74. The Love of God’s Salvation for Mankind
Danyi Sichuan Province
There is a feeling of guilt that wells up in my heart every time I see these words of God: “The biggest problem with man is that he thinks of nothing but his fate and prospects, that he idolizes them. Man pursues God for the sake of his fate and prospects; he does not worship God because of his love for Him. And so, in the conquest of man, man’s selfishness, greed and the things that most obstruct his worship of God must all be eliminated. In doing so, the effects of man’s conquest will be achieved. As a result, in the earliest conquest of man it is necessary to first purge the wild ambitions and most grievous weaknesses of man, and, through this, to reveal man’s love of God, and change his knowledge of human life, his view of God, and the meaning of his existence. In this way, man’s love of God is cleansed, which is to say, man’s heart is conquered” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). It has only been through time and time again of God’s judgment and chastisement that I have finally come to my senses and recognized that what God requires is mankind’s single-minded, pure love, and that it is right and proper for all creations to seek to love God and fulfill their duty. I also recognized that when people are no longer constrained by their future destiny and are able to live for God, the work of conquest on them will bear fruit. However, when I was working as a leader, I wasn’t putting my effort into pursuing the truth; I was always ruled by thoughts of my future destiny. Because of this, I would often undergo refinement to the point that I became negative, and this was not only a loss within my own life, but it also damaged my work in the house of God. However, God didn’t deal with me based on my transgressions. He gave me many opportunities to repent. There was the judgment and chastisement as well as the bitter refinements from God’s words, the sustenance, comfort, support, and shepherding from His words, the Holy Spirit leading me, enlightening me, and illuminating the path for me time and time again—only through these things was I able to step by step break free from Satan’s snare, not lose my way, and embark on the proper path in life. When I reflect on God’s salvation of me, the past is very vivid.
I was born in the countryside. I had three sisters, and because my father was subject to the traditional idea of perpetuating the family line, he preferred to be fined for having more children than the law allowed rather than not have a son. Because the issue of preferring boys over girls is very serious in the countryside, any household that doesn’t have a son is considered to have their family line cut off. This was the thing that saddened my father the most, and my parents argued about it frequently. There were threats of divorce several times and my father was often breaking things. I was always hoping for the day that my parents wouldn’t fight anymore. I remember one time when my cousin yelled at me “Your family line is broken!” because of some petty issue. I didn’t say anything when I heard those heart-rending words. From that time on, Satan’s poisons of “Who says girls aren’t as good as boys,” “One should bring honor to his ancestors,” and “getting ahead” gained a deep hold in the depths of my soul. I developed a secret ambition: I’m the eldest daughter in the family, and I’ll strive to gain recognition for my parents. One day I’ll show that even though my parents don’t have a son, having a daughter is even better.
I was a diligent student in primary school and participated enthusiastically in all sorts of school activities. I was frequently praised by my teachers and I also won some awards. In my class I was an art committee member, a study committee member, a team captain, and a Communist Youth League member. Once I got to middle school I was the Chinese language class representative and I won awards in every year’s sports meet. In our county, they made a video for every Teachers’ Day and the school organized a program of performances. My teacher particularly requested that I participate in a leading role. At that time my teacher thought highly of me, and my classmates were envious. When my father saw that I was on television he grinned from ear to ear and was very proud of me. When I saw his happy smile, I felt thrilled that I could win this recognition for him.
In late 1999, our entire family accepted new work from God, and because I was dominated by thoughts of being blessed, I began a life of leaving home to fulfill my duty. In order to obtain the leader’s approval as well as the support of my brothers and sisters, I did my best to endure hardships in fulfilling my duty, and I would do everything I could to carry out any work that was required by the house of God or arranged by the leader. At the time, I was one of the top people among my co-workers in the work of the gospel, and every project of mine was bearing fruit. Although my understanding of the truth was superficial, when my brothers and sisters had issues at home, problems in their work, or difficulties with their life entry, I would always look for God’s words and fellowship with them. My brothers and sisters got along well with me and the leader thought highly of me. I gradually began to feel that I was a rare talent in the house of God.
