God’s Light Guides Me Through Adversity
By Zhao Xin, Sichuan Province
When I was a child, I lived in the mountains. I’d never seen much of the world and I didn’t really have any greater aspirations. I got married and had children, my two sons grew up to be sensible and obedient, and my husband was a hard worker. Although we never had much money, we lived together in harmony as a family, and I felt very happy and content. In 1996, I suddenly developed a serious illness which led to me gaining faith in the Lord Jesus. From then on, I read the Bible frequently and actively attended church gatherings. To my surprise, my illness gradually began to get better, and so my faith to follow the Lord Jesus grew even stronger.
Something I really couldn’t have foreseen happened in 1999, however, when I was arrested by the police for my faith in the Lord Jesus. I was locked up for a whole day and fined 240 yuan. Although this may not sound like a lot of money, to us poor farmers living in an impoverished mountainous region, that’s no small sum! In order to get enough money together, I sold all of the peanuts I had painstakingly planted in my plot of land. What I really couldn’t understand was why the CCP government labeled me as a criminal who “took part in counter-revolutionary organizations.” They also menaced my whole family, saying that even if my sons were to graduate from college, they still wouldn’t be able to get a job. Therefore, my husband, my parents, my relatives and friends all began to put pressure on me, they tried to suppress and stand in the way of my faith. They made me do all the hard, exhausting work, and all I could do was endure it in silence.
In 2003, I was fortunate enough to accept’s work of the last days. Through reading the words of God, I became certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. I was absolutely thrilled, and I felt that to be able to be reunited with God in my own lifetime was indeed the greatest blessing ever! From then on, however, the pressure exerted on me both by the CCP government and by my own family became even greater. Faced with this kind of environment, I made a resolution to God: “No matter how hard it gets or how much I suffer, I will follow You till the very end!” The CCP police later came to my home and threatened me, saying, “Did you know that your belief in God is illegal, that it’s not allowed in this country? If you keep your faith you’ll end up doing time!” When my husband heard this, he began to heap more and more pressure on me. He would often beat and scold me, and he wouldn’t even let me stay in our home. With no other option, all I could do was suppress the pain I felt inside and leave home to avoid persecution and arrest by the CCP government. At that time, although I had been forced out of my hometown and into a life of vagrancy by the CCP government’s persecution, I still had no discernment regarding the sinister hand behind it that had caused the breakup of my family. Only when I personally experienced life in prison and the unbridled attacks and false charges laid against me by the CCP government did I come to have some true understanding of its perverse and reactionary essence, and I realized that the CCP government is the chief culprit that destroys people’s happy families and wreaks terrible disasters upon people!
On December 16, 2012, five brothers and sisters and I were preaching thewhen suddenly four policemen raced up to us in a car and arrested us. They took us to the police station and, after they’d put me in handcuffs, one of them yelled, “Let me tell you people, you can go steal and rob things, you can commit murder and arson, and you can go sell your bodies, we don’t care. But believing in God is the one thing you cannot do! By believing in God, you are setting yourselves against the Communist Party, and you need to be punished!” He slapped me hard and viciously kicked me while he spoke. I felt I wouldn’t be able to take much more after that beating, so I called out to God in my heart over and over: “O God! I have no idea how long these evil policemen will torture me for, and I feel like I can’t hold on much longer. But I’d rather die than become a Judas—I will not betray You. Please watch over me, protect me and guide me.” After I’d prayed, I silently resolved in my heart: “I’ll stay loyal to God to my last breath, I’ll fight with Satan to the very end, and I’ll stand witness to satisfy God!” Afterward, one of the police searched me and found 230 yuan I had in cash. Grinning wickedly, he said, “This money is stolen goods and should be confiscated.” As he was speaking he stuffed the cash into his own pocket and kept it for himself. They then began to question us. “Where are you people from? What are your names? Who sent you here?” After I told them my name and address, they quickly found the details of my entire family on their computer. I just gave them my basic personal information, but refused to answer a single question about the church.
