14. God’s Love Strengthened My Heart
Xiao Li Liaoning Province
I had a harmonious family. My husband cared for and looked after me and our son was sensible and obedient, and moreover, our family was well-off. By rights, I should be very happy, but the fact was not so. No matter how good my husband and son were to me, and no matter how well-off my family was, it couldn’t make me happy. That was because I had lung disease, arthritis, and serious insomnia. I couldn’t sleep the whole night, my brain was lack of blood supply, and my limbs were weak. I felt very distressed but was unable to be free from them. The pressure in my business and the tortures of the illnesses caused me to suffer unspeakably. Those illnesses even more made me feel extremely miserable. To get free from those sufferings, I tried many ways, but in vain.
In March, 1999, a friend of mine preached Almighty God’s end-time gospel to me. Through reading God’s word every day and having meetings and fellowshipping with the brothers and sisters constantly, I understood many truths and knew many mysteries that I had never heard, and I was certain that Almighty God is indeed the returned Jesus, so I was very excited. Every day, I read God’s word thirstily. I also attended the church life, and often had meetings, prayed, and sang hymns and danced to praise God with the brothers and sisters. My heart was full of peace and joy, and my mental outlook got better and better. Unknowingly, I recovered from my diseases little by little. I often offered my thanks and praises to God for that, really hoping that all people would come to enjoy God’s love and salvation. Not long afterward, the church assigned me to take charge of the gospel work, and I threw myself into it with full enthusiasm. However, I had never expected that….
On the evening of December 15, 2012, four sisters and I were discussing matters of preaching the gospel in a host home, when suddenly there were hurried footsteps from outside. Our hearts immediately flew into our mouths. We simultaneously thought: Is it the policemen coming? Many brothers and sisters were already arrested and put in prison by the police before because of preaching the gospel. So, we hurried to hide the books of God’s word and other related items. But before we had finished, we heard the door kicked open with a bang. Seven or eight undercover cops broke in and shouted at us, “Nobody move! Hands up! …” Without showing any credentials, they forcibly searched us and took away my ID card and a receipt of the Church’s money for seventy thousand yuan. Seeing the receipt, they became excited immediately. They pushed and dragged us into a police car and took us to the police station. At the station, the vicious policemen carefully searched us all over again and confiscated all our mobile phones. At that time, they considered a sister and me the church leaders. So, they transferred us to the Criminal Investigation Brigade of the Municipal Public Security Bureau that very night.
There, the policemen interrogated us separately. They handcuffed my hands to an iron chair. A vicious policeman shouted harshly at me, “What is the seventy thousand yuan for? Who sent the money? Where is it now? Who are your church leaders?” At that moment, I kept praying in my heart, “God, the vicious policemen force me to sell out the church leaders and tell them about the Church’s money. I mustn’t be a Judas to betray you. God, I’m willing to commit myself into your hand. May you give me faith, courage, and wisdom. No matter how the vicious policemen interrogate me by torture, I’m willing to stand testimony for you.” Then, I said to them resolutely, “I don’t know!” Hearing it, a vicious policeman, in exasperation, picked up a slipper and hit my face and head violently. While hitting me, he said ferociously, “How dare you not confess! How dare you believe in Almighty God! I’ll see whether you’ll believe or not.” My face was painfully hot and soon became swollen. My head became swollen and painful too. To force me to speak out the whereabouts of the money, four or five vicious policemen took turns beating me. One kicked my legs. One gripped me by the hair, shaking and tearing violently back and forth. One slapped my face. Blood streamed from my mouth. After wiping off the blood, they continued to beat me. They also wildly poked my body with electric batons. As they beat me, they demanded, “Speak up or not? Speak up!” Seeing that I still said nothing, they jabbed my private parts and my chest with the electric baton. I ached half dead. My heart beat violently, and I could hardly breathe. I just huddled trembling, feeling as if death was approaching me step by step. Though I clenched my teeth and didn’t utter a sound, I was very weak in my heart and felt that I could barely hold on, fearing that the vicious policemen’s cruel torture would come upon me once again. In agony, I prayed to God unceasingly, “God! Although I have the will to satisfy you, my flesh is weak and feeble. May you give me strength so that I can stand testimony.” Then I thought of the scene of the Lord Jesus being cruelly beaten by the soldiers before he was crucified: His muscles were ruptured, he was badly mangled and had wounds all over…. But he didn’t say a word. God is holy and innocent. However, for the sake of redeeming mankind, he endured all kinds of humiliations and sufferings and was willing to be crucified. God could sacrifice his life for saving corrupt mankind. So I should also suffer for repaying God’s love. Under the encouragement of God’s love, I had courage in my heart and made a resolution before God, “God, the sufferings you underwent I should also undergo. The bitter cup you drank I should also drink. I’ll give up my life to stand testimony for you.”
