27. The Ordeal in the Devil’s Den Made Me Taste God’s Love More Deeply
Fenyong Shanxi Province
From my childhood, I lived under my parents’ best care, but in my heart I often felt lonely without reliance, and there was always an unexplainable distress binding me, which I couldn’t get free from. I often asked myself, “Why does man live? How on earth should man live?” But I never got the answer. In 1999, I fortunately accepted Almighty God’s end-time work. From then on, under the feeding and supplying of God’s word, my lonely heart received comfort and I always had a feeling of returning home, feeling very peaceful and secure. Only then did I know what happiness is. Later, I read God’s words, “The world in mankind’s heart where there is no God’s position is dark, hopeless, and empty. … God’s place and God’s life cannot be replaced by any man. What mankind needs is not only a just society where they have enough to fill their stomach and everyone is equal and free. What they need is God’s salvation and God’s life supply for them.” (from “God Is Sovereign over the Destiny of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Then, I knew that what a living man needs is not eating well, dressing well, or enjoying well, but is God’s salvation and God’s supply to man’s life. Only thus can the emptiness in man’s heart be solved. I finally got the answer to the question I had been puzzled about for a long time: God is feeding every living being among all things. Man should live by relying on God and also live for God, and such a life is meaningful, because man’s life originates from God and God is the only redemption to man, the only hope for man, and even more the reliance for the existence of man. As I read more and more of God’s word, I understood some truths gradually. Later, I performed duty in the church and often had meetings and fellowshipped with the brothers and sisters. I lived fully every day. However, a sudden arrest by the police broke my tranquil life, pushing me into the devil’s den….
On July 17, 2009, it was raining. Three sisters and I just got up after the lunch break. Then, we heard the dog bark suddenly in the yard. Looking at where the sound came from, I saw more than twenty undercover policemen climb over the high wall and jump into the yard. Before I realized what was happening, they rushed into the house and pulled us to the living room. Facing such a sudden environment, I panicked, “What should I answer if the police question me?” At the moment, I had a thought within: The environment comes upon me out of God’s permission and I should obey. The policemen ordered us to squat down. Two of them twisted my arms back, put an electric baton on my neck, and covered my head with clothes. They held me down with force. My legs became numb from squatting. When I moved a little, they swore at me. The vicious policemen, like bandits and robbers, ransacked the house wildly. I kept praying to God in my heart, “God! I know everything is in your hand. Today I encounter such an environment. There is surely your good purpose in it. Though I don’t understand now, I’m willing to obey. God! Now I’m very flustered and timid. I don’t know what environment I will face next. I know my stature is too small and I don’t understand much truth. God! May you keep and lead me and give me faith and strength, so that I can stand and won’t be a Judas to betray you.” I prayed again and again, not daring to leave God for a single moment. The vicious policemen searched out four laptops, several cell phones, U-disks, and MP3 players, and one thousand yuan. After that, they confiscated all the things they searched out and took photos of us one by one and forcibly took us into a car. At that time, I saw there were countless cars and policemen outside the yard.
