Escaping My Family Cage

October 17, 2022

By Lin Xi, China

I accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days in 2005. During that time, through gatherings and reading God’s words, I learned of many truths and mysteries that I’d never heard of before: I came to know how God manages and saves humankind, and I learned of the purpose, value and meaning of human life, as well as man’s outcome and destination. Through reading Almighty God’s words, I was able to resolve many of the issues and difficulties in my life. It felt great to believe in God. But when my husband found out, he was resolute in opposing my faith. My uncle was once arrested by the CCP police due to his belief in the Lord. My husband knew that the CCP prohibits all from believing in God, and he worried that I’d be arrested too and it would implicate the whole family, so he was very opposed to my faith. Also, I was a substitute teacher at the time and he was worried the school would find out and fire me, so he put a lot of pressure on me and obstructed me.

He didn’t let me read God’s words or listen to hymns, much less would he allow me to attend gatherings or fulfill my duty. I remember once, he caught me reading God’s words and got really mad. He said: “Our government prohibits you from believing, but you still believe! If an education committee member catches you, you won’t only lose your job, you’ll also be sent to jail. I don’t have the money to post bail, so you’d better stop believing before it’s too late!” After that, when I continued believing, he threatened me, saying: “As long as I’m still breathing, don’t even dream of practicing your faith!” Hearing this, my determination weakened. I thought: “My husband won’t let me practice faith no matter what and yet I still insist on believing. So what is he going to do to me?” Just then, I thought of a passage of God’s words: “You must possess My courage within you, and you must have principles when it comes to facing relatives who do not believe. For My sake, however, you also must not yield to any dark forces. Rely on My wisdom to walk the perfect way; do not allow any of Satan’s conspiracies to take hold. Put all your efforts into placing your heart before Me, and I shall comfort you and bring you peace and happiness(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 10). God’s words were very motivating for me. I thought of how my husband had been deluded by the CCP into threatening me, to force me to abandon my faith. On the surface, it seemed it was my husband pressuring and hindering me from following God, but in reality, Satan was working through him to force me to betray God and lose God’s salvation. I couldn’t fall for Satan’s plot or compromise with Satan. I believed that as long as I relied on God and acted according to His words, He would lead me to overcome my husband’s coercion. After that, I hid my books of God’s words and would only read, attend gatherings or spread the gospel when he was away. It wasn’t until July of 2008 that my husband found out I was still practicing faith and doing my duty, and he went off on me. He upended the whole house to look for my books of God’s word and the MP5 player I used to listen to hymns. He stamped on the player, smashing it to pieces. To keep me from practicing faith, he took time off from his high-paying job so that he could supervise my activities all day at home. I was unable to attend gatherings and felt really tormented, so, when the opportunity arose, I snuck out to see my brothers and sisters. But to my surprise, he called the police to report us. Luckily they didn’t find any books of God’s words or other evidence so they didn’t arrest us. Later on, when he discovered that my sister’s house next door was a gathering place, he took pictures of the brothers and sisters gathering and threatened to report them. As a result, the brothers and sisters didn’t dare to continue gathering there. Whenever he caught me contacting my brothers and sisters, he’d either beat me or berate me. He beat me more times than I could count, and I had a ringing sound in one of my ears that didn’t go away for months.

During that time, I’d often hum this one hymn: “I’ll offer up my love and loyalty to God and complete my mission to glorify Him. I’m determined to stand firm in my testimony to God, and never give in to Satan. Though our heads may break and our blood may flow, the backbones of God’s people can’t be bent. With God’s exhortations strapped to my heart, I determine to humiliate Satan the devil. Pain and hardships are predestined by God. I will be faithful and obedient to Him unto death. I will never again cause God to weep and never again cause Him to worry” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, I Wish to See the Day of God’s Glory). I thought of how it was only with God’s immense love that I, as a created being, was lucky enough to follow God and be saved by Him. I’d rather die than give in to Satan and would never betray God. The more my husband pressured me, the more I ought to follow God, stand firm and humiliate Satan. Later on the church worried that my husband would continue beating me if I attended gatherings or did my duty, and that he’d report other brothers and sisters, so they had me stop attending gatherings and just read God’s word at home.

