After Enduring Hardship, My Love for God Is Even Stronger
By Zhou Rui, Jiangxi Province
My name is Zhou Rui and I am a Christian of The Church of Almighty God. From the time I began to understand things, I watched my parents work hard in the fields from morning to night in order to make a living. Despite their significant efforts, they hardly earned any money every year, so our family always lived in considerable poverty. Whenever I saw those people with power and influence who lived quite comfortably without needing to labor hard, I felt envious of them, and so I made a firm resolution: When I grew up, I would definitely be successful in a career or get a government position to remedy the poverty and backwardness of my family so that my parents, too, could live the life of the rich. However, I struggled for this ideal for many years, yet was never able to get what I wanted; I continued to live a poor life. I often sighed in worry over having nothing to show for how busy I’d been, and gradually I lost my faith in life. Just when I began to lose heart and despair of life, Almighty God’s salvation of the last days came upon me. From His words I grasped some truths and came to know the root cause of human suffering in the world. I also understood how people needed to live in order to live a life that was most meaningful and worthwhile. From then on, confused and helpless though I had been, I found my direction in life. Leaving depression and dejection behind, I felt a new vitality and lease on life, and saw the hope of life. Afterward, so that those who were still living in suffering and in helplessness could also obtain this extremely rare salvation, I began going from place to place, energetically preaching God’s salvation of the last days. What I did not expect, however, was that in the process of spreading the gospel, I was captured twice by the Chinese government and suffered brutal, inhumane torture…. In this dark pit of monstrosities, Almighty God never left my side; His words gave me faith and strength, leading me again and again to victory over Satan’s dark forces and reinforcing my love for Him.
It was a day in June of 2003; two of my brothers and I had gone to a village to spread the gospel, when we were reported by a wicked person. Five or six policemen in three police cars sped up to us and placed us in handcuffs without asking a single question. Pushing and kicking us, they forced us into the vehicles and drove us over to the Public Security Bureau. In the car I did not feel much fear at all. I had always felt that the purpose of spreading the gospel was to bring people salvation, so we had not been doing anything wrong; once we arrived at the Public Security Bureau, I would explain the situation, and the police would let us go. How could I have known, however, that the Chinese government’s policemen were crueler and more savage than any ruffians or evil tyrants. After we arrived at the PSB, the police didn’t even give us a chance to explain before separating us and questioning us individually. No sooner had I entered the interrogation room than a policeman barked at me, “The Communist Party’s policy is ‘Leniency for those who confess, and severity for those who resist.’ Do you know that?” Subsequently, he asked about my personal information. Seeing that my answers did not satisfy him, another policeman walked up next to me and grunted, “Hmph. You’re not playing ball. We’ll have to teach you a lesson and see if that will make you tell the truth.” Then he waved his hand and said, “Bring a few bricks over so we can punish him!” No sooner had he said this than two policemen walked over, took one of my hands, and yanked it from above my shoulder down along my back while wrenching my other hand upward, and then forcefully cuffed them together. Immediately I felt unbearable pain, as though my arms were about to break. How could such a weak person as I endure such torment? A moment later I collapsed to the ground. Seeing this, the evil police abruptly hauled the handcuffs upward and wedged two bricks between my hands and my back. A sudden, acute pain shot straight through to my heart, as though thousands of ants were chewing through my bones. In utter agony, I used all my remaining strength to implore God: “Almighty God, save me. Almighty God, save me….” Though by then I had only accepted God’s salvation of the last days for three months or so, was not yet equipped with many of His words, and only understood a scant few truths, nevertheless, as I continuously supplicated, God granted me faith and strength and planted a firm conviction inside of me: I must stand testimony for God; I