The vicious policemen took us to a military sub-area hostel and interrogated us separately. There were two vicious policemen guarding at the door. As soon as I was taken into the room, three vicious policemen and a vicious policewoman came in to interrogate me. A policeman began to ask, “Where are you from? What’s your name? What are you doing here? Where’s the church money?” I kept praying to God silently in my heart. Whatever they questioned me about, I didn’t say anything. Seeing that, they got angry. They ordered me to stand straight and not lean against the wall. Just like that, those vicious policemen took turns to interrogate me for three days and nights, not allowing me to sleep or eat anything. How could I, thin and weak, withstand such a torture? I felt my head ached as if it would explode and my heart suffered as if it were emptied. I was sleepy and hungry and could hardly stand steadily. But when my eyes just closed, they poked me and said, “You don’t tell but wanna sleep? No way! We have plenty of time. See how long you can hold on!” And they asked me things about the church every now and then. In that environment, I was in a state of high mental tension, for fear that something would be wormed out of me once I was careless and drowsy. I felt greatly tortured both physically and mentally and my endurance had reached its limit. Just when I could hardly hold on, God’s words inspired me, “When sufferings come upon you, you do not care for your flesh or complain against God; when God hides from you, you have faith to follow him and your former love does not change or disappear; no matter what God does, you submit to his manipulation and would rather curse your own flesh than complain against him; and when trials come upon you, you would rather bear pain to give up what you love and weep bitterly than not satisfy him. This is a true love and a true faith. No matter what your real stature is like, you should first have such a will to suffer and such a true faith. You should also have the will to forsake your flesh….” (from “All Those to Be Perfected Have to Undergo Refining” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Every word of God encouraged my heart. Yes! Satan uses the weakness of my flesh to attack me, attempting to make me yield to it for preserving the flesh and seeking ease and comfort. I can never fall into its trap and be a Judas for the sake of an ignoble existence. I’m willing to forsake the flesh and practice loving God according to God’s word. I would rather curse my flesh than complain against God and betray God. God’s words gave me inexhaustible strength, making me have the will to suffer. At midnight on the third day, a middle-aged man came. He seemed to be their head. Knowing that they didn’t get anything from me, he came up to me and said, “You’re so young and pretty. What else can’t you do? Why do you believe in God? Just tell me what you know. It’s no good for you to hold on like this. The longer you hold on, the more you’ll suffer.” At that moment, I, extremely weak in the flesh, became kind of shaky: Perhaps I can say something unimportant. If I go on like this, how will they torture me? … But then I thought: No! I can’t tell them. If I say a little, they’ll ask more. Then the situation will be beyond control, and I’ll really become a Judas. Thinking of that, I realized that I almost fell into satan’s scheme. That was close! The devil is too sinister and mean! He makes use of my weak point and tries to entice me to sell out the church through soft and hard tactics. I’ll never fall into his scheme. I would rather die than do things that betray God.
On the fourth day, seeing that I kept silent all the time, the vicious policemen tried another trick. They took me to another room and closed the door. I remembered someone told me that the vicious policemen put some sisters in the men’s cell and let the prisoners take advantage of them. I was very scared in my heart, feeling that I was like a sheep in the tiger’s mouth, unable to escape. I thought: How will they torture me? Will I die here? … God! May you keep me and give me strength. I prayed and called to God again and again and dared not leave him for a single moment. The vicious policemen, sitting on the bed, had me stand before them and asked me the same questions. Seeing me still keep silent, one of them, stomping with fury, twisted my arms behind my back and handcuffed them together, and then ordered me to squat in a seated position. At that time, I was limp in my legs and had no strength to support my body, let alone squat. I couldn’t hold on even for one minute. Seeing that my posture didn’t meet their standard, a vicious policeman gave my lower leg a swift kick, and I was kicked down to the ground. Then, another tall policeman came forward and pulled me up by the handcuffs and lifted up the handcuffs from my back. While doing so, he cursed, “Shit! You speak or not? Don’t test my patience!” As he lifted the handcuffs, they grew tighter and tighter. I screamed with pain. The more I screamed, the higher he lifted them, and the more fiercely he cursed. I felt as if my arms and wrists were breaking. In pain, a passage of God’s words appeared in my mind, “…in the last days, you should bear testimony for God. No matter how great the sufferings, you should walk to the end. Even if you have just one breath left, you should be faithful to God and submit to God’s manipulation. This is truly loving God, and this is a strong and resounding testimony.” (from “Only After Experiencing Painful Trials Will One Know that God Is Lovely” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) At that moment, I truly felt God’s comfort and encouragement from my heart, feeling that God was accompanying me by my side. He was encouraging me to hold on no matter how great the sufferings and be faithful to him to the end, and told me that was a strong and resounding testimony. I prayed to God silently, “God! Now is the time for me to stand testimony for you. No matter how much I suffer, I’ll bear the testimony for you before satan. Even if I have to die, I’ll never betray you nor yield to satan.” After torturing me for some time, the vicious policeman saw that I still didn’t say, so he threw me to the ground violently. Afterward, I saw there was a gash on each of my wrists, which made me ache grievously. Even now, my right hand cannot lift heavy things.
