In November 2003, I came to stay in a host family of new believers. They had just followed the Almighty God for half a year. In my conversation with them, I discovered that the sister not only clung to God’s work in the Age of the Grace, but also especially looked up to her former leader, and she didn’t mention anything about God’s new work. The brother was a little better, but he still had some notions about God’s word. In the face of these difficulties, I somewhat flinched, thinking, “How can I settle down to do my work in such a circumstance?” At that time, I didn’t understand God’s kind intention; on the contrary, I had some complaints in my heart. I merely maintained my relationships with them cautiously, lest I would cause them to stumble through a little carelessness.
In the following several days, the sister either watched TV or did the housework; she did not show any interest in God’s word. I tried to fellowship with her but no result was achieved. I just had no way to communicate with her. I felt very awkward in my heart. Then I thought: I will bury myself in performing my duty and leave them alone…. But at the thought that they were also brother and sister in God’s family though they were not certain about God’s new work, I always felt accused in my heart. So, that evening I nerved myself again to call them together to have a meeting and read God’s word. But unexpectedly, the sister said, “In fact, I haven’t been fully certain. I believe in God, but I wonder whether what you people preach is true or false, as I’ve not seen God. Anyway, it is said that God’s work will be concluded at the end of this year; I’ll follow and see….” Then I got anxious and said, “Whether it is true or false, don’t see in waiting. We should see in praying, seeking, and cooperating actively whether there is the working of the Holy Spirit….” But before I could finish my words, the sister became unhappy and said, “Who wait and see? If I did, I wouldn’t be hosting you….” At that moment, I felt our communication was so difficult. I thought, “How come the new believers are so difficult to lead? I can neither be quick nor slow. If I am quick, they may be touched and stumble; if I am slow, their growth of life may be held up….” The sister had many notions and I didn’t know how to solve them for the moment. So I prayed to God silently in my heart, beseeching the Holy Spirit to inspire and help them so that they could be certain about God’s work soon.
At this time, a fit of moving flickered across my heart: Isn’t it with painstaking care and price that God has been leading all of us step by step forward, taking a lot of trouble? For the first time, I felt the difficulty of God’s working, felt the painstaking care God has expended for mankind, and felt Christ’s love, Christ’s patience and perseverance, and Christ’s power of endurance…. All this deeply shook my heart. Then I carefully reflected on myself: Many times, when I saw that God’s word was a bit stern, I became passive and misunderstood God’s intention. God expected I could grow up soon, so he made higher requirements of me; however, I thought that God was making things difficult for me, so I did not want to pursue and did not try to make progress anymore but waited passively, causing God to be grieved and anxious. God worried about man’s life and arranged the circumstances for me to know myself, hoping that I would wake up and no longer satisfy the flesh. But I often misunderstood God’s exposing and became passive and weak and fell down and no longer stood up. God often gave man comfort because man had fleshly weaknesses, but I thus tolerated myself, being contented with myself, and did not go forward, causing God to worry too much about me…. In retrospect, wasn’t every step I took bought by God’s painstaking care and price? Truly, if God was quick, he worried that I might fall down; if he was slow, he was afraid that I might lag behind. So how could I have the qualification to dislike the new believers and complain that they are difficult to lead? In the moving, I opened the book of God’s word, and carefully pondered God’s heart-voice: “How difficult God’s footsteps in working on earth are. For man’s weaknesses, for man’s deficiencies, for man’s immaturity, for man’s ignorance, and for man’s everything, God makes thorough plans, considering them all carefully. Everyone is like a ‘paper tiger’ that others dare not offend or provoke. Being touched gently, he will recriminate or will stumble and get lost. It seems that if God were not careful, man would relapse into his old sickness or ignore God…. Although God’s words are sincere and earnest and without any malice, who is willing to accept them? Who is willing to be completely subject to them? God’s heart has been broken. He works hard for man day and night, worries about man’s life, and also sympathizes with man’s weaknesses. He experiences many twists and turns in doing every step of the work or speaking every word, being always in a dilemma, and thinks about these day and night: man’s weaknesses, man’s disobedience, man’s immaturity, man’s fragility, etc., turning them over and over in his mind. Who has ever known? To whom can he unbosom? Who can understand? …”
Only then did I understand God’s kind intention. God wants me, before the facts, to sense and feel with my heart God’s love for man and all that God has expended for man. Otherwise, my heart could never truly love God, and I could never truly come before God. God is using his love and his Spirit to move my numb and hardened heart, and even more, he is using his love to try to arouse and revive my spirit. Only at this moment did I sense the inner meaning of God’s words: “For man’s weaknesses, for man’s deficiencies, for man’s immaturity, for man’s ignorance, and for man’s everything, God makes thorough plans.” Before the love of God, even the heart of stone would be melted! I shed tears, for the love of God, for the suffering of Christ, and even more, for Christ’s patience and perseverance and her large heart toward mankind…. O God! I will take this as my motivating force and pursue to be one who cares for your burden and who truly loves you.
Qingzhou City, Shandong Province