absolutely must not surrender to Satan! Thereupon, I gritted my teeth and absolutely refused to say another word. Flustered and exasperated, the evil policemen tried another vicious ploy in an effort to subdue me: They placed two bricks on the floor and forced me to kneel on top of them; at the same time, they pulled up hard on my handcuffs. My arms were immediately in so much unbearable pain it felt like they were broken. I made myself kneel there for a few minutes before again falling motionless to the floor, whereupon the policemen violently lifted me back up by the handcuffs, and forced me to continue kneeling. In this manner they tortured me over and over. It was the height of summer, so I was both in agony and hot; beads of sweat dripped down continuously from my face. I was having such a hard time holding up that I was having trouble breathing, and I nearly fainted. Even so, this gang of evil policemen merely rejoiced at my misfortune. “Feeling okay?” one of them said. “If you keep on refusing to talk, we have a lot more ways to deal with you!” Seeing that I wasn’t answering, they fumed with frustration and said, “So you haven’t had enough then? Again!” … After two or three hours of this torment, I was aching from head to toe and had no strength left. I fell to the floor and could not move, and even lost all control of my bladder and bowels. Up against the savage torture of these evil policemen, I genuinely hated myself for having been so blind and ignorant before; naively, I had assumed that the PSB would be a place of reason and that the policemen would uphold justice and release me. I never expected that they would be so malicious and cruel as to try to extort a confession through torture without a shred of evidence, torturing me almost to death. They really are evil in the extreme! I lay on the floor as if fallen to pieces and could not have moved even if I’d wanted to. I didn’t know how they planned to torture me further, nor did I know how much longer I could hold up. In my suffering and helplessness, all I could do was to continuously implore God to give me strength so that I could keep on enduring. God heard my pleas, and took pity on me, causing me to recall one of His utterances: “This is a crucial moment. Be sure not to be disheartened or discouraged; you must look forward in everything…. As long as a single breath remains in you, you must persevere to the very end; this is the only way you will become worthy of praise” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 20). God’s words granted me enormous faith and strength. They were so true! Since I was walking the path of light and righteousness, I should have the faith to keep going; even if it came to my final breath, I still had to persevere to the end! God’s words hummed with life force, they enabled me to have the faith and courage with which to fight these evil demons to the end, and I slowly regained some of my physical strength as well. After that, the evil police continued to interrogate me, and kept stomping ruthlessly on my feet until they were crushed and mangled. Nevertheless, I felt no more pain. I knew this was due to God’s wonderful deeds; having taken pity on me and shown solicitude for my weakness, He had alleviated my suffering. Later, the malicious policemen detained us with the charge of “disrupting public order.” That night, they cuffed us each to a separate three- or four-hundred-pound block of cement, to which we remained chained until the following evening, when they again transported us over to the local detention house.
Entering the detention house was like being dropped into a kind of hell. The correctional officers forced me to string together colored light bulbs. At first, I was made to string together six thousand of them per day, but after that, the amount increased each day until it eventually reached twelve thousand. As a result of this excessive daily workload, I wore my fingers to the bone, yet still was unable to complete the task. I had no choice but to keep stringing them together through the night. Sometimes I really couldn’t bear it, and wanted to take a nap, but as soon as I was seen by them, I would be viciously beaten. The correctional officers would even incite the jailhouse bullies by saying out loud, “If these convicts can’t get the job done or do it right, you should give them a couple shots of ‘penicillin.’” What they meant by giving a shot of “penicillin” referred to slamming one’s knee into an inmate’s crotch, elbowing him hard in the middle of the back while he was bent over in pain, and then using one’s heel to stomp on the inmate’s foot. This vicious method could