In order to get information about the church, the vicious policemen interrogated me intermittently for over ten days. Seeing that the hard tactics didn’t work, they changed for another face. One day, they sent a policewoman to cotton up to me. She brought me some daily necessities and chatted with me. She said, “You’re young and good-looking. You must have a good education. If you don’t believe in God, we can be friends. If you have no place to stay, you can live in my house. I can find you a good job here and introduce you a boyfriend. When you have your own family and your child and husband, how wonderful it will be to enjoy family happiness. Now you’re away from home. Don’t you miss your family, your parents?” A policeman nearby also said, “Right. Why are you hiding yourselves here and there every day? Why suffer this? If you cooperate with us, we guarantee that you will have a way out in the future.” Hearing their tempting words, I couldn’t help becoming kind of weak in my heart: It’s true. During these years, to escape being arrested by the vicious policemen, I have no fixed residence and live in fear all day long. When will such days of persecution end? It’s really unbearable to live such an oppressed life! When I thought of that, my heart became darkened immediately. I called out to God right away, “God! I know I’m in a wrong state. I have requirements for you and complaints against you within. This is my disobedience and resistance. God! May you inspire me so that I can turn around my wrong state, not allowing satan’s scheme to succeed, and I won’t fall into its trap.” After the prayer, I thought of these words of God, “Maybe you all remember this word: ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ In the past, you all heard this word, but none of you understood its true meaning. Today, you deeply know its real meaning. This word will be accomplished by God in the end time, and it will be accomplished in people in the dwelling place of the great red dragon who are cruelly persecuted by the great red dragon. Because the great red dragon is the persecutor of God and the enemy of God, people in this place all suffer humiliations and persecutions for believing in God. So, this word is accomplished in you group of people.” (from “Is God’s Work So Simple as People Imagine?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) The revelation of God’s words enlightened my heart, and I understood the meaning of experiencing persecution and tribulation: Through the devil’s persecution, God wants to perfect our true heart of suffering and following him, so that the testimonies of our experience can become the powerful evidences of God’s overcoming satan, and through these testimonies, all people can see that the end-time work of Almighty God is not man’s doing, but God’s own work. If it were not God’s work or the leading and supply of God’s word, no one could endure the savage damage and torment of the devils for a long time, and no one could be willing to give up their all and persevere to believe in God and follow God even at the cost of their lives. This is just the result achieved on people by Almighty God’s working, is the testimony of God’s gaining glory, and is God’s great power. In the last stage of work, God wants to gain a group of people who are persecuted and afflicted by satan and yet can still stand with justice unswervingly. This group of people are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, are the crystallization of God’s six-thousand-year work, and are a group of overcomers God wants to gain in the end! God’s words say, “I have bestowed all my glory to you, and I have bestowed to you the life the chosen people of Israel have not received; you should testify for me and should offer up your youth and lay down your lives for me. Whoever I bestow my glory to should testify for me and lay down his life for me. This has been ordained by me long ago. It is a blessing to you that my glory is bestowed to you, and it is your duty to testify my glory. …” (from “Concerning ‘Belief,’ What Do You Know?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) In the six-thousand-year management plan, God has done three stages of works and has been incarnated twice. When God is incarnated the last time, he comes to work in China, an atheistic nation that persecutes God most seriously. God wants to make one part of the glory he will gain in the end time accomplished in us, a group of people who are cruelly persecuted by satan. We have received too much from God and we should bear testimony for God. This is God’s commission, God’s uplifting, and even more our glory. So, it is meaningful and valuable for me to undergo this suffering. The revelation of God’s words kept me when I was besieged by satans, and I had the will to stand testimony for God even if I had to undergo all kinds of sufferings. Then, the vicious policemen interrogated me for another half month. But they didn’t get any information about the church from me.