Several minutes later, I fainted with pain. When I woke up, I found someone was pouring cold water on my face. I was already drenched through and shivered with cold. Seeing that I woke up, that gang of beasts said venomously to me, “How dare you be tight-lipped! We can fix you to death here and no one will know it!” I didn’t respond to them. Then a vicious policeman forcefully stuck the sunflower seed shells they had cracked into my fingernails. The pain was so unbearable that my fingers trembled incessantly. Then they sprayed water on my face and poured water down my neck. All my muscles contracted because of the icy cold water, and I felt painful to the extreme. That night, I prayed to God ceaselessly for fear that I couldn’t live if I left God. God was with me all the time and his words constantly encouraged me, “When man gives up his life completely, nothing is difficult. …” (from “The Interpretation of the Thirty-sixth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “Just hold your head up! Do not be afraid. With me, your father, backing you up…. As long as you ask and pray more before me, I will bestow to you all the faith. Those in power look ferocious in appearance, but do not be afraid. That is because you have little faith. As long as your faith rises, nothing will be difficult.” (from “The Seventy-fifth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words gave me boundless strength. Yes! God rules over all things. All matters and all things are in his hand. Even if the devils torture my flesh to death, my soul is in God’s hand. With God as my reliance, I was no longer afraid of satan, much less was I willing to be a betrayer because of caring for my flesh and for an ignoble existence. So, I prayed to God and made a resolution, “God! Although the devils torture my flesh, I’m willing to satisfy you and commit my whole being into your hand. Even if I have to die, I’ll stand testimony and never yield to satan!” Under the leading of God’s words, I had greater and greater faith. Although the devils afflicted and tortured my flesh and my endurance had already reached its limit, I felt less pain with the support of God’s words.
The next morning, the vicious policemen continued to interrogate me and threatened me, “If you don’t say it today, we’ll hand you over to the SWAT team. There are various kinds of torture devices waiting for you there….” Hearing that they would hand me over to the SWAT team, I instinctively felt afraid in my heart: The SWAT team must be even fiercer than they are. If they really use various torture devices on me, can I get out alive? Just when I was in panic, God’s words resounded in my ears, “What are the overcomers? The good soldiers of Christ should be brave, get strong in spirit by relying on me, strive to be valiant warriors, and fight satan to the death.” (from “The Twelfth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words calmed down my panic-stricken heart quickly. I realized that it was a war in the spiritual realm and it was the time God asked me to bear testimony. With God as my rear guard, no matter what malicious means the devils may use, I’ll rely on God and be a good soldier of Christ, and fight satan to the death and never yield to it.
