7. Having Been Devastated by Demons, I Realize Even More How Precious God’s Grace Is
By Xu Qiang, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
My name is Xu Qiang. I used to work as an engineering contractor, heading up large teams of people in engineering projects every year, and I made a respectable income. In the eyes of my peers, I had a perfect family, a smooth career, and limitless prospects; they must have thought me the luckiest of people. However, at the same time that I was enjoying a materialistic lifestyle, I always had an inexplicable feeling of emptiness. This was especially true in my constant efforts to land projects: I had to curry favor with the leaders of the relevant departments, endeavoring to read their thoughts through their body language and always needing to apply just the right amount of obsequiousness and flattery to get what I wanted; otherwise, I would not make any money. On top of all that, I had to deal with scheming among my colleagues, the guard they always kept up against each other, and their calculations. All this had me wracking my brains even more…. For these reasons, I felt very demoralized and extremely exhausted; I seemed to have turned into a puppet, a money-making machine, and I had completely lost all my dignity and integrity. This went on until 1999, when I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. I was deeply moved by the release brought by church life and the simplicity and honesty of my brothers and sisters. I wanted very much to live this life of the church, fellowshiping with my brothers and sisters about God’s word and talking with one another about our individual experiences and knowledge of God’s words. I also cherished times like these very much. As I kept on reading God’s utterances and participating in congregations, I came to understand many truths, and my soul found enormous release. I was especially glad that I had finally found the true way to live, and had found true happiness. My heart was filled with gratitude toward God: Had it not been for God’s having rescued me from the world’s sea of suffering, I would never have had anything to look forward to in life. Later, I began to actively spread the gospel, happily and tirelessly engaging with those people investigating the true way and enabling them, too, to hear God’s voice and gain Almighty God’s salvation.
However, in the atheistic country of China, citizens do not have any democracy or human rights, and those who believe in God and worship God are especially prone to encounter the Chinese Communist Party government’s coercion and persecution. Due to my belief in God, I, too, was seized by the CCP government and subjected to its cruel, inhuman torture, and I spent nearly two years of hellish life in a CCP prison…. After experiencing this difficult and painful period of my life, I saw clearly the demonic essence of the CCP government’s frantic resistance against God and hatred of the truth, and gained an even deeper appreciation for the fact that God’s words are the truth. His words could be my life, and would point the way ahead for me. Were it not for the constant guidance of God’s words, giving me strength and faith, I could not possibly still be alive today. I will never forget the grace of God’s salvation for the rest of my life!
It was the morning of December 18th, 2005, and I was in the middle of a gathering with my brothers and sisters. Suddenly, a burst of violent smashing sounds resonated from the door. Before we had time to think, more than ten police officers burst in, each of them glowering with murderous looks in their eyes. The police detail they had mobilized looked like a scene from some movie in which an especially formidable fugitive is being captured. Without giving any explanation whatsoever, they took off our shoes to prevent us from running away, and then pulled out our belts and tied our hands behind our backs. They robbed us of all our personal items, including our cell phones, watches, cash, and so on. The cops then barked at us to kneel in a line against the wall, and if any of us were slow to move, they shoved and kicked us, forcing us down onto the floor. After that, they did a thorough search, overturning furniture and rummaging through the entire house; after a while, it was a complete mess. After watching all this, I asked angrily, “We haven’t broken any laws, so why are you arresting us?” To my utter amazement, a policeman rushed over, punched me to the floor in one hit, and screamed at me, “We’re arresting you people who believe in God! We won’t be able to get a good sleep until we’ve rounded up every last one of you!” This eruption of fury stunned me into silence, and it also sobered me: God was what the CCP government hated the most, so how could it let us believers go? I had been so blind and naive! In that moment, I began to silently pray to God, imploring Him to protect us so that we could stand witness and keep from betraying Him. Not long after, the policeman guarding us interrogated me: “Who told you to preach your religion everywhere? Who is your leader?” I said, “Our spreading of the gospel is completely voluntary.” He cursed, “Bullshit! Don’t try to deny any wrongdoing, boy, or else we’ll soon show you what’s what!” Just then, I heard a female cop bellow from another room, “Bring me a needle! Just you try to hide from me….” I immediately felt my heart in my throat, for in that moment I realized that a young sister was missing; she had tried to hide to avoid being captured by the police, but had been discovered. The female cop seized her and used a needle to stab her in the quick of her fingernails and the soles of her feet, and even started savagely yanking out her hair one tuft at a time. Finally, they left the young sister there, who by then had passed out, and took us all into custody, along with all the belongings they had plundered, and sped off with us.
