40. Coming Home
“God’s overflowing love is freely bestowed upon man and surrounds man; man is innocent and pure, unencumbered and carefree, blissfully living under God’s eye; … As a person with a conscience and sense of humanity, you would feel differently. You would feel warmth, you would feel cared for and loved, and you would feel happiness” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, How Important God’s Love for Man Is). Every time I start to sing this hymn of the word of God, it’s hard to keep control of the emotions stirring inside me. That is because I once shunned God and rebelled against Him. I was like a lost lamb, unable to find the path home, and it was God’s steadfast love that led me back to the house of God. In the following article, I wish to share both with my brothers and sisters in the Lord, as well as with friends who have not yet turned to God, my experience of returning to God’s house.
I lived every day in fear as a child because my mother and father were always fighting. After I graduated from middle school, my mother began to believe in the Lord Jesus at the urging of a neighbor, and I followed her into the church. From that time on, I knew that God is the Lord of all created beings, and that to redeem mankind from sin, the incarnate God Himself was crucified on the cross to become a sin offering for man—God’s love for man is so great! Inspired by the Lord’s love, I resolved to believe in the Lord in earnest and to repay Him for His love, and thus I found direction and purpose in life. After that, I frequently attended gatherings, read the Scriptures, and gave praise to the Lord, and over time I began to feel happy. Especially when I read in the Bible that in the last days the Lord would come again upon a cloud and welcome us into the kingdom of heaven, my heart filled even more with hope. On top of that, the pastor often expounded on this verse of the Scriptures for us at gatherings: “You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). I became even more convinced that the Lord Jesus would descend upon a white cloud to welcome us into our heavenly home!
In 2005, I met a Korean who became my boyfriend and I went with him to Korea. Because of the language barrier, I tried to find a church of Chinese expatriates but I couldn’t find one, and so my spirit grew weaker and weaker. Without knowing it, I grew distant from God. We got married, but because the cultural difference was too great we couldn’t stay living together, so pretty soon we were divorced. This setback in my marriage was a great shock to me spiritually, and it caused me a great deal of pain. What with being in a foreign land without any friends or family, I felt even more alone. All I could do was pray silently to God and relate the suffering in my heart to Him. I asked God to guide me to a Chinese church so that I might return to the house of God.
A year later I found a Chinese ministry in a Presbyterian church, and I was extremely happy. Finally, I was able once again to give praise to God in church. But what disappointed me was that, whenever we held a gathering, the pastors would just read passages of scriptures to us and expound a little to us about the literal meaning of the words. Their sermons were totally devoid of any light or anything to enjoy. They didn’t supply anything at all for our lives, and the gatherings just became nothing more than a formality. During the gatherings, some people would be whispering to each other, some people would be playing games on their cell phones, some would be sleeping, some would only be there looking for girlfriends or boyfriends, and there would even be some people putting their arms around each other. I thought: “The church is a temple, a place to revere God. We come here to attend gatherings but no one has even a shred of a God-fearing heart. God must be so disgusted with what He sees! Wouldn’t the Lord abandon a place as sordid as this?” But the pastors and preachers acted like they didn’t notice all this going on, and they paid no attention to it at all.
Living in this huge cauldron of evil that is the world, I gradually began to take up dissolute ways, and would often go out drinking with friends in my free time, never behaving anything like a believer in God. However, whenever my heart began to grow distant from the Lord, His words would appear in my mind: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he said, I will return into my house from where I came out; and when he is come, he finds it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goes he, and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Matthew 12:43–45). The Lord’s words restrained and protected me, and they stopped me from becoming too estranged from God or doing anything that went too far, out of fear that I would aggravate the Lord and cause Him to become disgusted with me. I was afraid to be abandoned by the Lord and to fall into the hands of the unclean spirit.
