A Wound That Never Heals
By Li Zhen, China
It was 5 in the morning on November of 2018 I suddenly heard a loud knocking at the door. When my host, Sister Zhang, opened the door, I could hear from my bedroom that someone was saying they were from the National Security Brigade and were there to search the house. I was very scared at the time because I had a church membership list in my bag as well as the numbers of a few of my brothers and sisters. If the police found them, there would be trouble. So I hurriedly grabbed my bag and was going to escape through the window, but my foot banged on the window frame, and some officers heard and came storming in. They grabbed me by the arm, dragged me down from the window and took me to the living room. One officer grabbed my left arm tightly and twisted it backwards, causing a searing pain that made me scream. But he didn’t let up and proceeded to pull my arm upwards. He twisted so hard that the last joint in my ring finger broke and the bone broke through the skin, causing profuse bleeding. It was so painful that I didn’t dare move.
Then, five or six more officers arrived, two of which were SWAT police armed with submachine guns. The other officers began searching the house. I was a little nervous when I saw the kind of manpower they had deployed and I didn’t know what they’d do to me. So I just kept praying to God, asking Him to protect my heart and give me faith. My left ring finger was still bleeding, so I squeezed it tightly with my right hand, not daring to let go. If I let up just a little, the blood would start flowing again. I squeezed so hard the finger went numb. The police dragged me and Sister Zhang to separate vehicles and then took us to the municipal processing center. I asked to be taken to the hospital to get my finger wrapped, but the police just ignored me. Only when I made a point of asking again did they finally take me to the hospital. On the morning of the second day, an officer took me to a hotel and pressed me to tell them if I was a church leader. When I didn’t say anything, he angrily spouted: “Quit pretending. Other people have already informed us that you’re a leader.” He grabbed me by the hair and slapped me twice across the face as he spoke, and then punched me hard in the face and kicked me in the leg. He beat me so hard I got dizzy and saw stars. My leg hurt so much that I didn’t dare move it. I thought to myself: “They only just brought me in and they’re already going this hard on me, who knows what other torture they have in store. I’m no youngster, if they cripple me, I’ll be a burden on my family. How will I continue to live after that?” I felt truly awful. Just then, I thought of God’s words which say: “Faith is like a single log bridge: Those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over, sure of foot and worry-free. If man harbors timid and fearful thoughts, it is because Satan has fooled them, afraid that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 6). God’s words helped me realize that Satan uses the suffering and pain of the flesh to make us deny and betray God. If I only considered my flesh and future prospects, I’d have fallen for Satan’s trap. It’s in God’s hand whether or not I’ll be crippled. No matter how much I must suffer, I must stand witness for God and humiliate Satan.
Later, another officer came in and asked me: “Who is your leader? Who do you gather with? Are you gonna talk or not? If you don’t talk, you’ll get what’s coming to you!” When I didn’t say anything, he slapped me four times across the face. I felt dizzy and light-headed and my face had gone numb. Then another officer came in and the two of them dragged me by the arms and pushed down on my shoulders, sitting me down on the floor. Another officer dragged me by the legs and pinned them down. I didn’t know what they were up to, and so I struggled with all my might. When they couldn’t pin me down, they called in an overweight officer. Two of the officers dragged my arms while the other two officers pulled my legs outwards, forcing them as far apart as they could. My legs are as stiff as boards, there was no way I could do a split at my age. They even stepped on my calves so I couldn’t fold my legs in. I felt a searing pain, as if my legs had split open and I broke out in a cold sweat. I wanted to rest my hands on the ground to let up on the pressure a little, but an officer immediately twisted my arms behind my back and cuffed me. Another officer dragged me in front of the TV stand with my back against the stand. I was in horrible pain and only when I repeatedly struggled