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Gospel Reader

Guided by God’s Words, I Overcame the Repression of the Forces of Darkness

95

By Wang Li, Zhejiang Province

I believed in the Lord Jesus along with my mother since I was a little girl; in my days of following the Lord Jesus, I was often moved by His love. I felt that He loved us so much that He was crucified and shed His very last drop of blood to redeem us. At that time, the brothers and sisters in our church were all loving and supportive of one another, but unfortunately our faith in the Lord met with persecution and repression at the hands of the CCP government. The CCP government defines Protestantism and Catholicism as “xie jiaos,” and labels meetings held by house churches as “illegal gatherings.” The police used to raid our meeting places frequently, telling us that we had to first gain approval from the government and obtain a permit before we could hold gatherings, otherwise we would be arrested and fined or sent to prison. One time, my mother and five or six other brothers and sisters were arrested and questioned for a whole day. In the end, the police investigation confirmed that they were all just ordinary Christians, and they were released. From that time on, however, we had to meet in secret to avoid the government raids; in spite of all this, our faith never weakened. In late 1998, a relative of mine preached to me that the Lord Jesus had returned as Almighty God who had become flesh in the last days. This relative also read many of Almighty God’s words to me, which were utterly thrilling for me. I became certain that the words of Almighty God are the utterances to the churches by the Holy Spirit, and that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. To think that I could actually be reunited with the Lord during my lifetime moved me beyond my ability to describe, and I wept tears of joy. From then on, I avidly devoured God’s words every day, and from them came to understand many truths and mysteries—my parched spirit thus gained watering and sustenance. Basking in the delight and comfort brought to us by the Holy Spirit’s great work, my husband and I immersed ourselves in the happiness and joy of being reunited with the Lord. We would often learn to sing hymns and dance in praise of God with other brothers and sisters, and we frequently gathered together to fellowship on God’s words. My spirit felt refreshed and invigorated, and I felt as though I could already see before my eyes the beautiful scene of the kingdom manifesting on earth and everyone rejoicing. There was no way I could have anticipated, however, that just as we were following God and walking the right path in life with soaring faith, the CCP government would begin to cruelly persecute us …

On October 28, 2002, I and several other sisters were holding a gathering. During the gathering, another sister and I went out to run an errand, but before we’d gotten very far, I heard her say behind me, “What are you arresting me for?” Before I had any chance to react, a plainclothes police officer approached and took hold of me, saying, “You’re coming with me to the police station!” before escorting me to a police car. We were driven to the police station and as soon as I got out of the car, I saw that the six other sisters who had been at the gathering had also been arrested and brought in. The police ordered us to strip and submit to a body search. They found two pagers on me, thereby identifying me as a church leader and, as such, they ranked me as a high priority for interrogation. A policeman shouted at me, “When did you start believing in Almighty God? Who preached it to you? Who have you met with? What is your position in the church?” Being questioned so aggressively by him made me very nervous, and I had no idea how to deal with it. All I could do was pray silently to God, asking Him to protect me so that I would not betray Him. After praying, I slowly pulled myself together and decided to keep silent. Seeing that I wasn’t talking, the policeman became angry and struck me violently on the head. I instantly felt dazed and dizzy, and my ears began to ring. They then brought in one of the sisters and told us to identify each other. Seeing that we weren’t going to do what they said, however, they became enraged and ordered me to take off my cotton-padded shoes and stand barefooted on the freezing cement floor. They also made me stand with my back straight against the wall, and they would kick me hard if my posture faltered even slightly. It was well into the fall at that time; the temperature was dropping and it was raining lightly. I was so cold that my whole body was shaking, and my teeth chattered incessantly. The policeman paced back and forth and, banging the table, threatened me, “We’ve been following you for a long time. We have plenty of ways to make you talk today, and if you don’t talk then we’ll leave you to freeze to death, or we’ll starve you, or we’ll beat you to death! Let’s see how long you last!” I felt a little afraid when I heard him say this, and so I called out to God in my heart: “O God! I don’t want to be a Judas and betray You. Please protect me and grant me the courage and faith I need to battle Satan, so that I might stand witness for You.” After praying, I thought of God’s words that say: “His disposition is the symbol of authority, the symbol of all that is righteous, the symbol of all that is beautiful and good. More than that, it is a symbol of Him who cannot be[a] overcome or invaded by the darkness and any enemy force, as well as a symbol of Him who cannot be offended (nor will He tolerate being offended)[b] by any created being” (“It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Yes,” I thought. “God is possessed of authority and power, and His authority and power cannot be toppled by any enemy force or darkness. No matter how cruel the CCP’s minions are, they are all in God’s hands, and as long as I rely on God and cooperate with Him, then I will surely overcome them.” With the clear guidance provided by God’s words, I suddenly found my faith and courage, and I no longer felt so cold. After I’d been standing there for more than three hours, the police escorted me back out to a police car and took me to a detention house.

