God’s Love Has Fortified My Heart
By Zhang Can, Liaoning Province
In my family, everyone has always gotten along very well. My husband is a very considerate and caring man, and my son is very sensible and always respectful to his elders. What’s more, we’ve been pretty affluent. In theory, I should have been very happy, but reality didn’t play out that way. No matter how well my husband and son treated me and no matter how well off we were, none of that could make me happy. I was never able to sleep at night because I developed arthritis and also suffered from severe insomnia, which led to reduced blood circulation to my brain and overall weakness in my limbs. The torment of these illnesses combined with the constant pressure of running a business caused me to live in unspeakable suffering. I tried to overcome it in many different ways, but nothing ever seemed to work.
In March of 1999, a friend spread’s of the last days to me. Through reading God’s word every day, consistently attending gatherings, and fellowshiping with my brothers and sisters, I came to understand some truths, learned of many mysteries hitherto unknown to me, and I became firm in my belief that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. I was extremely excited by all of this and hungrily devoured God’s word every day. I also engaged in church life, often gathering, praying, and singing hymns and dancing in praise of God with my brothers and sisters. I felt a sense of peace and happiness in my heart and my morale and outlook improved with every passing day. Slowly but surely, I also began to recover from my various ailments. I often offered up my thanks and praise to God for these positive developments in my life and I wanted to spread Almighty God’s gospel to even more people so that they could all attain God’s . Not long after that, the church put me in charge of its work to spread the gospel. I poured myself into this work with ardent fervor, but something happened that I had never imagined …
On the evening of December 15th, 2012, just as I had finished meeting with four sisters and was about to leave, we heard a loud cracking noise as the front door was kicked open and seven or eight plainclothes policemen burst into the room, yelling at us: “Nobody move, put your hands up!” Without showing any documentation, they proceeded to forcibly search us, seizing my ID card and a receipt of a 70,000-RMB transaction of the church’s funds. They got really excited as soon as they saw the receipt and proceeded to push and drag us into a police car and take us to the station. At the police station, they seized our cell phones, MP5 players and 200 RMB in cash from our bags. At the time, they suspected that one of the sisters and I were leaders in the church, so they transferred the two of us to the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Municipal Public Security Bureau that night.
When we arrived, the police separated us and interrogated us individually. They handcuffed me to a metal stool and then an officer harshly questioned me: “What’s the story with the 70,000 RMB? Who sent the money? Where is it now? Who is the leader of your church?” I continually prayed to God in my heart: “Dear God! This policeman is trying to force me to rat out the leaders of the church and hand over the church’s money. I absolutely cannot become a Judas and betray You. O God! I am willing to put myself in Your hands. I beg You to grant me faith, courage and wisdom. No matter how the police try to extort information from me, I am willing to stand witness for You.” I then resolutely declared to them: “I don’t know!” This infuriated the policeman; he picked up a slipper from the ground and began viciously beating me on the head while angrily berating me: “Just try and keep quiet. Just try and believe in Almighty God! We’ll see how long you keep believing!” My face smarted painfully from the beating and quickly began to swell up, and I had a throbbing headache. Four or five policemen took turns beating me in order to force me to tell them where the church’s money was kept. Some of them kicked my legs, some grabbed my hair, pulling at it and shaking it back and forth, and others smacked me in the mouth. I started to bleed from the mouth, but they just wiped away the blood and continued to hit me. They also randomly jabbed at me with an electroshock baton and, as they beat me, they yelled: “Are you gonna talk or not? Fess up!” When they saw that I was still refusing to talk, they tased me in the groin and chest—the pain was excruciating. My heart was pounding, I began to have trouble breathing and I curled up in a ball, shuddering. It felt as though death was inching toward me, step by step. Though I clamped my mouth shut and didn’t utter a word, I felt incredibly weak in my heart and thought that I wouldn’t be able to hold out much longer. In the midst of my suffering, I never stopped praying to God: “O God! Though I have resolved to satisfy You, my flesh is weak and powerless. I pray that You imbue me with strength so that I may stand witness for You.” At that moment, I suddenly thought of how, before the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, He was badly beaten by Roman soldiers: He was beaten and mangled to a bloody pulp, His entire body covered in wounds…, and yet He uttered not a word. God is holy and guiltless, yet He suffered immense humiliation and torment and was willing to be crucified in order to redeem mankind. I thought to myself: “If God could offer up His body to save corrupt mankind, I should also undergo suffering to repay God’s love.” Encouraged by God’s love, my confidence was restored and I made an oath to God: “Dear God, whatever suffering You undergo, so too should I. I must drink from the same cup of suffering as You. I will offer up my life to stand witness for You!”
