Fleeing From the “Tiger’s Den” (Audio Essay, Part 2)
I never expected that, after just two days of peace, I would encounter Satan’s harassment and coercion once again. One night, my mother, a few of my uncles and aunties as well as my third grandaunt came over to try to stop me from believing in. When I saw them all gathered together, I became extremely angry. I thought, “I just believe in the true God. What’s wrong with that? Why are they going on and on about this?” My third grandaunt said in a strange tone, “Come on, Xiaoyou. Let’s go home to see your grandma.” I was surprised to hear her say this and thought: “They are here to take me to my mother’s place. They want to lock me up with my mentally disturbed grandma! Oh no, how can my relatives do this to me? How can they be so heartless?” Just as I was thinking this, my mother grabbed a rope and rushed toward me, squatted down and began to tie my feet together. I became very anxious. I pushed her hands away and yelled, “What are you doing? Why do you want to tie me up?” Seeing this, two of my uncles walked over and each of them held on to one of my shoulders so that I could not resist. At that time I was sitting on the sofa and was unable to stand up. I urgently cried out to God in my heart: “O God! They are trying to tie me up and take me away. If they succeed, I will be unable to believe in You and won’t be able to find the church. O God! Grant me faith and strength and open a way out for me!” After I finished praying, I felt strength surge through my body. I struggled and shouted, “What are you doing? Let me go!” When they saw how ferociously I was resisting, they released me. I felt very thankful to God. I truly experienced that as long as one genuinely relies on God, one will witness God’s deeds. I also really felt that God was by my side, protecting me and watching over me at all times. I thought: “In this environment, I must offer my true heart to God and I must thoroughly humiliate the devil Satan.” So I staunchly said to them, “When it comes to other matters, I will listen to you. However, when it comes to believing in God I will only listen to God! I am already certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord. No matter how you try to force me, I will not be swayed!” Once I became resolved to follow God, I witnessed God’s deeds again. One of my aunts said, “Don’t tie her up. It won’t do any good. I can see that she is set on her faith.” Only when my aunt said that did they all turn and leave dejectedly. After they went, I instantly felt limp and exhausted both physically and mentally. I did not have an ounce of strength left. I lay down on my bed and drifted into sleep. The next morning, I thought about what had happened the night before with a heavy heart. When I thought about the way my relatives were treating me, I could not help but think: “Oh, my mother and my relatives have been deceived by the rumors spread by the priests and the church leaders, and they keep on trying to coerce me. When is all this going to end?” Then I thought back to when I’d been together with my brothers and sisters from . With one accord, we had pursued the truth and fulfilled our duties, everyone had helped each other and supported each other. Nobody tried to bully or oppress anyone else, and there had been no need to be on my guard. I’d felt very free and liberated, and I’d felt fulfilled and at ease every day. And yet now I was confined in my home, I had no freedom whatsoever, and I was living each day on tenterhooks. I never knew when my relatives or the people from my old church would turn up. At best, they lightly reprimanded me. At worst, they threatened and tried to intimidate me. I felt so pained and unhappy. I really wanted to go back to The Church of Almighty God and attend gatherings, sing hymns and praise God with my brothers and sisters.
Immediately following this incident, something happened that was even more unexpected. One day, my husband and I went out shopping. After we returned home, I wanted to read God’s words on my MP5 player but I couldn’t find it. I felt so anxious and flustered. I thought: “Where did my MP5 player go? I definitely left it at home. Why can’t I find it?” I suddenly thought my mother must have taken it away. I remembered that there was one day that my mother came in and saw me reading God’s word on the MP5 player. After that, she would frequently come to my house and rummage through my things. I was certain that the reason my MP5 player could not be found was because she had taken it. With this thought, I became very angry, and I stormed over to my mother’s house. When I went in, I saw that my mother was talking with my second grandaunt. I went over to her and said, “Mother, did you take my MP5 player? That is mine. If you took it, give it back to me right away.” To my surprise, my mother flatly denied having taken it. She gave me a contemptuous look, and I said angrily, “I keep my MP5 player at home. Nobody else would have touched it. You are the only person who constantly rummages through my things. It was definitely you that took it. Give it back to me!” Faced with my interrogation, my mother replied in a harsh tone of voice, “I will not give it back to you. You’d better go home as you’ll never get it back from me!” No matter how much I insisted, she would not give it back to me, so I had no choice but to go home empty handed. On the way back home, I felt very miserable. I thought: “I no longer have my MP5 player so I can’t read God’s words anymore. In the past, even though my mother and the others came to harass me, I was still able to read God’s words and have the guidance and leadership of God’s words. As a result, I was able to understand God’s will and have the faith and strength to withstand their attacks. But now, my MP5 player is gone! What will I do? Without God’s words, isn’t it over for me?” The more