On the afternoon of the day after I arrived at the detention house, two police officers, a man and a woman, came to question me. In the accent of my own hometown, they called me by my name and tried to sound like they were on my side. The man introduced himself as the chief of the Public Security Bureau’s Religion Section, and he said, “The police officers at the station have already gathered information on you. What you’ve done isn’t actually a big deal, and we’ve made a special trip here to take you back home. If you tell us everything when we get there, then you’ll be fine.” I didn’t know what kind of trick they had up their sleeves, but when I heard him say this, a ray of hope entered my heart. I thought to myself: “The locals where I’m from are good people, so maybe they’ll let me go even if I don’t tell them anything.” Contrary to my expectations, however, as we were heading back to my hometown, the police exposed their true beast-like natures and tried to force me to hand over the keys to my house. I knew that they wanted to search my home, and I thought about all the books of God’s words and the lists of brothers’ and sisters’ names that I had there. And so, I said an earnest prayer to God: “O Almighty God! Please protect the books of God’s words and the lists I have at home so that they don’t fall into Satan’s hands….” I refused to hand over my keys. The police drove me to my building and kept me locked inside the car while they stormed off up to my apartment. As I sat in the car, I prayed continuously to God, and every second that passed was a torment. After a long while, the police returned and said angrily, “You’re really stupid, you know that? There isn’t a single book in your place, and yet you try so hard to help those church people.” When I heard them say this, my anxious heart finally began to relax, and I thanked God for His protection from the bottom of my heart. It was only later that I learned that the police never found any books in my home, and they just took over 4,000 yuan in cash, a cellphone, and all the photos of me and my family. Luckily, my younger sister was there when the police arrived and, as soon as they left, she rushed to hand all the books of God’s words and faith materials left there over to the church. The next day, the police went back to search the place again, but they left empty-handed once more.

As evening fell, the police took me to my local police station and proceeded to ask me the same questions I’d been asked before. Seeing that I still wasn’t talking, they called in a pastor from the Three-Self Church to try to persuade me. “If you’re not a Christian in the Three-Self Church, then you’re following the false way,” she said. I ignored her, and just prayed silently to God to protect my heart. The more she talked, the more outrageous her claims became, until she began to wantonly slander and blaspheme God. Filled with indignation, I retorted, “Pastor, you arbitrarily condemn Almighty God, but doesn’t the Book of Revelation very clearly state ‘which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty’ (Revelation 1:8)? Aren’t you afraid of offending the Holy Spirit by recklessly condemning God like that? The Lord Jesus once said, ‘[W]hoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come’ (Matthew 12:32). Are you not afraid?” The pastor was left speechless and could only leave after such a rebuke. In my heart, I thanked God for leading me to triumph over this obstacle. When they saw that their ploy hadn’t worked, the police asked me to write something down on a piece of paper. I couldn’t figure out why they were asking me to do this, and so I silently prayed to God; I then realized that this was one of Satan’s cunning schemes and refused to write anything, saying that I didn’t know how to write. I later found out from a conversation between the two police officers that they had asked me to write something so they could check my handwriting and thereby confirm that the notebooks they’d found at our gathering place had been written by me, and then use this to bring charges against me. This showed me that those officers were nothing more than running dogs and lackeys trained by the CCP government, who were capable of going to any lengths and engaging in any underhanded methods they could think of in order to persecute the faithful—they truly are so insidious, crafty, evil and hateful! Once I’d clearly seen the vile faces of the running dogs who persecute those who believe in God, I silently made a resolution: I will never bend the knee or kowtow to Satan!

