73. Only God’s Love Is Real
By Xiaodong, Sichuan Province
God said, “The Chinese nation which has been corrupted for thousands of years has continued on until today. All sorts of viruses continue to expand and are spreading everywhere like the plague; just looking at people’s relationships is enough to see how many viruses are in people. It’s extremely difficult for God to develop His work in such a tightly closed and virus-infected area. People’s personalities, habits, the way they do things, everything they express in their lives and their interpersonal relationships are all broken beyond belief …” (“The Path … (6)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The revelation in God’s words made me see that Satan’s corruption makes all relationships between people abnormal, because such relationships are all based on the interests of the flesh, and contain not even a shred of truth. It is meaningless for people to live for these things. Without God’s salvation, my eyes would still be covered and I would still be ensnared in my emotions, but experiencing the work of God made me understand the truth of friendship, love, and familial affection. I saw that only God’s love is real, and that only by living by God’s words and comporting oneself according to the truth can one live out a meaningful life.
My parents were both Christians. They did business for their livelihood, and our faith in the Lord Jesus brought us a great deal of grace. Especially in business, God blessed us with much in the way of material comforts. Most of our relatives and friends weren’t as well off as our family, and my parents took good care of them financially and materially. They had a great deal of respect for my parents, and no matter what our family needed, they were always willing to help. They looked at me with the same eyes, so I always thought our friends and relatives were wonderful.
In 1998, my entire family accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. At the time, I didn’t understand the truth, so I acted much as before: spending my days eating, drinking, and carousing with my close friends and relatives. And because I spent generously, I gained more and more friends, and more and more classmate reunions, parties, classmates’ and friends’ birthdays and weddings, and other occasions couldn’t be held without inviting me, because I was too “important.” Beyond that, every Sunday I drove to pick up and see off my girlfriend, and we often went out together. At that time, even though I never missed one of my three meetings a week at the church, I was so bound up in these relationships that I essentially had no interest in reading God’s word or pursuing the truth. My heart was lost to the world outside, and believing in God felt like a burden. Later, we stopped our family business because it was a difficult field.
After the business stopped, my parents spent a great deal of money to remodel our house, and had to pay tuition for my sister and me. Our family’s savings were almost gone after a few years. Just as the saying “Tributaries run dry when the mainstream runs low” describes, when I realized that my family’s economic situation had changed, I cut down on my own spending. I avoided weddings and gatherings, large or small, whenever I could, so my circle of friends began to shrink, and my status in the eyes of my friends and classmates became lower and lower, to the point that they rarely contacted me. As the fortunes of my poorer friends and relatives improved, they associated less with us as well. Watching all this happen was very distressing for me. Even more distressing was the fact that my girlfriend became more distant because I didn’t spend money as generously as I had in the past, and before long, she left me for someone else. That’s how our five-year relationship ended. I was in torment. It was a blow I couldn’t accept. I had been loyal to her the entire time, my efforts for her were sincere. Why did I get betrayal from her in return? It made no sense to me, so all I could do was bury the pain deep in my heart.
