29. A Warm Light After a Dark Tunnel
By Wang Yuping, China
Just like all the other brothers and sisters who thirst for the return of the Lord Jesus, I too have always longed for our Lord to return soon, to receive us into the kingdom of heaven so that we can enjoy its blessings. Then one day in November of 2006, I finally heard the news of the Lord’s return. Through reading the words expressed by Almighty God and through brothers’ and sisters’ fellowship and testimony of God’s work in the last days, I ultimately recognized that Almighty God incarnate is the returned Lord Jesus. Thereupon, I very happily accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days.
In a gathering once, Sister Yang shared this fellowship with me in a very serious tone: “Recently there have been a lot of brothers and sisters who are faced with some disruption and temptation from Satan after accepting God’s work of the last days. Some are deceived by the lies of the CCP government, some are disturbed and threatened by pastors and elders, some are coerced or obstructed by their families, and some have family members who fall ill or meet with disaster. All these things are Satan’s tricks to stop us from returning to God. We all already understand that the work of Almighty God’s judgment starts from God’s house, and this is God’s final stage of work in saving mankind. He is doing His utmost to save man, and Satan is practicing its own tricks and disruptions on us in order to stand in the way of us coming before God and receiving His salvation. Right now the fight that is being waged in the spiritual world is becoming more and more intense, so there is an urgent need for us to be equipped with the truth and to learn discernment so that we’re not deceived whenever Satan’s tricks befall us, but instead, we can stand witness for God. Let’s read a passage from the words of Almighty God.” So, I took the book of God’s words and earnestly read the following passage: “As God works, Satan disrupts. In the last days, its disruptions will be finished; likewise, God’s work will also be finished, and the kind of humans God wishes to complete will be completed. God directs people positively; His life is living water, immeasurable and boundless. Satan has corrupted man to a certain degree; in the end, the living water of life will complete man, and it will be impossible for Satan to interfere and carry out its work. Thus, God will be able to gain these people completely. Even now, Satan still refuses to accept this; it continuously pits itself against God, but He pays it no attention. God has said, ‘I will be victorious over all of Satan’s dark forces and over all dark influences’. … God is wiser than Satan, and His work far exceeds it. Therefore, as I have previously stated, ‘The work that I do is carried out in response to Satan’s ruses; in the end, I will reveal My almightiness and Satan’s powerlessness.’ God will do His work in the forefront, while Satan will trail behind, until, in the end, it is finally destroyed—it will not even know what hit it! It will only realize the truth once it has already been smashed and crushed, and by then, it will already have been incinerated in the lake of fire. Will it not be completely convinced then? For Satan will then have no more schemes to employ!” (“You Should Know How the Whole of Humanity Has Developed to the Present Day” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Sister Yang said gently: “From God’s words we can see that Satan is always close on the heels of every step of God’s management work. God is in front working to save man while Satan is in the back being disruptive and destructive. It is constantly vying with God over man, and this is particularly true during God’s final stage of work to completely save man. And now to an even greater extent, Satan is doing everything in its power, exploiting all kinds of people and things to disturb us and keep us from accepting and submitting to the work of God. It is Satan’s despicable goal to distance man from God, to have us deny and betray God, thereby losing God’s salvation. But God’s wisdom is carried out in response to Satan’s trickery. He uses Satan’s disturbances to give us an understanding of His work, His wisdom, and His almightiness, and also to allow us to clearly see Satan’s wickedness and ugliness. So, no matter what we encounter later on, we all must pray to and rely on God, and seek the truth. We must also see through Satan’s trickery so that we can stand witness to God. It’s just like the trials that Job went through. He stood witness to God and Satan retreated in humiliation.” I listened to Sister Yang’s fellowship and responded with total confidence: “Yes, we believe in the true God. If we depend upon God then we have nothing to fear; if I come across Satan’s temptations, I will certainly stand on God’s side.”