The police then played one of their tricks. They found over ten people on the street who didn’tand had them testify that I had been preaching Almighty God’s kingdom gospel. Then they told those people a bunch of lies and false accusations of me. All those people mocked me, slandered me and insulted me; I felt really wronged. I had no idea how I was supposed to get through this situation, so I just continued to call out to God in my heart to give me faith and strength. Just then, part of a hymn of God’s words floated into my mind: “The incarnate God undergoes all kinds of sneering, reviling, judgment, and condemnation. He is also pursued by the devil and is rejected and opposed by religious circles. No one can make up for this hurt in His heart! He saves corrupt mankind through extreme patience; He loves people with a bruised heart. This is the most painful work. Mankind’s ferocious resistance, condemnations and slanders, false accusations, persecutions and their hunting and slaughtering cause God’s flesh to face extreme dangers in doing this work. He suffers these pains, yet who can understand Him and who can comfort Him?” (“God Loves Man With Wounds” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Before, I only ever understood in theory the pain God suffers in order to save mankind, and only then, finding myself in an actual situation like that, did I finally begin to appreciate how great God’s suffering must be! God, righteous and holy, has become flesh in order to live alongside us, filthy and corrupt people; He has endured all manner of ridicule and insults, condemnation and slander, persecution and pursuit in order to save us. Even those of us who do believe in God often don’t understand Him, and we even misunderstand Him and blame Him. All these blows are very painful for God, and yet He still bears His scars and loves mankind—His disposition is so great, so honorable! Though I’d read this in the Bible in the past: “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luke 17:24–25). Only today did I see that these words had indeed come to pass! This made me really sad, and I regretted never having shown consideration to before…. Before I was able to regain my composure, the police hung a sign saying “XIE JIAO MEMBER” around my neck and took my picture. They then ordered me to squat down and point at some gospel materials while they took several more photos. My legs hurt so much that I could hardly stay squatting. Just at that moment, my cell phone began to ring, and startled, I thought: “It must be a brother or sister from the church calling. I absolutely cannot implicate them!” I quickly grabbed hold of my cell phone and smashed it hard down onto the floor, breaking it into pieces. This incensed the police immediately. They seemed to have lost their minds—they lifted me up by my collar, then hit me hard several times across the face. My face started burning like fire right away and my ears were buzzing so much that I couldn’t hear a thing. They then proceeded to kick my legs with all their might and, still not done venting their rage, those evil police dragged me into a dark room and made me stand with my back against a wall as they hit me across the face. They then gave me another good beating. I managed to hold back the tears while this was going on, and I silently prayed to God: “O Almighty God, I believe that Your good will is behind everything that is happening to me now. No matter how these evil policemen torment me, I will always stand witness for You and I will not surrender to Satan!” To my surprise, when I said this prayer, I suddenly regained hearing in my ears, and all I could hear was one of the evil police saying, “This woman’s really stubborn. She hasn’t shed a tear or made a peep. Maybe we just haven’t laid into her enough. Get the electric baton and then we’ll see if she makes some noise!” Another policeman grabbed an electric baton and jammed it hard down onto my thigh. Intense pain ripped through me right away, hurting so much that I immediately fell to the floor. My head hit the wall and blood started to pour from it. The policemen pointed at me and hollered, “Stop pretending. Get up! We’ll give you three minutes. If you don’t stand up, we’ll beat you again. Don’t even think about playing dead!” But no matter how they shouted, I really couldn’t move, and so in the end they gave me another vicious kicking before they stopped.