and yelled did they let go. Steeling myself against the pain, I slowly brought my legs together. An officer viciously threatened me saying: “I’m going to count to twenty, if you don’t talk, we’ll make you do the splits again!” When I didn’t say anything, he started counting. I was very scared. The pain was really more than I could take. I couldn’t stand any more of their stretching my legs like that. So I kept praying to God, asking that He give me faith and strength so that I could withstand the officers’ torture. When the countdown finished and I still hadn’t said anything, they started pulling my legs out to the side again. It hurt so much that I started kicking wildly and struggling against them. This went on for seven or eight minutes until they finally got tired. I felt like my legs were giving out and my lower back felt like it was broken—I didn’t dare move. I was in so much pain that I didn’t dare make a sound and cold sweat kept streaming down my face. My legs hurt so much I couldn’t sit and so I thought I’d try to lie down and soften the pain a bit, but when the officer saw me, he grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let me lie down. He also told another officer to take me behind the door and snarled: “I’m going to count to twenty, if you don’t talk, the torture will continue!” With that, he started counting down. When I heard him start, I started to panic and kept thinking: “Count slower, please count slower.” I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to take much more torture, so I hurriedly prayed to God: “Dear God, I’m afraid I won’t be able to withstand the torture and will betray You. Please give me strength.” When I still wouldn’t talk, they once again began pulling my legs out wide and made me sit up straight against a wall. I couldn’t sit up straight while handcuffed, so they uncuffed me. I automatically pressed my hands on the floor and my body leaned forward. I was able to lessen the pain a little bit in that way. But then a police officer angrily lifted my arms up while at the same time pressing down hard on my lower back. I immediately felt as if my lower back was going to break. It hurt so much that I cried out in pain. My throat was so dry that I could barely yell and I was in such pain that I thought I’d pass out. Only when they themselves got exhausted did they finally let up. As they left, one of the officers said: “Next time, put her legs up on two adjacent beds and make her do a split between them. We’ll see if she talks then!” When I heard him say that, I shuddered with fear. The last round of torture had already been so excruciatingly painful. If they kept going like that, my life might be at stake. I didn’t want to die like that at their hands. Then I had an idea. Maybe I could just tell them some unimportant detail. That way they at least wouldn’t torture me to death. Then, I thought of the Lord Jesus’ words which say: “For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). “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). God’s words helped me realize that my life is in God’s hands. If I saved my own life and betrayed God like Judas, even if my flesh was spared from a little suffering, in the end, I would be cursed and punished by God just like Judas. I also thought of how when Job was harmed by Satan and his whole body broke out in boils, causing him immense pain, he cursed himself instead of blaming God, stood witness for God before Satan and ultimately thoroughly humiliated it. I should emulate Job. Even if it means my death, I must stand witness for God and humiliate Satan. Thinking of all this, I felt renewed faith and strength. No matter how the police tortured me, I would never be a Judas and betray God!
At around two in the afternoon, the police came in again. One of the officers entered and immediately said: “Are you going to talk now? If you don’t talk, we’ll keep torturing you!” My heart started beating out of my chest. I felt incredibly nervous and scared. I just kept calling out to God. When I wouldn’t talk, they took me behind the door and continued to pull my legs out wide. It was excruciatingly painful and I once again broke out in a full body sweat. I angrily yelled: “How could you be so cruel!?” One of the officers broke out in a sinister smile and said: “We’re cruel? You’re the one not willing to talk! We’re going to turn you into a gymnast this time. When you get back, you can work as a trainer!” With that, they spent the rest of the afternoon making me do two rounds of splits. It was so painful that I constantly struggled and yelled out, so an