At the time, I couldn’t understand how something like this could happen to me. Then, one day, I saw this passage in God’s words, “Most people live in the foul place of Satan, and suffer its derision; it teases them this way and that till they are half alive, enduring every vicissitude, every hardship in the human world. After toying with them, Satan puts an end to their destiny. And so people go through their whole lives in a daze of confusion, never once enjoying the good things that God has prepared for them, but instead being damaged by Satan and left in tatters. Today they have become so enervated and listless that they simply have no inclination to take notice of God’s work” (“Work and Entry (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The revelation in God’s words is a true portrayal of human life. Everyone in modern society lives for fame, fortune, and love. All day they slave away, scheme, struggle, and kill for these things, and by the time they have experienced the inconstancy of human relationships, when they have had all they can take of hardship in the human world, Satan will have toyed with them to the point that they are already half-dead. The fact is that Satan uses these things to control and possess people, to ensure that people never know to seek God, have no desire to believe in God, and have no interest in God’s work, so that in the end they are destroyed because of following Satan. Although I believed in God, I had spent my days drowning in passionate love and lived amidst vulgar worldly exchanges. These things entirely occupied my heart. I was inextricably trapped. I lacked any desire at all to go before God, and even considered belief in God as a kind of fetters. If circumstances hadn’t changed for me, I would still believe in those “pledges of eternal love” and “loyal friends,” and I would still be bound and constrained by those things, and I would never have been able to still my heart enough to properly believe in God. Because of the breakup with my girlfriend, I cut off all my relationships with my classmates. Far away from those pressing interactions and cacophonous surroundings, I could still my heart and properly read God’s words. I gained blessings because of this disaster! Once I understood this, my pain was no longer so sharp. Afterward, through going to meetings and fellowshiping with my brothers and sisters, I came to understand some of the truth, gained some penetration into love and friendship, and learned that in our lives, only by pursuing the truth, casting off our corrupt dispositions, and living out the likeness of a true man can we have a meaningful life. God’s words gradually healed my broken heart, and I felt long-forgotten joy, no longer lost or living in my pain. I became more and more interested in faith in God, and from then on I began fulfilling my duties.
After some time passed, the church work required me to perform my duties away from my hometown. While I was away, I heard that, thanks to an evildoer’s report, my parents and several brothers and sisters had been arrested while holding a meeting at our home, and that the CCP police had taken everything valuable from the house. My birth sister fortunately survived a near-drowning as she fled, only escaping with her life because God protected her. My parents and the brothers and sisters at my family’s house were detained and fined, and all were tortured. All came out with injuries. My parents didn’t dare return home for fear of being arrested again, so they went to stay with my paternal aunt. I was very concerned when I heard the news. Because I was worried about them and I wasn’t busy at work during those few days, I raced to my aunt’s house after I finished my tasks at work. When I saw their still unhealed wounds, I felt really bad. With tears in my eyes, I felt my parents had been humiliated. That’s when my parents told me: During the escape from the police, my birth sister dove into a river (this happened in December, after dark). The water was up to her neck, and the river currents were strong. As she crossed the river, plants caught on her pant leg, her shoes were stuck in the mud, and she didn’t know how to swim, so it was strange that she made it to the other side. God must have miraculously protected her, or the results would have been too terrible to contemplate (the deep water and strong currents had taken the life of a man in his 40’s several days before). Later, my birth sister hid at the house of an older sister who gave my sister a change of clothes while crying as she dried her wet clothes over the fire, and otherwise took very good care of her. Several days later she learned that this older sister’s house was no longer safe, so my birth sister went to hide at my maternal aunt’s home. She came out during the day to send a letter to the local church informing the leader of my family’s situation, but when she returned, my maternal aunt’s younger daughter said to her, “Cousin, why did you come back? I thought you left. We’ve already folded up the bed.” My sister realized my maternal aunt was afraid of getting involved and didn’t want to let her stay there, so with tears in her eyes, she left their home, and came home at the risk of arrest because she had nowhere else to go. After my parents were released, when they learned about my sister’s near-drowning and how she was kicked out by my maternal aunt, they were very angry and went to speak to her about it, but my maternal aunt, utterly convinced of the rightness of her actions, answered, “That’s right, we are afraid of getting involved. You brought these arrests on yourselves. You had a perfectly good life, but you had to go and screw it