At Christmas in 2016, to raise spirits in the church, the church got a group of talented brothers and sisters to put on a show. There was a sister whom I had never seen before who sang to us a song in praise of God: “The scene painted in the Bible ‘God’s command to Adam’ is both touching and heartwarming. Though there is only God and man in it, the intimacy between them fills you with a sense of admiration: 1 God’s overflowing love is freely bestowed upon man and surrounds man; man is innocent and pure, unencumbered and carefree, blissfully living under God’s eye; God shows concern for man, while man lives under God’s protection and blessing; every single thing man does and says is inextricably linked to and inseparable from God. 2 God has felt a responsibility toward man since the moment He created him. What is His responsibility? He has to protect man, to look after man. He hopes man can trust and obey His words. This is also God’s first expectation of man. 3 It is with this expectation that God says the following: ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.’ These simple words represent God’s will. They also reveal that, in His heart, God has begun to show concern for man. 4 In these few simple words, we see God’s heart. Is there love in God’s heart? Is there concern? God’s love and concern can not only be appreciated, but also intimately felt. But as a person with a conscience and sense of humanity, you would feel warmth, you would feel cared for and loved, and you would feel happiness. 5 When you feel these things, how will you act toward God? Would you feel attached to God? Would you love and respect God from the bottom of your heart? Would your heart grow closer to God? You can see from this just how important God’s love is to man. But what is even more crucial is man’s appreciation for and comprehension of God’s love” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, How Important God’s Love for Man Is).
With each word of the hymn, my heart beat even faster and tears of emotion would not stop pouring from my eyes. I felt I was in this beautiful picture accompanied by God, loved by God and enjoying all the things He bestows upon creation. The air, the light, the water and so on—everything was brimming with God’s love! I was enjoying everything that God had bestowed upon us but my heart had grown distant from God, and how saddened God must have been by this. I especially felt that the words “But as a person with a conscience and sense of humanity, you would feel warmth, you would feel cared for and loved, and you would feel happiness” were God calling out to my heart and spirit. In 2007, when I could no longer continue living together with my husband and had no place to call home, God arranged Women Migrants Human Rights Center of Korea for me. They provided free food and shelter for me there and found me a lawyer. They took care of the legal proceedings of my divorce for me at no cost. When it was time for me to apply for naturalization, God moved a minister from the Presbyterian church to serve as my sponsor. Normally, Koreans are seldom willing to be a sponsor for someone, especially since I was a foreigner and, moreover, I had only gone to that particular church three or four times. I knew this was all made possible through the hidden help of God. There was also the fact that foreigners applying for naturalization have to have 30 million won in fixed assets, but I didn’t even have 3 million. The Immigration Office asked me to provide proof of employment to demonstrate that I was able to provide for myself, and they didn’t make it difficult for me at all…. God always produced miracles for me when I was most in need, and it was all a display of His sovereignty! God’s love is vast and deep, and yet I was too rebellious. I had long ago forgotten God and broken His heart. This hymn of praise touched my spirit, and I determined to regain my faith and never again engage in debauchery and cause God grief.
On February 19, 2017, my head and eyes began to hurt terribly. I went to the hospital but the treatment I received didn’t work. Sister Li, who was in our church, introduced me to one of her friends who knew Chinese traditional medicine and said that the course of treatment would only take one week to be effective. I went along with her to get treated, and that day we met a brother surnamed Jin, who was a friend of the one who knew Chinese medicine. I did not expect to meet a brother in the Lord, and I thought it must have been arranged by God. I got to talking about the Bible with Brother Jin. Brother Jin read to us the parable of the ten virgins from the Bible. He asked me, “Sister, are you looking forward to the Lord’s return?” I said, “Of course!” The brother said, “Then how will the Lord return?” I said without hesitation, “The Scriptures say He will descend upon a cloud!” The brother said, “You know what? The Lord has already returned.” I was astonished to hear that, and said, “Mark chapter 13 verse 32 says: ‘But of that day and that hour knows no man, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.’ No one knows when the Lord will come. You’re saying that the Lord has returned, but how could you know?” Brother Jin didn’t give me a straight answer but instead found some prophecies in the Bible about the Lord’s return. Luke 12:40 says: “Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not.” Luke 17:24–26 says: “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Revelation 3:20 says: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” John 10:27 says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Once he was done reading, Brother Jin said, “The Lord asks us to keep a vigilant watch because no one knows the day on which He will come. But according to what the prophecies say, when the Lord comes again it will be in the form of the Son of man. The Son of man is God become man, which means God incarnating in the flesh. Even though we don’t know the exact time the Lord will come, we will know Him by His voice. This is because the sheep of God will hear God’s voice, and when they hear it, they will follow Him….” I thought then about my pastor who had said that anyone testifying that the Lord Jesus had returned in the flesh was a faker. I could no longer listen to what Brother Jin was saying, so I sent a text message to the pastor that said, “Someone is telling me that the Lord has returned incarnate. What church do they belong to?” The pastor replied, saying, “They are from Eastern Lightning.” He told me to leave right away and not to have any more contact with them. He also wanted me never to read their books and went on to send me some sermons on how to guard against heresy. I thought that whatever the pastor said must be correct, and so I decided not to listen to their fellowships again and to just ignore them.