One day not long after just as I was approaching my front door after a day of sharing the gospel, my neighbor came rushing over to me waving her hands and said: “Why are you back so late? There’s been a terrible accident! Earlier today your son’s friend Liu went to borrow your truck, but he was having a hard time starting it, so he got the tractor to tow it to get it started, but after a few tries it still wouldn’t move. It just so happened that Hu was there too, so he got up into the tractor and put it straight into fifth gear. The tractor careened off and the metal cable attached to the truck suddenly snapped, and—whoosh!—the cable snapped back and hit Hu on the temple. Blood started pouring out right away. He’s been taken to the hospital.” My mind suddenly went totally blank. I rushed inside and prayed to God: “Oh God! I don’t know what Your will is. Why has this suddenly happened to me? Please enlighten me.” After praying I thought of Sister Yang’s fellowship about truths regarding the spiritual battle, and then I understood. These things were just Satan tempting me and disturbing me. Satan just wanted to use these adverse events to attack me so that I would doubt, blame, and deny God. I realized it truly was a spiritual battle! Just then these words from God came to mind: “You are able to stand on the side of God when He does battle with Satan, and you do not turn back to Satan, then you will have achieved the love of God, and you will have stood firm in your testimony” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words filled me with great faith and I thought to myself: “Satan, no matter how you disturb me I will not fall for your tricks; I will not blame or doubt God, but I will stand on His side. I will follow Almighty God as I should.” Once I had understood the will of God I felt much steadier in my heart.
But Satan was unwilling to admit defeat—it didn’t rest in its campaign to disturb me through other people and things. While Hu was hospitalized his family pushed all the responsibility onto my family; they wanted us to pay for all of the medical expenses. I kept trying to negotiate with them, telling them that I was willing to pay half, but they just continued to refuse. Twenty-odd days later Hu had recovered, but he still wasn’t discharged from the hospital. This was done deliberately to extort my family. Then one day Hu said: “The truck is yours, so all the expenses should be paid by you.” Hu’s wife also stood up and yelled, “That’s right! Since the accident was with your truck, you should pay for everything.” I stood there with them pestering me to no end and started to become very angry. I had unwillingly gotten caught up in this matter. I felt really pained and was in emotional turmoil. I didn’t want to talk to them anymore, so I just walked out of the hospital room, disgruntled. As I was going downstairs I thought to myself: “I’m a believer in God, so when these kinds of things happen to me I shouldn’t get so angry, but I should entrust this matter to the hands of God. I need to rely on God.” When I got home I opened up my book of God’s words and read this: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle. … You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). As I read these words I thought back to how I had boasted in front of Sister Yang that day that I would certainly stand by the side of God whenever Satan’s temptations befall me. I hadn’t imagined that when Satan pestered me time after time, I couldn’t be able to calmly come before God and seek His will, but my mind would always be preoccupied. I felt terrible about this—wasn’t this falling for Satan’s tricks? It wasn’t until I had ruminated over all of the ins and outs of this matter that I finally saw how truly sinister and evil Satan is. It had used this issue to disturb me, to make me angry over my worldly interests; even more so, it wanted to use this to get me to deny and betray Almighty God. I knew I couldn’t fall for Satan’s tricks, but was willing to depend on God and to hand this matter over to God. I believed that the matters of whether or not Hu would be discharged from the hospital and how much money I would have to spend in the end were all orchestrated at the hands of God, and I would submit to the outcome, whatever it was. Once I had come to understand God’s will and was willing to stand witness to God, to my surprise, I witnessed one of God’s wondrous deeds the following day. God inspired a young man to go to Hu’s hospital room and reprimand him: “I just can’t stand to look at someone like you, someone who bullies good people, who extorts others for their money. If it were me I wouldn’t give you a single dime!” Other patients in the same room also chimed in: “That’s right, he was the one that got into that tractor of his own volition and now he wants this person’s money. How unreasonable!” “Yeah! The person who borrowed the truck should pay something, too! They can’t have the owner pay for everything!” Hearing this, Hu bowed his head and didn’t say a word. Three days later Hu was discharged from the hospital. I knew deep in my heart that behind all this was God, that He had opened up this way out for me.
After going through this, I could see the wickedness and despicableness of Satan. It had used people and things around me to disturb me and attack me in an attempt to get me to complain to God, to blame Him and distance myself from Him because I was going to lose some money. It wanted me to live in suffering. At the same time, I could also see that when I stopped considering my fleshly gains and losses, when I relied on God in my faith, when I stood on God’s side, then He used the words of unbelievers to open up a way out for me, forcing Satan to retreat in shame. This allowed me to see God’s authority to mobilize anything and rule over everything. It’s just as it is written in God’s words: “I will mobilize all to serve Me, and moreover, I will reveal My power, so that every man can see that in the whole universe world, not a single object is not in our hands, not a single person is not in our service, and not a single thing is not for our accomplishment” (“Chapter 119” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The more I read God’s words, the more I see God’s almightiness and His wondrousness. Seeing that all things are in God’s hands bolstered my faith in God and I became willing to experience more of His work in whatever happens next, and rely upon God to overcome Satan’s temptations.