sometimes cause a person to faint on the spot and even be left crippled for life. In this devilish prison, I did arduous hard labor every day and still had to take cruel beatings. On top of that, the three meals we were fed each day were not even fit for dogs or pigs: The dishes we ate were made of unseasoned radish leaves and swamp cabbage (which was often interspersed with rotten leaves and roots, sand, and mud), along with about a hundred and fifty grams of rice and a cup of the water that had been used to wash the rice in. All day long, I was so hungry my stomach was constantly growling. In this sort of environment, I only had Almighty God to rely on; whenever I took a beating, I would pray urgently, imploring God to give me faith and strength so that I could overcome Satan’s temptations. After more than twenty days of being ravaged and tormented, my body had become emaciated beyond recognition: I had no strength in my arms and legs, I could not stand up straight, and I didn’t even have the strength to stretch out my arms. Nevertheless, not only were the perverse guards indifferent to my plight, but they even misappropriated the few hundred yuan my family sent me. As time went on, my physical condition got worse and worse; I got so weak that I could not help complaining to myself, “Why, in this country, does a person who believes in God have to be subjected to such suffering? Isn’t the reason I spread the gospel to bring people before God to receive God’s salvation? And I have not even committed any crimes….” The more I thought about this, the harder it was to bear and the more wronged I felt. All I could do was continuously pray to God and implore Him to take pity on me and save me. In the midst of my misery and helplessness, God led me to remember a hymn of His utterances: “2 Perhaps you all remember these words: ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ These words shall be fulfilled by God during the last days, and they shall be fulfilled in those who have been brutally persecuted by the great red dragon in the land where it lies coiled. The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, and so, in this land, those who believe in God are thus subjected to humiliation and oppression, and these words are fulfilled in you, this group of people, as a result. 3 It is tremendously difficult for God to carry out His work in the land of the great red dragon—but it is through this difficulty that God does one stage of His work, making manifest His wisdom and His wondrous deeds, and using this opportunity to make this group of people complete. It is through people’s suffering, through their caliber, and through all the satanic dispositions of the people of this filthy land that God does His work of purification and conquest, so that, from this, He may gain glory, and so that He may gain those who will bear witness to His deeds. Such is the entire significance of all the sacrifices that God has made for this group of people” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, You Are Those Who Will Receive the Inheritance of God). God’s words gave me enormous comfort and encouragement, and they enabled me to understand His will. Because we believe in God in an atheist country, we are destined to endure the demon Satan’s coercion and persecution; however, our being subjected to this anguish is permitted by God, therefore suffering like this has value and meaning. It is exactly by way of such persecution and suffering that God plants the truth within us, thereby qualifying us to bear His promise. This “suffering” is God’s blessing, and to be able to stay loyal to God through this suffering is a testimony to God’s victory over Satan, and it is also compelling evidence that I have been gained by God. “Today,” I thought, “because I follow God, I suffer such persecution at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party demons, and this is God showing me special favor, so by rights I should submit to God’s orchestration and happily face and accept it with steadfast peace of mind.” I recalled another of God’s utterances, spoken in the Age of Grace: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). In that moment, I had even more faith and strength: No matter how Satan and demons might torture me, I was determined not to give in to them, and I swore that I would stand testimony and satisfy God! Endowed with authority and power, God’s words had dispelled the desolation and helplessness I’d felt inside, and alleviated the ruinous physical suffering I had been subjected to. They allowed me to see the light in the darkness, and my spirit grew stronger and more unyielding.
