Through the Great Tribulation, I Have Reaped Great Benefits
Rongguang Zhengzhou City, Henan Province
After following, I was put in prison because I believed in God. At that time I was a new believer and God had given me strength so that I could stand firm in my . However, I mistakenly believed that I had the stature; I thought that I had a great amount of faith, love and loyalty for God, therefore I didn’t pay particular attention to eating and drinking God’s words of judgment and chastisement. Even though I read, I compared the word by which God exposes man with other people and excluded myself from God’s judging words. I was only willing to read about the mysteries God has revealed and prophecies as well as words concerning obtaining blessings; these are the words I was most interested in. I read God’s words: “Based on their different functions and testimonies, the overcomers within the kingdom will serve as priests or followers, and all those who are victorious amid tribulation will become the body of priests within the kingdom. … In the body of priests there will be chief priests and priests, and the remainder will be the sons and people of God. This is all determined by their testimonies to God during tribulation; they are not titles that are given at whim” (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “The time of the tribulation will not be too protracted—it will not even be a year. If it were to last for a year it would delay the next step of work, and people’s stature would be inadequate. If it were too long they wouldn’t be able to withstand it—their stature has its limitations” (“How You Should Walk the Last Leg of the Path” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I thought: Position in the kingdom will be determined based on how people testify during the tribulation; these testimonies could influence someone’s fate. When the tribulation comes upon me, I will have to grit my teeth and put forth enough energy, and I will certainly offer a beautiful testimony. That way I will be able to obtain great blessings; besides, the tribulation won’t last too long–it will be less than a year. No matter what happens, I’ll be able to endure this period of hardship. By being dominated by thoughts of obtaining blessings I made up my mind to get ready for battle; I thought that by relying on my own “faith” and “will,” I would be able to be an overcomer in the tribulation.
God’s work of saving people is so wonderful and so wise. In 1996, we all entered into the great tribulation through God’s arrangement. But when the tribulation came upon us, no one was aware of it; everything happened so naturally, my true form and disgraceful situation of being an opportunist came to light during the tribulation.
In June and July of 1996, I was in another part of the country fulfilling my duty involving writing. One day, the leader of this area came and told us that the recent situation was not very good and that Sister so-and-so had been arrested by the great red dragon. When we heard of this, we wanted tofor this sister and didn’t think of much else, because we all knew that it was a common occurrence for people to be arrested for their belief in God in China, a country that persecuted God like this. But, it wasn’t many days before we heard that a few more brothers and sisters were arrested. After a few more days, we heard that a dozen or so were arrested, and many well-known believers who were serving as leaders in God’s family were secretly listed as wanted. There were also some who had bounties for their arrests. The local leaders were also on the black list of the great red dragon. I sensed that things were not good: It looked like the great red dragon was trying to destroy the believers in one fell swoop. We felt a kind of terror in the atmosphere that enveloped us; we didn’t know what to do in this kind of situation; we wanted to contact the above and ask him how to proceed, but we couldn’t contact him. Later I found out that the tribulation had begun a month earlier. God’s word came true that “That is, when God smites the shepherd, the sheep of the flock will be scattered, and at that time you won’t have any true leader. The people will be divided—it won’t be like now, where you can come together as a congregation.” But at that time we were numb in spirit and we didn’t dare make wild guesses and define God’s work. Therefore we didn’t know that this was the great tribulation. All we could feel was the dark hand of the great red dragon pressing near us and we couldn’t progress in our work for objective reasons. In facing this kind of plight, we faintly became aware that the work had been obstructed by God’s hand; God was leading us to stop the work and hide ourselves and lose no time returning back to our homeland. That way we would be safer. Consequently, we were forced to disperse and return to our homeland.
I had only been home for a week when a sister came and gave me a letter saying that a brother in our church was arrested, and I needed to immediately leave home. At this time I was just like a deer in the headlights; I didn’t have any faith and I only had one thought in my heart: Quickly hide and don’t allow the great red dragon to capture me; the great red dragon is too deplorable and cruel, the vicious methods it uses to ravage believers is unprecedented. If I fall into the hands of the demon, the consequences would be unimaginable. Following this, a sister introduced me to the mountains to cook for the miners. I was there with two sisters and we took advantage of the times when no one was around to eat and drink the words of God, fellowship and sing. Because we had a supply of God’s words, each day was very enriching. However, in less than a month, police came into the area and I had no choice but to quickly leave. Afterward I came to another restaurant to work. Everyone I came into contact with was an unbeliever and I didn’t have any common language with them; moreover, I didn’t have God’s word in this kind of environment, and there was no one to fellowship with to the point that it was difficult to even offer a proper prayer. I felt lonely and desolate and my heart couldn’t help but start complaining. I even wanted to betray God and not believe anymore: “Believing in God is really not easy and I am on edge all day; I am wandering in a world that lacks justice; when will these days be over? If I didn’t , living an easy and stable lifestyle like the unbelievers, wouldn’t that be wonderful?” Even though my heart thought this way, I felt afraid and didn’t dare leave God; I also felt like I couldn’t leave God, the thought of leaving God caused me pain. Yet since I didn’t love reading God’s words in the past, didn’t seek after truth, and only fulfilled my duties to obtain blessings, therefore, the moment I left the books of God’s word, my heart didn’t have a line of God’s word left in it. Without God’s words of life supporting me, I was just like a fool who had lost his mind. I didn’t know what to do with myself or what to pursue after. I just desperately struggled through each day. What was God’s will? Why did He arrange this for me? How could I practice and satisfy God? I didn’t have the strength to ponder this, all I thought about was my hardships. At that time my belief in the omnipotence and omniscience of God and my belief in God’s universal dominance were all lost. It got to the point that when a sister came to invite me to go visit some brothers and sisters, I declined, because my heart was fearful and cowardly. I didn’t have faith or strength, I only relied on my mind and thoughts, thinking that the environment will not be good before Hong Kong’s return to China. During this period of time, the great red dragon will frantically suppress and eradicate everyone who sincerely believes in God. Now it will be a long time before Hong Kong’s return, I certainly must protect myself well. During the two and a half months that I worked in the restaurant, my heart became more and more distant from God, almost to the point that I only acknowledged God’s name, but didn’t have God in my heart. My heart was often attracted to the sensual pleasures; I wanted to run away from God and live the life of the unbelievers. However, over the next few days I especially missed God and the brothers and sisters; I missed my former church life. While being by myself, I always couldn’t help but cry. My heart was sorrowful: Oh God, all day I am with people who belong to the devil; if I am not working, then I am eating or having a boring conversation. Only You know the emptiness and pain in my heart. Oh God, when will this long night pass? When will we be set free to believe in God, like in the past when we lived in Your warm family? My heart was tormented like it was being overrun by weeds and I couldn’t stay any longer. It just so happened to be getting close to the Spring Festival and I took advantage of the opportunity and quit my job and quickly returned to my brothers and sisters. Afterward I realized that it wasn’t just me who had these thoughts; there were many brothers and sisters who had avoided being arrested by the great red dragon by fleeing to other areas who had experienced the same thing. They all returned home because they were thinking the same thing. This was a miraculous guidance of the .