8. Regenerated in God’s Word
Wang Gang Shandong Province
I was a peasant. As my family was poor, I kept working everywhere to make money, just wanting to live a better life through my own labor. However, in real life I saw that the lawful rights and interests of a rural worker like me couldn’t be guaranteed at all. My wages were often withheld for no reason. Deceived and exploited by others again and again, I couldn’t get the payment I deserved for a year’s hard work. I felt that the world was too dark! People lived by the law of the jungle like animals and contended with and fought against each other. There was simply no place for me to live. When I was extremely distressed and depressed in my heart and lost confidence in life, a friend preached Almighty God’s end-time salvation to me. From then on, I often had meetings with the brothers and sisters, and we prayed, sang, and fellowshipped about the truth together. We learned from each other and made up for each other’s deficiencies, and I felt especially happy and released. In the Church of Almighty God, I saw that there was no deception or distinction of position among the brothers and sisters. We were all simple and open and lived in harmony. In order to cast off the corrupt disposition and live out the likeness of a man and thus be saved, all of us were striving to pursue the truth, which let me taste the happiness of life and understand the value and meaning of life. Therefore, I always felt that I should preach the gospel so that more people who lived in darkness could come before God to be saved by God and see the light again. So, I joined in preaching the gospel to testify God. However, I never expected that I would be arrested by the CCP government for preaching the gospel and suffer the extremely cruel tortures and imprisonment.
It was at noon in the winter of 2008. When I was testifying God’s end-time work to a gospel friend with two sisters, we were reported by an evil person. Six policemen suddenly rushed into the house of the gospel friend on the excuse of checking residence cards. As soon as they entered the house, they roared loudly, “Freeze!” Two of them rushed at me madly. One seized the clothes on my chest. The other grabbed my arms and twisted them backward with force, shouting venomously, “What are you doing? Where are you from? What’s your name?” I asked in reply, “Who are you? Why do you arrest me?” Hearing that, they flared up into a fury and said aggressively, “Don’t ask why! You’re the one we are catching! Come with us!” After that, the vicious policemen pushed the two sisters and me into a police car and took us to the local police station.
After arriving there, they put me into a small room, ordered me to squat down, and arranged for four guys to watch me. Having squatted for a long time, I was really tired and couldn’t bear it. Just when I wanted to stand up, the vicious policemen came over to press my head down, not allowing me to stand up. They didn’t allow me to get up until they came to search me in the evening. Since they got nothing, they all left later. Soon after, I heard the cry of someone who was tortured in the next room. At that time, I was very afraid in my heart: What cruel means will they use to torture me next? I prayed to God desperately in my heart, “Almighty God! Now I feel scared in my heart. May you give me faith and strength so that I will be strong and courageous and can stand testimony for you. If I can’t withstand their cruel tortures, I’d rather commit suicide by biting off my own tongue than be a Judas to betray God!” After the prayer, I thought of God’s words, “Do not fear this or that. The Almighty God of hosts will surely be with you. He will be your rear guard and shield.” (from “The Twenty-sixth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Right! With Almighty God being my rear guard and being with me, what shall I fear? I’ll rely on God to war against satan. God’s words removed the timidity in my heart and my tightened heart was released.