In the afternoon, two policemen in charge of the religious affairs from the Municipal Public Security Bureau came to interrogate me, asking, “Who are your church leaders?” I said, “I don’t know.” Seeing that I didn’t tell, they adopted hard and soft means. One of them punched my shoulder hard. The other tried to talk me into believing his fallacies that deny God, “The heavens and the earth and all things came into being naturally. Man has to be realistic. Believing in God can’t help you resolve your problems in life. You still have to resolve them by your own efforts. We can find jobs for you and your son….” I drew near to God in my heart the whole time, and I thought of these words of God, “You must watch and wait at any moment, and be before me more. See through all kinds of intrigues and schemes of satan, know the spirit and people, and know how to discern various kinds of people, matters, and things. …” (from “The Seventeenth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words inspired me in a timely manner and made me see through satan’s schemes. The vicious policemen attempted to deceive me with fallacies and buy me off with petty favors. I could by no means be deceived by satan, much less betray God and be a Judas. Due to God’s revelation, I saw through the vicious policemen’s sinister intentions. After that, no matter what soft and hard means they tried, I didn’t respond to them. In the evening, I heard that some other people would come to interrogate me, and they mentioned that I had a previous conviction. Then, I was at a loss, not knowing what would happen at night and how I should deal with it. I could only call to God in my heart for his leading so that I wouldn’t betray God no matter what persecution or affliction came upon me. After a while, when I went to the washroom, I suddenly had a heart attack, which hadn’t occurred for years. Feeling that my heart beat faster and a fit of dizziness came over me, I fell to the ground. Hearing the sound, the vicious policemen hurriedly gathered around me. I heard someone say venomously, “Take her to the crematorium and be done with her.” Later, being afraid that I would die, they called an ambulance and sent me to the city hospital for an examination. There, I was diagnosed with chronic myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease. Unable to interrogate me anymore, they put me into the detention house. Seeing the hopeless look of the vicious policemen, I was very happy in my heart, for God made a way out for me and I could be free from the interrogation for the time being. Having escaped that affliction, I saw God’s deeds, and I uttered thanks and praises to God from my heart!
In the ten-plus days that followed, I thought that they wouldn’t give up before getting the whereabouts of the Church’s money from me. So I prayed to God every day, asking God to keep my mouth and my heart so that I could stand on God’s side in any case and would never betray God or forsake the true way. One day, after I prayed, God inspired me to think of this hymn of God’s word, “No matter what God requires, just exert all your strength. I wish you to be faithful to God the last time, to be faithful to God the last time in his presence. As long as you can see God reveal a gratified smile on the throne, even if it is just the time of your death, you should, should give laughter and reveal a smile when you close your eyes. You should perform your last duty for God in your remaining days. You should perform your last duty for God in your remaining days. In the past Peter was crucified upside down for God, while you should satisfy God in the end and exhaust all your energies for God. … No matter what God requires, just exert all your strength. I wish you to be faithful to God the last time in his presence, to be faithful to God the last time, to be faithful to God the last time.” (from “A Created Being Should Submit to God’s Manipulation” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) I sang and pondered it in my heart over and over again. In God’s words, I understood God’s requirement and expectation of me. In the heavens and the earth there are so many living beings living under God’s sovereignty, and among mankind there are so many people following God, yet there are very few who can truly bear testimony for God before satan. Today, I have the honor to encounter such an environment, which is truly God’s exceptional uplifting and a special favor to me. God says, “In the past Peter was crucified upside down for God, while you should satisfy God in the end and exhaust all your energies for God. …” (from “The Interpretation of Forty-first Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) These words especially encouraged me greatly. I couldn’t help praying to God, “Almighty God! In the past Peter could be crucified upside down for you and bore testimony of loving God for you before satan. Today, I’m arrested by the CCP in power. There is your good purpose in it. Although my stature is too small and I can’t match Peter, it’s my honor that I can have the opportunity to bear testimony for you. I’m willing to commit my life to you and bear testimony for you with my death so that you can gain some comfort from me.”
On the morning of December 30, the policemen from the Municipal Public Security Bureau came to interrogate me. Right after I entered the interrogation room, a vicious policeman asked me to take off my cotton jacket and pants and said to me, “Your younger sister and your son are also arrested now. You are a nest of believers in God. We’ve been to your husband’s work unit and known that you began to believe in Almighty God in 2008….” His words hit my vitals and disturbed my mind. I had never expected that they would also arrest my son and my younger sister. Driven by family affection, I began to worry about them. Unknowingly, I felt far from God in my heart. I kept thinking, “Will they be beaten? Can my son endure it?” Just then, God’s words guided me within, “How many sufferings each person should undergo and how long a way he should walk have been predestined by God. No one can help anyone else. …” (from “Way… (6)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s word led me out of family affection in time and made me realize that everyone’s way of believing in God is ordained by God and everyone should bear testimony for God before satan. If they can stand testimony for God before satan, isn’t it their blessing? Thinking of that, I was no longer worried about them and was willing to commit them to God and let God rule over and arrange them. Right then, a vicious policeman mentioned a few sisters’ names and asked me whether I knew them. I said no. He jumped to his feet and dragged me to the iron chair beside the window in exasperation and handcuffed me. Then he thrust the window open and let the cold wind blow against me. He also poured cold water on me and shouted obscenities at me at the same time. After that, he hit my face with the sole of a slipper dozens of times. I saw stars, my ears buzzed, and blood streamed from the corners of my mouth.