They questioned me nonstop for hours until around midnight, but the chief of the Religion Section couldn’t get anything out of me. All of a sudden, he seemed to turn into a ravening beast and yelled angrily at me, “Damnit, I’m supposed to clock off at 11 p.m. You’re being such a pain that I’ve had to stay here, and if I don’t make you suffer for it then you won’t fully understand the situation!” As he said this, he pulled my right hand onto the table and pressed down on it firmly. He then picked up a thick rod about five or six centimeters in diameter and brought it down hard on my wrist. After the first whack, the major veins in my wrist began to swell up, and then all the surrounding muscles began to swell up too. I cried out in pain and tried to pull my hand back, but he held it fast. While striking me he yelled, “This is for refusing to write! This is for refusing to talk! I’ll hit you so hard that you’ll never write another word!” He kept hitting my wrist like that for five or six minutes before finally stopping. By that time, my hand had swollen up like a grapefruit, and when he let go of me, I quickly withdrew my hand behind my back. But the evil policeman went behind me, grabbed my hands and began frantically beating them both as they hung there in the air while saying, “You use these hands to do things for your God, right? I’ll break them, I’ll cripple them, and then we’ll see how you do anything! Then we’ll see whether those believers in Almighty God want you anymore!” Hearing him say this left me filled with hatred for this gang of evil police. They behave so perversely and act contrary to Heaven; they only permit people to be the slaves of the CCP government and to work themselves to the bone for it, but they don’t allow people to believe in God or worship the Creator. In an attempt to force me to betray God, that policeman had no misgivings then whatsoever about tormenting me with cruel torture—they really are a horde of beasts and demons in human form, and they are so evil and reactionary! The policeman beat me three times that way; my hands and arms were beaten black and blue, and my wrists and the backs of my hands were so swollen they looked about to explode—the pain was unbearable. Just as I was languishing in extreme pain, a few lines from a hymn of God’s words came to mind: “Thus, during these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should go on to the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God, and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony” (“Seek to Love God No Matter How Great Your Suffering” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). God’s words stirred my heart, and I thought: “That’s right. God works tirelessly day and night to save us. He watches over us and stays with us always, and He shows us boundless love and mercy. Now, when Satan is trying to coerce me into betraying God and selling out my brothers and sisters, God is fervently hoping that I will bear staunch and resounding witness for Him. How could I possibly let Him down or hurt Him?” Thinking this, I held back my tears and told myself to be strong, not to be timid or cowardly. The CCP government wasn’t persecuting and harming me so cruelly because it hated me personally, but because of its God-resisting, God-hating essence. Its goal in treating me that way was to make me betray and reject God, and to make me accept its control and enslavement of me forever. I knew, however, that I could never yield to it, but that I had to stand firmly on the side of God and shame Satan. I sang that hymn over and over again in my mind and I felt my spirit gradually grow stronger. After beating me, that wicked policeman ordered several police to guard me, and they ended up keeping me awake all night long. If they saw me even begin to close my eyes, they would yell at me or give me a kick. But being moved by the love of God as I was, I did not give in to them.

The next day, the chief of the Religion Section came to question me again. Seeing that I still wasn’t talking, he grabbed a rod and smacked it hard across my thighs. After several whacks, my legs began to swell up to the point that I could feel my trousers begin to tighten around my swollen legs. Another evil policeman stood to one side taunting me, saying, “If the God you believe in is so great, why won’t He come help you now that we’re torturing you?” He also said a number of other things slandering and blaspheming God. I was hurting and angry, and in my heart I responded to his blasphemies by thinking: “You legion of devils, God will exact retribution on you in accordance with your evil deeds! Now is the time when God exposes you and gathers the facts of your wicked deeds!” I then thought of these words from God: “Thousands of years of hate are concentrated in the heart, millennia of sinfulness are inscribed upon the heart—how could this not inspire loathing? Avenge God, completely snuff out His enemy, do not allow it to run rampant any longer, and do not permit it to kick up as much trouble as it wishes anymore! Now is the time: Man has long since gathered all his strength, he has devoted all his efforts, paid every price, for this, to tear off the hideous face of this demon and allow people, who have been blinded, and have endured every manner of suffering and hardship, to rise up from their pain and turn their backs on this evil old devil” (“Work and Entry (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words, I perceived His urgent will and ardent call, and I understood that the CCP government is doomed to be destroyed by God. Although I was being subjected to the CCP government’s cruel persecution at that time, God’s wisdom is exercised based on the cunning schemes of Satan, and God was using what was happening to me so that I could clearly see its demonic essence, and so that I might be able to discern good from evil. Thus, true love and true hate could arise within me; I would then be able to forsake and reject the CCP government once and for all and turn my heart to God, so that I might bear witness for God and shame Satan. Once I’d understood God’s will, a tremendous feeling of strength rose up within me, and I became determined to swear loyalty to God and to forsake Satan. Although I was constantly being subjected to cruel torture, and although my whole body was sapped of energy and my legs were in unbearable pain, by relying on the strength God gave me, I was still able to say nothing (I discovered later that my legs had been beaten black and blue, and even now one of the muscles in my right leg remains atrophied). Ultimately, the chief of the Religion Section could do nothing but storm off in exasperation.