In early 2006, I was promoted to be regional leader, and when I saw that the fruit from the area I was responsible for was a bit better than in other regions, I thought to myself: Even though I haven’t performed this type of duty, I implement every project more quickly than others and the outcomes of my work are also better. The leader also wants to train me; if my parents knew that I could perform this duty I don’t know how happy they would be. Particularly when I went to my hometown to work, there was always a feeling of returning home in glory, and I hoped that I would see more brothers and sisters who knew me so that they could know that the duties I was performing were at that level. I was living in a condition of being self-congratulatory, and even my speaking manner had changed. I had begun to focus on my image in other people’s eyes. By then, I was no longer focused on putting my effort into the word of God and I no longer sought to enter into life. Instead, I focused on the leader’s view and assessment of me, and whether the people I worked for supported me. Over time, I was no longer able to resolve issues in the church or deviations or omissions in the work of those I worked for. When meeting with my co-workers I could no longer share any fellowship with them. This was very painful for me, and I felt like the walking dead, living in darkness. In the end, not only was I not promoted, but I was replaced. At the time I was very hurt, and I thought to myself: If my parents and the brothers and sisters who know me knew that I’ve been replaced, what would they think of me? I won’t be able to gain family prestige or get ahead. It looks like I’m done, and I have no future to speak of. I was full of despair and unwilling to read the word of God, to pray, and I was even less willing to see or have contact with my brothers and sisters. The weakness and negativity in my heart had reached a certain point. Later, I saw these words from God: “In your seeking, you have too many individual notions, hopes, and futures. The current work is in order to deal with your desire for status and your extravagant desires. The hopes, the desire for[a] status, and the notions are all classic representations of satanic disposition. The reason that these things exist in people’s hearts is entirely because Satan’s poison is always corroding people’s thoughts, and people are always unable to shake off these temptations from Satan. They are living in the midst of sin yet do not believe it to be sin, and they still believe: ‘We believe in God, so He must bestow blessings on us and arrange everything for us appropriately. We believe in God, so we must be superior to others, and we must have more status and more of a future than anyone else. Since we believe in God, He must give us limitless blessings. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called believing in God’” (“Why Aren’t You Willing to Be a Foil?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Every sentence of these words of revelation by God gripped my heart. That I was replaced was God’s righteous disposition coming upon me, and it was to deal with the concern for status in my heart. Since I was a little girl, Satan’s poisons of “Who says girls aren’t as good as boys,” “One should bring honor to his ancestors,” and “getting ahead” had been continually corrupting my thoughts to the point that my views on belief in God had become unbearably ugly. Subject to domination by these types of thoughts, I had worked extremely hard in fulfilling my duty, I had run around busily for years, but in fact I had wanted to use God to achieve my own goals of getting ahead and gaining family prestige. I was so contemptible! So ugly! Through the facts and the judgment of His words, God exposed that my internal perspectives on pursuit were precisely the same as Satan. I was on a path of failure, and without God’s timely judgment and chastisement, I would have continued to hold on to this type of pursuit and in the end, I could only have fallen to my ruin and come to the same end as Paul.
I thought that there should be some changes after I gained this understanding, but there was another revelation in 2008 that forced me to see that a change in disposition wasn’t as simple as I had thought. I couldn’t change just from having a small understanding of my views of pursuit after undergoing some refinement. Only through long-term judgment and chastisement is change possible. At that time I was assigned to perform the duty of watering for God in another area. When a meeting with the sister who was in charge of the work was over, I began to measure in my heart who among us was good at fellowship, and what my rank was. I paid particular attention to the opinions and attitudes toward me of the sister in charge of the work. When I saw that she was paying attention to another sister, I felt really thrown off balance. When she had me go water the church leaders and deacons, I thought it was simply a waste of my abilities and felt that she didn’t know how to manage people. I could at least water district leaders and workers. For this reason I became pessimistic and disappointed and lost my will for pursuit. I was living in a condition of negativity. Even though I had come up against walls several times, I hadn’t thought anything of it. Later on God’s righteous disposition came upon me and I had a recurrence of appendicitis, but I still didn’t turn my rigid heart around. That was, until one time when I put a bottle of medicine for treating foot dryness and cracking behind the nightstand at my host family’s home. The seven-year-old girl there thought it was something good and drank it secretly, and afterward she was on the ground, clutching her stomach in pain and crying. At the time I was so scared I didn’t know what to do. My sister in the host family quickly took the child to the community health clinic to save her, and the doctor said: “The child’s stomach is so thin, but you didn’t take her to the Children’s Hospital. You want to just wait for her to die?” My legs felt like dead, and when I thought of what the doctor had said, I became deeply uneasy. I didn’t even know how I had walked back to my host family from the clinic. I thought to myself: If the child really does die, her parents will certainly look