Chapter 58. How to Satisfy God in the Midst of Trials
I raise a few questions for you to ponder: Since last time when we said that there would be another seven years of great trials, be it adversity or calamity, have you discovered God’s intention through that? What human nature can you see in people’s reactions and attitudes to the seven years of trials? How shall this be dissected? Think about it. In every fellowship I talk about human nature, getting to the source, dissecting human nature, and dissecting the essence. It is up to you then to communicate your own understanding of the topics. You should be able to understand God’s intention and must know human nature through the seven years of trials. In fact, God’s every sentence contains His intention, within which is hidden the truth. Regardless of what issue is being fellowshiped, or what truth is being expressed, therein is contained the path that people should walk, God’s demands on people, and God’s intention for the seeking. In this talk of trials, adversity, and of suffering afterward, the demands on people, and God’s intention are also embodied. People, of course, react with their attitudes, because people are not wooden; they are alive, and have a reaction to everything. Is it worth dissecting what aspects of human nature are represented in people’s reactions? Is it worth fellowshiping about? Dissection will allow people to see that clearly, to know it for themselves, and to know very well in their hearts, so that ultimately they have an appropriate path to choose. If a person is muddleheaded and doesn’t know God’s intention, doesn’t understand truth, and understands even less God’s demands on them and the duty that they should perform, or what path they should take, perhaps this sort of person will not stand firm. It therefore should be known what path should be taken afterward at the time of various trials.
Every time the seven years’ trials are mentioned, there are quite a few people who feel especially uncomfortable and dejected, and there are some who complain, and there are all manner of reactions. From these reactions it is evident that people now need such trials; they need this kind of adversity and refinement. In their belief in God, what people seek is to obtain blessings for the future; this is their goal in their faith. All people have this intent and hope, but the corruption in their nature must be resolved through trials. In whichever aspects you are not purified, these are the aspects in which you must be refined—this is God’s arrangement. God creates an environment for you, forcing you to be refined there so that you can know your own corruption. Ultimately, you reach a point at which you would rather die and give up your schemes and desires, and submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement. Therefore, if people do not have several years of refinement, if they do not endure a certain amount of suffering, they will not be able to rid themselves of the bondage of corruption of the flesh in their thoughts and in their hearts. In whichever aspects you are still subject to Satan’s bondage, and in whichever aspects you still have your own desires and your own demands, these are the aspects in which you should suffer. Only through suffering can lessons be learned, which means being able to gain truth, and understand God’s will. In fact, many truths are understood by experiencing painful trials. Nobody can comprehend God’s will, recognize God’s almightiness and wisdom, or appreciate God’s righteous disposition when in a comfortable and easy environment or when circumstances are favorable. That would be impossible!
God has set up appropriate environments in which He perfects people, but it is unknown to anyone why God would want to try people, to refine them. You all say, “How God loves humanity, that He would prepare seven years of trials to perfect people and make people pure! How patient! How merciful He is!” No need for you to say this, everyone understands the doctrine, but in fact no one understands the actual situation. What is God’s seven years of trials, the seven years of work for? Of course, it is required so that His work will be done. Even without saving you, there is still love, right? When He saves you, you say, “This is the love that God has for us, this is His mercy.” Had He not arranged these seven years of trials, and completed the work immediately, wouldn’t there still be love? Were it two years of trials, or one, or were the day to arrive immediately, wouldn’t that also be lovingkindness and mercy? It is not like you imagine: Seven years of trials is God’s perfection of us, it is how much He loves us; we must submit. Only when there’s no way out do you say this. What does this hold? It holds negativity, it holds complaint, and it holds having no alternative and resignation. God said that there would be another seven years. Let it be seven years then. And then you hurry up and say some pleasantries: God, You love us; God, it is to perfect us. Without seven years of trials, would that not be the end of us? There would be no opportunity. Some people can’t wait to be blessed right now. That would be a real benefit! Such a person does not care about anything else. This kind of person is even less worth a cent. In these seven years there is practical work. Has it not been said before, that some words are a means, but they are also the truth? No aspect is just talk and no action. Every aspect has significance. Furthermore, as man sees it, almost every aspect is a means, but this means is not to coax you, it is not to deceive you. Rather it is the actual circumstance, the real situation. No way other than this will do. On hearing these words, some people think: If it is as You say, when this seven years is over, who can say how much time remains! From people’s reactions it can be seen that man’s nature is such that upon meeting trials of suffering, receiving pain to the flesh, he wants to escape and refuse it. Not one person comes to the front, taking the initiative to demand: God, give me some trials of suffering, give me some adversity. God, may I receive some more misery. This proves that people by nature do not like truth. Whether it is the intention of God or not, or how beneficial to people, no matter how good it is, people all refuse to accept anything which brings pain to their own flesh or that does not fit with their own desires. There are people who say: “I am not being negative. In the past I made a resolution to give my whole life to God. I am perfectly happy no matter how many years, and will earnestly serve God. I have no complaint. Regardless of what trial