I thought about it the more hopeless I felt, and my spirit slumped into negativity. I felt extremely miserable. At my weakest and most disheartening moment, a hymn of God’s words floated up into my mind: “Today, most people do not have that knowledge. They believe that suffering is without value, they are renounced by the world, their home life is troubled, they are not beloved of God, and their prospects are bleak. The suffering of some people reaches an extreme, and their thoughts turn to death. This is not true love for God; such people are cowards, they have no perseverance, they are weak and powerless! … Thus, during these last days you must bearto God. No matter how great your suffering, you should walk until the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony” (“Seek to Love God No Matter How Great Your Suffering” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). With the guidance of God’s words, I understood that God was hoping that I would be able to bear witness for Him in this situation. Regardless of how difficult things got, I absolutely had to be loyal to God until the end and not lose . I thought back over all the persecution I had experienced, and I realized that each incident had been a battle in the spiritual world. Satan was using all kinds of methods to break me bit by bit. Right now, it had snatched away the “food of my spiritual life” in the desire to swallow up my soul. Satan is truly savage. I knew that I must not fall for its schemes. Even though my MP5 player was gone, I still had God. God would still enlighten me and guide me, and I believed that as long as I relied on God at every moment, God would help me get through every difficulty and hardship. Regardless of what circumstances I had to face in the future, as long as I had just one remaining breath in my body, I would stand witness for God. God’s words once again guided me and gave me the faith I needed to carry on.
Through experiencing this persecution and adversity time and time again, I witnessed the power and authority of God’s words. Each time I became negative, weak, confused and perplexed, God’s words gave me the faith and strength I needed and guided me to see through Satan’s schemes and stand witness for God. At the same time, I was also able to see that God was at my side at every moment, acting as my support and opening up the way for me. My faith in God increased little by little and my desire to leave my family became stronger. I knew I had to escape from this “tiger’s den” as soon as I could and go find the church and my brothers and sisters. I therefore prayed to God and entrusted Him with this matter, and I asked God to guide me. A few days later, I managed to evade my brother’s surveillance and successfully got away from home. Once again, I returned to The Church of Almighty God to live the church life and to fulfill my duties to the best of my abilities. More than a month of pain had finally come to an end, and the feelings of oppression and anxiety within my heart vanished like smoke in the air. Thank God for guiding me to break through Satan’s dark influence and escape from the “tiger’s den,” and for once again guiding me back to God’s family.
This experience remains fresh in my memory because during that time I vividly witnessed God’s love and, and I saw that God was at my side protecting me at every moment, and preventing me from being deceived and swallowed up by Satan. At the same time, this extraordinary experience also enabled me to develop discernment of the priests, the church leaders, and others. They frantically condemned and blasphemed Almighty God, and they fabricated rumors and bore false witness to deceive me. They used all sorts of tricks to try to stop me from following Almighty God. They are the obstacles and stumbling blocks to us accepting God’s work of the last days, receiving God’s salvation and being gained by God, and they are satanic demons that are here to devour people’s souls! It was at this time that I finally understood the true meaning of the following words that Almighty God spoke: “Believers and unbelievers are not compatible; rather, they are opposed to one another” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in ). I recognized that even though the priests, the church leaders, the nuns, the members of my old church and my mother appeared to on the surface, they did not understand God’s voice and they did not know God. They refused to accept the work of the returned Lord, and so God does not recognize their faith. In God’s eyes, they are nonbelievers. They are the tares revealed by God’s work in the last days and they are, in essence, demons and antichrists that oppose God. Additionally, I also saw that the persecution from family members and the harassment from religious people are all attacks that originate from Satan, and that they are intense battles being waged in the spiritual world. Satan wanted to use these people, events and things to disturb me, to cause me to renounce the true way, to betray God, enter into its “embrace,” lose the chance of being saved by God and be destroyed along with it in hell. However, God’s wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s plots. Whenever Satan attacked and harassed me, God guided me and led me at every moment so that I could experience His words, and develop discernment and insight through His words. God also perfected my faith in Him, and He enabled my faith in Him to become true, resolute, and no longer weak. I thank God for guiding me and helping me understand some truths in just over a month. Now I know the difference between good and evil, between beauty and ugliness. My faith in God has been strengthened and I have become closer to God. Pain is truly God’s blessing! In my future life of faith, I wish to experience even more of God’s work and I am willing to follow Almighty God until the very end!