To my surprise, on the afternoon of the 20th, Brother Jin and his younger sister came to the place where I was receiving treatment and he told me so much about the work of the Lord’s return. However, because that morning I had just received news of my mother’s passing, as well as having some doubts about what they were preaching, I just couldn’t take in anything they said. This went on for three days, and it seemed like Brother Jin had not given up on preaching the gospel to me. But because of my inward turmoil, I told him to leave me alone. I said, “Let it go. If you keep talking to me, then if you don’t go, I will!” Brother Jin saw that I really wasn’t listening and had no choice but to leave. I thought Brother Jin would not try to come again, but to my surprise the next day he brought someone named Brother Cheng along with him and continued to preach the gospel to me. I thought to myself: “Why does he keep on like this?” To save face, all I could do was put up with it, but I didn’t get into any discussion with them. Although I acted coldly toward them, Brother Cheng kept patiently talking to me. He said, “The Lord has already come incarnate into the world and He is performing the work of judgment and chastisement….” Seeing how patient and loving he was and how he thought it no trouble to preach to me, I thought: “The people in our church are weak. Their faith and love have grown cold. Why is it that the faith and love of people who believe in Eastern Lightning are so great? What power is it that supports them to persevere with their efforts in spreading the gospel to me? If it weren’t for the work of the Holy Spirit, they would never be able to do this on their own strength!”
During this time, there was another brother surnamed Yang who was looking into Almighty God’s work of the last days like I was. Whereas I always had a careless and absent-minded attitude, Brother Yang was earnest in his investigation of The Church of Almighty God. Brother Yang said that he had rejected the gospel of Almighty God when people had preached it to him before, but that hearing it again today must be an opportunity granted by God, and so he’d become willing to investigate it. Brother Yang saw that I was only interested in listening to the pastor’s words and not seeking with an open mind. He found a passage for me, which was Matthew 5:3–6: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. … Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” After I’d read the word of the Lord, I wondered: “Why is it that I can’t quiet myself in the presence of the Lord and seek the truth? If by some chance the Lord really has returned, and I don’t listen to or investigate their preachings, won’t I be left behind? I should also be a bit more open-minded, and I must not blindly come to conclusions based on my own imaginings.” Just when I had decided to quieten my heart and investigate it sincerely, a preacher from my church gave me a call out of the blue and asked me if I were still with the people from The Church of Almighty God. I said that I was, and the preacher again reminded me to cease contact with them. The preacher’s exhortation dispelled the thoughts that I had just had about looking into The Church of Almighty God. I thought, “The pastor and preacher have a much better understanding of the Bible than I do, and they do not acknowledge that the Lord has returned. I have too little understanding of the Bible and I lack discernment, so I had better just listen to what the pastor and preacher say.” When I hung up the phone, I said to Brother Cheng, “If Brother Yang wants to look into it, then you two can go on with your discussions. I’m not listening to it anymore.” Just like that, I once again abruptly rejected the salvation of God.
I returned to work after a week of treatment. Due to my mother’s passing, my heart was full of sorrow and anguish and I could not stop thinking about her. Every day when I came home from work, I would look at a picture of my mother and talk to her. One day, I suddenly thought: “I’m a believer in the Lord and whenever I experience any difficulty or weakness, I can always tell these things to the Lord.” After that, whenever I encountered hardships I would come into the presence of the Lord and pray, asking the Lord to console me. But no matter how I prayed, I never felt moved within. Sometimes I would fall asleep while praying. I was living in a state of severe anxiety every day at that time, so much so that the slightest sound behind me caused me to feel indescribable fear. In my fear and helplessness, I prayed earnestly to the Lord: “O Lord! My heart is full of darkness and I am trembling with fear. Could I have made a mistake somewhere? O Lord! Over the past few days people have been telling me that You have returned as Almighty God. O Lord! If You really have returned and really are the Almighty God they told me about, I ask You to set up a time and prepare appropriate circumstances for Brother Yang to call me or send me a text message. When they come back, no matter what they say, I will have a heart that accepts Your new work and words obediently and eagerly. If it is not Your work, and if the message they are preaching to me is false and deceptive, then please block their way and not let them come back ever again.”