By around noon, the police had detained us at the police station, where they soon began to interrogate us separately. The one in charge of questioning me was a strong, burly officer, and no sooner had I entered the interrogation room than he shouted at me to kneel down. I said, “I only worship God; only the Lord of the heavens, earth, and all things deserves to be knelt to. I absolutely refuse to kneel before you!” As soon as he heard this, he pointed a finger at me and roared, “You should know that in here, even the king of hell has to toe the line! Just who do you fucking think you are? If we don’t make you suffer a bit, you won’t know who’s in charge! Now, get down on your damn knees!” As he screamed this, he kicked me to the floor. After that he began to interrogate me: “Tell me truthfully: You’re the church leader, aren’t you? Where do you keep your church books?” Flustered, I did not know how to respond, so I just supplicated over and over to God to give me the wisdom with which to contend with this evil policeman. After praying, I felt calmer and revitalized and thought to myself, “I would rather die than sell out my brothers and sisters. I cannot betray God!” So, I said to the cop, “I don’t know about any of these things you are asking me. Just what do you want me to say?” No sooner had I said this than the evil policeman punched me hard in the head, and then immediately went on to give me a sound beating with his fists and feet. I was beaten so badly I saw stars and my head began to spin, hurting so badly it felt as though I had a cracked skull. I tumbled headlong to the floor. After that, he held the gospel notepad they had found on me in his hand and threatened, “Look, see? We have evidence, so there’s no point in fucking refusing to talk. Say it! You’re the leader, aren’t you? If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have these notes!” Seeing that I would not talk, he tried a different tack, urging, “Don’t be pig-headed; come on, cooperate with us. Tell us what you know, and you’ll be allowed to leave tomorrow.” Just then, God enlightened me so that I remembered one passage of His utterances: “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. Though they may seem unimportant from the outside, when these things happen they show whether or not you love God. If you do, you will be able to stand firm in your testimony to Him …” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words allowed me to clearly see that this was a battle of the spiritual world. I could not fall for Satan’s trickery, and absolutely had to stand testimony for God. Regardless of how much so-called evidence they had in hand, I could not disclose any information about the church. This was testimony of my love for God and devotion that I should maintain before God. After that, I prayed, and I gradually calmed down. No matter how much he tortured me, I never said a word. In the end, the evil cop was so exasperated that he slammed the door and left.
A while later, a policeman in his thirties entered and slowly helped me up from the floor and into a chair. He even gave me a cup of water, and then said, “Here, brother; drink some water. You have suffered.” I was shocked: What was happening? How could someone in a place like this be calling me “brother”? Before I had time to consider this further, he continued: “Brother, these days we need to live a bit more realistically, and be completely flexible. With a person like yourself, they have no choice but to beat you to death. To be honest, I used to believe in God, too, so I know having faith is a good thing—but suffering so much because of it, not to mention putting your life on the line, just isn’t worth it! If you get sentenced, that will put a black mark on your entire family. Your parents are both still living, I assume? If you spend a few years in prison, then they won’t be around anymore by the time you get out. What will your family members think of you? …” My emotional attachment to my mother and father was deeper than to anyone else, so this person’s every word stung me to the core. As images of my elderly parents flitted before my mind’s eye, I abruptly felt a wave of darkness and weakness pass through me, and I thought, “It’s true; if I am sentenced to prison, then what will mom and dad do? Who will take care of them? …” The thought caused tears to surge from my eyes, and I could not stop them. The cop immediately seized upon the opportunity, trying to further persuade and entice me by saying, “So, you should do your best to cooperate with them; if