Later on, despite not having any evidence, the Chinese government imposed a sentence on me of a year of reeducation through labor. When the police transported me to the labor camp, the prison guards there saw that I was barely more than skin and bones and hardly even looked human anymore. Afraid that I would die, they did not dare to accept me, so the policemen had no choice but to take me back to the detention house. By then I had been tortured by those evil police to the point where I wasn’t able to eat, yet not only did they not give me medical treatment, but they even said I was faking it. When they saw that I could not get any food down, they got someone to pry my mouth open and forcibly poured it in. When they saw me having trouble swallowing, they beat me. I was force-fed and beaten like a rag doll three times in all. Upon seeing that they could not pour any more food into me, they had no alternative but to take me to the hospital. Examinations revealed that my veins had hardened; my blood had turned into a black paste, and could not circulate properly. The doctor said, “If this man is detained any longer, he will undoubtedly die.” Nevertheless, the hateful, evil police still would not let me go. Later, with my life hanging on by a thread, the other prisoners said I was beyond hope and a total goner. By then I was in utter anguish; I felt that being so young and having only recently accepted God’s work of the last days, there was still so much for me to enjoy, and I had not yet seen the day of God’s glory. I truly was not resigned to being tortured to death by the Chinese government. I absolutely despised this pack of utterly heartless, evil police, and had even more hate for this perverse, Heaven-defying, wicked, satanic regime that was the Chinese government. It was what had deprived me of my freedom to follow the true God, and it was what had brought me to the brink of death and would not allow me to worship the true God. The Communist Party frantically resists God, cruelly persecutes Christians, and wishes to exterminate everyone who believes in God and turn China into a godless region. This wicked demon Satan is indeed the enemy that is irreconcilably opposed to God, and what’s more, it is the enemy I can never forgive. I vowed that even if I were to be tortured to death that day, I absolutely would not compromise or give in to Satan! In my grief and indignation, I recalled something God had said: “Thousands of years of hate are concentrated in the heart, millennia of sinfulness are inscribed upon the heart—how could this not inspire loathing? Avenge God, completely snuff out His enemy, do not allow it to run rampant any longer, and do not permit it to kick up as much trouble as it wishes anymore! Now is the time: Man has long since gathered all his strength, he has devoted all his efforts and paid every price for this, to tear off the hideous face of this demon and allow people, who have been blinded, and who have endured every manner of suffering and hardship, to rise up from their pain and turn their backs on this evil old devil” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (8)). After pondering God’s words, I saw even more clearly the evil, vicious demonic face of the Chinese government, and recognized that in that very moment, I was facing a spiritual battle between life and death, between good and evil. The Chinese government’s goal in devastating me like this was to force me to forsake God and betray Him, but God had reminded and encouraged me to stand strong, rid myself of the hold death had over me, and bear victorious testimony for God. I could not withdraw into negativity; I had to cooperate diligently with God and submit to His orchestrations and arrangements. Like Peter, I had to submit unto death and, in my last living moment, bear firm, resounding testimony for God and comfort His heart. My life was in God’s hands and, though Satan might injure and slaughter my physical body, it could not destroy my soul, let alone do anything to obstruct my determination to believe in God and pursue the truth. Whether or not I survived that day, my only wish was to entrust my life to God and accept His orchestrations; even if I were to be maimed to death, I absolutely would not surrender to Satan! When I became willing to sacrifice my life and I resolved to stand testimony for God, God opened up a way out for me by rousing the other convicts to feed me. When that happened, I was filled with excitement; deep down I knew God was by my side and had always been with me. All along, He had been watching over me and protecting me, empathizing with my weakness and carefully arranging everything for me. In that dark lair of devils, even though my body had been ravaged, within my heart I no longer felt so much pain and distress. After that, the evil cops kept me detained for another fifteen days, but seeing that my life was just hanging by a thread and that I could die at any time, they finally had no choice but to release me. I had originally weighed more than fifty kilos, but during the nearly two months that I was locked up, I had been tormented until I was just skin and bones, weighing a mere twenty-five or thirty kilos, and my life hung in the balance. Even so, this pack of monsters still wanted to fine me ten thousand yuan. In the end, seeing that my family really had no way of coming up with such a large sum of money, they demanded six hundred yuan to cover my food expenses, and only after it had been paid did they let me go.
Suffering this inhuman torture and cruel treatment at the hands of the Chinese government left me feeling as though I had barely escaped the gates of hell. That I had been able to walk out alive was completely thanks to God’s care and protection; it was God showing me His great salvation. Thinking of God’s love, I felt doubly moved, and gained an even deeper appreciation for the preciousness of God’s words. Thereupon, I avidly read His utterances daily after that, and frequently prayed to God. Gradually, I gained more and more understanding of the work God was doing to save humanity in the last days. After a while, under God’s care, my body gradually recovered, and I again began to spread the gospel and bear testimony to God’s work of the last days. However, as long as the satanic regime remains standing, it will never stop trying to disrupt and destroy God’s work. Later, I was again subjected to frantic pursuit and arrest by the Chinese government’s police.
