A Spiritual Battle at Home
By Ruth, the United States
In August 2018, a friend told me that the Lord Jesus had returned, and that He was expressing truths to do the work of judgment beginning with God’s house. I read Almighty God’s words and saw that they’re the truth and the voice of God. I knew that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, so I accepted His work of the last days and started attending online gatherings. I was totally immersed in the joy of welcoming the Lord when an unexpected spiritual battle at home unfolded.
One day in October 2018 my husband sent me a message that said: “You haven’t been going to church lately, and what’s that book you’re always reading? What do you guys talk about in those online gatherings?” I’d just accepted God’s work of the last days so I didn’t think I could explain it clearly. But then I figured, my husband’s been a believer since he was little and he’s a church co-worker, so I should share the news of the Lord’s return with him. So I told him, “We’re in the last days and the prophecies of the Lord’s return have been fulfilled. He’s returned in the flesh, His name is Almighty God. He’s doing the work of judgment through words to cleanse mankind. That book is of Almighty God’s words. It reveals many mysteries about the Bible. I’ve caught up with God’s new work and I’m meeting with members of The Church of Almighty God, so of course I’m not going to services at the old church. You should read Almighty God’s words and see for yourself.” I also sent him a link to the Church’s website. To my surprise, before long he sent me a whole lot of lies and rumors spread by the CCP online to slander The Church of Almighty God, including the fake Zhaoyuan case the Communist Party planted on the Church. I figured that since my husband was Filipino, he didn’t know how much fake news there is in China, so he was easily taken in by it. So I responded and said, “The Zhaoyuan case was tried in a CCP court and all CCP courts are just tools for the government to maintain its dictatorship. Their trials and judgments have no credibility at all. The CCP has fabricated so many unjust, false cases over the years, like the Tiananmen Square student protests that shocked the world and the crackdown on the Tibetan protests. First they concoct lies, distort the facts, and make false charges, and then they use violent suppression. That’s always been their tactic to weed out dissent. Besides, it’s an atheistic party that has brutally persecuted religious beliefs since coming to power. How could we put stock in their condemnation of a church? In fact, Western scholars have done independent investigations that uncovered their lies.” After that I sent him a video of the Italian religious scholar Professor Massimo Introvigne delivering a speech at a conference. I told him, “You’ll understand the truth after watching the video. A Zhaoyuan defendant said in court, ‘I never had contact with The Church of Almighty God.’ They themselves said they’re not with the Church. The Church doesn’t acknowledge them, either. Clearly, they have no affiliation with The Church of Almighty God, but the court forced them to say that they did. They knowingly distorted the facts and framed a case to discredit the Church! This shows that the Zhaoyuan case was concocted by the CCP as an excuse to persecute Christians. It’s their usual tactic to crack down on religious beliefs.” But my husband was thoroughly convinced by the CCP’s lies and just wouldn’t listen to me.
After that he started trying to stand in the way of my faith, installing six security cameras in our home so he could watch my every move. One evening he saw me in a gathering on one of the cameras and burst into the room yelling, asking why I was still attending these gatherings. I said, “This is the US, a country with freedom of belief. It’s protected by law. Practicing my faith is a proper thing. Why would you stand in my way? Almighty God’s gospel of the last days has spread to many Western countries. There are people like Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt from Arizona, Tina and Charlie, who have been interviewed about their experiences of accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days. There are testimonies from Canada, Cuba, Japan, France, Russia, Thailand, and lots of other countries. People from all over the world who long for the Lord’s return have come before Almighty God and accepted His work. Why don’t you see what His work achieves and if it’s the voice of God instead of just blindly falling for the atheistic CCP government’s lies?” He wouldn’t listen to me, but came over to grab my phone. Trying to block him, I hit his arm. To my horror, he used this as an excuse to report me to the police. Then he smiled coldly and said, “Don’t you have your God? Call Him for help, then. The police will be here any minute. Let’s see who can save you tonight.” I was furious and a little afraid, too. I was afraid of being taken away by the police like so many brothers and sisters in China. Then I remembered these words from God: “Man’s heart and spirit are held in the hand of God, everything of his life is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts. Such is the way in which God presides over all things” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). All things really are in God’s hands and He has say over everything. Whether the police took me away that day was entirely up to God. If God allowed that, that would contain His will and I would submit to it. I didn’t feel so panicked after saying my prayer. The police arrived five minutes later and once they got a sense of the situation they were understanding toward me. One of the officers, a white man, said he’d spent time in China and he knew about the Chinese government’s persecution of religious beliefs. After our conversation, the officer warned my husband, saying, “We have freedom of religion in the US. You do not have the right to interfere in your wife’s faith.” At this, he responded, “She can have faith, but she can’t join online gatherings at home.” Then the officer warned him again: “She’s your wife and a member of this household. She has the right to attend gatherings at home—this is protected by the law. You can’t stop her from attending gatherings at home and doing so would be in violation of US law.” After the police left, I thought back over what had happened, and just couldn’t believe it. We’d been through so much together over the years, but he used my faith in Almighty God as an excuse to call the police on me. Where had the husband I knew gone? He had no humanity. I also knew that in spite of what I’d gone through, God was by my side quietly protecting me. I felt grateful to God and my resolve to follow Him grew stronger.
