5. The Persecution and Tribulation Made Me Love God More
Liu Zhen Shandong Province
I’m Liu Zhen, aged 78 this year. I’m an ordinary Christian in the Church of Almighty God. Thank Almighty God for choosing me, a rural old woman looked down upon by the worldly people. Since I accepted the end-time work of Almighty God, I prayed and listened to the recital of God’s word every day and had meetings with the brothers and sisters. I felt very happy in my heart and lived in the happiness I had never had. As I was old and my legs were stiff, I couldn’t go out to have meetings. So the brothers and sisters came to my house to have meetings for my sake. Whether it was cold winter or hot summer, they never missed the meeting. Even if it was windy and snowed, they persisted in coming to visit and take care of me, an old woman. I was greatly moved by that. I saw that God’s love for man is so great! In my contact with the brothers and sisters, I saw that they were so different from the worldly people. What they lived out was forbearance and love. They all could open their hearts to each other and treat each other with sincerity, without barrier or distance, and being dear as family members. That made me become more certain about Almighty God’s work. As I understood more and more truths, I knew that man should perform the duty of a created being. So I told the church that I wanted to perform duty. But because I was old and couldn’t perform other duties, the church arranged for me to do hosting at home. I really thanked God for giving me according to what I could do. Before I began to do hosting, the brothers and sisters fellowshipped with me, saying, “There are principles for doing hosting in the church. Extravagance and waste in meals are forbidden. One principle is that everyone can eat his fill. We’ll just take pot luck and must not expend too much.” Since then, the brothers and sisters all had ordinary meals at my house. They ate what I ate at usual times and never asked for special treatment. And they often helped me do chores. Sometimes, I saw that the brothers and sisters worked very hard outside in performing duty, so I specially cooked some nice food for them. Then they fellowshipped with me that I should perform duty according to the principles. This made me truly see that the brothers and sisters in the church were really different from the worldly people. I got along very well with them and felt greatly released both physically and mentally. Also I gradually recovered from the former diseases. So I was more grateful to Almighty God for his grace and keeping for me.
However, good times didn’t last long. The brothers and sisters in the village and I were reported by a wicked person. The evil policemen arrested the brothers and sisters and asked the village secretary to send me to the police station as well. At the station, an evil policeman asked me, “How do you believe in God? Why do you believe in God?” I said, “In believing in God, we’re taught to be good, not hitting or scolding others or getting angry. It’s very good!” The evil policeman said with a sarcastic tone, “You won’t get angry when you get back!” At that time, I didn’t understand what he meant by saying that. He then asked, “Who preached the gospel to you? Is there anyone else in your family who also believes?” I said that in my family only I believed. Seeing that they couldn’t get anything out of me, they released me that very day. I wondered when I came out, “How could the evil policemen release me so easily?” Only when I got back home did I know that after I was taken to the police station, my family spent 3,000 yuan buying off someone, and so the evil policemen released me. My daughter-in-law had a big row with my son because of that, and she even threatened that she would drink pesticide to kill herself. Only then did I understand the meaning of the word that evil policeman said. The evil policemen were simply bad through and through! My harmonious family was thrown into chaos by them, yet they convicted me of “disturbing the social order.” They were simply talking nonsense and imposing a charge upon me willfully! The One we believe in is the only true God who created the heavens and the earth and all things. Today when Almighty God comes to save us, he requires us to live out the likeness of a man and not to speak or do things against Heaven or conscience or do things against humanity and morality. We won’t touch even a single needle or thread of others. How could we possibly disturb the social order? Satan is too hateful! It always venomously slanders others and frames good people. Since the evil policemen knew from the informer that I was doing hosting, they didn’t let up on me. Later, they called me to the police station to question me again, and they even threatened me, “Tell us your church leader and all the ones having meetings with you. Otherwise, we’ll put you into prison!” I said straight out, “What shall I say? I know nothing about it!” The evil policemen were fuming with rage, but thanks to God’s keeping, they didn’t dare to do anything to me and sent me back home.
