16. God’s Word Is My Strength
By Jingnian, Canada
I have followed my family’s belief in the Lord since I was a child, often reading the Bible and attending services. I shared the gospel of the Lord Jesus with my mother-in-law after getting married, and from then on she no longer lost her temper when things happened or acted entirely on her own whims as she had in the past. Relationships in our family began to improve overall. Seeing the changes in his mother, my husband also began believing in the Lord in 2015, and went to church with me every week. My family was at peace after accepting the Lord’s gospel, and when I saw this I knew that this was the Lord’s grace—I thanked the Lord from the bottom of my heart.
While at work one day in February 2017, a female customer saw me and became very excited. She pulled me aside and said, “You look very much like a friend of mine. Can I introduce you to her? She’s just come to Canada and hardly knows anyone, would you like to meet her and get together with her if you have time?” I was really surprised to hear this and thought: Could such a thing happen? Does her friend really look that much like me? But I realized that the Lord’s benevolent will is within all things, and that lovingly helping others is also one of the Lord’s teachings, so I agreed to her request. A few days later, I met her friend Xiao Han, who did indeed look very much like me; people who saw us asked if we were twin sisters. I don’t know if it was because we looked so much alike or because the Lord’s arrangements were behind things, but when I saw her, I immediately felt very close to her. We met up just a few times and became like sisters who could talk about anything. What surprised me the most was that through Xiao Han, I heard the gospel of the returned Lord Jesus in the last days.
One day, Xiao Han took me to her aunt’s house, where her aunt shared Almighty God’s kingdom gospel with us. She had us read the words uttered by God in the last days, and fellowshiped with us on God’s will in the creation of Adam and Eve, God’s thoughts and intentions when He called on Noah to build the ark, how God’s heart ached when He destroyed the people of Noah’s time, and more. She said that these mysteries are all revealed in God’s words of the last days, otherwise no one could understand them. I believed her, because only God Himself could explain the thoughts behind everything He does. If God had not come personally to speak and work, who else could fully explain God’s thoughts and intentions? I was deeply drawn in by God’s words, and decided to seriously investigate Almighty God’s work in the last days. Over the period of time I was looking into it, I raised a number of questions that I had never understood when reading the Bible, and Xiao Han’s aunt gave me answers based on the words of Almighty God—the answers were very thorough, and they were clear and understandable to me. As I read more and more of God’s words, the confusion within my heart was slowly resolved, and I came to understand that in the last days, Almighty God does the work of judgment through His words, which fulfills the prophecy in the Bible that “Judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). This stage of God’s work is an escalation and a deepening of the work of the Lord Jesus, and it is the final stage of God’s work in the last days to purify and save mankind. After investigating for a period of time, I became certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus; I happily accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days and began to attend meetings with my brothers and sisters.
One morning a little over three months later, I was gathering with other sisters as usual, when suddenly my cell phone began to beep. I took a look and saw a notification that someone was trying to locate my position using my iPhone. I was very surprised and didn’t know what was going on, but immediately after that, my husband sent me a WeChat message asking, “Where are you?” I looked at the message and hesitated a bit; I remembered that, after returning from a church service over a month ago, my husband told me that the pastor had said many negative things about The Church of Almighty God, and warned the believers to be on their guard and not have any contact with people from Eastern Lightning. At the time, I was afraid that my husband would be misled by the pastor and elder, and that their rumors would turn him against The Church of Almighty God. I wanted to wait to share the gospel with him until I understood more of the truth and could clearly bear witness to God’s work of the last days, so I never dared to tell him about my gatherings with the sisters of The Church of Almighty God. With that in mind, I replied to him, “I’m on my way to work.” But when I thought about it again, I felt that something was wrong, “He never messages me at this time. Why is he suddenly asking me where I am today? What’s going on?”