On the third day, the evil police interrogated and beat me once again, stopping only when they’d sworn at me enough times and gotten tired from hitting me. Afterward, a female police officer approached me and, feigning concern, said, “We had someone who believed in Almighty God brought in before. They didn’t tell us anything and were sentenced to 10 years in prison. How does keeping quiet help you out at all? You could waste 10 whole years in this place, and then when you get out your God won’t want you anymore anyway, and it’ll be too late for regret….” She said a number of other things to try to lure me into talking, but I just kept praying silently, asking God to protect my heart so that I wouldn’t fall prey to Satan’s cunning schemes. After praying, a part of a hymn flashed into my mind: “I myself am willing to pursue You and to follow You. Now You want to abandon me but I still want to follow You. Whether You want me or not, I will still love You, and in the end I must gain You. I offer up my heart to You, and no matter what You do, I will follow You for my entire life. No matter what, I must love You and I must gain You; I will not rest until I have gained You” (“I Am Determined to Love God” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). “Yes,” I thought. “I now believe in God and follow God because it’s what I want to do. It doesn’t matter whether God wants me or not—I’ll still follow God till the very end!” God’s words brought clarity to my mind and I realized that Satan was doing all it could to sow discord between me and God so that I would become dispirited, deny God, and finally betray God as a Judas. Right then, the only way I could defeat Satan and become a testimony to God’s victory over Satan was to keep faith in Him and stay loyal to Him. “Whether I am sent to prison or not, and whatever my outcome will be is all in God’s hands,” I thought to myself. “However God decides to arrange and orchestrate my life, I have no say in the matter, and I trust deeply that everything God does is done to save me. Though I may have to do without the comforts of the flesh in prison, what I would gain would be spiritual contentment. Furthermore, going to prison on behalf of God would be my honor, whereas if I betrayed God for the sake of my lust for physical comforts, then I would lose all dignity and integrity, and my conscience would never know peace again.” I therefore silently resolved: Even if I am sent to prison, I will remain loyal to God till the end; I dedicate my true love to God so that Satan may be humiliated and defeated once and for all! The wicked police tried both good cop and bad cop routines on me, and they subjected me to cruel tortures for three days and three nights, but they gained no leads from me. Out of options, all they could do was take me, battered and bruised as I was, and lock me up in the detention house. As they locked me in, one of the policemen said maliciously, “We’ll let you catch your breath and then we’ll interrogate you again!”