A month later a temptation from Satan befell me again. One day, my recently married daughter came back home for a visit, but she suddenly fainted right at the front door. My neighbor picked her up and helped her into the house. At first I thought it was just a common cold and didn’t think much of it, but I certainly wasn’t expecting that in the middle of the night she would suddenly start shaking from head to toe. I was so scared and had no idea what to do, but I just quickly grabbed her and held her to my chest, and after a little while she seemed a little better. The next morning, she said, “Mom, go perform your duties, I’ll be okay.” I silently prayed to God: “Dear God! All things are in Your hands, so I entrust my daughter to You.” I then turned to my daughter and said: “Jing, you need to pray to God more and rely on God, for He is our strong backup force.” After exhorting her about this I went to go perform my duties. To my surprise, when I returned two days later, my daughter was in a hospital bed, dead to the world. My daughter-in-law turned to me and said sadly: “Mom, after you left, Jing started getting worse. When the doctor examined her, he said she had a cerebral hemorrhage and that she needed a craniotomy. But since her husband hasn’t been here the last couple of days and you haven’t either, there hasn’t been anyone to sign for her. We’ve missed the window for surgery. I also heard the doctor tell Jing’s mother-in-law that her condition couldn’t be cured and that even if she did wake back up, she would be in a vegetative state.” Hearing this was like a knife twisting in my heart, and tears started falling from my eyes. I just couldn’t accept this as the truth. Holding on to a shred of hope, I went to talk to a specialist, but he shook his head as he said: “We’ve done everything that we can, we’ve tried as hard as we can, but the best possible outcome is that she’ll regain consciousness but be in a vegetative state.” Hearing this was just like feeling the sky come crashing down on me. I was living in a state of limitless suffering. When my son-in-law later saw the state my daughter was in, not only was he unconcerned about whether she would live or die, but he even turned to me and, displaying a total lack of humanity, asked me to return the betrothal money that he had given us when they got married. The way home from the hospital that day felt so long; I was a lost soul wandering down that road. It felt like I was walking through a long, dark tunnel and couldn’t see any light in front of me.
When I got home I feebly opened my book of God’s words and read this: “On earth, all manner of evil spirits are forever on the prowl for a place to rest, and are endlessly searching for human corpses that can be consumed. My people! You must remain within My care and protection. Never be dissolute! Never behave recklessly! You should offer up your loyalty in My house, and only 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). “When you face suffering, you must be able to lay aside concern for the flesh and to not make complaints against God. When God hides Himself from you, you must be able to have the faith to follow Him, to maintain your previous love without allowing it to falter or dissipate. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design and be prepared to curse your own flesh rather than make complaints against Him. When you are faced with trials, you must satisfy God, though you may weep bitterly or feel reluctant to part with some beloved object. Only this is true love and faith” (“Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). As I read these words from God I thought back over the events that had just taken place, and I truly could see Satan’s despicableness, malice, and savageness. In its effort to wrest me away from God’s hands, to devour my soul, it carried out its cunning schemes against me at every turn to disturb me and attack me. First, I was extorted by someone and I suffered from the prospect of that financial loss; this time, Satan was using my beloved daughter to again tempt me, trying to use my daughter’s illness to get me to complain to God, to deny and betray God, so that I would lose God’s salvation of the last days. These were all the cunning schemes of Satan. It was just like the trials that Job faced in his time. There was a battle going on behind all of that—Satan wanted to get Job to abandon and deny God by having him lose his wealth and his children, but Job never blamed God. Instead, he praised God’s name, causing Satan to retreat in shame; he gave beautiful and resounding testimony to God. Although my flesh is weak, I knew I had to see through Satan’s cunning schemes and stand by God’s side. God says: “And only with loyalty can you mount a countercharge against the devil’s trickery.” “You must satisfy God, though you may weep bitterly or feel reluctant to part with some beloved object. Only this is true love and faith.” God was using Satan’s attacks to perfect my faith and my loyalty in God. Man’s life and death are both in God’s hands, so I was willing to put my daughter into His hands. As I thought about this, I knelt to the ground as bitter tears ran down my face, and I prayed to God: “Almighty God! People’s fates lie in Your hands. If You don’t allow it to happen, then my daughter won’t die so long as there is a single breath left in her body. And if the doctors are right and she’s going to become a vegetable, then I absolutely will not blame You, but will continue to follow You.”