you do, then tomorrow you’ll be set free.” Hearing these words suddenly shook me awake, and these very distinct words flashed into my mind: You absolutely must not be a Judas who betrays God! Such a close call! This sly policeman was sent by Satan itself, to seduce me into betraying God. In that moment, God’s words also gave me guidance: “[O]nly with loyalty can you mount a countercharge against the devil’s trickery” (“Chapter 10” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I realized that everything the cops had said was the devil’s trickery; they wanted to take advantage of the emotional attachments of my flesh to goad me into betraying God. I absolutely could not fall for Satan’s deception. Thereupon, I silently prayed to God, believing that my parent’s affairs were up to Him to decide and completely in His hands. Entrusting them to God’s mighty hand, I resolved to stand testimony for God. Resolutely, I said to the man, “Thank you for your good intentions; I appreciate your kindness. However, I know nothing about church affairs.” Seeing that his ploy had not succeeded, this evil cop suddenly showed his true colors by flying into a rage. Pointing a finger at me, he bellowed venomously, “Just wait here to die then!” and then he left. At around 2 p.m., three or four policemen came. They hauled me off of the chair and dragged me by the collar to the doorway, where they used handcuffs to hang me from the crossbeam. Finally, they made the snide comment of “Here, take your time and ‘enjoy,’” and then left. I was unable to touch the floor with both feet at a time; if I touched it with one foot, I was forced to raise up the other one. My bodily movements caused the handcuffs to bite into my flesh, and it was excruciatingly painful. Nearly an hour later, the evil cops returned, having had their fill of food and drink. With a sinister grin, they asked me how I was feeling. By then, due to the pain, my cotton trousers and shirt were drenched with sweat, and when I was taken down, my hands were both swollen like loaves of bread and completely numb. This gang of evil cops truly were vicious and merciless. I hated them through and through and had also gotten a clear view of the CCP government’s wickedness and cruelty. They were a pack of demons who resisted and hated God, and my hatred toward this evil party was increasing rapidly.
That evening, sometime after seven o’clock, the evil cops jammed me and four of my sisters into a police car to take us to another location. Each of my sisters looked pale; apparently, they, too, had suffered similar cruelty. We gave each other encouragement with meaningful looks of resolve. When we arrived at the detention house, the evil cops let my four sisters get out of the vehicle, but I was told to remain in the car and we soon began driving again. When I asked them where they were taking me, one of the policemen said with a conspiratorial smile, “Even though you haven’t divulged any information, we still know you are not a minor player in the church. We didn’t want to be bad hosts, so we want to take you out for a bit of a ‘midnight snack.’ …” Knowing that this gang of villainous policemen did not harbor any good intentions, I did not dare to let my guard down even for a moment. I kept silently imploring God to give me strength and safeguard me against betraying Him. Soon after, I was taken to the National Security Brigade. I was received by two husky brutes who led me into an interrogation room. The sight of all the instruments of torture littering the floor like silent, ravenous tigers sent a chill up my spine. Just then, one of the evil policemen barked at me, “I hear you’re quite stubborn. Well, we absolutely love chewing up stubborn old bones like you!” No sooner had he said this than two wicked cops pounced forward, yelling as they ran, and grabbed me by the ears, pulling with all their might. In the dim lighting, I saw a pair of malevolent, twisted faces, and my heart began to thump uncontrollably. In that moment, I heard another evil cop howl with laughter and say, “It’s your bad luck to have crossed my path today. Here, let’s start out by giving you a shower.” As he said this, they held me in place and tore every shred of my clothing off of me. I stood there completely naked on the ice-cold floor, my whole body shivering and my teeth chattering. The evil cop pulled over a length of hose, aimed it straight at me, and opened the valve. Within a split second I was being pummeled by a bone-chilling blast of freezing water. It was unbearably painful, as though