That night, another four ferocious-looking policemen came. One of them pointed at me, shouting, “We’ve finally got you this big fish. Your believing in Almighty God is disturbing the social order and disrupting the state law….” As he roared, he pushed me into an interrogation room on the second floor and ordered me to squat down. In the room, there were various kinds of torture devices, such as ropes, sticks, batons, steel whips, guns, and so on, which were placed disorderedly on the floor. A vicious policeman with angry eyes grabbed my hair with one hand and made an electric baton sputter with the other hand. He threatened and questioned me, “How many people are there in your church? Where is your meeting place? Who is your leader? How many of you preach in our area? Speak up! Otherwise, there will be a lot for you to suffer.” Looking at the electric baton with a blue light and the torture devices in the room, I couldn’t help feeling kind of nervous and afraid and didn’t know whether I could overcome the following cruel torture. Just at the critical moment, I thought of Almighty God’s words, “The bitter cup I drank you must drink (Jesus said this after his resurrection), and the way I walked you will have to walk. …” (from “The Course of Peter’s Knowing ‘Jesus’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) I realized: This is God’s charge and is the way of life that God personally opens up for us. In walking the way of believing in God and pursuing the truth, we are bound to experience some tribulations and frustrations, which is inevitable. What the suffering accomplishes is God’s blessing. Only in tribulations can we gain the way of truth God bestows. The truth is the eternal life that God bestows to us. I should follow God’s footsteps to go forward and confront all these bravely instead of being timid or afraid. When I thought of that, a burst of strength welled up in my heart immediately. Then I said loudly, “I only believe in Almighty God! I know nothing else!” Hearing that, the vicious policeman was so exasperated that he jabbed my left breast wildly with the electric baton for nearly a minute. Immediately, I felt as if the blood in my body were boiling. Unbearably painful all over, I writhed on the floor and kept screaming. Still unwilling to give up, he suddenly dragged me up and lifted my chin with the baton, roaring, “Speak up! You don’t confess, eh?” While roaring, he jabbed my right breast with the electric baton. I shivered all over and then fainted from pain, lying motionless on the floor…. I didn’t know how long had passed when I woke up. I heard them saying, “Playing dead? You pretend! How dare you pretend!” Then they jabbed my face with the baton and kicked my thighs. After that, they dragged me up from the floor, saying venomously, “Speak up or not?” I still didn’t answer. They fiercely punched my face. One of my teeth was knocked out, and another one became loose. Immediately, blood flowed from my mouth. Facing such torments of those frenzied demons, I was really afraid that I couldn’t stand their cruel torture and would betray God. At that time, I thought of God’s words, “Those in power look ferocious in appearance, but do not be afraid. That is because you have little faith. As long as your faith rises, nothing will be difficult.” (from “The Seventy-fifth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words gave me faith and strength once again. I realized: Although those vicious policemen before my eyes are crazy and aggressive, they are manipulated in God’s hand. Now, God is using them to test my faith. As long as I rely on God by faith and don’t give in to them, they will surely be put to shame and defeated. Thinking of that, I exerted all my strength and asked them in reply loudly, “Why did you arrest me and take me here? Why did you shock me with the electric baton? What crime have I committed?” With a guilty conscience, the vicious policemen, who were stumped by my questions, stuttered, “Shouldn’t I… I… I arrest you and take you here? …” With the word, they went away in dejection. Seeing satans’ awkward and ugly manner, I shed tears with excitement. In such adversity, I truly experienced the authority and power of Almighty God’s words. As long as I practiced and cooperated according to God’s words, I would have God’s care and keeping and have God’s power as company. At the same time, I felt indebted to God for my little faith. After that, a tall policeman came in and walked to me, saying, “As long as you tell us where you live and how many people there are in your family, we’ll release you at once.” Seeing that I still said nothing, he exasperatedly grabbed my hand and forcefully put my fingerprint on the statement they fabricated beforehand. Seeing that the statement simply wasn’t what I said but was all their lies and framings, I was so indignant that I snatched it and tore it up. Immediately, the vicious policeman flew into a rage. He violently punched my left cheek and slapped my face hard twice, so I became disoriented. Then, they locked me up in the small room again.