up, and now you almost got someone killed!” My parents told me that none of our relatives and friends came to check in on them or comfort them after they had been released. The people we helped most in the past and those who had the best relationships with us not only didn’t speak to my parents when they met on the street, they moved out of my parents’ path. Some who used to curry favor with them even gossiped behind their backs. Only the brothers and sisters from the church came to visit them and fellowship with them about God’s will in the evenings. I was shocked when I heard my parents tell me all this. I never imagined that our closest relatives, the people closest to us in the past, at a time when the CCP was arresting my family and their lives were in danger, at a time when comfort was needed most of all, would actually say such inhumane words or do such cruel things. To know that they could made me very sad. This allowed me to understand more about what affection in the human world truly means: When there was something to be gained by associating with our family, these friends and relatives were always around us, climbing over themselves to serve, please, and flatter us, but when there was no benefit left to be gained from our family, one by one, they distanced themselves. When they saw that we were arrested and that it might be dangerous to associate with us, they shut their doors to us, or even kicked us while we were down. And not only them, even my girlfriend of five years betrayed me. I realized that in a world where Satan holds power, there is no such thing as true love, and that what we call “affection” in the human world is actually using one another. People’s relationships are built on the basis of exchange. It’s just as the saying goes, “There are no permanent friendships, only permanent interests.” People are all selfish and despicable. God’s words say, “Why does a husband love his wife? And why does a wife love her husband? Why are children dutiful to their parents? And why do parents dote on their children? What kinds of intentions do people really harbor? Is it not in order to satisfy one’s own plans and selfish desires?” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). If not for these “unfortunate” things happening to me, I never would have seen the essence of affection and I would still be fooled and afflicted by Satan. It’s just as this hymn of God’s word says, “When it comes to the state of man’s life, man has yet to find the real life, he still hasn’t seen through to the injustice, desolation, and miserable conditions of the world—and so, were it not for the advent of disaster, most people would still embrace Mother Nature, and would still engross themselves in the flavor of ‘life.’ Is this not the reality of the world? Is this not the voice of salvation that God speaks forth to man? Why, among mankind, has no one ever truly loved God? Why does man love God only in the midst of chastisement and trials, yet no one loves God under His protection?” (“People Don’t Know God’s Salvation” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). If not for what these circumstances revealed to me, I never would have truly understood the relationships between people, and I would still be controlled by familial affection, love, and friendship, inextricably trapped in bondage to these things, deceived and made to suffer by them, and happy in my ignorance. If not for such judgment and chastisement, I would never have sought the truth or reflected upon myself, and never would try my best to pursue the truth and walk the correct path in life. God’s judgment of me was God’s salvation for me, God’s sincere love!
After experiencing these things, I saw that only God’s love is real, and that only the care and help of my brothers and sisters was sincere and practical. I thought back to my parents’ talk about their experience of being arrested by the CCP police. When the policemen used a leather belt to beat my father, he said the belt broke into three pieces as they hit him, but he didn’t feel too much pain. This was God secretly giving him help. My father said that, in the past, he hadn’t believed God’s words concerning how God exposes the evil, hatred of the truth, and enmity toward God of Satan the devil, and that he was an admirer of the king of devils, but this incident made my father believe completely that God’s words exposing Satan the devil are entirely accurate and true in the fullest. The CCP only permits people to listen to its orders, follow in its path, and worship it as a god, and it forbids people from believing in and worshiping God or walking the correct path in life, and even tries to kill off everyone who does believe in God. The CCP is really evil and reactionary. My sister said, when she was chased into the river to escape arrest by the police, she didn’t feel afraid at all, and that even though it was December, she never felt cold as she came out of the water. She said it was God that gave her extra strength and confidence. When I saw that the experience of arrest by the CCP didn’t make my parents and sister feel negative or weak, but instead made their faith in following God more determined, that it actually made them stronger, I felt ashamed, because I had always hoped that my parents would come to no harm and their lives would be easier, but these thoughts of mine not only brought no benefit to their life, they brought no benefit to their salvation. Only God knows what man needs, and God loves man the most. God arranges environments that are most beneficial to each person’s life. Through this, I deeply appreciated that every person lives under God’s guidance, and that the