Five days later, the evil police came to question me once again, only this time they took it in turns to wear me down. They ordered me to sit on a freezing cold metal chair and then they cuffed my right hand to it. They fixed a metal bar in front of my chest to stop me from moving, with my feet dangling above the ground. They made it so that I wasn’t able to move a muscle, and before long, both my hands and my feet had gone numb. The wicked police said to me, “Every single person who’s been chained to this chair ends up telling us everything they know. If you don’t talk in one day, then you’ll be chained here for two days. If you don’t start talking in two days, then it’ll be three days. I don’t want much from you. I just want you to tell me who the leaders in your church are.” Thanks be to God for granting me strength, as all along I clung only to one thought: I will never sell anyone out! They questioned me repeatedly, they gave me nothing to eat nor even anything to drink, and they wouldn’t let me use the bathroom. That evening, to stop me from falling asleep, they kept me cuffed to the chair by one hand, but made me stand next to it while they continued to question me. I was both exhausted and hungry, and my whole body had gone numb. I simply couldn’t stand on my own and could only remain standing up at all by leaning on the chair. But the second I leaned on the chair or even thought about falling asleep, a policeman would wave a long bamboo chopstick in front of my face and whack me with it, and they didn’t let me close my eyes once all night. This went on for two days and I became so weak that my whole body became limp and feeble. I had no idea how long they would continue to put me through this; I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to stand it, that I would betray God and become a Judas, and so I called out to God over and over: “O God! My flesh is so weak and my stature is so small. Please keep me from becoming a Judas.” Just as I was calling urgently to God, one of the wicked policemen took out a book of God’s words and read: “Toward those who showed Me not the slightest loyalty during times of tribulation, I shall be merciful no more, for My mercy only extends so far. I have no liking, furthermore, for anyone who has once betrayed Me, much less do I like to associate with those who sell out the interests of their friends. This is My disposition, regardless of who the person may be. I must tell you this: Anyone who breaks My heart shall not receive clemency from Me a second time, and anyone who has been faithful to Me shall forever remain in My heart” (“Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Light filled my heart—wasn’t God showing me the way? I saw that God truly was filled with hope and concern for me and, to keep me standing strong, He had used this evil policeman here in this nest of demons to read God’s words to me. Through this, God was clearly telling me that He loves and blesses those who stay loyal to Him through adversity, and that He hates and rejects those weak enough to betray Him. How could I fail to live up to God’s expectations in the face of His love and mercy? When the evil policeman had finished reading, he asked, “Is this what your God has you do? That is, stay silent?” I didn’t answer and, surprisingly, the policeman thought that I hadn’t heard him, and so he read the passage again many times, and asked me the same question over and over again. I saw how wise and almighty God is: The more the evil policeman read God’s words, the more each word became etched into my heart, and likewise, the stronger my faith grew. I resolved that no matter how those demons might try to extract a confession from me, I would never become a Judas!

On the third day, the evil police made me walk up and down the stairs, going from one interrogation room to another, in order to sap all of my remaining energy. This torment went on until my body was utterly depleted and my legs were wobbling, and it became incredibly difficult to lift them to climb the stairs. Because of the faith and strength God’s words had given me, however, I still refused to open my mouth. They questioned me until nightfall but still had nothing to show for it, and so they threatened me, saying, “Even if you don’t say a word, we can still get you convicted. We’ll fix you!” Hearing them say this aroused some fear in me and I thought to myself: “How else can they torture me? I’m utterly spent and can’t go on much longer….” I then called out to God, saying: “O God! Please help me. I’m really afraid that I can’t hold out any longer. Please protect me and guide me so that I may know how to cooperate with You.” I felt strength rise up inside me after this prayer, and I no longer felt in as much pain. And so, in my most painful and difficult moment, through continuous prayer, God granted me the faith and strength to keep going.

