41. The May 28 Zhaoyuan Case Gives Rise to a Family Crisis
I’m an ordinary country woman, and the heavy burdens of my household responsibilities used to weigh me down so much I could hardly catch my breath. As a result, I became really short-tempered, and my husband and I were at each other’s throats day in and day out. We simply couldn’t go on living like that. Whenever I was suffering, I would cry out, “Heavens! Please save me!” And then in 2013, the gospel of Almighty God in the last days came to me. Through reading the words of God and attending gatherings with brothers and sisters, I became certain that Almighty God was the One I had been crying out to in my suffering, and so I gladly accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days.
I read these words from God: “Since the creation of the world, I have begun to predestine and select this group of people—namely, you of today. Your temperament, caliber, appearance, and stature, your family into which you were born, your job, and your marriage—you in your entirety, even including the color of your hair and your skin, and your time of birth—were all arranged by My hands. I arranged by hand even the things you do and the people you meet every single day, not to mention the fact that bringing you into My presence today was actually done by My arrangement. Do not throw yourself into disorder; you should proceed calmly” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 74). From these words of God I finally realized that all things are in God’s hands, and that my having the good fortune to come before God’s throne, accept God’s salvation in the last days, and gain the watering and sustenance of His words had all been foreordained by God eons ago. What kind of husband and family I have had also been foreordained by God. I knew I should accept and submit to what God has brought about and arranged. From then on, whenever things that I found disagreeable came up, I no longer grumbled as I had before. Rather, I had faith that it was arranged by God and was willing to submit so that He could guide me and lead me to learn to live in harmony with my family. With time, I became able to stop quarreling with my husband. When he saw the changes that had taken place in me since believing in God, my husband also became very supportive of my faith. When brothers and sisters came to my house for a gathering he was very polite to them, and would sometimes engage in pleasantries. At that time I was reading God’s word every day and frequently attending gatherings and sharing experiences with other brothers and sisters. I felt enriched in my spirit and enjoyed a kind of peace and joy that I had never had before. I felt that faith in God is truly a wonderful thing.
But all good things must come to an end, and after the Zhaoyuan, Shandong incident occurred on May 28, 2014, those harmonious and tranquil days in our home were no more. This was originally an ordinary criminal case, but three days later it took on a new form—the Chinese Communist Party government labeled it as something perpetrated out of religious motives. On this pretext, the CCP government made The Church of Almighty God its focal point; it used the media to wantonly plant false evidence, make false charges, and defame The Church of Almighty God. In no time at all, people were inundated with every kind of rumor imaginable about The Church of Almighty God. My husband saw this reported on the news and was taken in by the CCP government’s propaganda. It was as if an instantaneous change had come over him. He began to do everything he could to oppose my faith in Almighty God.
One evening, my husband came home fuming with rage and loudly reproached me: “What really is this religion that you believe in?” I was totally baffled by this odd attitude of his and said in response, “What I believe in is the returned Lord Jesus, Almighty God, who we used to refer to as ‘Heaven.’” He said, “You believe in Almighty God! Look what they’re saying on TV!” Saying this, he turned on the TV, and right then the May 28 Murder Case in Zhaoyuan, Shandong was all over the news. They were saying all sorts of things condemning The Church of Almighty God, and they went on to say that believers in Almighty God were people who disrupt public order, and the Public Security Department in Shandong was prepared to launch a strong counter-attack and round them up with no leniency. This filled me with righteous indignation, and I said to my husband right away, “This is nothing but slander and rumors. This murderer absolutely is not a believer in Almighty God! The Church of Almighty God has principles in its evangelical work, which is to only share it with good people who believe in God’s existence and are kind-hearted. We never share it with wicked people. Evil people like Zhang Lidong don’t remotely conform to these principles of The Church of Almighty God for sharing the gospel, so they certainly can’t be believers in Almighty God. Another thing—when Zhang Lidong asked that woman for her phone number and she refused, it was out of humiliation that Zhang flew into a rage and killed her. We, brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God, never try to force people to accept the work of God when spreading the gospel, because God clearly stated in ‘The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom’ that ‘Kin who are not of the faith (your children, your husband or wife, your sisters or your parents, and so on) should not be forced into the church. God’s household is not short of members, and there is no need to make up its numbers with people who have no use. All those who do not believe gladly must not be led into the church. This decree is directed at all people. You should check, monitor, and remind each other of this matter; no one may violate it’ (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God). When brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God spread the gospel, they never twist others’ arms—this is something that no one can violate. This news is just slander, a fabrication. It’s nothing more than the CCP government spreading rumors and defaming The Church of Almighty God.” But who would have guessed—after hearing this, my husband opened his eyes wide and roared at me, “It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. As long as the CCP is opposed to it, you can’t be involved in this! I don’t want the government here searching the house. Our son hasn’t even gotten married yet!” Seeing my husband deceived by those rumors and lies on TV created out of thin air, my heart was filled with hatred: The CCP government would stop at nothing to repress and persecute The Church of Almighty God just to strike out against religious belief. It was using the Zhaoyuan case to frame and make false charges against The Church of Almighty God—such a vile tactic!
