55. The Only Way to Avoid Disaster
Chaotuo Xiaogan City, Hubei Province
Ever since the Sichuan earthquake, I have always been fearful and worried that I might someday be struck by disaster. Particularly as I’ve seen disasters escalating, and earthquakes becoming more frequent, my fear of impending doom has become even more pronounced. As a result, I spend whole 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 hide under a bed, table or in a corner…. After hearing this, I felt as though I 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 interior and exterior of the house and was greatly disappointed with what I saw: There was a ton of junk under the bed, and no extra space to hide. Looking outside the house, within hundreds of meters of where I stood all of the buildings were 5 or 6 stories high, and closely packed together. Even if I were to evacuate my building I would still most likely be crushed to death. It seemed as though fulfilling my duties here would be too dangerous. I would have to wait for the district leader to come and switch me to a rural host family. That way, if an earthquake did occur, it would be easier to run out into an open space. But then it occurred to me: My job revising articles involved 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 would at least be outside all day, and it would be safer than staying home. The only thing was, I didn’t know when the district leader was coming. I still needed to prepare a shelter for the time being. And so, I lived in fear every day, and was unable to focus on revising my 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 kinds of evil during their many years as My follower shall not be guiltless; they too will live in a constant state of panic and fear amidst the disaster that has scarcely been seen through the ages. And all My followers who have been loyal to no other 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 do sufficient good deeds in preparation for your own destination. Then will I be satisfied; otherwise, none of you shall escape the disaster. The disaster is brought down by Me and of course orchestrated by Me. If you cannot work for good in My presence, then you will not escape suffering the disaster” (“You Ought to Do Enough Good Deeds to Prepare for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words woke me up. As it turned out, God causes disasters—they are issued from Him. God wants to use disasters to destroy this evil and corrupt human race. This is what God desires to do in the last days. The unbelievers do not know this, and think these are natural disasters. Thus they use human ways, human efforts to save themselves when faced with disasters. They think they can avoid the devastation of various disasters by doing this. And I, who was ignorant, believed in God but did not know God’s work at all. I was thinking all I needed to do was to follow the precautionary measures of the unbelievers and I would escape the suffering wrought by disasters and survive. It was truly absurd that I would hold the same viewpoint as the unbelievers! 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 powerful humans can be, how advanced their precautionary measures, or how perfect their self-rescue plans, in the end there is no escaping those disasters which God visits upon man. From my various responses 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 and 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 enough good deeds are those who are spared in calamity. Therefore, when the threat of disaster loomed, instead of reflecting on whether or not I had prepared good deeds, was faithful to God, sought the truth and had received God’s salvation, I spent all my time contemplating ways to save myself. Without the truth, this is how pathetic we become!
During Noah’s time, 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, spent everything upon God’s request, and showed his utmost loyalty, he was seen by God as good. Therefore, when disaster arrived, all eight of his family members were spared. At this point, I recalled what was discussed in “Fellowship and Preaching About Life Entry,” “If you don’t prepare any good deeds, when disaster strikes, your heart will be in 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 and 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 get. 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)). When I thought about how I had been feeling uneasy and nervous all day, fearing my own death in disaster, I realized it’s because I had not done my duty faithfully and had not prepared any good deeds. In doing my duty, I had never truly borne the burden for the tasks entrusted to me by the church. I had never fulfilled my duties with a heart faithful to God. Instead, I had deceived and dealt with God out of indulgence for the flesh. I didn’t do much with the articles sent to me, but sloppily revised them and only sought to complete my task. When I saw how disorganized the articles written by my brothers and sisters were, 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 helpful. Instead, I returned the articles to them hurriedly, and subsequently received less and less articles to edit. As a result, editorial work all but grinded 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. How did I presume to satisfy God with such actions and thereby be comforted in my heart? In this way, how could I be seen in the eyes of God as good? If I continue on this path and do not pursue the truth properly, fail to be faithful to that which I have been entrusted by the church, and do not prepare adequate good deeds, I will surely be unable to escape the wrath of God’s punishment of the wicked even if I follow 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 enough 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 rightly, be as faithful as possible in fulfilling my duties, and prepare ample good deeds to satisfy God.