5. “Seeing Is Believing” Is Not to Be Believed
By Xiaowen, Henan Province
Before, when I used to hear people commenting on something, they often said “seeing is believing.” As time passed, I also took this as my basis for looking at things, and it was the same regarding God’s words after I had come to believe in God. I was always unable to believe in many of God’s words that had not been fulfilled. As my time spent believing in God went on, I saw God’s words in varying degrees of fulfillment, saw the facts of the accomplishments of God’s words and no longer had any doubt when reading God’s words. Thus, I thought that I had some understanding of God’s faithfulness, and that I was able to believe that everything God said was real.
One day, I read these words spoken by God, “Without the salvation of God incarnate in the last days, then God would have long ago destroyed all mankind in hell” (“Do You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). When I read these words, I felt a little uncertain. I thought, if it had said “without the salvation of God incarnate in the last days, then all of corrupt humanity must be finally destroyed,” then I could completely believe in it, as I knew how crucial God incarnate is to us. But to say that without the salvation of God incarnate in the last days, then God would have long ago destroyed man in hell, I thought that this was just an interpretation. When I thought this way, I felt reproach in my heart and I felt very uneasy—by thinking like this, wasn’t I doubting and denying God’s words? So I hurried before God, and I looked to Him and began to seek: Oh God! I don’t want to have this approach to Your words and I hate that I am so deceitful. I’ve followed You for so long and have seen many facts of the fulfillment of Your words, so how can I still be thinking this way? Oh God! I wish to believe every word You say and have a true belief in Your words. I wish for You to lead me into this reality.
Afterward, I read a sermon that says: “One must recognize that every word God says will be fulfilled and accomplished, but man cannot recognize or see them all. Because the fulfillment of God’s words can certainly not match what man imagines completely and will sometimes be concealed by many external appearances, and man cannot easily discern them; only God knows how the words of God shall be fulfilled. There are some things in which the fulfillment of God’s words can be seen clearly by mankind, and some in which it is not easy to see clearly, so mankind should not base their conclusions of whether or not God’s words have been fulfilled on their own imaginations. Even those with a comparatively better understanding of the truth cannot see entirely clearly how every word of God is fulfilled. The things in which man can see clearly the fulfillment of God’s words are too limited because man can never fathom God’s wisdom. How any word of God’s is fulfilled is entirely down to Him to define and it all contains God’s wisdom—so how can man fathom it?” (“A Fundamental Change in Viewpoints Is a Sign of Truly Understanding the Truth” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life). Reading that passage, I suddenly thought of the story of Jonah as recorded in the Bible. At that time, the evil deeds of the people of Nineveh reached Jehovah God, and God sent Jonah to Nineveh to call out “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jon 3:4). And so Jonah went to Nineveh to proclaim what would happen in accordance with what Jehovah God had commanded. But the facts as people saw them at that time were such that, before Jonah came to make his proclamation, the city had always been peaceful and all had always been well, and they had not seen any indication that Jehovah God wanted to destroy their city. But the truth was that, as far as the righteous disposition of Jehovah God was concerned, the people of Nineveh were too corrupt and so God had to destroy them. Yet God had mercy on them and loved them, and so He made Jonah go into the city and tell them to repent. Later, God saw that they did indeed repent and so, with a merciful heart, He withheld the calamity that would have destroyed them. If they hadn’t repented, then God would have done even as He had said: After 40 days, the city of Nineveh would have been overthrown! This is how the situation developed at that time, but those involved back then could not possibly have understood or seen all this. Today, several thousand years later, I was going through this whole process recorded in the Bible. I knew clearly that, at that time, God indeed wanted to destroy the city of Nineveh, but because of their repentance He did not do so. But if I had been someone living in Jonah’s age, when I saw that all was well in Nineveh, would I then have thought Jonah was a liar and a cheat? Would I then have doubted the genuineness of God’s words? I certainly would have.
Only then did I understand that to judge things based on facts seen from the outside is too one-sided, too simple. It does not consider the entirety of the facts, it is not the true state of things and it is too inaccurate. This is because the things that are visible to man’s eyes are too limited and too superficial, and moreover they are all things of the material world; people simply cannot see the things of the spiritual world. Only seeing things in accordance with God’s words is most accurate, most comprehensive, and reveals the true situation. From this matter I also saw that everything God says will be fulfilled and accomplished—this is for certain. This is because man can never fathom God’s wisdom, and how any word of God’s is fulfilled is entirely down to God to define and it all contains God’s wisdom, it is only man that cannot fathom it, much less penetrate it completely.
I give thanks to God for using this matter to enlighten me, to make me understand that the phrase “seeing is believing” that people often say is inaccurate, and that to weigh up God’s words according to this view is entirely mistaken. After I came to this recognition, I then read again these words of God, “Without the salvation of God incarnate in the last days, then God would have long ago destroyed all mankind in hell,” and could believe them from my heart and understand them in the correct way. In light of our corruption and God’s righteousness, we should have been destroyed long ago, but only because God showed us mercy and came again in the flesh to save us, can we live in God’s presence. Only now do I have a vivid realization that every one of God’s words is worth believing in, and from my heart I feel that God is so righteous and so loving to man.
After experiencing this matter, I understood this aspect of the truth, and my previous mistaken point of view was remedied. From now on, whether in regard to how I see people or how I see things, I will always do so in accordance with God’s words, because God’s words are the truth and are most accurate. Other than God’s words, no matter how correct any point of view such as “seeing is believing” may seem to man or how long its history, it is still inaccurate. God’s words are the only standard by which I look upon or weigh up all things.