Later, I was transferred to the local detention house. As soon as I got there, a policewoman ordered me to strip naked and undergo a search, and she even confiscated the money in my pocket. Entering the cell, I found that it smelled awful. Over twenty people were crammed on a large board. They ate, drank, defecated, urinated, and slept in the same room. In the one month that followed, the vicious policemen forced me to work overtime every day. As my glasses were taken away, everything became a blur in my eyes. When working, I could only see things clearly by putting them very close to my eyes. Moreover, the light there was small and dim. Often when others slept, I had to work till late into the night because of failing to finish the task. My eyes became so tired that I was afraid I might become blind. Even so, I couldn’t have a good sleep. Every night, I had to take my turn to keep watch for one hour. Apart from doing the heavy work every day, I had to be interrogated twice every week. In each interrogation, I had to be handcuffed and fettered by the vicious policemen and put on the prison “yellow jacket.” Once, I was interrogated on a rainy day. A policeman walked by me under an umbrella, whereas I, in handcuffs and fetters and the prison clothes, walked with difficulty in the rain. At that time I wore thin clothes. When the rain fell on me, I kept shaking with cold. The fetters were heavy. Each step made my ankles hurt, along with the heavy sound of the fetters. Before I had only seen such a scene on TV, but now I was experiencing it personally. I was very indignant and couldn’t help crying out in my heart, “Murderers and rapists are treated no more like this. What have I done wrong? Why should I enjoy such ‘treatment’?” Then, God inspired me to remember his words, “The heirs of the ancient, the beloved leaders, and whatever are all the things of resisting God! They have disturbed the whole world into a dark and chaotic state! The freedom of religious belief, the legal rights and interests of citizens, and whatever are all the tricks to cover up its crimes! … Now is the time. People have long readied all their strength to consecrate all the effort and all the price to this, tearing up the ugly face of this devil, and causing those who are blinded and suffer hardships and afflictions to rise up from the miseries and rebel against this old devil!” (from “Work and Entering In (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Looking at the reality according to God’s words, I saw: Although outwardly the CCP in power repeatedly claims that each enjoys freedom of belief, when people really believe in God, it tries every possible means to persecute, hunt, beat up, imprison, abuse, and condemn them, treating them like dirt. The “freedom of religious belief,” the “democracy and human rights,” and whatever are all the tricks to deceive, blind, and fool people! Outwardly this evil political party beautifies itself with fair words, but actually it’s as ferocious as the devil and beast and is really sinister and ruthless to the extreme! They turn a blind eye and pay no heed to those bad and vicious ones who swindle or bluff, kill or rob in the world, and even act as their umbrella, but they brutally persecute and kill those who believe in God and walk the right way. The CCP in power is indeed the demon that is hostile to God and is the beast and the devil that specially afflicts and devours people. It’s God’s enemy in substance. Thinking of that, I couldn’t but have a bitter hatred for the old devil in my heart. I swore to rebel against it and offer up myself to God! One month later, although the police didn’t have any evidence to convict me, they still put me into a labor camp for a year on the charge of “disturbing the social order.”
After entering the labor camp, I found it was even darker there. The prisoners didn’t have any freedom. We had to be under the direction and restriction of the vicious captains in eating, drinking, defecating, and urinating. Otherwise, we would be fixed. Besides, we had to count off when going out or coming in. If anyone miscounted, all the other members of the team would also be punished, being exposed to the hot sun for two hours or standing in the rain. When going to the mess hall, if anyone miscounted, all the team members weren’t allowed to have a meal and had to stand outside as punishment, and they could only longingly watch others eat. Moreover, the prisoners had to sing an army song before meals. Though hungry, we had to sing with all our strength. If a team didn’t sing simultaneously or loudly, they had to sing again, once, twice…. They couldn’t eat until the captain was satisfied. The so-called “management system” purely satisfied those vicious captains’ desire for the power of sitting up on high, giving orders, and enjoying position. They made the prisoners very nervous all day long. There, apart from cleaning and folding quilts for the captains, the prisoners had to bring foot-washing water and give massages to them. Those captains were like “emperors” and “empresses.” If a prisoner served them well, they gave her a smile. If not, they would abuse her roundly or beat her brutally. Whatever a prisoner was doing, even if she was in the washroom, as long as she heard the captain’s call, she must answer loudly “Yes” and immediately double time to him and be at his command. This is the “labor camp” under the CCP regime. It’s full of darkness, oppression, damage, and devastation. Facing all that, I hated it bitterly but had no choice. What’s more, those vicious police treated the prisoners as oxen and horses and slaves and as their money-making tools. Every day, the prisoners were forced to work excessively. Except for eating and sleeping, we had to work the rest of the time to create wealth