After the evil policemen released me, they still didn’t loosen their surveillance on me, attempting to throw a long line to catch big fish. From then on, being afraid to get the brothers and sisters into trouble, I didn’t dare to contact them any more. Since then, I lost the church life. Without the church life, I felt empty and lost in my heart. Gradually, I became distant from God. Every day I lived in fear and apprehension, fearing that the evil policemen would come to take me away again some day. Before, I listened to God’s word and the preaching and fellowship every day. Now I had nothing at home. Not to mention listening to God’s word and the preaching, I would be rebuked by my family if they saw me pray or heard me mention “God.” My daughter-in-law threw cold words at me all day long because of my being fined by the evil policemen. My husband and my son scolded me any time they wanted. All my family, who formerly supported me in believing in Almighty God, began to strongly oppose and persecute me. This made me feel very distressed and much oppressed mentally. I lived in darkness and misery I had never had. Because I had no recital of God’s word to listen to and couldn’t fellowship with the brothers and sisters, I felt very thirsty in the spirit. I suffered so much that every night I tossed and turned in my bed and couldn’t sleep. I often missed the happy time when I had meetings with the brothers and sisters. At such times, I hated the CCP government all the more. All these sufferings of mine were caused by it. It made me lose the church life and unable to fellowship about God’s word with the brothers and sisters and unable to perform my duty. In misery, I could only pray to God silently, “O God! I’m living in darkness and feel thirsty in the spirit. I want to have the church life with the brothers and sisters. God! May you make a way out for me!” I kept crying to God before him like that. God really heard my prayer, and arranged for the brothers and sisters to visit me. A sister knew that I often went to work in the cotton field. So she secretly came to the cotton field to find me and fix the meeting time with me. Each time, when others were having lunch, I would go to work early in the cotton field and squat there to have a meeting and read God’s word with the sister. When I saw the sister, I felt as if seeing a long-separated relative, feeling especially warm, and my tears streamed down unceasingly. I poured out all my grievances and miseries and my family’s misunderstandings to her. She comforted me, and God’s word watered me. Gradually, my state became better and better. Just like that, under the persecution of the CCP government, we could only squat in the cotton field to have meetings. One day, we read a passage of God’s words, “No one among you is protected by law, but on the contrary you are subjected to legal penalties. An even greater difficulty is that no one understands you. Whether they are your relatives, parents, friends, or colleagues, they do not understand you. When God ‘abandons’ you, you simply cannot live in the world. Yet even so, people are still unwilling to leave God. This is the significance of God conquering man and is God’s glory. … Blessings cannot be gained in one or two days. You have to pay much price. That is, you have to have a refined love, have a great faith, and have the many truths God requires you to live up to, you have to be able to stand with justice, not bending or swerving, and have to have a heart that loves God without change even unto death, and you need to have the will, have your life disposition transformed and your corruptions cured, and accept all God’s manipulations without complaint and even be able to obey unto death. These are what you should achieve, are God’s ultimate purpose, and are God’s requirements for this group of people.” (from “Is God’s Work So Simple as People Imagine?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words made me understand this: The suffering today is what I should undergo. Believing in God in China, one is bound to be persecuted and humiliated. This suffering is slight and momentary, and it’s carefully arranged by God so that I can better inherit God’s promises and blessings in the future. Now, I have nothing to ask for, and I’m contented as long as I have God. At the same time, I also saw that the laws set by the CCP government are all deceitful. It claims freedom of belief yet actually it doesn’t allow at all the existence of believers in God. The heaven and the earth created by God are so large, yet in China believers in God don’t have a footing. Whoever believes in God, satan will persecute him, arrest him, and restrict his freedom. It simply attempts to exterminate all believers in God and turn China into a region without God. I’ve seen that it is too dark and reactionary! It is indeed God’s deadly and irreconcilable enemy.
I secretly had meetings with the sister in the cotton field all along. But as time went by, winter was coming. Leaves on the cotton stalks all fell and the stalks would be pulled out. No crops were available to cover us in the field. So I couldn’t have meetings again. At the beginning, I could hold on to God’s word and maintain a normal relationship with God. But without the supply of God’s word, man’s normal state before God couldn’t last long. Not long afterward, I fell into darkness again. I was overwhelmed with grief, feeling as if suddenly falling from heaven to hell. Because my family believed the policemen’s lies, they watched over me every day and threatened that they would beat me if I still believed. At home, I didn’t dare to pray. I could only pray secretly under the quilt when I went to bed or when no one else was at home. Every day it was like that. I not only suffered being rebuked by my family but also had to endure the gossips of the villagers. Facing all those, I felt extremely distressed in my heart. I was very passive in the spirit and was dispirited all day long. I felt that since I lost the church life and was unable to see the brothers and sisters, it was painful even to live, and there was no joy at all. In retrospect, when I was weak and passive before, I had God’s word to comfort me and the brothers and sisters to sustain and help me patiently. After I understood God’s will, I would become spirited at once. But now, because of the persecution and surveillance from the evil policemen, I couldn’t contact the brothers and sisters and was tormented in the plight all day. Looking at my listless state now, and thinking of my state before in the church when I was full of vigor and vitality with the presence of God, I felt miserable and distressed. Especially when I saw that my family didn’t understand me, I was even more sorrowful and grieved. I knew that they treated me that way because they were blinded by satan. Then, what should I do to remove their misunderstanding about God? How could I make them no longer hinder me from believing in God? Having no way to go, I prayed to God time and again, asking God to make a way out for me, “O God! My family have been deceived by the CCP government. May you help me to testify your deeds so that they’ll no longer misunderstand you. O God! May you inspire and lead me and make my family see your great power so that they’ll no longer resist you. I’m willing to commit my family into your hand. May you make a way out for us.”