into what happened…. The more I thought about it the more scared I became. I wanted to cry but no tears came. The time passed one second and one minute at a time. I could not calm myself—I was really suffering. I flipped through God’s words and saw the following: “I believe that it is best for us to find the simplest way to satisfy Him, that is, to obey all of His arrangements, and if you can truly achieve this you will be perfected. Isn’t this an easy, joyful thing? … In God’s work today, He doesn’t become angry easily, but if people want to disrupt His plan He can change His countenance in an instant and turn it from bright to cloudy. So, I advise you to settle down and respect God’s designs, allow Him to make you complete. This is the only way to be a smart person” (“The Path … (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words I saw that God’s disposition does not tolerate people’s offenses; I realized that my actions had brought God’s disgust and aroused His anger. In order to show me the path, He had let me know how I should engage in pursuit. When I was ill and in pain, I did not do any introspection. God once again used the incident of the little girl eating the medicine to chastise me, to make me suffer, to make me able to put these things aside, pursue the truth, and obey God’s arrangements. God couldn’t bear to allow me to continue to be fooled by Satan, to struggle so hard and rush around for reputation and status. This type of chastisement, judgment, and purification of me was His last resort, to get me to see the deep pit of status I was trapped in. Several experiences of chastisement had not awakened my heart; I still couldn’t extricate myself from the control and affliction of the satanic nature in me. In retrospect, when I first came to do the work, I had airs of being outstanding, and I believed at first that I would be promoted for an important purpose; I had not imagined that I would be demoted to complete grassroots-level work. People who I thought were no match for me were watering brothers and sisters at leadership levels for districts, and some of them were even promoted while my own prospects looked bleak. I thought: Going back home would be better than fulfilling my duty here. So, when I met with the church leaders, I started just going through the motions. I did not take any responsibilities for their lives, and I shouldered no true burden for the various issues within the church, not to mention considering the will of God. At that time, when I was faced with God’s words which were so full of compassion and love, I felt deeply indebted to Him. God’s thoughts are for the lives of mankind, and He offers up everything for humanity; this is to fully rescue mankind from Satan’s domain. But I was unwilling to offer up anything in my work for God. The root of the problem was that I was always bound and ruled by Satan’s poison. I was just like a naive child who had no understanding of her parents’ good intentions; I had lost too many opportunities to be made perfect by God. Only having an awakening once things had gotten to that point—wasn’t it too late? I fell to the ground, full of remorse and self-reproach: “Oh God! The judgment and chastisement that has come upon me today is all Your righteousness. I am willing to obey. If there is still a chance, I am willing to change myself, to no longer rush about for the sake of my future fate. I am willing to just be a small creation in Your hand, to fulfill my watering duty as well as I can, and comfort Your heart.” After I was done praying, my heart was calmed. I was willing to give myself entirely to God, and even more willing to give that little girl entirely to God. Before long, I heard the sound of that sister in my host family opening the door, and the little girl shouted: “Auntie, will you hold me?” She then quietly said to me: “Auntie, you absolutely have to keep this a secret; you can’t tell my grandmother that I drank your water!” At that moment my heart was finally released, seeing that God had maneuvered who-knows-how-many people, events, and objects in order to save me, this “stone.” I felt that I was utterly unworthy. From then on, my intentions were no longer for my future fate. I just kept my feet on the ground and did my best to fulfill my watering duty to comfort God’s heart. I was no longer merely going through the motions, and when I discovered that there were deviations or omissions in the duties of my brothers and sisters, I just patiently communicated with them, helped, and supported them. Through my fellowship with my brothers and sisters I gained some truth, and at the same time learned some lessons from them. At that time I no longer believed that my abilities were going to waste. I understood God’s good intentions, and that fulfilling this duty was what was needed in my life. It was God designing an environment according to my deficiencies, to make up for them. I give thanks to God! From then on, I was able to fulfill my duty with peace of mind. I hadn’t imagined that before too long, the leader spoke to me and asked me to water leaders and workers for the districts in two regions. I then saw God’s righteous disposition, that He examines the depths of man’s heart and is in charge of everything. What God likes is a down-to-earth person who fulfills their duty. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to perform my duty. When meeting with the district leaders I discovered some issues and worked on them diligently. I also recorded the issues discovered in each meeting, what widespread problems there were, how I was resolving them, and which problems I had not resolved. After a period of time I felt that fulfilling my duty this way was very realistic. My heart was at ease and peaceful, and I was no longer under the rule of the poison of “getting ahead.” I felt like I was equipped with and understood some of the truth in various aspects, that I could enter in with my brothers and sisters, that I was a low-profile person. I understood that fulfilling my duty as a creation is an unalterable principle, and that I should be just like a soldier, obeying commands as my sacred duty, not considering or planning for myself, but in everything making the interests of the house of God important. This is what a creation should do.