Neither one of us was able to get a good night’s sleep after that. My husband urged me to go into hiding and to hide my book of God’s words well, or to give it back to the church in case the CCP police ever raided our home. Hearing him say all that brought to mind for me the experiences of brothers and sisters that I had heard about, who had been arrested, whose homes had been searched, and who had been fined or imprisoned; I also thought of my own cousin. He got into a dispute with the local chief of police station because he couldn’t bear the guy swaggering around, bullying the common people, and ended up sentenced to a year of reeducation through labor. Everyone in our family suffered as well, young and old. The CCP is a demon that can’t be reasoned with. If I were arrested and imprisoned because of my faith, and if our house were raided, would that be fair to my husband and child? I tossed and turned, unable to fall asleep, imagining over and over the scenario of me being taken away and my house raided by the CCP police, and my husband and child being implicated…. I couldn’t help but feel a wave of desolation and fear in my heart. I felt how difficult it is to believe in God, be a good person, and follow the right path in China, and that my life was in constant danger. But if I were to betray God out of fear of the CCP government’s persecution, my conscience would condemn me for the rest of my life. Even if I were drifting along, living without purpose, I would essentially be a walking corpse and after dying I wouldn’t have the face to see God again. I was tied up in knots and pained within my heart; I felt totally powerless, incredibly negative and weak.
In the midst of my suffering, I recalled these words of the Lord Jesus: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). “For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). The Lord Jesus’ words gave me faith and strength, and dispelled the anxiety and fear from my heart. I thought: “God is sovereign over all things and living creatures, and my life and family are also under God’s control. All that I have came from God, and I cannot betray Him at this crucial time.” I then thought about Job’s family’s possessions being stolen and his children being taken away from him; he was left with nothing, yet he was still able to maintain his devotion to God. He praised the holy name of Jehovah God and stood witness to God. And yet, facing nothing more than the rumors and disturbances manufactured by the CCP government, without arrest or having my home searched, I had become weak and negative. I saw that my stature was in fact pathetically low, and that I had not one iota of true faith in God. This thought filled my heart with shame before God and I silently resolved: No matter what, I must not betray God, and I will keep my faith no matter how much suffering or difficulty I may face!
