51. I Experienced God’s Salvation
Cheng Hao Yongzhou City, Hunan Province
By the grace of God, my wife and I were promoted to the second-line gospel team to fulfill our duties. A little while ago, my wife was promoted to team director, while I, as a result of my own arrogance and wanton behavior, lost the work of the Holy Spirit and was sent home to reflect on my actions. Given that my wife and I began fulfilling our duties at the same time, it was a hard pill to swallow seeing her promoted while I was dismissed from my duties. Tears came to my eyes as I thought: “It’s over for me. God is separating out each after his kind and, given that I’ve been dismissed, this is certainly that I’ve been revealed and eliminated. Oh! Who would have thought that after all these years, my life as a believer would end in such utter failure. All I can do now is wait for my punishment.” Then I headed home with a heavy heart. From then on I became mired in defeat and full of misunderstanding and blame for God. I was hopelessly sunk in darkness.
One day, I came upon the following two passages of God’s word by chance: “I never said that you had no future, much less that you had to be destroyed or suffer perdition; have I publicly announced such a thing? You say you are without hope, but is this not your own conclusion? Is this not the effect of your own mentality? Does your own conclusion count?” (“You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will for the Salvation of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “You don’t see God’s righteous disposition, and you always misunderstand God and distort His intentions, which causes you to always be pessimistic and lose hope. Is this not self-inflicted? … You do not understand God’s work and you don’t understand God’s will at all; even more so, you don’t understand the good intentions God has put into His 6,000 years of management work” (“God’s Will Is to Save People to the Greatest Extent Possible” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Reading these passages, I realized with a start: Is God not talking about me? As soon as I learned that the church had dismissed me, I guessed and concluded that I had been revealed and eliminated and lost faith in seeking the truth. I lived in a perpetual state of negativity and misunderstanding, utterly resigned to my own failure. At that point, I looked into my heart, asking: “Do you really understand why you’ve met with this misfortune? Do you really understand God’s will? Of course not! I don’t understand! Then why would I make wild conjectures and unfounded delineations? Was this not too arrogant, too treacherous? Had I not relegated myself to this place of dark suffering? How foolish, how absurd I had been!” Thus, I went before God in prayer, asking for His enlightenment so that I may understand His will in this recent revelation. Later, I saw this passage of God’s word: “All that He does is true love for you; He has no ill intention. It is because of your sins that He judges you, so that you will examine yourselves and receive this tremendous salvation. All this is done to work man. From beginning to end, God has been doing His utmost to save man, and He is certainly not willing to completely destroy the men He created with His own hands. Now He has come among you to work; isn’t this even more salvation? If He hated you, would He still do work of such magnitude to personally lead you? Why should He suffer so? God does not hate you or have any ill intention toward you. You should know that God’s love is the truest love. It is only because of people’s disobedience that He has to save them through judgment; otherwise, they would not be saved. … He does not have the heart to let you become even more depraved; neither has He the heart to see you living in the filthy place like this, being trampled by Satan at will, or the heart to let you fall into Hades. He only wants to gain this group of you and thoroughly save you. This is the main purpose of doing the conquering work on you—it is just for salvation” (“The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s heartfelt words warmed my heart and roused me from my numb disillusion. As it turned out, though my situation seemed grim on first inspection, it was actually God visiting His love upon me, and investing me with His salvation. It was not, as I thought, that I would be eliminated. I had been arrogant and uncompromising—fulfilling my duties with reckless and wanton abandon. God simply couldn’t bear to see me continue to be trampled by Satan. He couldn’t bear to see me sink any lower and He especially could not bear to see me face punishment for offending God’s disposition through acts of wanton arrogance. Thus, through judgment and chastisement, He brought salvation upon me, blessing me with His saving grace and helping me escape from the grips of Satan’s corruption. The church dismissal was, indeed, God’s greatest salvation. The more arrogant I became, the more God created environments to confront my faults. He allowed my desires to remain unfulfilled so that my numbed heart would begin to feel pain. He acted through this pain to cause me to reflect on my actions, understand the substance of my corrupt nature and seek the truth to achieve a change in my disposition. This is the very real work of the salvation that God visited upon me. All He did was care and love for me. Otherwise, I would still be living in insouciant sin, still be acting with reckless abandon. In the end, my actions would have offended God’s disposition and I would have been eliminated by God. At this point, I came to see that God’s salvation was very real. There is nothing false or empty about God’s love—it is true and real. I, however, failed to see God’s work and His salvation. I failed to seek the earnest intention in God’s salvation, instead over-defining myself at every turn while misunderstanding and criticizing God and living in pessimistic abandonment. How unreasonable I was! I was unworthy of receiving God’s judgment and chastisement.
Dear God, thank You! Through this experience, I realize that Your salvation is real and Your judgment and chastisement are full of love. Without Your judgment and chastisement, I never would have taken an honest look at myself. I would have continued to live in corruption, on a downward spiral, trampled by Satan and finally carried off by it. Through this experience, I also realize that Your substance is love and that all Your actions are aimed at saving mankind. God, I vow to invest myself fully in seeking the truth and starting anew. No matter what the outcome, I vow to fulfill my creaturely duty to satisfy Your will.