God indeed heard my prayer. After a period of time, one night I suddenly fainted in front of the bed. My husband was terrified and flustered, not knowing what to do. My son immediately dialed 120. The hospital heard that it was an old woman who was very sick, so they refused to come. Then my son dialed 120 of another hospital. The doctor said that the chance for me to wake up was little and there was no need to do the rescue, and that my family should be prepared. My son was unwilling to give up, so he begged them earnestly. Having no choice, they drove me to the hospital. Actually, they all had given me up in their hearts. They firmly believed that I couldn’t possibly come back to life. However, with God there is really nothing impossible. Thus, a miracle happened! After being in a deep coma for eighteen hours, I gradually regained consciousness. All people on the spot were shocked at that time. I mistook the doctors for angels when I opened my eyes and saw them. I asked them where I was. A doctor said that I was in the hospital. They hurried to examine my body and said unceasingly, “It’s really a miracle….” A short time later, I sat up and felt very hungry. A nurse hurried to feed me something. After having some food, I felt I had much strength. I knew it was Almighty God’s wonderful deed. God heard my prayer, and it was God who made a way out for me. Sitting in bed, I couldn’t help singing hymns to praise God. The doctor asked me in surprise, “Auntie, which God do you believe in?” I said, “The One I believe in is Almighty God, the only true God who created the heavens and the earth and all things!” The doctor looked at me in great surprise. Seeing me singing, my family were really surprised and pleased. When I left the hospital and went back home, my neighbors came to see me one after another. They said, “That’s incredible! Clearly there was no hope for you to live, but you woke up again. It’s really a miracle!” Then I testified God to my family. I told them, “It was God’s great power. It was God who saved me. Without God, I would have long died. It was God who gave me a second life. We humans are all created by God. Our lives are bestowed by God. Man can’t leave God’s leading. If man leaves God, he will die.” After experiencing that matter, my family no longer opposed my believing in God. Furthermore, God bestowed to me an unexpected blessing: My husband also accepted this stage of God’s work. Now, I often have meetings and fellowship with my husband, feeling very happy and peaceful and secure in my heart and live in joy every day. I have really seen God’s almightiness and wisdom. I thank and praise God from my heart!
In experience, I have truly tasted that whatever God does is love to man. He allowed satan’s persecution to come upon me and it’s even more God’s extremely great love and salvation. Satan wanted to make me stay away from God through its arrest and persecution. Little did it know that its persecution not only couldn’t make me stay away from God, but instead it made me be more certain that Almighty God’s word is the truth, the way, and the life! It made me love God and be faithful to God all the more. As Almighty God says, “Today God has again come to the world to do his work. The first place he does his work in is the aggregate of dictatorial rulers—China—the strong bastion of atheism. With his wisdom and by his power, he has conquered a group of people. During this period, he is hunted by China’s ruling party in every possible way and undergoes all kinds of sufferings, having no place to lay his head and having no place to stay. In spite of this, he is still doing the work he wants to do: speaking and uttering his voice and spreading the gospel. God’s almightiness cannot be fathomed by anyone. In China, a nation which regards God as its enemy, God has never stopped his work but instead has gained more people to accept his work and word, because God saves every one of mankind to the utmost.” (from “God Is Sovereign over the Destiny of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) From God’s words, I know God’s eager intention to save man. No matter how many difficulties and dangers there may be in the way ahead, I’m willing to perform my duty properly and offer up my portion to satisfy God’s will.