In the small room, covered with bruises and unbearably painful from the tortures, I couldn’t help feeling weak and sad: Why do I have to undergo such suffering in believing in God? I preach the gospel to others with good intentions, letting them pursue the truth to be saved. However, I suffer such torture…. When I thought of that, I felt even more wronged and distressed. In anguish, I thought of God’s words, “Since you are a man, you should spend for God and endure all sufferings! As for the little suffering you are undergoing now, you should accept it gladly and readily in your heart. You should live out a meaningful life, like Job and Peter. … You people are the ones who pursue the right way and pursue to make progress. You stand up in the country of the great red dragon and are the ones called righteous by God. Isn’t this the most meaningful life?” (from “Practice (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Every word of Almighty God struck my heart. Yes! Almighty God has watered and supplied me with his abundant words of life, so I have enjoyed so much grace from him freely, known the mysteries no one could know throughout the past generations, and understood the truths no one could understand throughout the past generations. This is God’s special blessing for me. I should bear testimony for God and endure all sufferings for God. No matter how much I suffer, it is worthwhile, because this is the most valuable and meaningful thing. However, today I’m persecuted and suffer a little physically because of preaching the gospel, and then I feel reluctant and mistreated. Don’t I grieve God too much? Am I not too conscienceless? How can I be worthy of God’s grace and blessing and God’s supply of life? The saints in the past generations, because of walking in God’s way, had borne strong and resounding testimonies for God and lived out a meaningful life. Having gained so much supply of words from God today, shouldn’t I even more bear a good testimony for God? … As I thought of that, I felt less pain in my body. I deeply knew that it was Almighty God’s words that gave me the power of life and made me overcome the weakness of my flesh.
On the second day, the vicious policemen were already at the end of their schemes. They threatened me, “You won’t say, right? Then we’ll put you in prison!” After that, they took me to the detention house. In the detention house, the vicious policemen continued to torture me in various ways. Moreover, they often instigated the prisoners to beat me. In the severe winter, they incited the prisoners to pour basins of cold water on me, forcing me to wash in cold water. I felt so cold that I shivered all over. There, the prisoners were the machines to make money for the government. We didn’t have any lawful right and had to endure the prison guards’ squeezing and exploiting like slaves. They forced me to print thermal paper unceasingly in the daytime and work overtime at night. If I took a break, someone would come over to beat me violently. At the beginning, they required me to print 2,000 sheets a day, and then the quota increased to 2,800, and finally to 3,000. Even the veterans couldn’t finish that amount of work, let alone a newcomer like me. Actually, they intentionally made me unable to finish it so that they could find excuses to torture and afflict me. When I failed to meet the quota, the vicious policemen would put shackles weighing over five kilograms on me and had my hands and feet shackled together. I would have to sit there motionless, bending with my head downward. The gang of inhuman vicious policemen didn’t care about my eating, drinking, defecating, and urinating. Although the commode was in the cell, I couldn’t walk there to use it. So I had to beg the cellmates to pull me onto the commode. If they were kind, they would pull me there. If no one helped me, I had to relieve myself in my pants. The most painful thing was eating. As my hands and feet were shackled together, I could only force my head down and lift up my feet and hands at the same time. Only thus could I put the steamed bun into my mouth. Every bite cost me great strength and the handcuffs and shackles hurt me sharply. After a long time, my wrists and ankles had hard, black, and shiny calluses. When I was shackled, I often got nothing to eat. On occasion, the prisoners gave me two small steamed buns. But most of the time, they ate my share and I had to suffer hunger. As for water, it was even less. Actually, everyone was given only two bowls of water every day. However, I was shackled and unable to move, so I seldom drank water and I couldn’t drink it. I went through such unspeakable inhuman tortures four times, and each time I was shackled three days at least and eight days at most. Whenever I was unbearably hungry, I thought of what God ever said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Gradually, I realized that God wanted to accomplish in me the fact that “the word becomes life” through satan’s affliction on me. After understanding God’s will, I got released in my heart. Then I quieted myself before God and prayed to God and pondered God’s words. Unknowingly, I no longer felt so painful and didn’t feel hungry. It made me