things each person experiences are all part of God’s orchestration and arrangements. God is the only thing people can rely on, people can’t truly help each other, and all familial affection is a product of the flesh. Although it may appear as though family members treat each other well, such things have no benefit to their life, and they make them shun God. I saw a passage of God’s words that said, “From when He created the world, God has done much work involving the vitality of life, has done much work that brings life to man, and has paid a great price so that man might gain life, for God Himself is eternal life, and God Himself is the way by which man is resurrected. God is never absent from the heart of man, and lives among man at all times. He has been the driving force of man’s living, the fundament of man’s existence, and a rich deposit for man’s existence after birth. He causes man to be reborn, and enables him to tenaciously live in his every role. Thanks to His power, and His inextinguishable life force, man has lived for generation after generation, throughout which the power of God’s life has been the mainstay of man’s existence, and for which God has paid a price that no ordinary man has ever paid. God’s life force can prevail over any power; moreover, it exceeds any power. His life is eternal, His power extraordinary, and His life force not easily overwhelmed by any created being or enemy force. The life force of God exists, and shines its brilliant radiance, regardless of time or place. God’s life remains forever unchanged throughout the upheavals of heaven and earth. All things pass away, but God’s life still remains, for God is the source of the existence of all things, and the root of their existence. Man’s life originates from God, the existence of the heaven is because of God, and the existence of the earth stems from the power of God’s life. No object possessed of vitality can transcend the sovereignty of God, and no thing with vigor can break away from the ambit of God’s authority. In this way, regardless of who they are, everyone must submit under the dominion of God, everyone must live under God’s command, and no one can escape from His control” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Through the comparison between God’s words and reality, I saw the extraordinariness and greatness of God’s life force, that He lives among man at all times, at all times guides mankind and displays His power, and that every person lives in arrangements masterminded by God. Facing God’s word, I saw how tiny I was and how insignificant emotional ties are. What could I have done against the difficulties my family faced? Wasn’t God the One who protected them, cared for them, and led them through the crisis? Can man’s love of another man be greater than God’s love for man? This was when I became determined to entrust my family to God, and in the future focus solely on believing in God, pursuing the truth, and repaying God’s love.
My experiences of God’s work throughout these years also helped me gradually come to understand God’s will, as well as to see that the work God has done upon me is to lead me toward understanding and entry into the truth. I was deeply corrupted by Satan and unable to directly grasp the meaning of God’s words, so God arranged many different circumstances, people, matters, and things, designed for my needs, to cleanse and save me, to help me understand His words. Amid my hardships and refinement, I came to see that these words expressed by God are all truth, that they are things that mankind needs. Not only do they act as mankind’s life and allow him to live out normal humanity, they also point out the correct path in life, because God is the truth, the way, and the life. As the word of God says, “I do not need man to do anything but accept the reality of My words and the original meaning of My words. Though My words are simple, in substance they are complex, for you are too small, and have grown too numb. When I reveal My mysteries directly and make plain My will in the flesh, you take no notice; you listen to the sound, but do not understand the meaning. I am overcome with sadness. Although I am in the flesh, I am unable to do the work of the ministry of the flesh” (“Chapter 9” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In God’s word I see both the urgency and sadness in God’s heart. All the words God expresses are the truth, but mankind is too small in stature and too numb, and so pays no notice of God’s will, which fills God with melancholy. I want to comfort God and cooperate with Him, and even though there is much of the truth I don’t understand, and there is still much corruption in me that has not been purified, through my pursuit of the truth and experiencing of more of God’s judgment and chastisement, God will provide me enlightenment and illumination so that I may understand His words, and I will gradually eliminate my corruption.
Thinking back to my years of believing in God, it was God who has awakened me with His words of life and rescued me from Satan’s bondage and allowed me to not be fooled by it. In God’s words, I know the true meaning of life. I know that God has always cared for mankind, and has always watched over and protected mankind. I understand that mankind cannot leave the supply, nourishment, watering, and support of God’s words, that only God is the truth, the way, and the life, and have come to know that there is no salvation but through Him. God’s words have carried me to the present, and His work has saved me. From now on, I want to make God’s words my motto. No matter what tribulations or hardships befall me, I will follow God to the end!