55. The Only Way to Avoid Disaster
Chaotuo Xiaogan City, Hubei Province
After the Sichuan earthquake, I became constantly fearful and worried that I might someday be struck by disaster. Particularly as I saw disasters becoming larger and larger, and earthquakes more and more frequent, my fear of impending doom became even more pronounced. As a result, I spent entire days pondering what precautions I should take to protect myself should an earthquake hit.
One day, at lunch, the sister of my host family turned on the TV as usual, and the newscaster just happened to be talking about earthquake safety measures. In the event of an earthquake, you should quickly run outdoors into an open space to avoid being injured by a falling building. If you cannot evacuate in time, you should take cover under a bed, table or in a corner…. After hearing this, I felt as though I had found a life-saving solution, and quickly committed these precautionary measures to memory so I could save my own life in case an earthquake hit. I went back to my room after lunch, and carefully looked around the house, inside and outside, and was greatly disappointed with what I saw: There was a ton of junk under the bed, and no extra space to take cover. Looking outside the house, within hundreds of meters of where I stood all of the buildings were five or six stories high, and closely packed together. Even if I were to evacuate from my building I would still most likely be crushed to death. I couldn’t help but think: “It seems as though fulfilling my duty here is too dangerous. I’ll have to wait for the district leader to come and switch me to a rural host family. That way, if an earthquake does occur, it will be easier to run out into an open space. But my job revising articles involves mainly staying indoors—even living in the countryside my life would still be at risk. I might as well tell the district leader to transfer me to a second-line gospel team. That way I will at least be outside all day, and it will be safer than staying inside. The only thing is, I don’t know when the district leader is coming. I still need to prepare a shelter for the time being.” I lived in fear every day this way, and was unable to focus on revising articles.
Then one day, I saw the following passage of God’s words, “When disaster comes, famine and plague will befall all those who oppose Me and they will weep. Those who have committed all manner of wickedness, but who have followed Me for many years, will not escape indictment; they too, falling into disaster, the like of which has seldom been seen throughout the ages, will come to live in a constant state of panic and fear. And those of My followers who have shown loyalty to Me alone shall rejoice and applaud My might. They will experience ineffable contentment and live in a joy that I have never before bestowed upon mankind. … In any case, I hope that you prepare a sufficiency of good deeds for your own destination. Then will I be satisfied; otherwise, none of you shall escape the disaster that befalls you. The disaster originates with Me and is of course orchestrated by Me. If you cannot appear as good in My eyes, then you will not escape suffering the disaster” (“You Ought to Prepare a Sufficiency of Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words awakened me. Indeed, God is the Lord of creation. He rules and has charge over all things. The disasters are brought about by God and they are all grasped, arranged by His hands. People’s lives are also ruled by Him and under His control, and He has final say over who suffers devastation in a disaster, and who is protected and preserved. This is all God’s rule and arrangement. Who can escape from God’s rule over their fate and outcome? Unbelievers do not know this, and think these are natural disasters. Thus they use human means and human efforts to save themselves when faced with disasters, thinking they can avoid the resulting devastation this way. And I, who was ignorant, believed in God but did not know God’s work at all. I was thinking that all I needed to do was to follow unbelievers’ precautionary measures to escape the suffering wrought by disasters and survive. Having the same perspective as unbelievers truly was absurd! Shouldn’t I have known that if people do not perform their duties faithfully and fail to perform good deeds, they will not be seen in God’s eyes as good? Regardless of how advanced their precautionary measures, or how perfect their self-rescue plans, in the end there is no one who can escape those disasters which God visits upon man. From my various reactions to the threat of disaster, it was evident that I did not have any real faith in God. I had no real understanding of God’s work in the last days or of His almightiness and sovereignty. I had no idea who God aims to destroy in disasters, or who God wishes to save, nor did I recognize that in disasters, only those who are faithful to God and have prepared a sufficiency of good deeds are those who are spared from a calamity. Therefore, when the threat of disaster loomed, instead of reflecting on whether or not I had prepared good deeds, was faithful to God, pursued the truth to be saved by God, I spent all my time contemplating ways to save myself. Lacking the truth is really pitiable!
During Noah’s time, people were promiscuous, extremely sinful, had all distanced themselves from God, and did not worship Him. When God destroyed the earth with the flood, because Noah feared God and kept far from evil, built the ark in accordance with God’s will, expended everything upon God’s request, and showed his utmost loyalty, he was seen by God as good. Therefore, when disaster arrived, only the eight people in his family were spared from the calamity. And I recalled what was discussed in a fellowship: “If you don’t prepare any good deeds, when disaster strikes, your heart will be in a panic all day long. Without good deeds, a man’s heart feels no comfort, and he has no confidence or peace in his heart. Because he has not prepared good deeds, there is no real peace or joy in his heart. Evil-doers have a guilty conscience, and are evil at heart. The more evil deeds they do, the guiltier they feel and the more fearful they become. When the great disaster comes, you need to do more good and prepare more good deeds so your heart can be comforted and at peace. Only then will you feel peace and comfort in your heart when disaster strikes” (“The Important Meaning Behind Preparing Good Deeds” in Sermons and Fellowship On Entry Into Life (II)). After reading this I understood that without gaining the truth, without doing good deeds, people will lack God’s care and protection, and so they will be panicked when faced with a disaster. Only those who pursue the truth, are devoted to fulfilling their duty, do not muddle through, practice and enter in according to the principles of the truth in all things, and whose deeds are seen by God as good will gain God’s protection and be preserved in a disaster, just like Noah. I thought about how I was constantly feeling uneasy and nervous, fearing my own death in a disaster. I realized, wasn’t it because I had not done my duty faithfully and had not prepared any good deeds that I was so terrified of disaster falling? I didn’t do much with the articles sent to me for revision, but sloppily revised them and only sought to complete my task, even if it wasn’t done too well. I never gave any thought to how to revise them to achieve the result of bearing witness to God so that they would be beneficial and edifying for my brothers and sisters. When I saw disorganized, jumbled articles written by my brothers and sisters, I didn’t guide and help them with diligence, but just wrote a few comments, not caring whether they understood them or whether they would be edifying. Instead, I returned the articles to them hurriedly, and subsequently received less and less articles to edit. As a result, my editorial work all but ground to a halt. Even so, I did not reflect on my actions, nor did I try to identify and rectify the source of the problem, but blamed the leader, claiming that problems arose because she didn’t place importance on the editorial work. I could see from this that I had never truly had a burden for the work of the church and I particularly was not fulfilling my duty through a heart of devotion to God. Not only was fulfilling my duty that way not preparing good deeds, but it was muddling through and trying to deceive God. It was doing evil. How could I presume to satisfy God with such actions, receive His praise and care, and thereby gain spiritual comfort? If I had continued on this path without pursuing the truth properly, and failed to be faithful to my duty without preparing adequate good deeds, I surely would have been unable to escape the wrath of God’s punishment of the wicked, even through following those precautions set out by Satan when disaster strikes.
Thank God for His guidance in opening my mind to allow me to understand that only by doing my duty properly and performing a sufficiency of good deeds may I gain deliverance from the suffering wrought by disasters and escape with my life. This is the one and only way. In the future, I wish to pursue the truth hard, be as faithful as possible in fulfilling my duties, and prepare ample good deeds to satisfy God.