My husband came home at midday the following day, threw down the newspaper in his hand right in front of me, and said, “Take a good look! It says here that anyone can be arrested as long as they’re found to believe in Almighty God. Prison is not a place you want to spend any time at all. Not only are people beaten, but dozens are crammed onto a single sleeping platform. If someone goes to the bathroom in the middle of the night, they won’t have a place to sleep when they get back. If you’re arrested, our family can’t afford to bail you out, so if they take you and you get sentenced for several years, you’ll be more willing to comply!” Hearing such cold words from my husband deeply pained me, and I hated the demonic CCP government even more. If not for its deception, rumors, oppression, and persecution, my husband would support me in my faith. There’s no way he would be pressuring me that way. In my helplessness, all I could do was implore God in my heart: “Almighty God! I know that the CCP government is just disseminating rumors, slander, libel, and blasphemy against You. The CCP government is none other than Satan, Your enemy. But I’m feeling some weakness in my heart now, and I wish for You to protect me, to bestow me with wisdom, and allow me to see through Satan’s tricks and craftiness so that I can stand firm on Your side and not be intimidated by the evil forces of the CCP government.” After praying, I had no desire at all in my heart to shun God, and these words of Almighty God came to mind: “When the Lord Jesus did things like bringing Lazarus back from the dead, His goal was to give proof for humans and for Satan to see, and to let humans and Satan know that everything about mankind, mankind’s life and death are determined by God, and that even though He had become flesh, He remained in command of the physical world which can be seen as well as the spiritual world which humans cannot see. This was so that mankind and Satan would know that everything about mankind is not under the command of Satan. This was a revelation and demonstration of God’s authority, and it was also a way for God to send a message to all things, that mankind’s life and death are in God’s hands. The Lord Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus was one of the ways in which the Creator teaches and instructs mankind. It was a concrete action in which He used His power and authority to instruct and provide for mankind. It was a way, without using words, for the Creator to allow mankind to see the truth that He is in command of all things. It was a way for Him to tell mankind through practical actions that there is no salvation other than through Him. This silent means which He used to instruct mankind is everlasting, indelible, bringing to human hearts a shock and enlightenment that can never fade. The resurrection of Lazarus glorified God—this has a deep impact on every single one of God’s followers. It firmly fixes in every person who deeply understands this event the understanding, the vision that only God can command mankind’s life and death” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III). This fact of God allowing Lazarus to rise from the dead deeply encouraged me. I once again had strength in my heart and I rose up again unyielding: Yes! God controls all things in the universe, and people’s lives and deaths are in the palm of God’s hand. I knew that no one can control this, and whether or not I was arrested was also in God’s hands. The words of God once again protected me, and my faith in God within my heart grew yet again. The panic and fear inside my heart also settled quite a lot.
The CCP government’s rumors had shattered the peace and happiness that we once had in our household. I had to be very cautious, very careful in attending gatherings and doing my duty to avoid any further disturbances to our home life; this was really oppressive for me. And later on when my father heard about the May 28 Zhaoyuan incident, he began to stand in my way as well. He said, “You can believe whatever you want, but you can’t go out spreading the gospel to anyone else or go attend gatherings. At my age I won’t be able to handle any trouble. You have to keep the entire family in mind, young and old! Believing in God is a good thing, but you weren’t born in a country with freedom of belief. An arm can’t wrestle down a leg—the CCP, the ‘leg,’ treats people of faith as political prisoners. You know all this, so don’t subject us to the kind of fear you feel.” The pressure from my own family and their lack of understanding really tormented me. Over that period of time, I felt like I was constantly hanging by a thread, living in fear that I would be arrested by the CCP government and would bring trouble to my family if I made the slightest mistake. So whenever I went out, I would carefully hide my book of God’s words and anything that had to do with believing in God. When I went to gatherings I was incredibly afraid that I would be reported by someone and that my family would be implicated, so I was constantly in a state of high alert and was on guard; whenever I saw a police car or an officer my heart would jump into my throat. This was indescribable suffering, and I felt that believing in God in China was like living life on the edge of a knife blade. I couldn’t help but feel even greater hatred for this evil atheist party: What was wrong with having faith and following the correct path? Why can’t they just let people believe in God? Why do they so madly oppress, arrest, and persecute anyone of faith? Why do they hate people believing in God so much? It’s so evil!