Late that night, I was sitting at my daughter’s hospital bed and dozed off at some point. I woke up in a daze hearing my daughter say, “Mom, mom, I need water.” Hearing my daughter’s voice my heart skipped a beat and I jumped to my feet. I rubbed my eyes and stared at her. Her hands really were moving and her eyes were open. I was immediately so flooded with emotion that I didn’t know what to say, and all I could do was continue blurting out: “Oh! God! Oh! God!” Someone else in the same ward also said in amazement: “Oh! It’s a miracle! How could she have gotten better just like that?” I was so elated that I was grinning from ear to ear. I truly saw that man’s life and death are both in God’s hands; God’s deeds are so wondrous. It was God who had saved my daughter. Three days later, my daughter miraculously recovered her health, and she seemed just like a normal person again. After undergoing this blow at Satan’s hands I was able to see how intense the fight being waged in the spiritual world is, and I could see clearly Satan’s sinister despicableness and wicked cruelty. At the same time, I also gained a much better understanding of the will of God. God had allowed these trials to befall me so that He could better save me and perfect me. This allowed me to recognize God’s almightiness and wisdom. It also allowed me to see God’s authority and sovereignty. This perfected my faith, loyalty and obedience toward God; this rescued me from the influence of Satan, allowing me to grow in my life. God truly is so lovely!
I later read this passage from the words of God: “My entire management plan, the six-thousand-year management plan, consists of three stages, or three ages: the Age of Law of the beginning; the Age of Grace (which is also the Age of Redemption); and the Age of Kingdom of the last days. My work in these three ages differs in content according to the nature of each age, but at each stage this work befits the needs of man—or, to be more precise, is done according to the tricks that Satan employs in the war that I wage against it. The purpose of My work is to defeat Satan, to make manifest My wisdom and omnipotence, to expose all of Satan’s tricks, and thereby to save the entire human race, which lives under Satan’s domain. It is to show My wisdom and omnipotence, and to reveal the unbearable hideousness of Satan; even more than that, it is to allow created beings to discriminate between good and evil, to know that I am the Ruler of all things, to see clearly that Satan is the enemy of humanity, a degenerate, the evil one, and to allow them to tell, with absolute certainty, the difference between good and evil, truth and falsehood, holiness and filth, and what is great and what is ignoble. Thus will ignorant humanity become able to bear witness to Me that it is not I who corrupt humanity, and only I—the Creator—can save humanity, can bestow upon people the things that they can enjoy; and they will come to know that I am the Ruler of all things and Satan is merely one of the beings that I created and that later turned against Me” (“The True Story Behind the Work of the Age of Redemption” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). These words of God gave me a better understanding of God’s will. I could see that everything that God does is salvation and love for mankind. As I thought back over trial after trial that I had gone through, although I had endured some hardships, I had gained so much. It was through these experiences that I saw how Satan was always using the people and things around me to harass me, but all along God was by my side, using His words to enlighten me and guide me, so that I could gain more discernment. He was giving me a path to follow, giving me faith and strength, so that I could be firm in times of passivity and weakness. Every step of the way I was able to break away from Satan’s dark influence and witness God’s wondrous deeds. I matured and grew tougher in my life through these experiences. Going through all of this left me with the feeling that I need not fear these disturbances and afflictions from Satan any longer, because I have God at my side. So long as we depend on God and do not depart from His words, so long as we have faith in God, He will guide us to victory over Satan’s temptations and attacks, and we will live protected under God’s watchful eye. Now I am even more firmly convinced that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. He is my Lord, my God! I also recognize that we are created beings, and regardless of whether we enjoy blessings or suffer hardships, we should always obey and worship God. I have made this ironclad resolution: My heart is set on following Almighty God to the end of the road!