Early in the morning on the fourth day, seeing that three straight days of interrogation had yielded no results, the evil police angrily undid my handcuffs and shoved me to the floor. They then ordered me to kneel and not get up. Taking advantage of the fact that I was on my knees already, I began a silent prayer to God: “O God! I know that Your protection has allowed me to overcome these past few days of torture, interrogation and attempts to extract a confession and I have no words to thank You for Your love and mercy. O God! Though I have no idea how the evil police will torture me next, no matter what happens I will never betray You, nor will I ever sell out my brothers and sisters. I ask that You continue to grant me faith and strength and keep me standing strong.” The moment my prayer ended, I felt a great surge of strength rise up within me, and I became keenly aware that I was being held in God’s love. No matter how those devils might torment me, I knew that God would guide me to overcome it all. After some time, the wicked police perhaps guessed that I was praying to God and, spluttering with rage, they yelled and shouted curses at me. One of them took a newspaper, rolled it up into a sort of club and brutally slammed it against my temple. Everything went black and I fell to the floor unconscious. They threw freezing cold water on me to wake me and, through the fog clouding my mind, I heard one of the evil policemen threatening me. “If you don’t tell us everything you know, I’ll beat you either until you die or until you’re left a cripple! No one will ever know if I beat you to death anyway, and none of your brothers or sisters would dare to come here.” I also heard another one of them say, “Forget about it. If you keep beating her like that then she really will die. She’s a hopeless case. We won’t get anything out of her.” I couldn’t help but sigh with relief when I heard that, for I knew that it was God showing understanding for my weakness, and that He had once again opened a way out for me. The evil police still weren’t willing to admit defeat, however, and so they brought in my younger sister and my son, neither of whom were believers in God, to try to get me to talk. When my sister saw my black eyes and my swollen, bruised hands, not only did she not try to get me to talk as the police had wanted, but instead she wept and said, “Li, I believe that you’re incapable of doing anything bad. Stay strong.” Seeing my sister encouraging me, the policeman turned to my son and said, “You’d better talk to your mom and get her to cooperate with us, and then she can go home and look after you.” My son looked at me and made no response to the officer. Just as he was about to leave, he walked up to me and then said suddenly, “Mom, don’t worry about me. You take care of yourself, and I’ll take care of myself.” Seeing how mature and sensible my son was, I was moved beyond words, but just vigorously nodded my head and cried as they escorted him and my sister from the room. This event allowed me to experience God’s love and care for me once again. God was showing understanding for my weakness as, over those past few days, the one I’d been worried most about had been my son. I’d been afraid that, without me there, he wouldn’t be able to cope on his own. What had worried me even more was that, being so young, when he came to the police station to see me, he would be brainwashed into hating me for believing in God. To my surprise, however, not only had he not been taken in by the slanderous and poisonous talk of the evil police, but on the contrary had actually comforted me instead. I saw then how truly wondrous and almighty God is! The heart and spirit of man are indeed orchestrated by God. After my son and sister had gone, the evil police once again threatened me, saying, “If you still won’t talk, believe it or not, we’ll torture you for a few more days and nights. And even if you still don’t talk then, we can still get you sentenced to three to five years in prison….” Having experienced many of God’s deeds, I was filled with faith in God and so I said with decisiveness and determination, “The worst that can happen is that I die at your hands! You can torture my flesh, but you can never sway my heart. Even if my body dies, God will still have my soul.” Seeing that I remained adamant, there was nothing the wicked police could do except end their interrogation and take me back to my cell. Witnessing the sorry figure cut by Satan in its utter defeat brought me unparalleled joy, and I truly understood that only God is the Sovereign of all things and that our lives and deaths are entirely in His hands. Although I hadn’t been allowed any food or water for days and my body had been devastated, God’s love was with me always. His words were a constant source of faith and strength, enabling me to tenaciously defeat Satan’s attempts to extract a confession from me by the police taking turns to wear me down. This allowed me to truly appreciate how transcendent and great God’s life force is—the strength God gives us is inexhaustible and is not subject to the constraints of the flesh.