Later, I finally came to understand the truth of the matter when I read the words of Almighty God. It says: “God does His work, God cares for a person, looks upon this person, and all the while Satan dogs His every step. Whomever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ploys to tempt, disrupt and wreck the work God does, all in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is this objective? It does not want God to gain anyone; all those that God wants it wants for itself, it wants to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they join it in committing evil acts. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive? … This issue has made Satan’s hideous countenance and essence very clear. In warring with God, and trailing along behind Him, Satan’s objective is to demolish all the work God wants to do, to occupy and control those whom God wants to gain, to completely extinguish those whom God wants to gain. If they are not extinguished, then they come to Satan’s possession, to be used by it—this is its objective” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique IV). Through God’s words, I suddenly saw the light: Looking at it from the outside, it was the CCP government oppressing those of us who are believers, but behind the scenes it was a spiritual battle taking place; it was Satan vying with God for people. Because Satan is the arch enemy of God and is the demon which betrays and resists God, ever since it corrupted mankind it has wanted to take control of them; it doesn’t allow people to worship God or allow God to obtain mankind, who God created. So, ever since the beginning of God’s work to save mankind all the way up to the present, Satan has been doing its utmost to create disturbances and to tear down God’s work. Satan makes use of every kind of despicable means to stand in the way of people returning to God. I knew that then, in order to obstruct my faith, Satan was using rumors to sow discord within my family. It was using my feelings for my family and psychological warfare tactics to threaten, entice, menace, and attack me. Its goal in doing all of this was to get me to shun, deny, and betray God, and to attempt to get me into its grasp and make me its slave, so that ultimately I will be destroyed by God alongside it. The CCP government’s intentions are truly insidious; it madly resists God and is an enemy of God. It truly is a demon which devours the souls of the people. Just as it says in the words of God: “Satan builds its reputation through deceiving people, and often establishes itself as a vanguard and role model of righteousness. Under false pretenses of safeguarding righteousness, it harms people, devours their souls, and uses all sorts of means to benumb, deceive and incite man. Its goal is to make man approve of and go along with its evil conduct, to make man join it in opposing God’s authority and sovereignty. However, when one sees through its schemes and plots and sees through to its vile features, and when one does not wish to continue to be trampled upon and fooled by it or to continue slaving away for it, or to be punished and destroyed alongside it, then Satan changes its previously saintly features and tears off its false mask to reveal its true face, which is evil, vicious, ugly and savage. It would love nothing more than to exterminate all those who refuse to follow it and who oppose its evil forces” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II). The revelations in God’s words allowed me to see through to the true face of the CCP government, to see that it is genuinely the embodiment of Satan, and that it is the most evil satanic regime that resists God. It was using the May 28 Zhaoyuan case to start rumors and frame The Church of Almighty God in an attempt to deceive people and get them riled up, and to incite those who don’t understand the truth of the matter to stand on its side and resist God along with it. The CCP government’s aim in concocting the Zhaoyuan case and shifting the blame onto The Church of Almighty God was to search for grounds and excuses for arresting and persecuting Christians. It is a futile attempt to round up all Christians in one fell swoop, and eliminate them root and branch, and to thoroughly wipe out The Church of Almighty God. They even want to realize their wild ambition to establish a zone of atheism in China. The essence of the CCP government truly is that of extreme treachery and evil!
Once I recognized the reality of the spiritual war and the evil essence of the CCP government, another question arose in my mind: Isn’t God omnipotent? Why would God allow the CCP government to persecute us? Unable to unravel this confusion within me, I read these words from Almighty God: “I once said that My wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s schemes. Why did I say that? Is that not the truth behind what I am saying and doing right now?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (1)). “God intends to use a portion of the work of evil spirits to perfect a portion of humanity, enabling these people to see completely through the devils’ iniquities, that all humanity may truly know their ‘ancestors.’ Only in this way can humans break completely free, not only forsaking the posterity of the devils, but even the devils’ ancestors. This is God’s true purpose in utterly defeating the great red dragon, to make it so that all humanity knows the great red dragon’s true form, to tear its mask off fully and to look upon its true form. This is what God wants to achieve, it is the final goal of all the work He has done on earth, and it is what He aims to accomplish in all humanity. This is known as mobilizing all things to serve God’s purpose” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Interpretations of the Mysteries of “God’s Words to the Entire Universe”, Chapter 41). I understood from God’s words that He was making use of the oppression of the CCP government’s evil satanic force to do service for the perfection of His chosen people. Through the CCP government’s resistance, condemnation, and rumor-mongering to smear the name of The Church of Almighty God, and its oppression and arrests of Christians, God has allowed us to see through to the satanic, demonic essence of the CCP government as something that hates the truth and hates God. This has allowed us to gain true discernment, to reject it, and never again be taken in by it. Instead, we can come out from the domain of Satan and return to the presence of God. On top of that, God makes use of the CCP demons’ arrests and persecution to expose people for what they are, to separate people according to their kind. Those who are cowardly, are not genuine in their belief, or are Judases are exposed and eliminated through the CCP government’s ferocious persecution. However, those who truly believe in God, pursue the truth and who are devoted to God stand witness for God under the CCP government’s crazed persecution and become overcomers made by God. Once I had understood all this, my misunderstandings, complaints, and confusion about God were all resolved. Furthermore, I saw how wise and almighty God is, and that God’s wisdom truly is exercised based upon Satan’s schemes.