for them. Every day I had to observe various rules and regulations and had to do heavy work. Moreover, I would be punished and abused anytime. I really couldn’t bear such days. I thought countless times: Will I die in the labor camp? I’m worn out every day. How can I pass this one year? How can I get through it? I don’t want to stay in the devil’s hell even a second…. In addition, there was no one I could talk with. Every day I remained quiet and worked without stopping, feeling very miserable in my heart. In the still of night, when I looked at the starlit sky through the barred windows, a sense of desolation would come over me and I felt very desolate and lonely. Unknowingly, tears wetted the pillow towel. Just when I was extremely weak, I remembered God’s words, “God has had so many sleepless nights for the sake of the work of mankind. He comes to the lowest place from the highest place and descends into the living hell where men live and spends days with them. He never complains about the miserableness of the world or rebukes men for their disobedience, but endures great humiliation doing the work he does personally. How could God belong to hell? How could he live a life of hell? But for the sake of all mankind and for the whole mankind to enjoy rest earlier, he endures humiliation and swallows injustice to come to earth, personally coming into ‘hell’ and ‘Hades’ and coming into the tiger’s den to save men. …” (from “Work and Entering In (9)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) I also thought of the hymn of God’s word “God Has Tasted All the Sufferings of the World in Man’s Stead”: “God comes to taste the sufferings of the world, tasting the torments of physical illnesses, attacks from the surrounding men, matters, and things, family misfortunes, misfortunes, rejections from men, men’s resistance, blasphemies, and slanders, men’s disobedience, men’s insults, men’s misunderstandings, and persecutions from the world. … He has tasted all bitters and sorrows, sleeping in the wind and the rain and having no place to lay his head. The world is desolate, and he is lonely with no close friend; for so many times, he is sorrowful and extremely grieved. Ah … ah … he is with men through thick and thin and goes through all kinds of hardships.” God’s warm words made my afflicted heart doubly comforted: Yes! In the devil’s prison, as there is no one I can have a heart-to-heart talk with, I feel miserable and lonely. God comes to earth from heaven and endures the suffering of being separated from God the Father, which is thousands of times greater than mine, to save us who disobey and resist him. However, nobody understands him and nobody cares for his will. God comes to the world with great joy, but what he is repaid with is men’s misunderstanding, complaint, apathy, attack, deceit, and betrayal. Won’t God also feel desolate and lonely? Isn’t God’s heart also sad and distressed? For the will of God the Father and for the need of mankind, he endures silently, doing the work of salvation to the utmost on us, who are deeply poisoned by the devil, numb and obtuse. Today God permits the devil to persecute me, and his purpose is that through my personally experiencing the cruel torment of the CCP in power, I can see clearly its ugly face and then rebel against it and will no longer be restrained by it, so that I can truly break away from satan’s influence and my heart can get released and free. Only then did I realize God’s thoughtful kind intention in saving me from satan’s bondage. I saw that what God does is indeed salvation and love for man. This love is bitter first and then sweet! Although man’s flesh undergoes some sufferings, it’s too beneficial to man’s life.
At the end of June 2010, I was released one month earlier. Through experiencing the persecution and tribulation, I truly saw clearly the CCP government’s devilish face and had a true hatred toward it. Meanwhile, I personally felt the painstaking effort and price God spent and his thoughtful kind intention in saving man. God’s salvation for man is so true and practical, and God’s love for man is so deep and real! If God hadn’t let me personally experience the salvation of God’s love through the devil’s persecution and arrest, I could never break free from the bondage and suppression of satan’s influence of darkness, and could only live in the imprisonment of the dark dungeon and never see the light or hope. Moreover, my faith, courage, and the will to suffer couldn’t be perfected. I would always be lacking in those positive things in my humanity, which would make me unable to bravely follow God to walk the way of tribulation with my head up. If I hadn’t practically experienced the persecution and tribulation, I could never see clearly the devil’s ugly face and could never have a true hatred of it, and thus I couldn’t give my heart to God or offer my whole being to God. If I hadn’t practically experienced and tasted the sufferings of the persecution and tribulation, I couldn’t understand and sense the great sufferings God undergoes and the great price he pays when he is incarnated and comes to the filthy land to save us. The persecution and tribulation made me taste God’s love more deeply and brought my heart closer and nearer to God. Thank God for the leading of his words time after time and even more for his care and keeping, which accompanied me through the one-year dark prison life. Now, I’ve returned to the church. I meet with the brothers and sisters, reading God’s word, fellowshipping about the truth, and performing duty together. My heart is full of boundless peace and joy. I’m filled with gratitude to God in my heart. I only wish to try my best to pursue the truth and follow God to walk the bright right way of human life. All the glory be to Almighty God!