officer stuffed a sandal in my mouth. The pain was unbearable and I constantly swayed back and forth to try to get some minor relief. Only when I seemed to be at my breaking point did they finally let me go. I collapsed on the ground and one of the officers cracked a sinister grin, saying: “Looks like you finally learned to do a split.” Looking at all their ugly faces, I felt so angry. They were all a bunch of demons that would kill without batting an eye. When I wouldn’t tell them anything, one of the officers said furiously: “So you’re a stubborn one huh? If you don’t talk, we’ll clamp your fingers!” Without waiting for my reaction, they grabbed hold of my hands and then clamped every joint of my fingers tightly with pencils. It hurt so much that my legs started kicking violently and the officers had to pin them down. I used every last ounce of strength, but I still couldn’t break free, and so I just screamed out repeatedly. The pain was so excruciating that I thought the bones in my fingers would break. I kept praying in my heart to God, asking that He give me strength and guide me to overcome the demons’ torture. Another officer said: “If you keep yelling we’ll have to plug up your mouth and we’ll clamp your broken finger too!” Then he stuffed a sandal in my mouth again. One of the pencils broke before they could clamp all of my fingers, so they just used the broken pencil to continue clamping. Only after clamping all nine fingers did they finally let up. My fingers swelled up like sausages and were burning with pain. My whole body was seized with pain and my breathing became very weak. It was like I was suffocating. Then I heard another officer say he was going to use the electric baton on me and I became even more frightened: How was I supposed to withstand a tasing at my age? What if I couldn’t take it and died from the torture? I hurriedly prayed to God: “Dear God, I don’t think I can take much more of this. I just can’t stand anymore of these scoundrels’ torture. I pray that You give me the resolve to endure suffering and I’m willing to stand witness for You.” After prayer, I thought of God’s words which say: “When people are ready to sacrifice their lives, everything becomes trifling, and no one can get the better of them. What could be more important than life? Thus, Satan becomes incapable of doing any more in people, there is nothing it can do with man” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 36). God’s words gave me faith and strength. I should put my life on the line. I’d sooner be beaten to death than betray God. I realized that my timidity and cowardice stemmed from being too covetous of my flesh and too worried about my own mortality, and I hadn’t given my heart to God in the least. God does His work and tries people to gain glory through them and win their hearts. When God needed me to stand witness, I only thought of my own flesh. I didn’t provide the slightest testimony. Realizing this, I felt ashamed and guilty. I made a resolution before God: “No matter how the police torture me, I will not betray God!” I thought back on all the ways the police had tortured me those days and I hated the CCP with all my heart. It is natural and right to believe in and follow God, and yet they fiendishly suppress and persecute believers, vainly believing they can subdue the church. They’re nothing but a pack of God-hating, God-resisting demons! Just as God’s words reveal: “Forefathers of the ancient? Beloved leaders? They all oppose God! Their meddling has left all beneath heaven in a state of darkness and chaos! Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin! … Why put up such an impenetrable obstacle to the work of God? Why employ various tricks to deceive God’s folk? Where is the true freedom and the legitimate rights and interests?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (8)). The CCP claims to promote religious freedom, but in reality they suppress, arrest and cruelly torture believers, and want nothing more than to kill all of them. Who knows how many of our brothers and sisters have been subject to their cruel torture and how many have been pursued and persecuted to the point they’re no longer safe in their own homes. Some have even been tortured to death or been crippled. The CCP is just a bunch of God-resisting, brutalizing demons. I hated the CCP with all my heart and I realized how hard it must be for God to do His work in the country of the great red dragon. I saw how much God has sacrificed for mankind’s salvation and was moved to tears. This motivated me even more to follow God until the very end.
