5. God’s Best Protection for Mankind
Kuiqian Rizhao City, Shandong Province
My station in life, or status, was something I could never let go of, and when God created an environment that exposed me, I was only negative, complaining, and despairing. Only through refinement after refinement did I come to understand God’s good intentions, and that His testing of me was not to torment me. Rather, it was to cleanse me and make me perfect, to allow me to understand that believing in God for the sake of a station can only ruin me, thus allowing me to let go of improper views of pursuit, and to have a proper goal to pursue.
After some time of serving as a leader in the church, I was promoted to be a district leader’s partner. Before long, I was promoted again and entrusted with being a district leader. This linear “rise” made me work even harder to perform my duty, looking forward to the day that even more would be entrusted to me. This hope became the impetus for my pursuits. However, just as I was dreaming of my step-by-step “ascent,” I was replaced! At the time I was crushed—I felt that I had lost my station and my path of faith in God had come to its end. I was in pain to the point that I considered leaving the church. I even thought about dying. Later, through enlightenment from God’s words, I gradually came out of that negativity. His words were: “When the mountains move, could they make a detour for the sake of your station? When the waters flow, could they cease before your station? Could the heavens and the earth be reversed by your station?” (“The Twenty-second Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). At the time, although I realized that my desire for status was too strong and that faith in God should not be a pursuit of status, I didn’t have any real understanding of myself, and I thought to myself: I won’t pursue status anymore; no matter what duties are arranged for me, I’ll obey and that’s it. Later, the church arranged for me to preach the gospel and to look after new believers. I accepted all of this. So, I believed that I had let go of my desire for status.
Before long, I moved from looking after new believers to once again being a church leader. At that time, that desire deep in my heart to “make a comeback” was stirring. Under the reign of that desire, I put everything into showing off, hoping that the leadership would see my “change.” When it was time to plot out church districts, I couldn’t help but think: This time they’ll probably let me be a district leader’s partner. However, God’s plan once again broke my dream of status, and I ended up becoming the deacon liaison for another church. Faced with this reality, I misunderstood it, complained, and a struggle suddenly welled up in my heart: Oh God, others also have their corruption and make mistakes in their work, but they’re still working as leaders. I have given no less than others in every aspect—why won’t God use me? Why am I so unlucky? Once again, I descended into the pain of being refined. Amidst the darkness, it was God’s words that guided me: “You do not see blow after blow and discipline after discipline as the best protection, but you see it as unreasonable provocations from Heaven or suitable retribution for you. You are so ignorant! … The chastening that you see as ruthless has not changed your heart at all, nor has it occupied your heart. Instead, it has just injured it. You have only seen this ‘ruthless chastisement’ as your enemy in this life but you have gained nothing. You are so self-righteous! You rarely believe that you are subject to these kinds of trials because you are so despicable, rather, you believe that you are too unfortunate and moreover, you say that I’m always nitpicking at you” (“Aren’t Those Who Do Not Learn and Know Nothing but Beasts?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words pierced my heart like a sharp sword. It was true! All those times of stumbling—I had not gained anything from them. Every time I lost my station, I felt like I was hovering between life and death, as if by losing my station, I had lost the meaning of life. Status had become my mortal wound. But from these several chastenings, I had not really understood myself, and I had understood even less of God’s earnest intentions. I had not understood that God’s testing of me was to counteract my desire for status, so that I could have a proper pursuit. Instead, I misunderstood God, complained, and believed that He was purposely tormenting me, trying to make things difficult for me, and believed that I was so unlucky. I really was so unreasonable, so absurd!
Later, I saw in the fellowship from God: “Corruption within human nature must be resolved through trials…. In whichever aspects you do not pass, it is in these aspects that you must be refined—this is God’s arrangement. God creates an environment for you, forcing you to be refined there to know your own corruption. … In whichever aspects you are still subject to Satan’s bondage, in whichever aspects you still have your own desires, your own demands—it is in these aspects that you should suffer” (“How to Satisfy God in the Midst of Trials” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Looking at God’s words, thinking of refinement after refinement that came upon me, I finally understood God’s kind intentions, and could taste God’s great love and salvation. Although I was arrogant and ignorant and had no understanding of God’s heart, He created an environment to test me time after time, forcing me, amidst the pain of being refined, to recognize my own corruption, my own arrogance and unreasonableness, and that my desire for status was too great. He led me to shake off being ruled by my station, He led me to no longer pursue status. The more I tried to fathom it, the more I felt that God’s love for me was truly great, while I was blind and ignorant. I misunderstood and blamed God, and truly wounded His heart. At the time, I couldn’t help but shed tears of regret and fall down in front of God in prayer: Oh God! Thank You for Your love and salvation for me. If I did not have these chastisements and judgments from You, I would be on a one-way path to my own ruin because of my pursuit of status. Your trials and refinements of me are a great protection and salvation for me. Oh God! I have understood Your good intentions for me, and I am willing to let go of these barriers to pursuit of the truth, to seek out more of Your will in the environment You create, to pursue the truth, to pursue a change in disposition, to be a conscientious, rational creation, to not allow Your work to be in vain within me.