One day in November of 2004, the winter wind was blowing bitter cold and the air was swirling with thick snowflakes. While spreading the gospel, a few of my brothers and sisters and I were secretly followed by the CCP police. At 8 o’clock that evening, we were in the middle of a meeting, when we suddenly heard a burst of urgent knocking and shouting at the door: “Open up! Open the door! We’re from the Public Security Bureau! If you don’t open this door right now, we’ll kick it in! …” With no time to think, we hurriedly hid away the VCD players, books, and other material. A moment later, five or six policemen burst through the door, charging in like a pack of bandits or robbers. One of them bellowed, “No one move! Put your hands on your heads and squat down by the wall!” Straightaway, a few of the policemen rushed into every room and upturned the entire place. They confiscated four portable VCD players and some books about faith in God. Immediately afterward, they forced us into the police cars and drove us over to the local police station. On the way there, scene after scene of the horrendous torture meted out to me by the evil policemen the previous year flitted through my memory, and I inevitably felt rather nervous, not knowing what else these devilish police might do to torment me this time. Afraid I would not be able to bear their cruelty and that I might end up doing something to betray God, I earnestly prayed in silence to Him. Suddenly I recalled some of God’s words that we had read during a congregation a few days previously: “I am full of hope for My brothers and sisters. I trust that you will not become disheartened or discouraged, that no matter what God does, you will be like a pot of fire: never tepid, and persisting until the very end, until God’s work is fully revealed …” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Path … (8)). May we all swear this oath before God: To work hard together! To be loyal to the very end! To never part, and always be together! I hope that the brothers and sisters all make this promise before God, so that our hearts will never change, and our determination will never waver!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Path … (5)). God’s words shook me to the core. I thought about how God had descended from heaven to earth and undergone so many trials and tribulations in His work to bring salvation to humanity. It is His hope that people will remain unswervingly loyal to Him to the end, no matter how hard their circumstance. As one chosen by God, and one who had enjoyed the provision of His utterances, it behooved me to offer myself entirely up to Him. “No matter how much I might suffer or be tormented,” I thought, “my heart must remain full of faith; my feelings toward God must not change, and my will must not waver. I have to give resounding testimony for God, and absolutely must not surrender or yield to Satan. Moreover, I must not betray God just so I can go on dragging out a meaningless, ignoble existence. God is the One I depend on and, more than that, He is my staunch mainstay. As long as I genuinely cooperate with God, He will certainly lead me to victory over Satan.” Thus, I silently resolved to God, “O God! Even if I must sacrifice my life, I will stand testimony for You. No matter what sort of suffering I endure, I will adhere to the true way. I absolutely refuse to give in to Satan!” Invigorated by God’s words, my faith blossomed a hundredfold, and I found the faith and resolve to sacrifice everything to stand testimony for God.