When I got home from work that evening, I saw my husband sitting on the bed glowering. He had found the book of God’s words that I had hidden in the house, and he had it laid out on the desk. The sight of this really took me aback, but before I had time to give it any thought, my husband asked me, “When did you start believing in Almighty God? There’s a lot of negative stuff online about The Church of Almighty God, don’t you know that? You lied to me today. You weren’t on your way to work this morning. Where were you?” I replied somewhat indignantly, “So when my phone started beeping today it was you trying to locate me!” He said, “On my break at work this morning I wanted to know where you were, so I looked up your location and discovered you weren’t where you said you were.” He softened his tone and continued, “The Chinese government said online that the boundaries between men and women aren’t clearly maintained among believers in Almighty God, and there were all sorts of other negative things, too. Can you please not contact them anymore? It would be so much better if you just went to church services—I could go with you every week. Why are you having anything to do with them?” After saying this he went online and found a lot of negative information about The Church of Almighty God for me to read. After reading these baseless rumors, I said angrily, “These people have never had any contact with The Church of Almighty God at all. Why are they spouting off about it? This is all completely unfounded, it’s hearsay. These are lies and rumors and totally lacking credibility! Over these last few months, I’ve been around the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God, and what I’ve seen is that their clothing is simple and in good taste, and they speak and behave in a dignified manner. There are definite boundaries between brothers and sisters and there are principles in how they interact. They’re nothing like the rumors the CCP government and the pastors and elders spread. One of the administrative decrees for the Age of Kingdom issued by Almighty God clearly states, ‘Man has a corrupt disposition and is moreover possessed of emotions. As such, it is absolutely prohibited for two members of the opposite sex to work together unaccompanied when serving God. Any who are discovered doing so will be expelled, without exception’ (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom). God is holy and righteous, and loathes nothing more than licentious behavior. So, God has issued strict administrative decrees for His chosen people, and anyone who violates them will be expelled from the church. The brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God strictly abide by God’s administrative decrees, and no one dares violate them. This is what I have personally seen and experienced. The rumor spread by the CCP government and the pastors and elders that the boundaries between men and women of The Church of Almighty God are unclear is nothing but lies and slander!” But no matter what I said, my husband simply wouldn’t listen, and he insisted that I no longer attend gatherings with the brothers and sisters. Seeing how rigid he was being, I started to feel some negativity, because the only person close to me in this foreign place was my husband and I didn’t want to fight with him. On top of that, I was afraid that he would tell my family in China and the pastor, which would only bring me more trouble. So, when he insisted that I not go to gatherings, I agreed, but I said that I wanted to continue reading God’s words at home; he agreed. And so, the storm subsided for the moment.
Since I was just reading God’s words at home alone, there were many things I didn’t understand. So, I used my mobile phone to contact a sister when my husband was at work, which allowed me to continue gathering with the sisters. When I told my sisters about how my husband had stopped me from going to gatherings, one of them read a passage of God’s words to me, “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle. … When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God). My sister fellowshiped, “When we encounter this kind of thing soon after accepting Almighty God, from the outside it appears that our family is standing in our way and preventing us from going to gatherings, but if we look at it through God’s words, it’s Satan’s disruption behind it: This is a spiritual battle. God wants to save us, but Satan doesn’t want to give up so easily, so it follows behind God to disrupt us, and uses the people around us to keep us from coming before God. Satan’s goal is to ruin our proper relationship with God, to make us feel negative and weak so that we distance ourselves from God and betray Him, and finally return to its domain and lose our chance to be saved by God. That’s why we must learn discernment, look at things according to God’s words, see through Satan’s tricks, pray and rely on God more, and have genuine faith in God. Then we’ll be able to see God’s actions through our faith.” After hearing God’s word and the sister’s fellowship, it dawned on me, “My husband is standing in the way of me believing in and following God because Satan is using him to disrupt me and get me to betray God—this is the same as the trial that Job went through. Satan tried every means it knew to tempt Job. It made him lose his immense wealth and his herds of cattle and sheep, covered him in horrible boils, plus used Job’s friends to disrupt and attack him. It even used his wife to tempt Job to abandon God. Satan arrogantly tried to destroy Job’s faith in God and make him deny and reject God. Satan is truly evil and despicable!” These thoughts filled my heart with loathing for Satan, but then I thought, “Although Satan was crazed in its persecution of Job, it never would have dared to do mortal harm to Job without God’s permission, so doesn’t that mean what I am going through is also in God’s hands? As long as I truly look up to God and rely on God, He will surely guide me to overcome the temptations of Satan.” That thought gave me further faith in God, and I resolved to stay in contact with the sisters and continue to attend gatherings and have fellowship through my mobile phone.