After this torture had gone on for most of the night, I had been beaten to the point that not even an ounce of strength remained in my body. I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open, but as soon as I began to shut my eyes, they’d splash me with water. I was shivering with cold. When this pack of beasts saw me in that state, they viciously snarled: “You still don’t want to open your mouth? In this place, we can torture you to death and no one will ever know!” I ignored them. One of those evil cops then took a husk of sunflower seeds and forced it into my fingernail; this was unbearably painful and I couldn’t stop my finger from shaking. They then proceeded to splash water on my face and pour it down my neck. The bone-chillingly frigid water left me shivering with cold; I was in utter agony. That night, I continually prayed to God, fearing that if I left Him, I would be unable to go on living. God was always at my side and His words provided me with constant encouragement: “When people are ready to sacrifice their lives, everything becomes trifling …” (“Chapter 36” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in). “Faith is like a single log bridge, those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over without worry” (“Chapter 6” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words gave me inexhaustible strength. I thought to myself, “That’s right, sovereign over all and all things are in His hands. Even if the evil police torture my flesh to death, my spirit is under God’s control.” With God to support me, I no longer feared Satan, much less was I willing to be a traitor and live a meaningless life of pandering to the flesh. As such, I made an oath to God in prayer: “Dear God! Though those demons are tormenting my flesh, I am still willing to satisfy You and put myself entirely in Your hands. Even if it means my death, I will stand witness for You and will never kneel before Satan!” With the guidance of God’s words, I felt full of confidence and faith. Even though the police were tormenting and torturing my flesh and I had already been pushed to the limits of my endurance, with God’s word propping me up, before I knew it I was in much less pain.
The next morning, the evil police continued to interrogate me and also threatened me, saying: “If you don’t talk today, we’ll hand you over to the special police unit—they have 18 different implements of torture waiting for you there.” When I heard that they were going to hand me over to the special police unit, I couldn’t help but become frightened, thinking to myself: “The special police are certainly much more hardcore than these guys; how will I survive through 18 different forms of torture?” Just as I was entering into panic mode, I thought of a passage of God’s word: “What is an overcomer? The good soldiers of Christ must be brave and rely on Me to be spiritually strong; they must fight to become warriors and battle Satan to the death” (“Chapter 12” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words quickly calmed my frantic, panicked heart. They helped me to realize that this was a spiritual battle and that the moment in which God wanted me to bear witness had come. With God supporting me, there was nothing to fear. No matter what kinds of deranged tactics the evil police used, I had to rely upon God to be a good soldier of Christ and fight Satan to the death without ever giving in.
A Youth Without Regret
“‘Love’ means a pure and unblemished affection, to love with the heart, to feel with the heart, and to care with the heart; in ‘love’ there is no condition, no barrier, and no distance; in ‘love’ there is no suspicion; in ‘love’ there is no cheat, no deal, and no cunning; in ‘love’ there is no choice; and in ‘love’ there is not any mixture.” (from “Pure and Unblemished Love” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) This hymn of God’s word accompanied me through the long and painful seven years and four months of prison life. The CCP government deprived me of the best years of my youth, yet from Almighty God I got the most precious and practical truths. So I have no regrets!
A Song of Life Amidst the Ruin
At that moment, God’s words resounded in my ears, “…in the last days, you should bear testimony for God. No matter how great the sufferings, you should walk to the end. Even if you have just one breath left, you should be faithful to God and submit to God’s manipulation. This is truly loving God, and this is a strong and resounding testimony.” (from “Only After Experiencing Painful Trials Will One Know that God Is Lovely” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Every word of God, with encouragement and expectation, warmed and encouraged my heart, making me feel greatly moved and have the courage to live on.
At the Brink of Death, Almighty God Came to My Aid
Due to the experience in the detention house, I thought of Joseph spontaneously. When he was in Egypt’s prison, God was with him and bestowed grace to him so that what he did all went well. Today I just conducted myself according to God’s requirements and obeyed God’s manipulation and arrangement, and then God was with me, helping me come safely out of danger in every aspect. I thanked God for his grace from the bottom of my heart!
Having Been Devastated by Demons, I Realize Even More How Precious God’s Grace Is
God loves me with deep and earnest affection. Even when I wanted to die because of my weakness in the flesh, God still cared for and kept me in secret and didn’t let me die. No matter how weak I was, God never intended to give me up or changed his love for me, but still inspired and led me, so that I could walk out of the dense fog.