a knife was peeling my skin away; it just felt like the blood running through my entire body was congealing. A moment later, I could feel nothing. While dousing me with water, the evil cops continued to shout threats at me: “If you know what’s good for you, then hurry up and talk; if you don’t, then you won’t live to see tomorrow’s sunrise!” Forcing myself to endure this agony, I hung my head and said nothing. One of the evil cops gnashed his teeth and said that he was going to warm me up, which meant he was going to electrocute me. By then I had been so tormented that I did not even have an ounce of strength left in me. Feeling as though death were closing in step by step, I desperately appealed to God: “God! I am too insignificant to be able to do anything for You, but today I want to use my death to humiliate Satan. All I ask is that You protect my heart so that it never strays from You, and so that I do not betray You.” The policemen forced open my mouth and stuffed a wet rag into it, the other end of which was connected to an electric cord. They attached one end of the wire to my ear, and then the one holding the switch turned it on. Suddenly I felt all the blood in my body surging upward, and it felt like my head was about to explode. It was so excruciating I felt like my eyeballs were going to burst, and every single nerve in my body was twitching and it felt as if they were about to snap. Seeing me in so much pain, this pack of evil cops just bellowed with laughter. A moment later, I blacked out. Soon thereafter, I was splashed awake with a bucket of cold water. When I came to my senses, the rag was still in my mouth. A cop chortled nastily and asked, “How does it taste? If you want to say something, just nod your head.” Just then, I recalled a passage of God’s word: “When people are ready to sacrifice their lives, everything becomes trifling, and no one can get the better of them. What could be more important than life? Thus, Satan becomes incapable of doing any more in people, there’s nothing it can do with man” (“Chapter 36” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words strengthened my resolve to choose to stand testimony rather than bow down to Satan. I thought, “Do whatever you want to me. After all, I only have this one life; at worst, I’ll die, but don’t think for a second that you’ll get a single word out of me!” I did not answer the cop; I just closed my eyes, refusing to look at him. This action infuriated the evil policeman, and he shocked me with another wave of electricity, only this time the electric current was even stronger than before. In silence, I cried out, “God! Save me! I cannot bear it anymore!” Right then, a vivid image of the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion appeared before my eyes: the ferocious soldiers driving a half-foot long nail into the Lord’s palm, piercing the skin, piercing bone…. The Lord Jesus’ suffering caused my heart to ache to no end, and I could not help but burst into tears. In my heart, I prayed to God: “God! You are holy; You are devoid of sin. To bring salvation to humanity, though, You handed Yourself over to those ruffians and let them nail You to the cross and drain Your every last drop of blood to redeem us humans. God, I am an extremely corrupt person, an object that should be destroyed. I have accepted Your salvation and am fortunate enough to have experienced Your work, so I should offer myself to You. God, I know without a doubt that You are by my side, right now, accompanying me through my suffering. You have always loved me and invested energy in me. I am willing to offer up my all to satisfy You, so that You no longer have to suffer on my behalf or worry about me anymore.” Just then, the two evil cops stopped electrocuting me. Seeing that God had sympathized with me in my weakness, my heart brimmed with gratitude toward Him! After that, despite the fact that the cops did not stop harming me, I no longer felt any pain. Knowing that God was protecting me and had shouldered my suffering for me, I felt deeply moved by God’s love, and continuously shed tears. Later, one of the policemen came in, took one look at me, and said to those two evil cops, “That’s enough; you’ve beaten him senseless, and he isn’t talking. I’m sure he doesn’t know anything.” Only then did they stop torturing me. I knew that this was all part of God’s wonderful orchestration and arrangements; God had not allowed this pack of demons to end my life, and had mobilized someone to come in and stop them. I sincerely appreciated God’s love.