I encounter, no matter what suffering I meet, whether abandonment of family or pain from sickness, I will follow to the finish.” This not having a complaint of yours is also a kind of negative situation, because every time you meet something, every time words are said to you, you actually don’t grasp the implication within it. The “I have no reaction” that you say is therefore no more than indifference, a way when there is no way out. Nothing other than this would be left for you to do, so you force yourself to follow even when you don’t want to. No one can succeed in escaping the seven years of trials anyway. This is different from you not wanting to flee, however. You would like to escape yet you can’t. This is simply a thing of human nature. Think about it. Is this what it is? Some people feel: When I encountered this kind of event in the past ten years, I always followed, and I suffered a lot, so I should be able to hold out for a few more years. Your search for God’s intention is muddleheaded, and you have not taken it seriously. So, if on the inside you have not submitted to God’s will, then you have betrayed and resisted God’s will. Though you don’t have this situation, and you have not done this thing, these symptoms, these things inside of you, are resisting God, because what you think about and look forward to on the inside is not at all what God demands. Furthermore you are actually not praising God from your heart for all that He demands of you and all that He does, whether it is a means, or what is really said to you.
As for everything that God asks people to do, anything that God has arranged for people according to their needs, people’s nature is to refuse it, to not accept it. No matter how you declare your standpoint, or whether you have a little knowledge, in any case, your doctrinal knowledge cannot solve what is inside your nature. I therefore say that most people talk of some pleasant things in doctrine, and say some superficial words to cope with it. Ultimately, though, in prayer they say: I have come through so many years. Seven years is not long but it is not short either. See how old I am getting, how I am not well, and that I don’t have a good family. I have come with You these years, I have worked hard even without credit, I have become tired though I have not worked hard. Even if You just reduce it by a few years, do treat me kindly this once! You know the weakness of people…. In praying these words, it is like there is a bit of submission. They still say “You know the weakness of people”; there is another meaning within these words, which is to say, You know man’s weakness, so why is it such a long time? Is this not the situation on the inside of people? So, you feel you understand many things, have already accepted them, and seem to have understood truth, but in fact you are still resisting truth, and going against truth. The things that you do are not consistent with truth. Though on the surface you have not done an evil deed, and have not said anything offensive, this is merely limited to having not violated the administrative decrees, to having not offended the disposition of God. You have not grasped His intention and you are not resigned to receiving it, however. You do not approve of His doing it this way. You think: If I am to do this work, I will lose no time and complete this work in the shortest time, so as to help God’s people avoid further persecution from the great red dragon, to prevent the loss of too many people, to avoid my suffering. Is this not the idea that people have? In their hearts people all hope for the arrival of the kingdom of God, and the hasty destruction of Satan’s world. How good it would be if one word of God could change people. People’s inner views, their extravagant desires are actually not catering to God’s intention, and there is essentially no substance of submission. This also touches on that saying: One hundred percent of what’s inside human nature is betrayal. So in dissecting this or that event of yours, in dissecting this issue, that thought, or that reaction, whether you confront it in a negative way, or you complain, whether you are indifferent or silent and speechless, there is resistance in all of this. It is all betrayal. Is this dissection correct? Were I not to dissect this, there would be some people who feel: I can be considered to be a good person. If I had encountered this thing a few years ago, I would certainly have complained, and possibly retreated, but now I do not complain. You do not complain, but do you have understanding? Does your little bit of understanding constitute true understanding? Is there truth in it? Is your understanding in keeping with God’s intention? Does it meet God’s approval? Do you have the substance of submitting to God? Are you willing and ready to submit to God? If not, then you are definitely conflicting with God. It may be that your mood now is good, and you feel not bad, or because at the moment you are being put to use. If one day you are sent home, and when you are in the darkness of a downcast mood however, what is inside of you will be revealed. There are some people of lower stature, with a shorter duration of experience who would turn around and run, returning to the world. In fact, in the final analysis, whatever reaction you have, you are refusing the environments that God has arranged for you. The nature of people to betray God is revealed everywhere. If this were not dissected, people would not know themselves deeply enough. When people encounter anything, they all betray God and do not submit to Him. The reaction of some of you is unwillingness, or an air of complaint, negative and down, and you say: Inside, man does not like truth, and this dislike is none other than betrayal. It is still not enough if you only speak in this way, and you have not dissected to the depths of substance. You say that not loving truth is betrayal, but in fact, this is not so simple. How have you dissected it? You do not understand yourselves. You may not know what is that situation you have, and can’t differentiate right from wrong, if it is betrayal or not, and you do not know clearly yourselves whether you have submitted or not. You are not able to thoroughly dissect your own natures. Every time you encounter something you don’t know how to proceed. When finally you encounter a trial, will you be able to fathom God’s intention? How should you explain this? What kind of path should you walk? What sense and what truths should you possess to satisfy God’s intention? As the lowest standard a positive attitude should be taken. Have you thought about these questions?