For the next couple days, they saw they still hadn’t gotten anything out of me, so they made me stand all day and then cuffed me to the tiger chair at night and didn’t let me sleep. They traded off watching me in shifts. As soon as they saw me starting to nod off, they’d yell out to wake me up. I thought my head would burst from the exhaustion. At 8 am on the 9th of December, the police brought me to the hotel entrance, made me take off my shoes and stand barefoot on a platform that was frozen over with ice. The ice was about a centimeter thick and, in no time, I was so cold that I began shivering and my feet went numb. They then started interrogating me again about the church. When I wouldn’t talk, one of the officers took a tree branch as thick as a finger and whipped me across the feet while viciously yelling: “Go ahead and keep quiet, see what happens!” When the whipping tired him out he stopped for a bit and then kept whipping. It was several degrees below zero at the time, the soles of my feet were freezing, there was a searing pain in my insteps and I was shivering with the cold. The pain and freezing cold were more than I could bear. I felt like I might pass out at any moment. I thought: “If he keeps whipping me like that my legs might be crippled.” Then I thought of the story of a brother I’d heard before who had been tied to a tree by the police and left outside all night in the ten degrees below zero cold. With God’s protection, he didn’t get sick from the cold. The brother prayed to and relied on God to overcome the demon’s cruelty and stand witness. I must rely on God, I thought. So I hurriedly prayed to God, asking that He protect my heart and help me overcome the demon’s torture. The officers tortured me for about 40 minutes and several segments of the branch broke off during whipping. My feet were in unbearable pain and had swollen up like balloons, and eventually became completely numb. I felt completely exhausted, like I was coming apart at the seams. At 8 pm that night, the police made me and my brothers and sisters watch a reeducation video. It was full of blasphemous and slanderous material about God. It made me so angry and frustrated. After watching the video, they made us discuss our reactions. I said: “We come on to the right path in life in our belief in and following of God. The video you showed was full of slander.” They weren’t satisfied with my response, so they made me stand as punishment. They also made me take off my shoes and then started whipping my feet with the branch again. Because I had already been whipped once that morning, this whipping was even more excruciating. It felt like the bones of my toes were breaking and I trembled constantly due to the pain. They whipped me for half an hour before sending me back to my room and then forced me to stand all night. I thought of all the torture I’d undergone in the past few days and how my head throbbed and ached from the lack of sleep. I felt very weak inside, and didn’t know how much longer they would torture me. It seemed like maybe they would only stop after they’d tortured me to death. In the midst of my weakness and suffering, I prayed to God: “Dear God, I just can’t take it any longer. I ask that You please guide me going forward.” After prayer, a passage of God’s words came to mind. “My work among the group of people of the last days is an unprecedented enterprise, and thus, so that My glory may fill the cosmos, all people must suffer the last hardship for Me. Do you understand My will? This is the final requirement I make of man, which is to say, I hope that all people can bear strong, resounding testimony to Me before the great red dragon, that they can offer themselves up for Me a final time, and fulfill My requirements one last instance. Can you truly do this? You were incapable of satisfying My heart in the past—could you break this pattern in the final instance? I give people the chance to reflect; I let them ponder carefully before finally giving Me an answer—is it wrong to do this? I wait for man’s response, I await his ‘letter of reply’—do you have the faith to fulfill My requirements?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 34). Pondering over God’s words, I thought of how the Lord Jesus had been crucified in order to redeem mankind, and God of the last days has incarnated again to save mankind and has been wildly pursued by the great red dragon and condemned and slandered by the religious world. God has suffered so much in order to save all of mankind. I thought of how in my belief in God during these years, I had enjoyed so much of the watering and supply of God’s words, but had never truly born witness. God was permitting the great red dragon to persecute me in order to perfect my faith and give me a chance to bear witness. I must rely on God to stand witness before the great red dragon and humiliate Satan! That night, I prayed to God and pondered His words and I felt less anguished.
Two or three days later, the police came to interrogate me again. When I wouldn’t talk, the two officers grabbed my right and left legs, then one of them pushed my left leg against the wall with his foot while the other officer twisted my head to the right and stepped hard on my right leg. I was in excruciating pain and felt like I was suffocating. Then one officer used his feet to pin my legs together and then kicked them apart, repeating this action several times while saying: “We’ll see how stubborn you can be. I’ll torture you to death!” Then he used his foot to lift my leg up behind the knee and then slammed it down, three consecutive times. Then he stepped hard on the inside of my thigh, grinding up and down. He alternated between stepping on my left and right legs more times than I can count. It was like he was forcefully peeling the flesh from my thighs and it hurt so much I couldn’t help but scream out in agony, at which point he stuffed a sandal in my mouth. In all, they forced me to do three rounds of leg splits. After that, they clamped my fingers with two pens and raked down on them. They tortured me over and over in this way. I can’t even begin to describe how awful that was. I continually prayed to God, and in my mind, my only thought was that I should die before becoming a Judas. Then, a hymn of God’s words came to mind: “During these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should walk until the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, Seek to Love God No Matter How Great Your Suffering). God’s words gave me strength. I had the chance to bear witness for God before the great red dragon—this was a great honor. No matter how the police tortured me, as long as I still had one breath remaining, I should stand witness for God and thoroughly humiliate Satan.