Beaten, the evil cops did not interrogate me any further, and at around midnight, they took me to the detention house. A correctional officer led me to a cell holding more than thirty offenders, and as he opened the door to put me in it, I heard him chuckle insidiously and instruct the head prisoner, “In a little while, keep it down; don’t make too much noise.” The head prisoner eyed me up and down, smirking, and said to the correctional officer, “No worries!” Before I had time to react, the head prisoner’s expression went dark and he ordered the others in a low, menacing tone, saying, “Same as always, brothers. Get him!” All the prisoners sat up and glared at me like a tiger watching its prey, sending a chill down my spine. The second the head prisoner waved his hand, they all converged on me like a pack of vicious wolves. Holding me down, they tore off all my clothes and started flogging me with all their might using the flat soles of their shoes. Eventually, they had beaten me so badly that I passed out. It wasn’t until 6 a.m. the following day that I came to. I noticed that I had been stuffed into a corner, my whole body was so badly swollen, that I couldn’t put on any clothing. And that was how I lay for six days straight on a plank bed with my whole body badly bruised and battered. On top of that, the inside of my mouth had been roasted by the evil cops’ electrocution to the point that all the tissue had necrotized, and I was in so much agony I could not even get down a bite of food. Fearing that my dying would cause trouble for them, the correctional officers sent the other prisoners over in turns to feed me vegetable soup.
Once my wounds had healed somewhat, the prisoners were provoked by the evil cops into resuming their bullying and abuse. Early each morning, they made me recite jail regulations; if I did a poor job, they would beat me. They also made me do the cleaning, and do laundry for prisoners with money. If I made the slightest mistake, I got punched and kicked. They knew that I believed in God, so they would often deliberately say a bunch of things in front of me that were blasphemous to God just to rile me up, and they also humiliated me with words, such as, “Don’t people who believe in God feel no pain when they take a beating? And can’t you work without feeling tired? You don’t care how much you suffer, do you?” In order to torment me, they forced me to dredge the squat toilet by hand, which was so disgusting that it made me want to vomit; they even made me clean the floor tiles with my toothbrush, and intentionally threw my steamed bread rolls into the toilet. When the correctional officer came to inspect the cell for cleanliness, he took off his shoes and walked around in a circle with white socks on. If he discovered any dirt on them, he would give me a thrashing. … Faced with this endless torture from the evil cops and those prisoners, I felt completely enfeebled and very depressed. I started feeling that it would be better to die than to keep living like this. While in the depths of my weakness and suffering, God’s words granted me the faith and motivation to keep on living. I recalled that He had said, “Perhaps you all remember these words: ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ You have all heard these words before, yet none of you understood their true meaning. Today, you are profoundly aware of their true significance. These words shall be fulfilled by God during the last days, and they shall be fulfilled in those who have been brutally persecuted by the great red dragon in the land where it lies coiled. The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, and so, in this land, those who believe in God are thus subjected to humiliation and oppression, and God’s words are fulfilled in you, this group of people, as a result” (“Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words taught me that being able to suffer humiliation and torture due to my belief was a sign that God had made an exception and exalted me—it was a great honor for me! However, I was cowardly and had no moral backbone; because I had suffered some physical pain and been slightly humiliated, I had lost my faith in God, and was not willing to stand testimony to repay God’s love through suffering. God had paid such a painstaking price in order to save me, so how could I pay Him back in this way? How could I go against my conscience like this and respond with such negativity? It would not do! I absolutely would not be a spineless weakling; I absolutely could not bring shame to God’s name! Thereupon, I hastily prayed to God: “God, I thank You for enlightening me and making me understand the meaning of suffering. For the sake of Your honor, I am willing to endure all manner of suffering; I wish to satisfy You even if it means spending the rest of my life in prison. All I ask is that You remain with me, enlighten and guide me, and enable me to stand firm and resounding testimony for You throughout Satan’s torment.” After praying, I felt completely invigorated, and had the courage to face that arduous environment.
A couple of weeks later, the evil cops returned to interrogate me, saying that it was not too late to cooperate with them, and threatening that if I did not, things would get a lot more difficult for me in the days to come. After having undergone a few sessions of savage torture, I had long since seen through them to their demonic essence and I hated them to the bone. Therefore, no matter how they enticed, threatened, and intimidated me, my faith did not waver an inch. Later on, they started interrogating me once every two weeks until finally, seeing that they really were not going to get any information out of me, they sentenced me to two years’ reeducation-through-labor for the crimes of “causing a public disturbance and engaging in illegal gatherings.”