truly experience that God’s word is the truth, the way, and the life and is indeed the foundation for my existence. Therefore, I had more faith in God unconsciously. I remembered that once the prison guards tortured me on purpose again. I was shackled there and had nothing to eat or drink three days and nights. The prisoner who was shackled beside me said, “Before, a young man was starved to death because of being shackled like this. You haven’t eaten anything for several days yet still look energetic.” At his words, thinking that I didn’t eat or drink anything for three days and nights yet didn’t feel that hungry, I deeply felt that the life force of God’s word was supporting me and truly saw that God appeared to me in the word. I was very excited in my heart. In such an environment of suffering, I could truly experience the reality of the truth that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” which was really the most precious wealth of life God bestowed to me, was my special gain, and was even more what I could never gain in an easy environment without worrying about food and clothing. It was so meaningful and worthwhile to undergo such suffering today! At that time, I couldn’t help remembering God’s words, “What you inherit today is higher than what the apostles and prophets in the past generations inherited, even higher than what Moses and Peter inherited. Blessings cannot be gained in one or two days. You have to pay much price. That is, you have to have a refined love, have a great faith, and have the many truths God requires you to live up to, you have to be able to stand with justice, not bending or swerving, and have to have a heart that loves God without change even unto death, and you need to have the will, have your life disposition transformed and your corruptions cured, and accept all God’s manipulations without complaint and even be able to obey unto death. These are what you should achieve, are God’s ultimate purpose, and are God’s requirements for this group of people.” (from “Is God’s Work So Simple as People Imagine?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Pondering God’s words, I realized: What sufferings and trials accomplish is indeed God’s blessing and is God’s most practical life supply and watering to me. Now, although the words God bestows to me surpass those to the saints in the past generations, I still need to have faith and perseverance to inherit them, and should never bend or swerve in the tribulation but obey God’s manipulation and arrangement and accept God’s salvation. Only thus can I enter into the reality of God’s words and see God’s wonderful deeds. Without the price of suffering, I’m not qualified to inherit the promise and blessing God bestows to me. The revelation and guidance of God’s words made me stronger and have more strength within. I made a firm resolution: I will try my best to cooperate with God and satisfy God’s requirement and bear testimony for God in such an environment of suffering, so that I can gain the most.
One month later, the CCP police sentenced me to one year of hard labor on the charge of “being suspected of disturbing the social order and damaging the implementation of the law.” Just after I entered the labor camp, the vicious policemen spread rumors and lies among prisoners, saying that I, a believer in Almighty God, was worse than murderers and robbers, and instigated the prisoners to torture me, so they often beat and kicked me without cause and created all manner of difficulties for me. It made me truly see that China is the living hell firmly controlled by satan the devil, its every corner is dark, it doesn’t allow the existence of light, and there’s no living space for the believers in Almighty God at all. In the daytime, the vicious policemen forced me to work in the workshop. If I didn’t finish the quota, they would ask the prisoners to beat me after I returned to the cell, and they called it “killing the chicken to frighten the monkey.” When I counted bags in the workshop, the prisoners always deliberately took one or some from the bags which I had counted in bundles of 100. Then, they said that I didn’t count correctly and took the opportunity to beat and kick me. Seeing that I had been beaten enough, the prison governor would come over and hypocritically asked what had happened. Then, the prisoners would frame me, saying that I didn’t count enough bags, so I would be scolded by the prison governor. Moreover, every morning, the prisoners ordered me to recite the “code of conduct.” If I refused, I would be beaten. They also forced me to sing the songs of praising the Communist Party. If they saw that I didn’t sing or my lips didn’t move, I couldn’t escape being beaten up at night. Besides, they made me mop the floor. Whenever I didn’t do it to their satisfaction, I would suffer a fierce beating. Once, a gang of prisoners suddenly beat me with fists and feet. After that, they asked me, “Boy, do you know why you were beaten? It’s because you didn’t stand up to say hello to the prison governor when he came here!” Each time after being beaten, I dared not speak out my indignation within, but could only pray to God silently in tears and pour out my resentment