At around six in the morning on December 13th, the police took us into the hallway and made us sing the national anthem. My legs were swollen so badly that I couldn’t walk, so two officers dragged me to the doorway. The officers made fun of me in front of everyone, saying: “She had diarrhea all night and now she can’t even walk!” My legs were in so much pain that I couldn’t stand unaided and so I had to lean on the wall. At around nine in the morning, they forced me to do another three rounds of leg splits, then they dragged me to the tiger chair and locked my hands inside metal hoops. They continued to clamp my fingers as well. An officer used two pairs of wooden chopsticks to clamp my left hand, and when the chopsticks broke, he just used the broken pieces to continue clamping my four fingers. Another officer used pens to clamp my right hand. The pain from them clamping and grinding my fingers was so bad that I kicked my legs constantly, so they tied my legs down on the chair, which completely immobilized me. They also took turns kicking me in the legs. The pain was absolutely unbearable. I just couldn’t take it any longer and so I bashed my head hard against the wall. The officers didn’t want to have my death on their hands, so they blocked my head with their hands.
In the afternoon, they tortured me again in the very same way. The clamping left deep bruises below my fingernails and my hands were black and blue. My left index finger had gone completely numb, my head felt like it was going to explode, my legs were immobile and my entire body was in severe pain. But they still didn’t let up. That night they dragged me over to watch a so-called “education film,” and on the next morning, they continued to make me do leg splits. They tortured me like this for two and half days. I really couldn’t take it anymore and I thought about starving myself to end the suffering. In the midst of my weakness and suffering, I prayed to God: “Dear God! I really can’t take any more of the great red dragon’s cruel torture. I’m worried that I might betray You and become a Judas. Oh God! Please guide me and give me faith.” After praying, a passage of God’s words came to mind. “The utmost faith and love are required from us in this stage of work. We may stumble from the slightest carelessness, for this stage of work is different from all the previous ones: What God is perfecting is mankind’s faith, which is both invisible and intangible. What God does is convert words to faith, to love, and to life. People must reach a point where they have endured hundreds of refinements and possess faith greater than Job’s. They must endure incredible suffering and all manner of torture without ever leaving God. When they are obedient unto death, and have great faith in God, then this stage of God’s work is complete” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Path … (8)). Pondering over God’s words, I realized that God permitted the great red dragon to persecute me in order to perfect my faith. He also put me into this situation so that I could stand witness for Him and humiliate Satan. But my faith was too weak and when my flesh suffered, I just wanted to die and be done with it. I saw how weak I had been. If I died, I’d just be falling for Satan’s scheme. I couldn’t die, I had to rely on God to stand witness.
Due to the torture, I was badly bruised from the waist down and the blood blisters around my groin had swollen up to the size of chicken eggs. My thighs were swollen and black and blue, and the outer side of my left calf was numb. Both of my feet were swollen and bruised. The police didn’t want to have to deal with a death on their hands, so the next day they called in a doctor to treat me. Only after about a week of treatment did I dare stand up and start to slowly walk. The injuries to my legs were so severe that for twenty days I couldn’t sleep due to the pain. It was an unbearable hardship. The police realized I was in very bad shape and they didn’t want me to die in their custody, so they finally had to let me go. Those fifty days of torture left me with this some very severe residual symptoms. To this day, I still can’t use my hands to do house work. If I get tired kneading dough or washing clothes, I get stabbing pains. The bones of my thighs also really hurt and I still can’t crouch down or stand back up from crouching. My flesh may have suffered a little, but I witnessed God’s love. When I was being tortured and my flesh couldn’t stand it anymore, it was God’s protection and the guidance of God’s words that gave me faith and strength and allowed me to overcome the demons’ torture and come out alive. I also clearly discerned the CCP’s cruelty and inhumanity. It is the God-resisting Satan the devil. I hated the CCP with all my heart and wanted to completely turn away from and abandon it while pursuing the truth and fulfilling my duty to repay God’s love!
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