On February 24th, 2006, I was sent to a labor camp. Because of my belief in God, I had been labeled a “political offender,” and the prison guards deliberately assigned me to the hardest, most exhausting, and most dangerous brick kiln to do my reform labor. My job was to remove baked bricks from the kilns, inside of which the temperature was at least three hundred degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit). In the mornings, the temperature was the lowest, but it still was over a hundred degrees (212 degrees Fahrenheit). Despite our having to work with such high temperatures, the guards did not equip us with any heat-resistant work apparel. The safety helmets we wore would melt after just two minutes of being in the kiln area, and to keep from being scalded, we had to hold our breath while running in and out as fast as we could. Because we had no heat-resistant boots, when we went into the kiln area, we had to alternate between which foot we stood on; if we were not careful, our feet would blister from the burns. New prisoners were not used to this; after going in, they would be unable to remain for more than five seconds before running back out. Our team captain therefore organized the group leaders to each be armed with a PVC pipe filled with sand; whoever ran out would be beaten with the pipe. Although these sorts of pipes were not hard enough to break bones, they caused severe surface welts. The convicts nicknamed them “hide-smackers.” When we entered the kiln area, we did not dare to breathe; taking a breath was like breathing fire into our nostrils. After removing a few bricks, we had to quickly haul the wheelbarrows back out, and if one of the tires blew, not only did we get punished, but time would be added to our sentences, chalked up to the crimes of “destruction of production equipment and resistance to reformation.” As convicts, our daily task was to fill 115 wheelbarrows full of large bricks and 95 full of little ones. In such heat, this task was impossible to complete, but the guards never asked why you had not been able to complete it; they just asked you why you had antagonistic feelings toward laboring. Because working in the heat made me sweat so much, I ended up suffering a severe potassium deficiency. I fell to the ground unconscious a few times, so they would toss me atop the kiln wall to cool off for a few minutes. After I awoke, they made me drink a cup of salty water, and forced me back to work. This was my first taste of what it meant to hit my limits, what unbearable hardship was, and what it felt like to want to die instead of keeping living. Here, no one cared whether you lived or died; the team captain only cared whether your group had completed its work or not. If it had, he would say nothing, and if it had not, he would likewise say nothing, but would simply point at the kiln door and then leave. After that, the group leader would call any people who had not finished their work over to stand in the kiln area and take a beating; once they fell to the ground, they were burned so badly by the hot ground that blisters rose up all over their skin. In addition, they had to do another twenty wheelbarrows full of bricks each day, and could not stop until they cried out for mercy. Faced with this sort of environment, I felt very weak; just a few days of torture felt like a trip through hell. In my mind, two years felt like a very long time indeed. I did not know how I would make it through all that time, and I was worried that I would either get beaten to death by the evil cops or roasted to death in the extreme heat. The more I thought about my prospects, the more trapped I felt; I felt I really could not bear it in this demonic prison any longer—and so I thought about dying. Every day from then on, I looked for chances to “be liberated.”
One day at last, my opportunity arrived. Just as a truck full of bricks was driving off, I plunged head-long underneath it. However, the vehicle’s wheels suddenly stopped mere inches from me; as it turned out, the truck had broken down. A few convicts pulled me out, and the head correctional officer said I was refusing to accept discipline and unwilling to change old habits. He then began to punish me. They shoved a sparking electric baton down into the front of my shirt, and it hurt so badly that I fell to the ground in wild convulsions. After that, they cuffed my hands backward to a telephone pole and beat me ruthlessly with electric batons. After dinner, I was subjected to a public castigation to reeducate and “correct” my ideology. … This endless suffering and torment made me feel an extreme degree of terror, despair, and helplessness. Just when I was grappling with the question of how I would go on living, a passage of God’s words emerged in my mind: “No matter how God refines you, you remain full of confidence and never lose confidence in God. You do what man should do. This is what God requires of man, and man’s heart should be able to fully return to Him and turn toward Him at every single moment. This is an overcomer. Those who God refers to as overcomers are those who are still able to stand witness, maintain their confidence, and their devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and under siege by Satan, that is, when within the forces of darkness. If you are still able to maintain a heart of purity and your genuine love for God