and grievance to God. This was because it was a lawless place where people had no way to reason. There was no justice, but only violence. There were no men, but only the frenzied devils and scorpions! I felt it distressing and depressing to live in such an adverse environment, not wanting to stay even one more minute…. Whenever I was weak and distressed to a degree, I would think of Almighty God’s words, “The God in heaven comes to the filthiest licentious land, and he never expresses his grievances or complains against men but silently endures men’s tortures and oppression. Yet he never opposes men’s unreasonable demands, never makes excessive requirements of men, and never has unreasonable requirements for men, but only wholeheartedly and uncomplainingly does for men all the works they need: teaching, inspiring, rebuking, refining with words, warning, exhorting, comforting, judging, and disclosing. Which step is not for men’s life? Although God takes away men’s future and destiny, which step of his work is not for men’s destiny? Which step is not for men’s existence? Which step is not for men to break free from the suppression of the afflicting and pitch-dark force of darkness? Which step is not for men? Who can know God’s motherly heart? Who can understand God’s anxious heart?” (from “Work and Entering In (9)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words encouraged me. Yes! Enduring great humiliations and sufferings, God comes to the world to work through being incarnated this time just for the purpose of saving us, the most deeply corrupt people, out of satan’s abyss of misery, so that we can live in God’s light and live in the pleasant destination where there is no satan’s affliction, no sorrow, no grief, and no tears. What God works on me, whether grace and blessing or trial and refining, is all for supplying me and saving me and for working the truth into me, so that the truth can become my life. Today, God permits the persecution and tribulation to come upon me. Although I suffer a lot, I practically experience God’s presence, and practically taste that God’s word becomes the bread of life for me and becomes a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, guiding me to go forward step by step in the devil’s dark den. All this is God’s love and God’s keeping that I’ve enjoyed and received in suffering. At that time, I realized: I’m too blind, too selfish, and too greedy; in believing in God, I only know to enjoy God’s grace and blessing, but don’t pursue the truth and life in the least; when my flesh suffers a little, I complain incessantly and don’t try to sense God’s will or seek to know God’s work at all, always making God grieved and distressed for me; I’m so conscienceless! In remorse and self-reproach, I prayed to God silently, “O Almighty God! I see that everything you’ve done is for saving me and gaining me. I hate myself for being too disobedient and too blind and having no humanity and thus always misunderstanding you and never caring for your will. O God! Today, it is your words that arouse my numb heart and spirit and make me understand your will. I don’t want to have my own desire and requirement any more, but only wish to obey your manipulation and arrangement. Even if I have to undergo all kinds of sufferings, I’ll try my best to cooperate with you and bear a resounding testimony for you in satan’s persecution, pursue to break away from satan’s influence, and live out the likeness of a real man to satisfy you.” After the prayer, I understood God’s thoughtful kind intention and knew that every environment God permitted me to experience was God’s greatest love and salvation to me. Therefore, I no longer had a thought of withdrawal and no longer misunderstood God. Although the environment was still the same, I was full of joy and enjoyment within. I always felt that it was my honor and pride, was a special favor to me, a corrupt man, and was God’s special grace and blessing that I could suffer pains and persecutions for believing in Almighty God today.
After experiencing one year of affliction in prison, I saw that my stature was too small and I lacked too many truths. Just through such a special environment, Almighty God made up for my lacking and made me grow up in stature, so that in adversity I gained the most valuable wealth of life, understood many truths I hadn’t understood before, saw clearly the ugly face of satan the devil and its reactionary substance of resisting God, and knew its monstrous sin of persecuting Almighty God and afflicting Christians. I truly experienced Almighty God’s great mercy and salvation to me, a corrupt man, and felt that Almighty God’s words are indeed with authority and life power and can bring me light, be my life, and lead me to overcome satan and tenaciously walk out of the valley of the shadow of death. Meanwhile, I also knew that the way Almighty God leads me to walk is exactly a right way of human life and a bright way of gaining the truth and life! From now on, no matter how many persecutions and tribulations as well as dangers and temptations I’ll encounter, I’m willing to do my best to pursue the truth and gain the way of eternal life Almighty God bestows on me.