36. Persecution and Adversity Helped Me to Grow Up
Baituo Dezhou City, Shandong Province
Before, I only knew that God’s wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s plots, that God is a wise God and that Satan will ever be God’s defeated foe in theory, but I had no understanding or knowledge of it based on actual experience. Later, only within an environment arranged by God did I gain some real experience of this aspect of the truth
I was at a meeting one afternoon, when suddenly the district leader’s partner hurriedly ran over to me and said, “Your mother has been taken by the great red dragon. Don’t go home for a while. The church will arrange a host family for you.” This news struck me like a bolt from the blue and shook me so much that I was suddenly stupefied: What? My mother has been taken by the great red dragon? How will the great red dragon torture her? Will she be able to endure it? I may never see my mother again. What should I do? Thinking these things, my heart was in torment and I couldn’t stop my tears. After the meeting finished, I was taken to my arranged host family and, after I was settled, my thoughts returned again to my mother. At home, I was closest to my mother. Although my non-believing father tried to force me to give up God, my elder sister ignored me because of my belief in God and all my other relatives abandoned me, I never felt lonely, because I still had my mother who also believed in God. Whether spiritually or physically, my mother always cared for me, doted on me, and helped me often. Whenever I had some problem I could always talk to her about it; you could say that she was my rock. Yet now the only one I could depend on had been taken by the great red dragon. I felt as though I had suddenly become an orphan, not knowing how to walk the road ahead, nor knowing who to go to when I came across difficulties. For the next few days, I cried all day long, lived in constant pain and felt very down. As I was living in this state, unable to free myself, God guided me from within: “Are you really willing to live always in darkness, allowing Satan to make a fool of you? And are you really not willing to understand God in His work and live in the light?” God’s guidance woke me from my pain. That’s right, I thought. Am I really going to always live like this in darkness, allowing Satan to make a fool of me? No, I can’t! This situation that has befallen me must surely hold the kindness of God. Afterward, I went before God many times to pray and to seek for God, asking God to enlighten me so that I could understand His will.
After a while, I discovered that I had started to enter into some of the truth that I had not previously understood or that I had been unable to put into practice. I used to be spoiled at home and food, clothing and having fun took up most of my time. My flesh could suffer no wrong and could not endure the slightest hardship. In the few days after I left home and was living with the host family, I could no longer do anything I wanted, could no longer do as I pleased like I had done at home. Gradually, my pampered nature and bad habits lessened, and I came to know that to have food and clothing in life is to be content. I also gained an insight into the essence of the flesh, never again to continue to pursue satisfaction of the flesh, and I came to know that seeking to satisfy God is the most important thing a creation can do. Before, when my mother was at home, no matter whether I had physical issues or problems in my life, I always depended on her and let her help me resolve them. When I came across problems, I didn’t pray to God, didn’t seek the truth, nor did I have a normal relationship with God. After my mother was taken away, I had no one I could depend on when I came across difficulties. I could only go before God more often to pray to Him, to eat and drink more of God’s words, to seek His will more often. Gradually, the place my mother had held in my heart grew smaller, while God’s place in my heart grew bigger. I felt that God could help me any time I needed, that I could not leave God even for one moment. Moreover, I also learned to rely on prayer and to rely on my pursuit of the truth to resolve my problems, and I tasted the feeling of peace, sureness and dependability that comes from having God with me. When I lived at home, although I knew that believers and non-believers were two kinds of people that were incompatible with each other, I still felt as though only my parents and my elder sister were my family, and I always saw my brothers and sisters in the church as outsiders, always feeling some distance between us. After God had used the environment to “drive” me out of my home, I was together with my brothers and sisters in my host family from morning till night, and felt their concern and care for me, their tolerance and understanding. We spoke the same language, shared the same aspirations and helped each other through life; from my heart, I felt that this was my only true family, that only my brothers and sisters in the church were my father, mother and siblings. There was no longer any estrangement between me and my brothers and sisters in the church, no distance, and I experienced the warmth that comes from having a large family. Through this environment with my brothers and sisters, I also learned how we could love each other, pardon each other and support each other through life, so that my normal humanity was recovered. This truth was what I could not put into practice before, when I lived at home and relied on meetings and sermons. After my mother was taken by the great red dragon and I was forced to leave home, in these exceptional circumstances and unbeknown to me, God wrought this truth within me and gradually deepened my understanding of it. In the wake of my entering into this truth, my heart that sought to love and satisfy God became ever stronger and my will to live my entire life for God became ever more resolute. The person I had been—who believed in God but had no purpose, who weakened whenever some problem came along—was undergoing a gradual change. What God bestowed on me really was more than I ever could have thought, and my heart became full of gratitude and praise for Him.
One day, during my spiritual devotions, I read God’s words that say: “In doing all this work, He has not only allowed humanity, who has been corrupted by Satan, to receive His great salvation, but also allowed them to see His wisdom, almightiness and authority, and in the end He will let humanity see His righteous disposition—punishing the wicked and rewarding the good. He has battled Satan to this very day and has never been defeated, for He is a wise God, and His wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s plots. … He still carries out His work in this same realistic manner today; in addition, as He carries out His work He also reveals His wisdom and almightiness …” (“You Should Know How the Whole of Humanity Has Developed to the Present Day” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words suddenly lit up my heart, and I couldn’t help but release a sigh from deep within: God really is a wise God! God’s deeds really are wonderful and unforeseen! This situation has today befallen me and, on the surface, it looks as though the great red dragon has taken my mother, taken away my only rock, made it hard for me to return home, tried in vain to use this to obstruct my belief in God and to make me cave in, or grow weak and give up by scaring me with its influence. But God’s wisdom is exercised based on the plots of Satan, and God used it to great effect. He sprung me out of my comfy nest and, through this environment, tempered my will, perfected my will to undergo suffering, trained me to have the ability to live independently, taught me how to live out normal humanity and how to be a real person; this truth was something that I had no way to understand, no way to obtain in an environment of ease and comfort. Through this environment, God wrought His truth and what He is in life inside me, so that not only did I not give up because of the persecution of the great red dragon but, on the contrary, I obtained the truth that God had bestowed on me and I was brought under God’s salvation. Furthermore, through the persecution of the great red dragon, I saw its savage, cruel face and its reactionary nature even more clearly. From my heart, I loathed it even more, and my heart that sought to love God became even stronger.
I give thanks to God! From this experience, I gained some practical understanding of God’s almightiness and sovereignty, and gained some practical experience of the fact that God’s wisdom is exercised based on the plots of Satan. I understood that everything that befalls that does not conform to man’s conceptions is the wise deed of God. No matter how Satan enforces its plots, God will ever be a wise God, and Satan will ever be God’s defeated foe. Understanding this, my will to follow God is now more resolute, and I am filled with faith for the road ahead!