As soon as we got to the police station, the police rushed over to warm themselves by the stove. Every one of them glared at me, and with brows furrowed and blazing eyes, they questioned me in stern voices: “Start talking! What’s your name? How many people have you spread the gospel to? Who have you been in contact with? Who is the leader of your church?” Seeing that I was determined to remain silent, one of the evil policemen revealed his brutish nature by charging over and fiercely grabbing me by the neck. He then slammed my head into the wall, over and over, until I felt dizzy and my ears were ringing. Next, he raised his fist and pummeled my face and head ferociously while screaming, “You’re the fucking leader, aren’t you? Speak up! If you don’t, I’m gonna hang you from the top of the building and let you freeze to death!” Those evil policemen beat me viciously for a full half hour or more, until I was seeing stars and my nose was streaming with blood. Seeing that they could not get the answers they wanted, they took me over to the PSB. On the way, I thought about the insane beating I had just gotten from the evil policemen, and an involuntary wave of fear passed through me. I thought to myself, “Since they were that heavy-handed with me right after I got to the local police station, then what sort of cruel lengths will the police at the PSB go to in order to torture me? Things are looking bad for me. I might not get out alive this time….” As I mulled this over, my heart was filled with an indescribable sense of despair and sadness. Amidst my anguish and helplessness, I suddenly remembered how God had allowed me to miraculously survive the previous year when the evil police had tortured me to within an inch of my life. I immediately brightened, and thought, “Whether I live or die is in God’s hands, is it not? Without God’s permission, Satan cannot succeed in killing me no matter what it tries. I have seen God’s wonderful deeds in the past, so how could I have forgotten? How could I be so faithless?” At that moment, I saw that my stature was still too immature—when faced with the trial of imminent death, I still was unable to stand at God’s side. I couldn’t help but recall one of God’s utterances: “To live in your mind is to be taken in by Satan; this is a dead end. It is very simple now: Look upon Me with your heart, and your spirit will immediately grow strong. You will have a path to practice, and I will guide your every step. My word shall be revealed to you at all times and in all places. No matter where or when, or how adverse the environment is, I will make you see clearly, and My heart shall be revealed to you if you look to Me with yours; in this manner, you will run down the road ahead and never lose your way” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 13). God’s words were a beacon leading the way, bringing me more and more clarity of mind. I recognized that God wanted to use this arduous environment to purify me, so that in times of crisis I would abandon my notions and imaginations and my concerns about my flesh, and go forward while only relying on God and depending on God’s words. This was a crucial moment in which God was leading me to experience His work, and I knew that I absolutely must not flinch. I had to place my life and death entirely in God’s hands and rely on God while struggling against Satan to the very end!
When we got to the PSB, the policemen again separated us and interrogated us each individually. As they continuously tried to force me to tell them about matters pertaining to my belief in God, one of the evil police saw that I was insisting on keeping my mouth shut, which caused him to fly into a rage: “You actually think you can get away with playing dumb with us. I have no patience for that!” As he said this, he grabbed me by the collar with both hands and hurled me to the floor like a sandbag. Then the other wicked policemen surged forward and began kicking and stomping all over me, until I was rolling around in pain. After that, they put their feet on my head and pressed down hard, grinding back and forth…. I still hadn’t completely recovered from the savage torture I’d endured the year before, so after again being beaten so viciously, I suddenly felt dizzy and nauseated. In utter agony from head to toe, I curled up into a ball. Next, the evil police went on to tear off my shoes and socks, then forced me to stand barefoot on the floor. It was so freezing cold my teeth chattered involuntarily, and both my feet went completely numb. I felt that I could not hold up any longer, and that I would collapse to the floor at any moment. Faced with these malevolent policemen’s cruel torments, I could not help but feel a burning anger and indignation. I despised these thoroughly evil minions of the devil, and loathed the vile, reactionary Chinese government. It opposes Heaven and is the enemy of God, and in order to force me to betray God and reject Him, it was ravaging me and torturing me, hellbent on putting me to death. Faced with Satan’s viciousness and cruelty, I thought even more about God’s love. I dwelled on the fact that in order to bring salvation to humankind, and for the sake of our future existence, He had put up with extreme humiliation while walking in person among us to do His work. He had given His life for us, and was now patiently and earnestly expressing His words to lead us along the path of pursuing the truth to attain salvation…. Tallying up all the painstaking price God had paid for humanity’s salvation, I sensed that no one loved me more than God; God cherished my life more than anyone else. Satan could only injure me, or devour and kill me. Just then, I felt even more fondness and adoration for God blossom in my heart and could not help but pray silently to Him: “God, thank You for guiding me and saving me like this. No matter how Satan tortures me today, I will definitely work hard to cooperate with You. I swear, I will not give in or yield to the devil!” With the encouragement of God’s love, even though my physical body was weak and powerless from torment, my heart was firm and strong, and I never once gave in to those wicked policemen. They kept torturing me until one o’clock the next morning when, seeing that they really weren’t going to get any answers out of me, they had no choice but to take me over to the detention house.