Amazingly, after I prayed like this, God fulfilled exactly what I had prayed for. Brother Yang actually did call me, and I told him about everything that had been going on the last few days. Brother Yang said that my heart had been darkened because I had rejected God’s work of the last days and had rebelled against Him. He hoped that I would continue to look into God’s work of the last days, and this time I did not reject his suggestion.
Soon afterward, Brother Yang sent me a gospel movie. There was a line of dialogue in this movie that shook me awake: “Since we believe in God we should listen to God, not people.” “That’s right!” I thought. “It’s God that I believe in, and it’s God’s word I should listen to! But during that time when Brother Jin and Brother Cheng were telling me of God’s work of the last days, I kept asking the pastor about it. I complied with what the pastor and the preacher said and did not want to earnestly investigate the new work of Almighty God or listen to God’s word. I had believed in the Lord but had not prayed to or sought from the Lord, and had instead blindly trusted what the pastor and preacher had said. How stupid I was! The Bible says: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29). I believed in the Lord but did not obey Him. Instead, I obeyed people, so have I not become someone who believes in and follows men? Isn’t this resisting and betraying the Lord? If Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, and I’ve rebelled against Him and resisted Him like this, unwilling to accept Almighty God, have I then not been a blind fool? Have I not been shutting the Lord out?” With this in mind, I deeply repented in my heart and tears welled up in my eyes.
I again came into the presence of the Lord and prayed: “Lord Jesus Christ! Someone preached the gospel saying that You have already returned incarnate, and that You are Almighty God, Christ of the last days. I cannot bring myself to feel certain of this, but I am willing to come into Your presence to seek and to ask You to enlighten me, so that I might recognize Your voice. If You really have returned and are Almighty God, I want to repent to You and accept Your work and salvation. I ask You to lead me back into Your presence.” After praying, I felt a kind of joy and a feeling of being comforted that I could not put into words. It was something I had not felt in a long time, and I knew that the Lord had heard my prayers, that it was the Lord comforting me, and that it was proof given to me by God. I wanted to go right away to The Church of Almighty God to look into it, but I thought about how I must have offended the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God, and so I felt too ashamed to go to their church.
Right in the middle of this dilemma, Brother Yang called me to ask if I had time and said that he hoped that I could continue to investigate the work of Almighty God of the last days. I told him about my misgivings. Brother Yang said, “No problem, we believers in God are all one family, and it doesn’t bother the brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God at all.” When I heard Brother Yang say this, I knew that God was showing understanding for my immature stature, and so the next day I went to The Church of Almighty God with Brother Yang.
The brothers and sisters were happy to see that I had found my way back to the path. They formally bore witness to me that the Lord Jesus had returned to express the truth and perform the work of judgment beginning in the house of God in the last days. They also fellowshiped to me the meaning of the incarnate God’s work in the last days as well as the importance of the incarnation to mankind’s salvation. After that, I read God’s words that say: “I tell you, those who believe in God because of the signs are surely the category that shall be destroyed. Those who are incapable of receiving the words of Jesus who has returned to flesh are surely the progeny of hell, the descendants of the archangel, the category that shall be subjected to everlasting destruction. Many people may not care what I say, but I still want to tell every so-called saint who follows Jesus that, when you see Jesus descend from the heaven upon a white cloud with your own eyes, this will be the public appearance of the Sun of righteousness. Perhaps that will be a time of great excitement for you, yet you should know that the time when you witness Jesus descend from the heaven is also the time when you go down to hell to be punished. That will be the time of the end of God’s management plan and it will be when God rewards the good and punishes the wicked. For the judgment of God will have ended before man sees signs, when there is only the expression of truth. Those who accept the truth and do not seek signs, and thus have been purified, shall have returned before the throne of God and entered the Creator’s embrace. Only those who persist in the belief that ‘The Jesus who does not ride upon a white cloud is a false Christ’ shall be subjected to everlasting punishment, for they only believe in the Jesus who exhibits signs, but do not acknowledge the Jesus who proclaims severe judgment and releases the true way and life. And so it can only be that Jesus deals with them when He openly returns upon a white cloud. They are too stubborn, too confident in themselves, too arrogant. How could such degenerates be rewarded by Jesus? The return of Jesus is a great salvation for those who are capable of accepting the truth, but for those who are unable to accept the truth it is a sign of condemnation. You should choose your own path, and should not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and reject the truth. You should not be an ignorant and arrogant person, but someone who obeys the guidance of the Holy Spirit and longs for and seeks the truth; only in this way will you benefit” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew).
