In the past when I preached the gospel away from home, I always felt it was too hard and too tiring, so I always yearned to perform my duty in an easy circumstance. When I read in God’s word this word Peter said, “Even if you do not give me joy and peace but let me live in suffering and chasten me endlessly, as long as you have not left me, I feel assured in my heart,” I felt very surprised. God’s chastisements and judgments are all painful trials and fiery refining to man. Why did Peter pursue God’s chastisement and judgment as his joy? Wasn’t he afraid of suffering? This question always puzzled me. Not until later God arranged an appropriate circumstance for me did I gain a little knowledge of this word Peter said.
In May 2003, God’s family assigned me to perform my duty in a writing team. I was very happy, thinking, “It’s all right now. I will no longer have to suffer from drifting about, and I will have plenty of time to read God’s word and equip myself with the truth. I am so grateful to God! I will do my best to cherish this duty.” At first I was very energetic and the Holy Spirit also worked, so I did the work methodically. But before long, I gradually slackened myself and did everything at will, without any restraints. I took a rest whenever I wanted to; when eating and drinking God’s word, I just went through the motions, without receiving any new light; I prayed only as a formality; and I even indulged in watching TV…. Sometimes I was rebuked in my conscience, feeling that such doings were not after God’s heart. And I wanted to rebel against the flesh but just could not overcome it.
When my state was getting worse and my whole being was on the point of being swallowed by satan, such a passage of God’s word woke me up: “Such people not only do not know the way to enter into life, but even more, they do not know God’s work of today. They do not know how to live their daily lives. Their lives are too empty! They know nothing about what they themselves should enter into…. They are sated with food all day and do some meaningless things. What meaning does it have to live this way?” God’s stern words of judgment made me feel ashamed of myself, unable to lift up my head before God. Thinking back to the past and looking at the present, I realized that I had been so corrupted by satan that I did not have any likeness of a man. When in suffering, I expected ease; when in ease, I craved enjoyment. I always had extravagant demands, just as God says: “Man’s flesh is like a snake, which in essence harms man’s life.” Not until then did I understand why Peter pursued God’s chastisement and judgment as his joy. It is because Peter knew that corrupt man could not afford to enjoy easy circumstances. He even more knew that chastisement and judgment were God’s great salvation and great love for corrupt man. Without the chastisement and judgment of God, man would only enjoy the pleasures of sin, and would be devoured by satan in the end.
O Almighty God! Thank you that the circumstances you arranged for me have exposed my inherent nature of craving ease. It is your words of chastisement and judgment that have awakened me; I have realized that your chastisement and judgment are the greatest need of us corrupt people. Today, I have finally understood that if I want to be perfected by you and become a real man, I can’t leave your chastisement and judgment. Your chastisement and judgment and the suffering and refining are the only way to purify me, and even more they are a great keeping for me. O God! From now on, I will rebel against my flesh and imitate the pursuit of Peter, pursue to know you and know myself in your chastisement and judgment, and fulfill my duty to repay your love.
Suqian City, Jiangsu Province