In late February 2012, I was transferred to another province to fulfill my duty. At that time my heart was very calm, and I wasn’t gloating as I had in the past. When I had just gone to begin the position it happened to be the time that the household of God was cleaning out the church. The above said in the work arrangement: “The work of cleaning out five types of people in the church must be completed before the 2012 Labor Day holiday. Because the work of cleaning is to pave the way to expand the work of the gospel of the kingdom, it absolutely must not impact the work of the gospel” (“God Is Completely Glorified Only by Thoroughly Cleaning Out the Church and Ensuring the Smooth Expansion of the Gospel of the Kingdom” in Annals of Fellowship and Work Arrangements II). Some leaders and workers urgently needed to be replaced; every aspect of work was almost at a standstill. Because of God’s protection, I wasn’t consumed by difficulties at that time. While I was adjusting the leaders and workers, I was organizing the proper people to collect the materials of those who had to be dismissed and expelled. However, come late March, I saw that there was still not one notification to clear out a person issued. I really underwent refinement in my heart. I was full of reasons and excuses; I thought to myself that I was just practicing at performing this duty, that I was not clear on the truth, and I could no longer continue my work of guiding this effort. Just as I was receiving refinement, the sister in charge of the work called me to deal with me. I was very upset at the time and wasn’t willing to accept it. I felt wronged in my heart. I thought: I’ve just arrived here, you know very well what my work is like. I’ve been doing everything I can to cooperate, and you don’t comfort me, but instead deal with me. Just like this, I was living in the midst of refinement and the word “replaced” was haunting me. Even though I was doing the work, I had lost my confidence, and I was constantly thinking: This time I’ll probably be replaced because it says in the work arrangement that leaders who can’t do the work of dismissing and expelling five types of people must be replaced. Later, I thought of a hymn of God’s word that I used to sing frequently: “The greater God’s refinement, the more people’s hearts are able to love God. The torment in their hearts is of benefit to their lives, they are more able to be at peace before God, their relationship with God is closer, and they are better able to see God’s supreme love and His supreme salvation. Peter experienced refinement hundreds of times, and Job underwent several trials. If you wish to be made perfect by God, you too must undergo refinement hundreds of times; only if you have to go through this process, and have to rely upon this step, are you able to satisfy God’s will, and be made perfect by God. Refinement is the best means by which God makes people perfect; only refinement and bitter trials can bring out the true love for God in people’s hearts. Without hardship, people lack the true love for God; if they are not tested within, and are not truly subjected to refinement, then their hearts will always be floating in the outside world. Having been refined to a certain point, you will see your own weaknesses and difficulties, you will see how much you are lacking and that you are unable to overcome the many problems you encounter, you will see how great is your disobedience, and you will be able to truly know yourselves. Only if you have to go through this process, and have to rely upon this step, are you able to satisfy God’s will, and be made perfect by God” (“Refinement Is the Best Means by Which God Makes People Perfect” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Through the guidance of God’s words, I recognized that refinement is God’s best way of perfecting people, and if my sister hadn’t dealt with me, my heart would still be drifting about. Because my laziness and servility were too strong, it was only through this type of environment that I could be proactive and come out from my reasons and excuses. Only through this type of refinement could I clearly see that I was nothing and that I had too many faults, but it also exposed that I was still subject to the rule of thoughts of my future fate. In spite of the fact that I had had several experiences of chastisement over these few years, I was no longer willing to pursue any type of worthless reputation or status, and I had become much more honest on the outside, in the depths of my soul Satan’s poison was still present. I thought back to the conditions when I had just come here: They reflected to me that the previous leader hadn’t done practical work, but had just spoken doctrine, not performing the work of clearing out the church. I thought to myself: I can’t be someone who just speaks doctrine but doesn’t do practical work. I have to do my job well, and completely clear out these five types of people before Labor Day so that those I’m working for will see that I’m better than the previous leader, so that the person in charge will recognize me. It turned out that I was running around and working hard to achieve that desire. God is so righteous—He has deep knowledge of the filth in my heart. I was not working to stand by God’s side, or to maintain the interests of the household of God or protect my brothers and sisters, but I was scheming to establish myself. The antichrists are disrupting and destroying the work of the house of God, but I was unable to expel these demons from the house of God and comfort His heart. I truly deserve to die! In the midst of suffering and self-recrimination, I fell onto the floor: “Oh God! That I could fulfill this duty is the greatest exaltation from You, but I was ungrateful and didn’t care about Your will. I really am despicable. Today, I have tasted Your righteous disposition, and although my corruptions are still numerous, I am willing to accept You making me perfect. I am willing to be purified within this environment, and I am willing to do my utmost to work with You, and even more willing to stand united with my brothers and sisters to get rid of all antichrist demons.” After praying, I saw a passage of God’s words: “People believe in God with the purpose of seeking to obtain blessings in the future. All people have this intent and hope. Corruption within human nature must be resolved through trials, however. In whichever aspects you do not pass, it is in these aspects that you must be refined—this is God’s arrangement. God creates an environment for you, forcing you to be refined there to know your own corruption. Ultimately you reach a point where you would rather die and give up your schemes and desires, and submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement.