In the evening, several vicious policemen put me into a coldest room. Its windows were all covered with ice. They forcibly stripped my clothes, making me sit on the iron chair beside the window with nothing on, and handcuffed my hands to the back of the chair, so that I couldn’t move at all. A vicious policeman said coldly and viciously, “There is no gender difference in our interrogations….” While saying that, he pulled the window open. The biting cold wind blew on me, cutting like a knife, and I trembled all over. I said shakily, “I have postpartum tetany. I can’t be frozen like this.” He said venomously, “This specially cures your postpartum tetany. I’ll let you have rheumatism, diabetes, and nephrosis at the same time. No doctor will be able to cure your diseases!” After these words, he had someone bring a basin of cold water and forcibly pressed my feet into it to soak them and ordered, “Don’t spill any water from the basin!” Then he poured cold water on my back and fanned me from behind with a paperboard. The temperature then was more than 20 degrees below zero. Chilled by the biting cold water, I instinctively pulled my feet out of the basin. A policeman immediately seized my legs and pressed my feet into the water, not allowing me to pull them out. I huddled myself up from the cold, trembling incessantly. It seemed that my blood had congealed with cold. Seeing that, they were extremely happy. While laughing viciously, they said sarcastically, “The beat of your ‘dancing’ is not bad!” Facing those bestial devils, I hated them bitterly within and couldn’t help thinking of those demons in hell that take delight in afflicting man and take man’s sufferings as enjoyment on TV. They have neither feeling nor humanity but only cruelty and affliction. These vicious policemen had no difference with the demons in hell at all and they went even beyond them. In order to force me to turn in the Church’s money, they slapped me in the face countless times that day and night. When my face became swollen, they reduced the swelling with ice and then continued slapping me. If it were not for God’s keeping, I would have long died. Seeing that I still didn’t confess, they jabbed my thighs and private parts many times with an electric baton. Every time I got shocked, my whole body convulsed and twisted in pain. As I was handcuffed to the iron chair, I couldn’t even dodge and could only be beaten, trampled, and humiliated by them as they wished. The painful feeling was beyond description. However, they laughed wildly. More hatefully, a young vicious policeman came up to me and gripped my nipple with a pair of chopsticks and squeezed hard. It was so painful that I kept screaming. And they placed a frozen bottle of water between my inner thighs and poured mustard water into my nose. Immediately my nasal cavities were burning and the pungency instantly rushed to my brain so that I dared not breathe. A vicious policeman took a deep draw on his cigarette and blew the smoke into my nostrils, which made me cough incessantly. Before I got my breath back, another one placed a wooden stool upside down and inserted my legs into it so that the soles of my feet were off the ground. Then, he brought an iron stick and beat the arches of my feet heavily dozens of times each. My feet ached as if they were broken and the pain pierced me so much that I kept screaming. Only after a while, the arches of my feet became red and swelled up badly. The vicious policemen kept torturing me so that my heart beat violently. I felt I was going to die. Then they had me take heart medicine. Just when I got my breath back, they continued to beat me. While beating me, they threatened, “If you don’t tell, today we will freeze and beat you to death. Anyway, no one will know it. If you don’t tell today, we’ll keep you company for three or five days. Let’s see who can hold to the end. We’ll have your husband and child come to see what you are like now. If you still refuse to tell, we’ll have your husband and your son dismissed from work.” They also dug at and mocked me, “Don’t you believe in God? Why doesn’t your God come to save you? Your God doesn’t work.” Facing this gang of ferocious beasts, I hated them bitterly within. I couldn’t bear the cruel torture of these devils and beasts, much less their slander against God. So, I called to God earnestly in my heart, asking God to keep me and give me faith, strength, and the will to suffer so that I could stand firm. At that time, God’s words rang in my ears, “…in the last days, you should bear testimony for God. No matter how great the sufferings, you should walk to the end. Even if you have just one breath left, you should be faithful to God and submit to God’s manipulation. This is truly loving God, and this is a strong and resounding testimony.” (from “Only After Experiencing Painful Trials Will One Know that God Is Lovely” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Yes! God’s intention is for me to bear testimony for him before satan. I should endure all sufferings and humiliations for satisfying God. Even if I have only one breath left, I’ll be faithful to God. Only this is a strong and resounding testimony and can shame the old devil. Under the guidance of God’s words, I had faith and courage in my heart and was willing to break through the influence of darkness and satisfy God once even if I should die. I also remembered this hymn of life experience, “I will offer the sweetest to God, and leave the bitterest to myself; I will firmly stand God’s testimony, and never again yield to satan. Ah! Head can be cut off and blood can be