I also read these words of God: “We trust that no country or power can stand in the way of what God wishes to achieve. Those who obstruct God’s work, resist the word of God and disturb and impair the plan of God shall ultimately be punished by God. He who defies the work of God shall be sent to hell; any country that defies the work of God shall be destroyed; any nation that rises up to oppose the work of God shall be wiped from this earth and shall cease to exist” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Appendix 2: God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind). God’s words showed me His righteous and majestic disposition, and I saw that no force can surpass God’s almightiness and authority. Although the CCP government always frantically resists God, and it oppresses, arrests, and persecutes His chosen people as well as concocts all kinds of rumors to mislead people and prevent them from returning to God, God’s work has still spread throughout the whole of China. Furthermore, a group of overcomers has been made in China, and the gospel of God’s kingdom is currently expanding throughout the entire world. No one can stand in the way of God’s work. Those who resist God, who obstruct and undermine God’s work, are fated to suffer His righteous punishment and to be annihilated. This is determined by the righteous disposition of God. The words of Almighty God gave me a sudden flash of insight and I was enlightened in an instant. I could not help but marvel within my heart and praise God’s miraculous work. God’s wisdom is truly higher than the heavens; God using the CCP government to do service is incredibly wise. God’s salvation of mankind is very practical—I am utterly convinced and cannot stop praising Him! I silently prayed to God from the heart, “God! I don’t want to become chaff that You throw out from the threshing floor, and I don’t want to be blown away by the evil wind of the CCP government. I want to become the wheat that You harvest. God! I have never satisfied You, but amidst the CCP government’s wild oppression, I hope that I can show my sincerity, really pursue the truth, and not surrender in the face of the CCP government’s evil forces. I hope to be a person who thirsts for justice and yearns for the light, to stand witness for You so that You may gain glory….”
Armed with this knowledge, I grew strong within my heart. I understood that when I am faced with my family members’ misunderstandings and obstructions, this is all with God’s permission, and it is God who meticulously arranges all of this to perfect my faith, devotion, and obedience. I no longer complained about the environment around me, nor was I constrained by the surrounding environment. Rather, I became grateful to God, and quietly resolved that no matter what kind of environment God arranges for me, I must always stand witness for Him and loyally do my duty; I absolutely will not betray God! Later on I saw God’s deeds—my husband no longer opposed me or was oppressive as he had been. Rather, he told me: “It’s not that I don’t want you to have faith. I admit that you’ve changed since you started believing in God; it’s just that going forward you have to be careful, you have to be on your guard when you go out to attend gatherings.” Hearing him say this brought tears to my eyes. I gave thanks and praise to God within my heart for His deeds, because I saw that truth and justice are able to overpower all that is dark and evil. Satan’s evil forces will eventually be obliterated through God’s work! Although I suffered some of the hardship of being refined through this experience, I gained some knowledge of God’s wise work. I also gained some ability to distinguish between positive things and negative things—all of this is a kind of wealth in my life that has aroused my resolve and faith to pursue the truth and aspire to the light.