Since I was resolved to keep my faith, my husband took away all of our shared bank cards, car keys, keys to our shop, and the cash I had on me. Throughout our entire marriage, I’d been the one to manage our finances and our business but now he was taking it all away from me. He also canceled our internet service so I couldn’t attend online gatherings and locked the door to the master bedroom so I couldn’t get in. He also became colder and colder toward me. Sometimes I’d ask him where he was going and he’d just curtly say something like, “Don’t meddle in my business—you have no right to ask. If you want to believe in Almighty God you can get out of this house. Make your own way. You can’t work in the store anymore. If I find out you’ve gone anywhere near it I’ll call the police.” He also barraged our friends with all those lies online and some of them kept coming to our house insisting I give up my faith. Our once-peaceful life was torn to shreds. At the time I thought about how, for our life together, I’d given up my career to go into business with my husband, which allowed us to have our store in this city. But faced with the choice between faith and family, I really didn’t know what to do. I felt really weak. I just didn’t get it. Don’t all believers long for the Lord’s return? I’d welcomed the Lord and embarked on the right path in faith, so why didn’t anyone understand? As I thought through it all I couldn’t stop my tears. Then I thought of some of God’s words. “What you have inherited this day surpasses that of the apostles and prophets throughout the ages and is greater even than that of Moses and Peter. Blessings cannot be obtained in a day or two; they must be earned through great sacrifice. Which is to say, you must possess a love that has undergone refinement, you must possess great faith, and you must have the many truths that God requires you to attain; what is more, you must turn toward justice, without being cowed or evasive, and must have a constant and unabating love for God. You must have resolve” (“Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words gave me strength and I saw that what He wants is people’s genuine faith and love, and for us to never stray from Him no matter what difficulties we face. Being fortunate enough to hear God’s voice and welcome the Lord’s return in the last days was the love of God. Suffering in order to follow Christ has value and meaning, and it’s for a righteous cause. I thought of the disciples who followed Lord Jesus. They were brutally persecuted by the Romans and condemned by religious leaders and some were even martyred for the Lord. They suffered a lot but the Lord remembered them. I realized I shouldn’t be upset about being hindered and persecuted for following the true God but should learn from generations of saints, and follow God till the end in the face of any hardship.
I read some more words of God after that “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. … When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After accepting the true way and following God’s new work, it looked like it was my husband standing in my way and being oppressive, but behind it, a battle was being waged in the spiritual world. Satan was using my husband to interfere with me, exploiting my feelings for my husband and my personal interests to intimidate me into giving up the true way and giving in to Satan, so I’d ultimately betray God. It was one of Satan’s tricks. At the same time, God was using this situation to show me my husband’s evil side in opposition to God. When he delivered sermons in the church, he preached tolerance and told us to keep watch for the Lord’s coming. But with the work of the Lord’s return, he didn’t look into it at all and even treated me like an enemy. It wasn’t me he hated—it was God he hated and opposed. He was a nonbeliever, through and through. Thinking about his actions, I didn’t feel hurt anymore. I just felt really angry. We were husband and wife, but we were on different paths. I knew I couldn’t be reined in by him anymore. The more oppressive he was, the more I wanted to follow God, to stand witness and shame Satan. Not only did I want to follow God myself, but I also wanted to share God’s gospel of the last days with more true believers who love the truth. This thought gave me the strength I needed to get through this. In no time at all, I found a new job at a market near the house, so I worked and shared the gospel there. It was a hard job, but with God’s words guiding me I felt totally at ease.
But my husband still wouldn’t stop. To stop me from believing, he stole the bicycle I used to get to work and forbade me from working there. He also sent some customers to my workplace to urge me to give up my faith. Not only that, but he also spread lies in the church about me, saying I was abandoning our family for my faith. When my boss found out about it, she started treating me differently and then fired me. Just then, my mother-in-law in the Philippines passed away unexpectedly, so my husband had to go back. He had no choice but to leave my phone and the keys to the shop with me. When he got back to the US, his attitude toward me had softened a lot. He wasn’t so opposed to me joining online gatherings anymore. I thought maybe he’d really changed.