shed, but the backbone of God’s people cannot be bent; God’s charge is on my mind. I resolve to shame the old satan. Let tears shed in my heart; I’d rather endure great humiliations than cause God’s heart to be worried.” (from “I Wish to See the Day God Gains Glory” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) Yes! I shouldn’t care for my own flesh. As long as I can shame satan and comfort God’s heart, I’m willing to offer up my life to God. After I made a firm resolution, no matter how the devils tortured me or carried out schemes, I always relied on God in my heart. God’s word also inspired and guided me within, giving me faith and strength so that I overcame the weakness of my flesh. Then, the vicious policemen continued to freeze me. They rubbed my body with ice. I shook with cold as if in an icehouse. My teeth chattered and I was black and blue all over. By a little past 2 a.m., I had been tortured so much that I felt worse than death. Unknowingly, I became weak in my heart again, not knowing when such sufferings would come to an end. I could only keep crying to God within, “God! My flesh is too weak. I can hardly endure it. May you save me.” I thanked God that he heard my prayer. Just when I could hardly hold on, the vicious policemen stopped interrogating me because they couldn’t get a result.
At past 2 p.m. on December 31, the vicious policemen dragged me back to the cell. At that time, I was wounded all over. My hands became so swollen like steamed buns, and they were black. My face became so swollen that it was one third larger than before, and it was blue. It was hard to the touch, without any feeling. There were many scorched parts on my private parts, which were wounded by the electric shock. At that time, there were over twenty people in the cell. Seeing that I was tortured by the devils like that, they all shed tears. Some prisoners even dared not look at me. A young Party member said, “I’ll withdraw from the Party as soon as I get out of here.” A corporate executive asked me, “Which police station is the guy who beat you from? What’s his name? Tell me. I’ll post him on the foreign websites after I get out. They claim that China is humanized, but where is the humanity? It’s simply bestialized!” My experience stirred the anger of many prisoners. They said angrily, “We have never expected that the Communist Party would be so cruel that it laid such violent hands on you. Isn’t it a good thing to believe in Heaven? Then people will commit no crime. Don’t they claim that they allow freedom of belief? There isn’t any freedom of belief at all! In China, you’ll have everything if you have power and money. The real criminals are all outside the jail, and no one dares to arrest them. The criminals on death row can be released after they give money to the officials. No fairness and justice can be found in this country….” Then, I couldn’t help thinking of these words of God, “Now is the time. People have long readied all their strength to consecrate all the effort and all the price to this, tearing up the ugly face of this devil, and causing those who are blinded and suffer hardships and afflictions to rise up from the miseries and rebel against this old devil!” (from “Work and Entering In (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “Do you truly hate the great red dragon? Do you really hate it from the heart? Why do I ask you like this many times? Why do I repeat such questions again and again? How is the image of the great red dragon in your heart? Has it truly been removed? Do you truly not regard it as ‘father’? Everyone should see my intention from my questions. It is not to arouse people’s indignation, to let them revolt, or to let them ‘find a way out themselves,’ but to let all people be released from its bondage.” (from “The Twenty-eighth Piece of Word” of God’s Utterance to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words comforted me greatly. I had never expected that the CCP government’s devilish essence of being cruel and malicious would be exposed through the cruel tortures I underwent, so that even unbelievers saw its true face and all rose up to hate and rebel against this old devil. At the same time the reality of the truth of God’s word was set off. It was really God’s wisdom and almightiness. In the past, I regarded the CCP as the red sun and people’s great savior. Through the CCP government’s inhuman persecution and affliction, I have completely changed my knowledge of it. I have truly seen that it is exactly an evil spirit which treats human life as straw, afflicts God’s people, acts against Heaven, and commits monstrous crimes, and it is the devil incarnate and the devil that resists God! God is the Creator, and men are created beings. It is right and proper for men to believe in God and worship God. However, the CCP government trumps up charges and frenziedly hunts and afflicts the believers in God, only wishing to capture all believers in God in one net. It has completely revealed its devilish face of hating God and being hostile to God. By its contrast on the negative side, I have seen more clearly God’s substance of beauty and good and love. Incarnated twice, God has undergone all kinds of persecutions and tribulations and the hunting of the devils. But God has been silently enduring all the blows and sufferings and doing the work to save man. God really loves man so much. Now I really regret that I didn’t do my best to pursue the truth and perform my duty properly to repay God’s love before. If one day I can get out alive, I’ll perform my duty more faithfully and let God gain my heart.