So if people do not have several years of refinement, if they don’t have a certain amount of suffering, they will not be able to avoid the bondage of corruption of the flesh in their thought and in their hearts. In whichever aspects you are still subject to Satan’s bondage, in whichever aspects you still have your own desires, your own demands—it is in these aspects that you should suffer. Only in suffering can lessons be learned, which means being able to gain truth, and understand God’s intention. In fact, many truths are understood within experience of painful trials. Nobody says that God’s intention is known, that His almightiness and wisdom are understood, that God’s righteous disposition is appreciated in an environment of ease or in favorable circumstances. That would be impossible!” (“How to Satisfy God in the Midst of Trials” in Records of Christ’s Talks). From God’s words, I recognized that my concerns with my future fate had become the most lethal thing in my nature. Because I could disrupt the work of the house of God for it, and could still be ruled by it, God once again created an environment to refine me. From this, I saw that the trials and refinements were all God’s arrangement, and if I had not been dealt with and refined over these few years, if I had not experienced these miserable environments, the views in my soul and mind on things of the flesh would not have changed. After several rounds of being dealt with and refined, my pursuits finally underwent a transformation. I was no longer willing to believe in God for the purpose of blessings or to conduct transactions with God, to put so much importance on reputation and status or my future fate. I also became much clearer on God’s will in saving mankind.
Since then, when fulfilling my duty, no matter if I am replaced or my duties are adjusted, I am much calmer in my heart and I am no longer as concerned as before about what I could gain or lose. I just feel that it is one more responsibility and duty. No matter what duty is arranged for me, I am willing to just obey the will of God and do whatever I am capable of. The duties that I fulfill are all ordained by God, and I am willing to keep my feet on the ground and pursue the truth, make up for my past transgressions and debts, follow Peter’s example in living out a practical love of God. Just like the words of God in this hymn: “Oh God! We have spent time apart, and time together in company. I have done nothing for You, yet You love me more than all else. I have repeatedly rebelled against You and repeatedly grieved You. How can I forget such things? The work You have done in me and what You have entrusted me with I always bear in mind, I never forget. With the work You have done in me I have tried my best. You know what I can do, and You further know what role I can play. I will dedicate everything I have to You. Although Satan fooled me so much and I have repeatedly rebelled against You, I believe You do not remember me for those transgressions, that You do not treat me based on them. I wish to dedicate my entire life to You. I ask for nothing, and neither do I have other hopes or plans; I only wish to act according to Your intention and to do Your will. I will drink from Your bitter cup. I am willing to devote my heart and body and all my true love to You, place them before You, be completely obedient toward You, and be absolutely considerate to Your will. Not for the flesh, not for family, but for Your work” (“The Prayers of Peter” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs).
Now, I have believed in God for over 14 years. Because of God’s grace I have always fulfilled my duty in the household of God. There have been many ups and downs; there has been laughter, there have been tears of sorrow, there has been the happiness from understanding God’s will and feelings of guilt from indebtedness to God. Even more, there has been the joy and peace from putting the truth into practice. I really have gained so much. I have experienced the goodness of God’s judgment and chastisement—it is very real! Without His judgment and chastisement I would never have undergone the changes that I have. In my days from now on, I am willing to accept more of God’s judgments and chastisements, to accept more of the bitter trials God sets up for me so that I can be purified, be saved and made perfect by God out of His judgments and chastisements. Through this I can live out a meaningful life with value!