But then one day, he found out that I’d shared the gospel of God’s last-days work with a sister at his church, and he went behind my back to get in touch with her through the pastor. He told her all sorts of lies and she believed him, so wouldn’t have anything to do with me again. He warned me, “No one can stop you from believing in Almighty God, but I won’t allow you to take people from my church. You’re not welcome there anymore and you can’t bring your phone into our shop. If you read their messages or answer their calls again, I’m kicking you out.” His behavior was shocking and infuriating. Over those few months, I’d been so patient with him, and I’d tried to move him with the way I lived. It should have had an impact on him to change his attitude toward me and God’s work. I never thought my husband would be so stubborn and malicious. He showed a totally false face to the world. He didn’t share my faith and he kept me from sharing it with others, shamelessly claiming ownership over brothers and sisters. Wasn’t that brazenly trying to usurp God’s sheep? God’s sheep hear God’s voice and return to His house. That’s right and natural. And faith is a free thing, but he was working with the pastor to do anything possible to disrupt brothers and sisters. He spread lies to mislead people so they wouldn’t dare listen to God’s gospel of the last days. He was suffocating, starving the church and ruining people’s chance at salvation! It made me think of the Lord Jesus rebuking the Pharisees: “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13). Almighty God’s words say, “There are those who read the Bible in grand churches and recite it all day long, yet not one among them understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one among them is able to know God; still less can any one among them accord with God’s will. They are all worthless, vile people, each standing on high to lecture God. They willfully oppose God even as they carry His banner. Claiming faith in God, still they eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such people are devils that devour the soul of man, head demons that deliberately get in the way of those trying to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks impeding those who seek God. They may appear of ‘sound constitution,’ but how are their followers to know that they are none other than antichrists who lead people to stand against God? How are their followers to know that they are living devils dedicated to the devouring of human souls?” (“All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). If I hadn’t personally witnessed those words and actions of his, I never could have imagined that someone who organized charitable events, who seemed so devout and was looked up to would not only refuse to look into or accept the work of the Lord’s coming, but would spread lies throughout the church, deceiving others and keeping them from turning toward God. How is he any different from the Pharisees who nailed Lord Jesus to the cross 2,000 years ago? They’re real antichrists, devils that devour people’s souls. I saw the complete truth of my husband’s essence, that he was an incorrigible demon. Believers and unbelievers just are not compatible. I couldn’t be held back by him anymore. Thinking this through I resolved to put more time into my faith and pursuit of the truth and I resolved to follow Almighty God no matter how my husband treated me.
One day, he got a divorce lawyer to initiate divorce proceedings and he demanded that I move out within a month. I felt really powerless. Where would I live? Would I become a vagrant? He also canceled our home internet connection once again in an effort to cut off my contact with brothers and sisters. I had no choice but to go out all the time to use public connections to attend gatherings. My life was in crisis. Without an income, basic needs like food and shelter would become an issue. I’d never been through those kinds of hard times and I had no idea how I’d get by. I was left feeling really lost and in pain. When a sister found out, she sent me a passage of God’s words. “While undergoing trials, it is normal for people to be weak, or to have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work, and not deny God, just like Job. … In your experience, no matter what refinement you undergo through God’s words, what God requires of mankind, in brief, is their faith and their love for Him. What He perfects by working in this way is people’s faith, love, and aspirations” (“Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading this I realized that my husband threatening me with divorce was something God was allowing to happen. When Job went through his trials, robbers took everything he had and his children lost their lives. He was also covered with boils and sat in a pile of ashes. His wife rejected him and told him to give up his faith and die. His friends judged and mocked him. In the face of these trials and all this suffering, Job still praised God: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). This is true faith. I’d once made a solemn vow before God that no matter what, I would keep following God. But faced with my husband’s threats endangering my own living, I felt stuck in negativity and pain. I saw I didn’t have true faith in God. My husband was threatening me with divorce to get me to betray and forsake God. I couldn’t fall prey to Satan’s scheme. No matter what kind of trials I faced, I knew I had to follow God, stand witness, and bring shame to Satan.
I found a job a few days later so I was able to buy internet access cards to attend gatherings and perform my duty. I felt so much better. Later on, I calmly signed the divorce papers and gained total freedom from my husband’s restrictions. I could freely practice my faith. I continued to perform my duty and share the gospel and even though my finances were tighter than before, I could do my duty free from worry. I had a sense of joy and peace and I felt that following God and taking the right path is the most meaningful way to live! I thank God for allowing me to stand witness through this spiritual battle on the home front!