One night I put my phone down on the table, not expecting that my husband would pick it up and look through it—he saw my chat record with the sister. He said to me very angrily, “You’re still in contact with them, and you chat with them for two hours at a time.” He then bombarded me with more negative propaganda that was online, and started monitoring me through a variety of means. I couldn’t get in touch with the sister on my phone anymore. And so this is how I lost my church life again and couldn’t get any help from the sister. After that, my husband started sending me rumors he found online day in and day out, and he also hassled me and prevented me from having any contact with brothers and sisters. Faced with my husband’s oppression and obstruction, I became utterly miserable, and I couldn’t help but start feeling weak again. I thought, “Why is my husband so opposed to me believing in Almighty God? I only want to believe in God, why is it so hard? When will I be able to practice my faith without being hassled so much? Is this going to be my life from now on?” At that thought I absolutely could not hold back the tears—I felt particularly lonely and helpless. I didn’t know where to go from there. I can’t even count how many times I cried over that. In my misery, all I could do was pray to God, “God! I don’t know what to do in the face of my husband’s constraints or how I should get through this, but I believe that whatever the situation, it contains Your benevolent will. I ask You to guide me and give me the faith to get through this.”
Miraculously, just as I finished my prayer, I received two passages of God’s word from the sister, “In warring with God, and trailing along behind Him, Satan’s objective is to demolish all the work God wants to do, to occupy and control those whom God wants to gain, to completely extinguish those whom God wants to gain. If they are not extinguished, then they come to Satan’s possession, to be used by it—this is its objective” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique IV). “You must possess My courage within you, and you must have principles when it comes to facing relatives who do not believe. For My sake, however, you also must not yield to any dark forces. Rely on My wisdom to walk the perfect way; do not allow any of Satan’s conspiracies to take hold. Put all your efforts into placing your heart before Me, and I shall comfort you and bring you peace and happiness” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 10). By pondering God’s words, I gained some discernment over Satan’s evil intentions. God works to save mankind while Satan racks its brains to destroy God’s work and vie with God for people, so it spreads all sorts of rumors on the Internet to mislead and deceive people. It also uses our families to hinder and harass us so that we can’t come before God to receive salvation. My husband had been blinded and deceived by the rumors spread by Satan because he didn’t know the truth, which is the only reason he was stubbornly standing in the way of my faith. Satan had also seized upon my own weakness to shackle and harm me. Satan knew that my fatal weakness was emotions, so it was attacking me through my feelings for my husband, getting me to give up on following God because of my concern for my fleshly attachments and desire to preserve family harmony, and thus abandon the true way and lose my chance at God’s salvation. Satan is truly despicable! At the same time, I felt God comforting me with His words, encouraging me not to surrender to the dark forces of Satan. God was also giving me a path of practice. God said, “Rely on My wisdom to walk the perfect way.” In such an environment, how could I cooperate with God and use wisdom to get to gatherings? I remembered that last time my husband had used my phone to track me, so I was no longer able to go to the sister’s house for gatherings, plus I couldn’t use my phone to meet with her either, but I could go meet her at one of the seating areas in the mall. If my husband asked again, I could say I was going shopping. So, with God’s guidance, I was able to meet with her again. Once she came to understand my difficulties, she gave me fellowship on God’s words and she comforted and encouraged me. After understanding the truth, my negativity was quickly dispelled.
One day, I got home from work and wanted to read God’s words; I went through every single drawer and cabinet where I usually kept my book, but to no avail. I was incredibly anxious and thought, “This is it. My husband must have thrown away my book. He’s a really cautious person, so he definitely wouldn’t have thrown it into a trash can where I might find it. If he got rid of it at his office I’ll never find it.” The thought made me miserable, and I didn’t know what to do.
I went along with my husband to his driver’s license exam a few days later and saw one of the sisters there. I covertly let her know that my book of God’s words had disappeared. She told me to pray more, rely on God, and make another thorough search. God controls and rules all things, she told me, so whether my husband had thrown it away was in God’s hands, and I shouldn’t let my imagination run wild and be quick to judge. I messaged another sister about it when I got home, who said the same thing to me. Having received the same fellowship from two different sisters, I believed that God’s good intentions must be behind this. Was God using the sisters to remind me? I then thought of a passage from God’s words, “Almighty God dominates all things and occurrences! As long as we look up to Him in our hearts at all times and enter the spirit and fellowship with Him, He will show us all the things we seek, and His will is sure to be revealed to us. Our hearts will then be in joy and peace, steady with perfect clarity” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 7). I understood from God’s words that God is always there for people to lean on and find succor. When we encounter trouble and have no way out, as long as we genuinely call out to God, He will enlighten and guide us, and help us through our difficulties. Thanks to the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words, my faith in God was strengthened yet again, and I regained a path of practice. I also understood that as for the matter of losing my book of God’s words, I would never find it if I relied only on my own efforts. God is all-powerful, and as long as I relied on and looked up to God, and then cooperated with Him in a practical way to go look for it, I trusted that God would guide and help me. So, I came before God and sincerely prayed, “God! I can’t find my book of Your words. At first, I relied on my own notions and imaginings to guess what might have happened, and I just reacted according to my own impulses. I didn’t put You above all, and I didn’t realize that everything is under Your control. Now I wish to look up to You and entrust this matter to You, and then cooperate with You in my next search. Whether I will find the book or not, this will happen with Your permission. I ask for Your guidance.”