no matter what, you stand witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an overcomer” (“You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words brought a ray of light and warmth to my heart, just as I was closest to giving up all hope. It was true; ultimately, God wanted to make a group of overcomers who would be able to maintain their faith and devotion to Him in any harsh environment, live according to His words and, finally, bear strong and resounding testimony for God before Satan. The reason Satan had used every possible way to torment and injure me was that it wished to take advantage of my weakness, attacking me while I was down and forcing me to betray God—but I could not become a symbol of God’s humiliation! God’s love for me was so real and practical; when I was at my weakest and longed for death, God was still watching over me in secret, protecting me and keeping me alive. No matter how enfeebled I was, He had never had the slightest intention of abandoning me; His love for me had remained constant from the beginning, and He was still enlightening me, guiding me, and helping me to find my way out of the pain. I absolutely could not let God down or hurt His feelings. I was grateful for God’s guidance; it had again allowed me to see through Satan’s trickery and walk back from the brink of death. I could not help but sing a hymn: “I’ll give my love and loyalty to God and complete my mission to glorify God. I’m determined to stand firm in testimony to God, and never give in to Satan. Oh, my head may break and blood may flow, but the mettle of God’s people can’t be lost. God’s exhortations rest on the heart, I determine to humiliate Satan the devil. Pain and hardships are predestined by God, I will endure humiliation to be faithful to Him. I will never again cause God to shed tears or worry” (“I Wish to See the Day of God’s Glory” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs).
Once I had submitted and grown willing to endure all suffering in order to satisfy God, God opened up a way out for me: Because the team captain was illiterate, he had me help him with filling out his reports, and from then on, I did not have to do so much brick-hauling work. Sometime later, an elderly sister from the church came to visit me. She held my hand in hers and said tearfully, “Child, you have suffered. Your brothers and sisters are very worried about you, and we all pray for you daily. You must stay strong, and not bow down before Satan. You must stand firm and bear witness for God. We are all waiting for you to come home.” In this cold, ruthless human hell, apart from God’s consoling words, I had not heard a word of warmth from a single soul. Hearing these kind words from my brothers and sisters, words that I often heard long ago, gave me enormous comfort and encouragement. For a long time afterward, I felt encouraged by God’s love; I felt quite a bit more relaxed, and I had a spring to my step while I was working. In all my time in prison, those days passed the most quickly. This was especially true of my last four months. I always lined up first in the monthly-announced list of names of convicts whose sentences had been shortened. In months past, this list of names had only included head prisoners, and team leaders; convicts without any money or power had been left out. For a Christian like me, whom the CCP government had labeled a “political offender,” it was even less likely that I might enjoy such treatment. For this reason, the other prisoners always surrounded me and asked, “How did you do it?” Every time this happened, I thanked God deep in my heart, because I knew that this was a result of His great mercy for me; it was God’s love that had brought me strength.
On September 7th, 2009, I was released on early parole. Soon after, I returned to the church and resumed church life, and again I joined the ranks of those spreading the gospel. After undergoing this time of hardship, I was more determined and mature than before, and I cherished even more the chance to fulfill my duty. Because I had seen the true face of the CCP government’s resistance to God and cruelty toward people, I had an even deeper sense of how precious God’s salvation is. Had God not come in person, in flesh incarnate, to do the work of bringing salvation to humankind, all those living under Satan’s domain would be devastated and swallowed up by it. From that point forward, whenever I was fulfilling my duty, my attitude was vastly different from what it had been in the past; I felt that the work of spreading the gospel and saving people’s souls was of utmost importance, and I wanted to devote all of my loyalty and spend all my energy for the rest of my life to bring more people before God. I wanted to enable them, too, to awake from this atheist government’s shroud of confusion and deception, to accept God’s supply of life, and to obtain God’s salvation. Looking back on those very long two years of imprisonment, I know that Satan attempted vainly to use its tyrannical abuse to compel me to betray God. However, God used that nasty environment to increase my faith, loyalty, and submission to Him, purifying my love for Him, and allowing me to realize God’s wisdom and almightiness and gain a profound appreciation of the fact that God is humanity’s salvation, and that He is love! From my heart issued forth boundless worship and praise for God!