After reading the word of God, I carefully thought about the truths that my brothers and sisters had fellowshiped to me and to which they had born witness. I understood that there are two ways in which the Lord returns in the last days, one of which being the hidden advent and the other being the Lord’s coming openly to all. Now, the incarnate Almighty God’s work of judgment that begins in the house of God is indeed the work of the Lord’s hidden advent. Because the incarnate God has returned among mankind, His appearance is that of an ordinary person and no one is able to tell just by looking at Him that He is God. No one knows His true identity, and this is kept secret from people. Only those who are able to distinguish the voice of God will know, accept, and follow Him. It is just as the Lord Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Those who do not recognize the voice of God will certainly treat the incarnate God as an ordinary person. They will deny, resist, and refuse to follow God, just like the Jewish Pharisees did in their time. They saw the Lord Jesus but did not know His identity, and they blindly condemned the Lord. The present time is the stage of God’s hidden work of saving mankind. Almighty God expresses the word to judge, purify, and perfect people. Before the disasters, He will make a group of people into overcomers, and once this group of overcomers is made complete, the incarnate God’s work of the hidden advent will come to an end. When the disasters begin, God will reward the good and punish the evil, and He will appear openly to all nations and peoples. At that time, the prophecies that the Lord shall come openly will be fulfilled, just as it says in the Bible: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). “Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him” (Revelation 1:7). This is why all the kindreds of the earth shall wail when the Lord descends upon a cloud. At this time, my heart was suddenly filled with light, and I saw that the Lord’s work of the hidden advent is a great salvation for us. We can only be cleansed and attain God’s salvation by accepting the judgment of the word of God during the Lord’s hidden advent. If we do not accept God’s work of judgment now, then when He comes openly with clouds we will have become those who resisted the Lord, and we will surely weep and gnash our teeth. At that point, our regret will come too late, for Almighty God says: “The judgment of God will have ended before man sees signs, when there is only the expression of truth.”
Thanks be to Almighty God! The word of God unveils all mysteries and clearly elucidates the truth in all the aspects—my eyes were opened and I was thereafter convinced in heart and by word. In the following days, I regularly went to church to read the words expressed by God in the last days together with the brothers and sisters. We listened to hymns and watched music videos, videos of recitations of the word of God, and gospel movies, all produced by the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God. I felt that I gained something new at every gathering and I felt incomparably happy. Especially in the gospel movies, the brothers and sisters fellowshiped about every issue with such detail and clarity that all the doubts and confusion I had harbored in my belief in the Lord for so many years were resolved little by little. I saw that The Church of Almighty God really does have the work of the Holy Spirit, and that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus! What made me even more excited was that, on the third day after I’d joined the church, I saw the sister who had performed onstage the song of praise at Christmas in 2016. She had also accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. I truly give my thanks to God, for it was the guidance and enlightenment of God that led us to keep pace with the footsteps of the Lamb, that led us to reach the good land of Canaan from the wilderness and to return to the house of God, and that led us to enjoy the abundance and supply of God’s words of life together with Him!
I think that it was because of a special kindness from God that I was able to return to the house of God. Given my rebellious nature, how could I have welcomed the Lord’s return without God’s leadership and guidance or the patience of the brothers and sisters in fellowshiping the word of God to me? God’s love for me is truly so great that I find it impossible to describe! I want only to sing my praise to God through hymns and to unswervingly follow Almighty God!