Several days later, the CCP government cooked up the charge of disrupting public order, and after sentencing me to three years of reeducation through labor, the police escorted me to a labor camp. I lived an inhuman existence there, working nonstop from dawn till dusk. Because my hands had been maimed by all those beatings, the muscles on the backs of my hands were strained so tightly for the first six months of my sentence that I didn’t even have the strength to wash my clothes. Whenever it was rainy, my arms would hurt and swell up because the blood vessels couldn’t circulate my blood properly. Despite this, the prison guards would force me to exceed my daily quota every day, otherwise my sentence would be increased. What’s more, they kept a very strict watch over those of us who believed in God; there was always someone watching us when we ate our meals, when we washed, and even when we went to the toilet…. The pain in my body, being overloaded with work, plus the psychological torment all caused me to suffer unspeakably. I felt like three years in that place would be too much for me and that I couldn’t possibly go on. On many occasions I thought about suicide as a way to end my suffering. In extreme pain, I said a prayer to God: “O God, You know how weak my flesh is. I’m suffering so much right now and I really can’t stand it any longer. I even want to die. Please enlighten and guide me, grant me strength of will, and give me the faith I need to go on….” God showed me kindness then, as He made me think of a hymn of God’s words: “God has become flesh this time to do such work, to conclude the work that He has yet to complete, to bring this age to a close, to judge this age, to save the deeply sinful from the world of the sea of affliction and utterly transform them. Many are the sleepless nights that God has endured for the sake of the work of mankind. From up high to the lowest depths, He has descended to the living hell in which man lives to pass His days with man, has never complained of the shabbiness among man, has never reproached man for his disobedience, but endures the greatest humiliation as He personally carries out His work. … But for the sake of all mankind, so that the whole of mankind can find rest sooner, He has endured humiliation and suffered injustice to come to earth, and personally entered into ‘hell’ and ‘Hades,’ into the tiger’s den, to save man” (“Every Stage of God’s Work Is for the Life of Man” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). As I contemplated these words, my heart was inspired and reformed by God’s love. I thought about how, in order to save mankind, which is so profoundly corrupt, God became flesh and descended from the highest heights down to the lowest lows, risking great danger to come to China—this devil’s lair—to perform His work. He has suffered great humiliation and pain, persecution and adversity, and yet God is always expending Himself silently, without complaint and without regret, for the sake of mankind. God performs all this work just so that He may gain a group of people who can be considerate of His will, who set their face toward justice, and who never surrender and never give in. I had found myself in that situation because God wanted to use it to temper my will, and to perfect my faith and my obedience to God; He had allowed this situation to befall me to make me understand and enter into the truth. The tiny amount of suffering I was undergoing was not worth even mentioning next to the pain and humiliation God has suffered. If I couldn’t even stand such a small amount of suffering in prison, would I not be proving myself unworthy of the painstaking efforts God had gone to for my sake? Moreover, God’s guidance had enabled me to overcome all the cruel torture meted out to me by the evil police when I was first arrested. God had long since allowed me to see His wondrous deeds in action, so shouldn’t I have an even stauncher faith and continue to bear beautiful testimony for Him? Thinking this, my strength returned, and I made up my mind to emulate Christ: No matter how painful or how hard things got, I would keep living doggedly on. After that, whenever I felt that my life in the labor camp was getting to be too much for me, I would sing that hymn, and each time I did, God’s words provided me with inexhaustible faith and strength, and I was inspired to carry on. At that time, there were a number of other sisters from the church also being held at the labor camp. By relying on the wisdom God granted us, whenever we had the chance, we would write God’s words on notes and pass them to each other or fellowship a few words with each other when chance allowed—we supported and encouraged each other. Despite the fact that we were all being held in that lair of CCP government demons, locked within those tall walls and completely cut off from the outside world, it was precisely because of this that we came to cherish every one of God’s words that much more, and treasure even more the inspiration God gave each one of us, and it was because of this that our hearts clove together as closely as they did.

On October 29, 2005, my sentence was served in full and I was released at last. Despite being let out of prison, however, I still wasn’t able to regain my freedom. The police were always sending people to monitor my movements, and they ordered me to personally report to the police station every month. Although I was in my own home, it felt like I was being held inside an invisible prison, and I had to be constantly on my guard against CCP informers. Even though I was at home, I still had to be incredibly careful when reading God’s words, afraid that the police would come bursting in at any moment. Furthermore, because I was being monitored so closely, I had no way to see my brothers and sisters or live the church life. This was excruciating for me, and every day felt like a year. In the end, I couldn’t stand to live a life of being monitored and suppressed, of having to leave the church and all my brothers and sisters, and so I left my hometown and found a job elsewhere. I was finally able to make contact with the church and once again I began to live the church life.

Having experienced persecution at the hands of the CCP government, I thoroughly and clearly saw its hypocritical, demonic essence that deceives the public so as to win praise for itself, and I became certain that it is nothing more than a gang of devils that blasphemes against Heaven and sets itself against God. The CCP government is indeed the embodiment of Satan, the incarnation of the devil itself; my hatred for it runs deep and I vow to remain its mortal enemy. Throughout this adversity, I also truly came to appreciate God’s almightiness and sovereignty and His wondrous deeds, I experienced the authority and might of God’s words, and I truly felt God’s love and His great salvation: When I was in danger, it was God who was always by my side, enlightening me and illuminating me through His words, granting me faith and strength, guiding me to overcome one cruel torture after another and getting me through three long, dark years in captivity. Faced with the vast salvation of God, I am overcome with gratitude, my faith is redoubled, and I have resolved: No matter how great the hardships I must undergo in the future, I will always rely on the guidance and leadership of God’s words to cast off all the influences of darkness, and I will steadfastly follow God to the very end!

Footnotes:

a. The original text reads “it is a symbol of being unable to be.”

b. The original text reads “as well as a symbol of being unable to be offended (and not tolerating being offended).”

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