in a while. I’m afraid that I might be weak at the sight of them and fall into satan’s scheme. May you help me so that I can live out the dignity and backbone of a believer in God before satan and won’t fall into their trap. I only wish that I can stand testimony for you and satisfy you.” After the prayer, I felt much relieved and got released in my heart. I knew that God was giving me strength. When the car was close to my home, the evil cops intentionally parked it on the road, and had me lead them to my home in prison clothes and handcuffs. The neighbors around all stood in the distance looking and pointing at me, and curses and jeers came from behind me…. Entering my house, I saw at once that my son was washing clothes in the yard. Hearing me enter, he even didn’t raise his head. I knew that he hated me in his heart. My in-laws’ hair was already gray. My mother-in-law came out and greeted the evil cops, saying nothing more. The evil cops asked, “Is she your daughter-in-law?” She nodded slightly. Then they began to threaten my in-laws, “If she doesn’t cooperate, her son will be kicked out at once as long as we make a call to his school. And even you old people’s subsistence allowance will be cancelled. All the favorable policies for you will be cancelled!” Threatened by the evil cops, the old couple lost countenance and even shivered when speaking. They hurriedly admitted that I had been believing in God outside in those six or seven years. Then the evil cops shouted at my mother-in-law, “The party and the people have been caring about you so much in these years. Tell me, is the CCP good or not?” She immediately said with fright, “Good.” “Is the policy good now?” “Yes. Yes.” “Aren’t these disasters of your family and your son’s death caused by your daughter-in-law? Isn’t she the ‘bane’ of your family?” My mother-in-law bent her head and nodded slightly. Seeing that their scheme succeeded, the evil cops pulled me into the room and asked me to look at my older son’s various certificates of merit on the wall. And they hypocritically pointed at me and scolded, “I’ve never seen such an inhuman person as you. You have such a good son, and you don’t look after him. What can you get from believing in God?” Looking at my son’s certificates on the wall, I thought, “My husband suddenly died in a car accident; my son denied me because his schooling was affected by my believing in God; my in-laws were frightened and threatened because of me. This family has already fallen apart! But who is the cause of all these? Is it because I believe in God? Isn’t it because of the CCP’s persecution that these disasters come one after another? Isn’t it because of their rumoring and framing that I couldn’t go back home?” At that time, the hatred for those satans the devils in my heart was going to burst out like a volcano about to erupt. I wanted to cry out loudly, “Satan the devil, I hate you! I hate you to my bones and blood! In these years, wasn’t it because you the CCP government persecuted me that I couldn’t go back home? Didn’t I want to stay with my son and give him motherly love and warmth? Didn’t I want to live a harmonious and happy life with my family?” I remembered Almighty God’s words, “… God will cause men who follow and worship him to prosper and cause men who resist and reject him to decline and perish.” (from “God Is Sovereign over the Destiny of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “If mankind wants to have a good destiny and if a nation wants to have a good destiny, then all mankind has to fall down and worship God, and come before God to repent and confess their sins to God. Otherwise, mankind’s destiny and destination will be an inescapable disaster.” (from “God Is Sovereign over the Destiny of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Why did my husband die? If he hadn’t believed the CCP’s rumors and hindered me from performing duty, persecuted the brothers and sisters, and frenziedly resisted and blasphemed God, how could he have lost God’s care and keeping? Wasn’t my husband killed by them satans? Today, my family is brought to ruin, broken up, and burdened with debts. Isn’t it caused by you the devilish party? If it isn’t you who use various kinds of tricks and means to deceive my family and cause them to resist God, will they be so poor? Will they lose God’s blessing? God clearly tells us that only if mankind worships God can they receive God’s blessing. Today you satan the devil don’t worship God and instigate my family to resist God! What is more hateful is that you instantly change your tune and play the “positive character” to preach, framing God for the root of my family’s misfortunes and shifting the blame on me. You’re really calling black white and talking nonsense! You gang of evil spirits run counter to right principles and play the trick of a thief crying “Stop thief.” You’re the real bane, scourge, and jinx! If anyone listens to your lies, he will get into trouble and will encounter disasters! You the CCP government are the real chief criminal that causes my family to be ruined! Living in such a country, how can people have happiness? After finishing their performance, the evil cops shouted at me, “Go!” I walked out of the house. I thanked Almighty God for keeping me, so that I saw through satan’s scheme and saw clearly the CCP evil party’s being reactionary and evil and stood testimony!
On January 12, I was interrogated one last time. Two evil cops again forced me to sell out the brothers and sisters. No matter how they intimidated and persecuted me, I said that I knew nothing. They immediately flared up and slapped my face hard and pulled my hair like mad. They pushed me back and forth and kicked my legs hard, and then fiercely struck my head with a copper tobacco pipe. They also cursed, “You think I dare not beat you? I just beat you; so what? I’ll see how tight-lipped you are!” I thanked Almighty God for his keeping. Though they tortured me so badly, I only felt numb all over, but didn’t feel much pain. The two evil cops tortured me for four hours. It was not until they were exhausted and sweated all over their face that they stopped. They sat on the sofa, breathing heavily, and said, “Well, you just wait to be in prison for life. We won’t release you even if you die!” After I heard those words, my heart was very calm, because I had resolved in my heart that I would rather die than yield to the devil. I prayed to God inwardly, “O God! I’m willing to commit myself to you. Even if the evil cops put me in prison for life, I’ll follow you to the end! Even if I’m put in hell, I’ll praise you!” Back to the cell, I just waited to be imprisoned for the rest of my life. Unexpectedly, God made a way out for me. On the afternoon of January 16, to my surprise, I was acquitted and released by the evil cops.
That deeply ingrained experience, like a nightmare, made me unable to recall. I had never dreamed that an ordinary woman like me, who lives in the mountain and even didn’t finish primary school, was regarded as an enemy by the CCP government and it resolved to put me to death because of my believing in God. I once asked them in an interrogation, “What have I done wrong? What law have I broken? What words of opposing the party and the people have I said? Why did you arrest me?” Those cops had nothing to answer but roared at me, “You can steal, rob, murder, commit arson, or prostitute yourself. We won’t care. Your believing in God is opposing the CCP. You deserve beating!” Those words of being arbitrary and confusing right and wrong are exactly the voice from the devil! It’s right and proper for man to believe in and worship God. But the devil shamelessly says that we act against it. It completely reveals the devil’s substance! The CCP government not only frenziedly resists God’s work and arrests believers in God, but also fabricates rumors to deceive people, so that those who believe its lies all live in God’s curse and punishment because of resisting God, but they’re totally unaware of that. It can be said that all of people’s sufferings are caused by the CCP government, this big bane! After experiencing the devil’s affliction, I completely saw through the CCP’s reactionary substance of being hostile to God and going against Heaven, truly tasted God’s love, and saw that God’s substance is beauty and good. Every time I was most distressed and had the hardest time, God’s word guided and inspired me within, giving me strength and faith, so that I was awakened in my spirit and truly felt God’s accompanying and guidance and got out of the difficulties time and again and stood testimony. God’s love is so great! From now on, I’ll dedicate my everything to repay God’s love, for gaining the truth and even more for living out a meaningful life.