After arriving at the detention house, the wicked policemen again incited the jailhouse bullies to think up any way they could to punish me. By then I had been tormented so much that my body was covered in cuts and bruises; I was completely limp, and no sooner had I entered my jail cell than I toppled straight onto the freezing cold floor. Seeing me like this, without another word, the jailhouse bullies picked me up and pummeled my head with their fists. They beat me until my head was spinning, and I again fell heavily to the floor. After that, the convicts all came over to tease me, forcing me to press one hand against the floor and the other over my ear, and to then rotate in circles on the floor like a compass. After seeing me fall dizzy to the floor before completing more than a couple rotations, they kicked and beat me again. One of the convicts even delivered a fierce pounding to my abdomen, causing me to lose consciousness right then and there. After that, the convicts were given instructions by the correctional officers to torture and abuse me in a different manner every day, and to make me do all the daily dirty work chores such as washing all the dishes, cleaning the toilets, and so on. I was even forced to take cold showers on snowy days. Furthermore, every time I took a shower, they all forced me to lather up from head to toe with soap and then let the icy water flow slowly down along my entire body. After showering for nearly half an hour, I was so cold I was purple all over and shivering. Faced with this inhuman torture and cruelty, I prayed to God constantly, terrified that if I left God, I would wholly become a captive of Satan. Through prayer, God’s words continuously resounded in me and guided me: “Those whom God refers to as ‘overcomers’ are those who are still able to stand witness and maintain their confidence and devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and while being laid siege to by Satan, that is, when they find themselves amidst the forces of darkness. If you are still able to keep a pure heart before God and maintain your genuine love for God no matter what, then you are standing witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an ‘overcomer’” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God). God’s words were a light, illuminating and calming my thoughts. I knew that being under siege by Satan was exactly the time when I needed to have loyalty and love for God. Even though this miserable environment had brought suffering and torment to my physical body, hidden behind it was God’s vast love and blessings. It was God who had given me an opportunity to stand testimony for Him in front of Satan and to thoroughly humiliate and defeat Satan. Therefore, while undergoing this suffering, I warned myself again and again that I must be patient to the end, stand testimony for God by relying on His guidance in this dark lair of demons, and strive to be an overcomer. Guided by God’s words, my heart grew steadfast and strong. Despite the weakness and torment racking my physical body, I had faith that I could endure all of it to launch a life-or-death battle against Satan and stand testimony for God with my dying breath.
After being jailed for more than twenty days, I suddenly caught a severe cold. All four of my limbs became sore and limp, I was completely sapped of strength, and my mind grew muddled. Along with the worsening of my condition and the relentless beatings and torture from the other prisoners, I felt unable to hold up any longer. In my heart, I felt especially weak and depressed, and I thought to myself, “When will this daily torment and cruelty end? It looks like I’m going to be sentenced this time, so there’s not much hope that I’ll get out of here alive….” As soon as I thought that, my heart suddenly felt as though it had fallen into a bottomless abyss, and I sank into such deep despair and pain that I couldn’t find my way out. In my most desperate hour, I recalled a hymn of God’s words: “I do not wish for you to be able to speak many touching words, or tell many exciting stories; rather, I ask that you are able to bear fine testimony to Me, and that you can fully and deeply enter into reality. … Think no more of your own prospects, and act as you have resolved before Me to submit to God’s orchestrations in all things. All of those who stand within My household should do as much as they possibly can; you should offer the best of yourself to the last section of My work on earth. Are you truly willing to put such things into practice?” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, Can You Really Submit to God’s Orchestrations?). Line by line, God’s words beat upon my heart, causing me to feel deeply ashamed. I thought about how many times I had wept bitter tears, and grew determined to devote myself to God in all things and submit to His orchestrations and arrangements. I also thought about how, when God’s words had guided me while I was enduring suffering and torture, I had pledged on my life before God that I would stand testimony for Him, but that once God truly needed me to pay a real price to satisfy Him, I had instead clung abjectly to life and feared death, caring only about what would befall my physical body. I had completely ignored God’s will, and only thought about escaping my predicament and getting to a place of safety as soon as possible. I saw how truly lowly and worthless I was; I did not have enough faith in God, and I was too full of deception. I was unable to give any true devotion to God, and I did not have a genuinely obedient bone in my body. In that moment I understood that in God’s work in the last days, what He wanted were humanity’s true love and loyalty; these are God’s last requests, and the final tasks He has entrusted to humankind. “As a person who believes in God,” I thought. “I should completely place myself in His hands. Because my life has been given to me by God, He has the final say as to whether I live or die. Given that I have chosen God, I should offer myself unto Him and submit to His orchestrations; regardless of what suffering and humiliation I might be subjected to, I ought to dedicate myself to God with my actions. I should not have my own choices or demands; this is my duty, as well as the reasoning I should possess. The fact that I was still able to draw breath and was alive was all due to God’s protection and care; this was His provision of life—otherwise, would I not have been ravaged to death by the devil long ago? When I’d first undergone such profound suffering and hardship, God had led me to overcome it. What reason did I now have to lose faith in God? How could I be negative and weak, shrinking back and desiring to flee?” As this thought occurred to me, I silently confessed my guilt to God: “Almighty God! I am so selfish and greedy; I have only wanted to enjoy Your love and blessings, yet have been unwilling to sincerely dedicate myself to You. When I think of having to endure the suffering of long-term prison, I just want to break free and avoid it. I really have hurt Your feelings dreadfully. O God! I do not wish to continue to sink deeper; I just want to submit to Your orchestrations and arrangements and accept Your guidance. Even if I die in prison, I still want to stand testimony for You. Though I might be tortured to death, I will remain loyal to You to the end!” After praying, I felt doubly moved. Even though I was still in pain as before, in my heart I felt faith and determination to not give up as long as I had not yet fulfilled my pledge to satisfy God. As soon as I became resolved and confident that I would stand testimony for God unto death, something miraculous happened. Early one morning, I got out of bed, and discovered I had no feeling in either of my feet. I was completely unable to stand, let alone walk. At first the evil police did not believe me; assuming I was faking it, they tried forcing me to stand up. However, no matter how hard I tried, I could not stand. They returned the next day to examine me again. Noticing that both my feet were icy cold and completely devoid of any blood circulation, they became convinced that I really was paralyzed. After that, they informed my family that they could take me home. On the day I went home, sensation was miraculously restored to my feet, and I had no trouble walking at all! I know deep down that this was all thanks to Almighty God showing compassion for my weakness. He Himself had opened up a way out for me, allowing me to walk free from Satan’s lair without a hitch after I’d been illegally detained for a month by the Chinese government.
After having twice been detained and subjected to the Chinese government’s inhumane, cruel tortures, even though I suffered somewhat physically and even came close to dying, both of these extraordinary experiences actually formed a solid foundation upon my path to having faith in God. In the midst of my suffering and tribulations, Almighty God had given me the most practical watering of truth and provision of life, not only allowing me to thoroughly see through the Chinese government, its hatred of the truth, its enmity of God, and its demonic countenance, and become acquainted with its heinous crimes of frantically resisting God and persecuting His believers, but also bestowing upon me an appreciation for the power and authority of God’s words. That I had been able to escape the Chinese Communist Party’s evil clutches with my life, twice, had completely been a result of God’s care and mercy. Moreover, it had been an embodiment and confirmation of God’s extraordinary life force. I now profoundly realized that at any time and any place, Almighty God was always my sole support and salvation! In this life, no matter what dangers or hardship I might encounter, I was resolved to remain committed to following Almighty God, actively spreading His word and bearing testimony to God’s name, and repay God’s love with my genuine devotion!
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