13. Understanding God’s Will in the Midst of Difficulties
Xiao Rui Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province
When I was preaching the gospel I encountered sectarian leaders who bore false witness to resist and disrupt, and called the police. This led to those I was preaching to not daring to come into contact with us, and those who had just accepted the gospel being unable to be confident in God’s work. When I worked very hard but the results were poor, I thought: Evangelical work is so difficult to carry out. It would be so wonderful if God just showed some miracles and punished those who bear false witness as well as those who seriously resist God to show to those who have been deceived. Then wouldn’t the work of the gospel be carried out more quickly? It wouldn’t be so difficult for us to preach the gospel…. This is why this hope came up in my heart every time I encountered these types of difficulties. Later, I saw written accounts bearing witness to examples of punishment and during fellowship heard witness of some of God’s signs and wonders, and I felt very glad in my heart. I hoped even more that God would do some things in the areas that I worked in so that the predicament of our gospel work could be resolved more quickly. But no matter how I hoped, I still didn’t see God perform any miracles here or punish people. The sectarians were still fully resisting God, and difficulties in evangelical work were still great. I became negative about this: Why doesn’t God open up a way out for us? Could it be that our faith is inadequate?
Later, during my devotionals I saw these words of God: “Now, if God were to perform supernatural marvels, then, without having to undertake any great work, He would simply curse a man to death with His own mouth, the man would die on the spot, and in this way every human being would be convinced; but this would not achieve the aim of God in becoming flesh. If God were truly to do this, humanity would never be able, with their conscious minds, to believe in His existence, would never be able truly to believe, and moreover would mistake the devil for God. Even more importantly, humanity would never know God’s disposition: Is this not one aspect of the meaning of God’s being in the flesh? If humanity is incapable of knowing God, then it will always be a vague God, a supernatural God, who holds sway in the human realm: Would this not be a case of man’s notions taking possession of man? Or, to restate this more plainly, would not Satan, the devil, be holding sway? ‘Why do I say I take back My power? Why do I say that the incarnation has too many meanings?’ The moment God becomes flesh, this is when He takes back His power; it is also when His divinity comes forth directly to do His work. Step by step, every human being comes to know the practical God, and because of this the place held by Satan in the human heart is completely suppressed while God’s place is augmented” (“Interpretation of the Sixth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). While trying to figure out God’s words, my heart suddenly brightened: It turns out that the purpose of God’s work in the flesh isn’t to use His authority to frighten people into obedience, but it is to fully open up His disposition to mankind through actual work and words, and through this dispel the image in mankind’s hearts of a vague God. It is to allow people to cast off the restraints of their conceptions, to truly recognize God’s disposition and work, to allow people to possess the truth and discernment, thus conquering and attaining them. In the Age of Law, God displayed so many miracles to the Israelites and punished so many of those who resisted Him, but the Israelites still did not recognize God and in the end went to die in the wilderness. In the Age of Grace, God also displayed countless signs and wonders among the Jews, but they still crucified Him alive because they did not recognize Him. All of this says that God’s signs and wonders can only frighten people for a moment, but they are not the foundation of their belief in God. However, even though I have followed God until now, I have not had a shred of understanding of God’s essence, and I have understood even less of the goals and significance of God’s work in the flesh. I have still believed in His authority and that whoever resists God will be punished, so I have wholeheartedly pursued seeing God’s signs and wonders. Isn’t this type of faith exactly like the Pharisees, living in the midst of vagueness, believing in a supernatural God while resisting the practical God? If my pursuit of God continued this way, how could I be compatible with the true God? It truly was too dangerous! After that, I saw more of God’s words: “It is greatly arduous for God to carry out His work in the land of the great red dragon, but it is through such difficulty that God does a stage of His work to make manifest His wisdom and wondrous deeds. God takes this opportunity to make this group of people complete. Because of people’s suffering, their caliber, and all the satanic disposition of people in this unclean land, God does His work of purification and conquest so that, from this, He may gain glory and gain those who stand witness to His deeds. This is the full significance of all the sacrifices that God has made for this group of people. That is to say, God does the work of conquest just through those who oppose Him. Therefore, only doing so can manifest the great power of God. … This is just as in the stage of Jesus’ work; He could only be glorified among those Pharisees who persecuted Him. If not for such persecution and the betrayal of Judas, Jesus would not have been ridiculed or slandered, much less crucified, and thus could never have gained glory” (“Is the Work of God So Simple as Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). At this time, from God’s words I was even more aware that no matter what work God does, it all has meaning. If He completes the work of revealing some miracles or meting out some punishments, it has meaning, it has principles. If He does not complete the work of revealing miracles or meting out punishments, then it contains even more of God’s wisdom. Now, God does not use His authority to get rid of those who bear false witness or seriously resist Him; there is more of God’s goodwill. God uses these difficulties to allow us to taste the hardships of His own work, to allow us to see with our own eyes His will to save mankind to the greatest extent possible, thus recognizing God’s kindness and beauty. God also uses these difficulties to capture proof of people doing good or evil, and in the end provide them with a suitable destination so that we are fully convinced, so that we can see God’s righteousness and holiness. Even more, God uses these difficulties to reveal that I lack truth of the vision, that my nature is too lazy, timid, ignorant, and malicious, and that through my suffering, efforts, and cooperation with God, He will bestow upon us discernment, confidence, love, wisdom, and courage, and even more will give us the truth of God’s work, thus completing us, obtaining us. God’s work truly is so wise, so wonderful! But I am too blind—I have no understanding of the significance of God’s work and His good intentions. All I fear is physical suffering and I am unwilling to cooperate with God. I truly am a believer who does not carry out the proper work and who revels in comforts!
Thanks be to the enlightenment of the words of God which gave me some recognition of the purpose and wisdom in God’s work in the flesh and also allowed me to see that my faith in God was living in vagueness, that not recognizing God is too dangerous! From this day forward, I am willing to equip myself with the truth of the vision, to pursue being a person who recognizes God’s work and disposition, to truly possess a will to suffer, to do my duty to the utmost in order to comfort God’s heart.