Later, the vicious policemen interrogated me another four times. As they couldn’t get any result, they imposed on me a charge of “disturbing the social order,” and I would be released upon bail pending trial for one year on payment of 5000 yuan. On January 22, 2013, after my family paid the bail, I was released. At home, when I saw ice on the window, my heart would beat faster. Besides, my eyesight became obviously worse and my rheumatism got more serious. I also got a problem with my kidney and always felt cold all over. My heart often palpitated, and my hands often got numb. The skin peeled off my face. My inner thighs often ached unbearably, and I was even woken up by pain from sleep. All these are the evidences of the devils’ afflicting me.
Inhumanly persecuted by the CCP government, I underwent all kinds of tortures in the flesh, but I have had a closer relationship with God and have gained a more practical knowledge of God’s wisdom and almightiness and God’s love and salvation. My will to follow Almighty God has also become resolute. I have made a resolution that I’ll follow God all my life and pursue to be one who loves God. For in the CCP government’s cruel persecution, I have personally experienced God’s love and care and keeping. If it hadn’t been God’s word leading me step by step and giving me faith and strength, I couldn’t have overcome those savage afflictions and tortures at all. After experiencing this special environment, I have seen clearly the CCP government is exactly satan the devil that resists God and is hostile to God. In order to turn China into a region without God and achieve its purpose of ruling the whole world, it actually does its utmost to banish God’s coming by every possible means and frenziedly hunts and persecutes the followers of God, attempting to capture them in one net and kill them all, and thus abolish God’s work. The CCP government is really too vicious! It is indeed the devil and beast that devours people and the dark force that pushes reactionary policies, acts against Heaven, fights justice, and advocates evil. In China, there are so many villains who do all kinds of evil things and bully and oppress the kind people, but it turns a blind eye to them and even lets them be in power and enforce the law. As for those hoodlums and gangsters who do prostitution and whoring and gambling and drug trafficking, it wallows in the mire with them to seek pleasures, and even acts as their protective umbrella. However, it simply treats those who follow God and walk the right way of human life as enemies and frenziedly hunts and cruelly persecutes them. As a result, many believers in God have a broken family, are separated from their spouses and children, are unable to go back home, and have no fixed residence and live a wandering life outside all year round; so many people, because of believing in God, undergo the brutal and inhuman tortures, and some are even maimed or beaten to death…. It can be seen that the CCP government is indeed satan the devil that destroys humanity and slaughters mankind. Its crimes will never escape God’s righteous punishment, for Almighty God has said, “The ‘den’ of the devils will surely be demolished by God. You stand on God’s side and are people who belong to God. You do not belong to this slavery kingdom. God has long since harbored a bitter hatred for this dark society and gnashed his teeth in anger. He only wishes to tread his feet on this old ancient serpent guilty of heinous crimes, making it never rise again, not allowing it to harm people any more, not tolerating its past, and not allowing it to deceive people any more. Its crimes throughout the generations will be dealt with one by one. God will never let off this arch-criminal and will exterminate it thoroughly.” (from “Work and Entering In (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s righteousness is worthy of praise, satan’s kingdom will surely be destroyed and abolished by God, God’s kingdom will surely be established on earth, and God’s glory will surely fill the universe and expanse!