In the past some people had conceptions about what God incarnate does. Subsequent fellowship led to an axiom. This axiom is: Man ought to affirm that all of what God does is correct, that all of it is significant. If man does not understand they should nonetheless submit and not resist. If man has conceptions they will necessarily be shamed. Do people remember these words? Every time something is encountered, they say to themselves: By all means do not have a conception, by all means do not pass judgment on it. There is meaning in everything that God does. Though we may be unable to understand now, one day we will be made to suffer shame. They simply abide by a rule such as this. This kind of rule, however, may solve some problems for believers who are muddleheaded. For a person with understanding these words will help make sense of a lot of things, and to use this rule every time a situation is encountered may elicit a lot of things. What happens if there is no insight? One can only obey rules, and in so doing he can also be protected and avoid violating the administrative decrees, not breeding disaster. This rule is useful! It is not useless! In various places this rule has been learned by heart. Some write it in notebooks, or write it on the book cover, and read it every time they open the book, reciting it. They recite it when they pray. Doing so has some benefits. Some people dare not randomly do things, and have a little reverence in their hearts. Yet with regard to many people, they do not have true understanding of the positive aspect, and there are too many negative things. While it appears that you are feeling well enough and have not stopped working, there are evidently many negative things within you, and no positive things. There are so many reactions in the church concerning things like this. Have you tried to sum up for yourselves? If this kind of thing were encountered again, would you resist God or betray God? There are some people who have perhaps realized, “Man is not able to get a grip on his own nature. I will certainly dare not resist anymore, and must be cautious. I must pray every day!” This is not a surefire plan. I have discovered that you really feel embarrassed, and often say: “Oh, what can I do about this human nature? I can’t solve it myself, and can’t get a grip on it. Really I don’t have the right to be in charge of myself. I don’t know what I might do one day. I’m scared to death. Believing in God must be done very carefully. Any carelessness may lead to disaster, and that would be awful. I don’t even know what I am, I cannot rely on myself….” Though people who frequently say this have some understanding of themselves, they understand too little of truth. They get confused whenever they meet anything. They get anxious, feel worried, and have no way whenever they meet anything. This time you have overcome the seven years of trials, and have not bred disaster, have not broken the administrative decrees, but do you dare to be sure about next time? How can you get past this kind of thing without a hitch? You see that you got through the tribulation easily enough, hiding yourself from place to place. You hid yourself for a year or half a year until it was over. Humans can hide, but human nature is something that cannot be hidden. Shouldn’t there be an axiom that applies to this, too? In each of God’s trials is His good purpose. For every event encountered there are truths that one must possess in order to stand firm. Become equipped with truths to respond to various trials now, and you won’t be worried regardless of the years of trials later. You must have confidence. Submitting to God’s arrangements simply cannot be wrong. The path will become ever more promising. How could you become perfected without various trials? Without trials, there is no witness. How then can you satisfy God? Trials will bring you God’s blessings. Only through following God to the end can one enter the kingdom. Remember: You all have a share in the adversity, kingdom, and patience of Christ.