After praying I had a sudden desire to go to the storage room for a pair of shoes. To my surprise, as I was kneeling down to pick them up, I came across a white bag, and a very clear thought suddenly sprang into my mind: The book of God’s words is in this bag. I picked it up and looked, and it was true! Both surprised and delighted, I couldn’t help but shout, “Thanks be to God! Thanks be to God!” I only then realized that it was God guiding me to find the book. I really saw that everything is under God’s rule, that God even arranges people’s thoughts and ideas, and that nothing is impossible when we lean on God and look up to Him. I lost no time getting the book back to the bedroom and carefully placed them in my drawer. That evening when my husband came back, he discovered that I had found the book of God’s words hidden in the storage room and demanded that I hand it over. This time, I truly relied on God and asked Him to give me confidence and strength. I refused to compromise further with him. Seeing my determination, he didn’t press any further.
The sister later gave me a mobile phone just for listening to sermons that also had lots of God’s words downloaded on it; this was to make it easier for me to attend gatherings and do my devotionals. Once when I was switching between bags, I left that phone at home out of carelessness, and my husband found out that I was going to gatherings again. He messaged me demanding to know, “Why are you still in contact with them? Why are you sneaking around to go to gatherings?” I was both angry and concerned when I saw these messages, but then I called to mind my experiences over the past period of time, how every time my husband tried to stand in my way or oppress me, I always compromised, retreated, or I felt negative and weak, and that what I lacked most was the ability to rely on God and testify for God. I knew that this time I couldn’t yield to Satan. I would rely on God, look to God, overcome Satan through faith, and stand witness for God. I thought of God’s words, “No matter where or when, or how adverse the environment is, I will make you see clearly, and My heart shall be revealed to you if you look to Me with yours; in this manner, you will run down the road ahead and never lose your way” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 13). So, I prayed to God, “God! You have now chosen me and allowed me to follow Your footsteps. If I don’t pursue with all my strength, if I bow to Satan’s forces, I will lose my chance at salvation. Oh God, I wish to entrust my current difficulties to You. Even if my husband tells my family or the pastor about my faith in Almighty God, or whatever else he may do to me, I will submit to You. This time, I will rely on You to stand witness for You and humiliate Satan.”
After praying I gradually began to feel much calmer. I picked up my phone and sent him a response. “Yes, I’m attending gatherings again. Let’s sit down and have a real talk about this tomorrow evening.” Once I had sent the message, I still felt that I was being refined: Why is it that each time I want to seriously pursue the truth, I am disrupted? Job’s experience, which the sisters had fellowshiped about with me many times, then came to mind. And I also thought of what God said, “So, what did God do when Job was subjected to this torment? God observed, and watched, and awaited the outcome. As God observed and watched, how did He feel? He felt grief-stricken, of course” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II). I weighed God’s words, and thought over Job’s experience. He spent his whole life fearing God and shunning evil, but Satan wasn’t content to let God gain Job, and so tempted him many times. But while Satan was tempting Job, God was observing and watching everything, and God gave Satan a strict limit: Satan could not take Job’s life, thereby ensuring Job’s safety. I could see that God cherishes people, does not want us to suffer, and doesn’t want to see us fall under Satan’s influence and be harmed by Satan. In addition, God’s benevolent will was within Him allowing Satan to tempt Job. God hoped to gain testimony from Job and to perfect Job’s faith and obedience to God. Wasn’t that precisely the situation I had found myself in? Although Satan tempted me time and again, God never left me, and had guided me until then. God arranged those circumstances in the hope that I would grow in life, stand witness for Him, and humiliate Satan, so I knew that time I had to struggle to stand witness for God and humiliate Satan. I once again felt more faith in God and was determined to submit to what God had arranged, to stand on God’s side, and never again compromise with Satan.