I really couldn’t hold out any longer against the brutal and inhuman torture meted out by those police. I prayed to God in earnest: “O Almighty God! I can’t hold out much longer. Please give me faith and strength!” In the midst of my intense suffering, a hymn of God’s words came to mind: “Since you believe in God, you must hand over your heart before God. If you offer up and lay your heart before God, then during refinement it will be impossible for you to deny God, or leave God. … When the day comes and God’s trials suddenly befall you, you will not only be able to stand by God’s side, but will also be able to bearto God. At that time, you will be like Job, and Peter. Having borne testimony to God you will truly love Him, and will gladly lay down your life for Him; you will be God’s witness, and one who is beloved by God. Love that has experienced refinement is strong, and not weak. Regardless of when or how God subjects you to His trials, you are able to care not whether you live or die, to gladly cast aside everything for God, and to happily endure anything for God—and thus your love will be pure, and your faith real. Only then will you be someone who is truly loved by God, and who has truly been made perfect by God” (“Give Your Heart Before God If You Believe in Him” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). God’s enlightenment enabled me to understand His will, and it also gave me inexhaustible faith and strength. I prayed to God again: “O God! I believe that everything that is happening to me today is happening with Your consent, and Your good will is behind it all. Through the performance put on by these devils, I finally see that the law enforcement agencies working under the CCP government are violent organizations and I cannot surrender to them. I just wish to give You my heart and stand on Your side. O God! I know that it is only through experiencing such trials and refinement that my love for You can be strengthened. If Satan takes my life today, I still won’t utter a word of complaint. To be able to bear witness for You is my honor as a created being. In the past I haven’t fulfilled my duty well and I owe You so much. Having the chance to die for You today is the most meaningful thing. I wish to obey You.” I felt very moved after this prayer, and I felt that to suffer this pain for the sake of following God was an incredibly meaningful thing, and that it was worth it even if I were to die!
It was perhaps more than 10 minutes later that a female police officer came and helped me up and, feigning kindness, said, “Look at you at your age, with your children both at college. Is it really worth it to suffer all this? Just tell us what we want to know and then you can go right away.” She saw that I made no response, and so she continued, “You’re a mother, so you should think of your sons. We live now in the domain of the Communist Party, and the CCP government opposes and suppresses all religious belief. It especially hates those of you who believe in Almighty God. If you insist on going up against the government, aren’t you worried about incriminating your entire family? At some point, your parents and your husband will all be implicated, and your sons and grandsons can forget about ever joining the army, becoming a cadre or becoming a civil servant. No one would even hire them to be security guards. Do you want your sons to be just laborers when they grow up, and just do odd jobs like you and be poor all their lives?” Just as Satan was carrying out its cunning scheme against me, God’s words flashed through my mind: “Of everything that occurs in the universe, there is nothing that I do not have the final say in. What exists that is not in My hands? All that I say goes, and among men, who is there who can change My mind?” (“Chapter 1” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in). God’s words allowed me to see through Satan’s cunning scheme, and I realized that they were trying to coerce me into talking by using my children’s futures as leverage. I knew, however, that our fates as human beings are not in our own hands, nor are they in the hands of the police, but are held in the hands of God. Whatever jobs my children would have in the future and whether they would be rich or poor was all up to God. Thinking through this, I didn’t feel constrained by the police one little bit. The guidance of God’s words allowed me to truly perceive that God was by my side, protecting me, and I began to trust in God even more steadfastly. And so, I turned my head to one side and remained silent. The officer gave me a good scolding and then stalked off.
Rising Up From Dark Oppression
“Have you ever accepted the blessings for you? Have you ever pursued the promises to you? You will surely break through the suppression of the forces of darkness under the guidance of my light, will surely not lose the guidance of the light in darkness, will surely be the master among all things, will surely be overcomers before satan, and will surely stand among all men and be the proof of my overcoming when the country of the great red dragon collapses.” (from “The Nineteenth Piece of Word” of God’s Utterance to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh)
Spending the Prime of Youth in Prison
People all say that one’s youth is the most wonderful and pure time in his life. Maybe many people’s youth is full of beautiful memories, yet even I myself had never expected that I would spend my youth in prison. Maybe you will cast a different look at me, yet I won’t regret it. Although my youth in prison is full of bitterness and tears, it is the most precious gift in my life, and I have gained a lot from that.
Persecution and Suffering Made Me Love God Even More
In experience, I have truly tasted that whatever God does is love to man. He allowed satan’s persecution to come upon me and it’s even more God’s extremely great love and salvation. Satan wanted to make me stay away from God through its arrest and persecution. Little did it know that its persecution not only couldn’t make me stay away from God, but instead it made me be more certain that Almighty God’s word is the truth, the way, and the life!
Awakening Amidst Suffering and Difficulty
“Do not belittle yourself for being young. You should offer up yourself for me. I do not look at a person’s outward appearance or how old he is. I only look at whether he loves me with a true heart and whether he walks in my ways and practices the truth at any cost. Do not worry about what tomorrow will be or what the future will be. As long as you live by me every day, I will surely lead you.” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words, like a warm flow, warmed my heart.