The next evening when I got home from work, my husband was already there waiting for me. When I sat down, he said, “Can you give up your faith in Almighty God?” He then began talking about all sorts of negative propaganda about The Church of Almighty God that he had seen online. My response was, “No, I can’t. What do you really know about The Church of Almighty God? Everything you’ve seen online are just rumors fabricated by the CCP government to defame, libel, and condemn The Church of Almighty God. None of it is true. The CCP is an atheistic political party that particularly loathes the truth and God, so it does its utmost to fabricate and spread all kinds of rumors to mislead people. It vainly hopes to deceive people into resisting God and ultimately being destroyed along with it. That is the CCP government’s sinister intention. But I haven’t done anything wrong by believing in God, nor have I done anything to let you down. My path of faith is the right path in life, and I have decided to continue on it. I’ve given it enough thought, and I’ve decided that you can go ahead and call the pastor and the preachers, and let them condemn me in their sermons and then expel me from the church. You can also call my parents and have them lay into me and oppress me. But no matter what you do, I won’t change my mind. I have now accepted God’s work of the last days, and through reading God’s words and going through the situations arranged by God, I have become certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. I will stand by my choice no matter what.” My husband said, “You do realize that you’re betraying the Lord, right? The Lord has given you so much grace. How could you betray Him?” I said, “Believing in Almighty God is not betraying the Lord; it is following the footsteps of the Lamb, because Almighty God and the Lord Jesus are the same God. It is precisely because I have enjoyed so much of the Lord Jesus’ grace that when I heard the news that the Lord Jesus has now returned, I knew I should investigate it, and then I accepted it. The Lord Jesus has now returned in the flesh to utter new words, and to explain everything about God’s work and will. I have heard God’s voice, so I should work even harder in my pursuit, go to more gatherings, and repay God’s love for me.” Eventually my husband said, “Fine, forget it! Do what you want! I was going to tell the pastor and get him to convince you to come back to the church, and I was going to call your parents too, but I was afraid they’d be so upset they’d fall ill. Believe whatever you want from now on—I won’t get involved.”
I was elated to hear my husband say that he would no longer stand in the way of my faith in Almighty God. I knew that this was God’s guidance and that my husband’s heart and mind were also in God’s hands. Such words leaving his mouth were entirely because of God’s rule; it was God who had opened the way for me. I saw through this experience that God wants my heart, and when I truly rely on Him, look to Him, and risk everything to satisfy Him, I see God’s deeds, and that He has always been silently guiding and helping me. I thought of God’s words: “Whenever Satan corrupts man or inflicts unbridled harm upon man, God does not stand idly by, and neither does He brush aside or turn a blind eye to those He has chosen. God understands with perfect clarity all that Satan does. No matter what Satan does, no matter what trend it causes to arise, God knows all that Satan is trying to do, and God does not give up on those He has chosen. Instead, without attracting any attention—secretly, silently—God does everything that is necessary” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique VI). As I pondered these words I felt really moved. I thought back over what I had experienced that period of time—when Satan used my husband to disrupt and oppress me to keep me from going to gatherings, God allowed me to see through Satan’s tricks and come out from my negativity through the brothers’ and sisters’ fellowship on God’s words; when my husband hid my book of God’s words and tried to stop me from believing in God, I genuinely relied on God and looked to Him, and then I witnessed God’s wondrous deeds; once I resolved to stand with God and became willing to risk everything to follow God, Satan was humiliated and retreated. Through my experiences I saw that God really is on my side, and that He sets things up for me in accordance with my stature. God did not give me a burden I was not able to bear. I thought of how in the past, before truly giving my heart to God, I was always preoccupied with the affections of the flesh, I relied on human means to cope with problems, and didn’t dare to forsake Satan. As a result, Satan exploited my weakest point, taking advantage and attacking me time and time again, tormenting me to no end. But when I truly relied on God and became willing to put everything on the line, God opened up a way for me, and Satan was humiliated in defeat, left with no recourse. After going through all of this I gained true understanding of God’s almightiness and sovereignty, as well as my own rebellious disposition. My faith in and obedience to God grew, I gained discernment over Satan’s schemes, and I saw Satan’s evil and despicable nature. A true hatred of Satan arose within me. It was all thanks to God’s guidance and enlightenment that I was able to come to understand all of this. I am truly grateful to God!
I reaped a great harvest from what I experienced over that period of time. Over the course of it I experienced weakness and negativity, but the guidance of God’s words and the support and help of my sisters gave me the faith to overcome Satan’s temptations and attacks, and to continue on until the present day. I have seen God’s love through my practical experiences, and that God has been leading me and has never once strayed from my side through everything. When we truly give our hearts to God, look to God, and rely on God, we can see His wondrous deeds and emerge from our suffering. From this day forward, I wish only to experience more of God’s work and seek true knowledge of God!