For the next three years, I could only seize on the times my husband was out to secretly read God’s words, occasionally met with my sister next door to fellowship and spread the gospel to friends and family. I was as restricted as a caged bird. I thought back on my times together with other brothers and sisters, fellowshiping the truth, singing hymns in praise of God, what happy, wonderful times those were! I also thought of how God’s work of saving mankind in the last days was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, and the opportunity would be gone in a heartbeat, so I couldn’t miss out. I longed to lead a normal church life, to spread the gospel and bear witness to God with the others, but these had all just become idle hopes. I felt so depressed and aggrieved and would often hide away all alone and cry. I wanted to yell out: “Believing in God is walking the right path. I’ve made the right choice. Why isn’t it working out for me?” Then I thought of a passage of God’s words. “For thousands of years this has been the land of filth. It is unbearably dirty, misery abounds, ghosts run rampant everywhere, tricking and deceiving, making groundless accusations,[1] being ruthless and vicious, trampling this ghost town and leaving it littered with dead bodies; the stench of decay covers the land and pervades the air, and it is heavily guarded.[2] Who can see the world beyond the skies? The devil tightly trusses all of man’s body, it veils both his eyes, and seals his lips firmly shut. The king of devils has rampaged for several thousand years, right up until today, when it still keeps a close watch on the ghost town, as if it were an impenetrable palace of demons; this pack of watchdogs, meanwhile, stare with glaring eyes, deeply fearful that God will catch them unawares and wipe them all out, leaving them without a place of peace and happiness. How could the people of a ghost town such as this ever have seen God? Have they ever enjoyed the dearness and loveliness of God? What appreciation have they of the matters of the human world? Who of them can understand God’s eager will? Small wonder, then, that God incarnate remains completely hidden: In a dark society such as this, where the demons are merciless and inhumane, how could the king of devils, who kills people without batting an eye, tolerate the existence of a God who is lovely, kind, and also holy? How could it applaud and cheer the arrival of God? These lackeys! They repay kindness with hate, they began treating God as an enemy long ago, they abuse God, they are savage in the extreme, they have not the slightest regard for God, they plunder and pillage, they have lost all conscience, they go against all conscience, and they tempt the innocent into senselessness. 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!(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (8)). Through the revelation of God’s words, I saw through to the truth of the CCP demons’ resistance of God. I thought of how ever since the CCP had taken power, they’d wantonly propagated atheism, saying “All things evolved naturally,” “Man evolved from apes,” “There has never been any Savior,” and so on. They used these absurd theories to deceive people, aiming to make people deny and betray God, resist God alongside them, and eventually be destroyed by God and become their grave goods. In the last days, now that God has incarnated in the flesh to save humankind, the CCP has been frantically hunting down Christ and wantonly arresting and persecuting Christians with the aim of suppressing God’s work in the last days and establishing an atheistic dominion in China. The CCP is a demonic legion that takes God as its enemy. It is a murderous, God-resisting avatar of Satan. The reason my husband was pressuring and hindering me from practicing my faith, was because he had been brainwashed by the CCP’s atheistic philosophy. He didn’t believe in God and was scared that he would be implicated if I were arrested by the CCP, so he strongly opposed my belief in God. All of the suffering I was going through was the CCP devil-king’s doing. I hated that demonic cabal with all my heart. Ever since I’d begun believing in God, my husband had gone along with the CCP in oppressing me, not letting me read God’s words, attend gatherings or do my duties, beat me countless times and even reported me and my brothers and sisters to the police. Realizing that my husband’s nature and substance was truth-hating and God-despising, and that I would always be oppressed by him if I tried to practice faith at home, I thought many times of divorcing him and leaving home to really practice faith and do my duty. But whenever I thought about leaving home, I would worry for my son. He was just a teenager—it would be so tough on him to lose his mother! At home, I could read him Bible stories, fellowship with him on God’s words, and bring him before God. If I left, who would guide him in his faith? Whenever I thought of this, I felt particularly weak, would lack the courage to divorce my husband, and would just quietly endure my life in captivity. When wracked by suffering, I would come before God in prayer and furtively read God’s words. Only then would I feel a bit comforted.

In October of 2011, I snuck out to secretly attend a few gatherings. My husband threatened the brothers and sisters, saying that if they hosted me, he wouldn’t be so polite with them next time. He also threatened me, saying: “As long as you stay here, I won’t let you believe in God! If you want to believe, then you’ll have to leave this household!” It was bitterly disappointing to hear him say this. To think, he would kick me out just for believing in God, without the slightest thought for all our years together. At that time, I thought of a passage of God’s words: “Why does a husband love his wife? Why does a wife love her husband? Why are children dutiful to their parents? Why do parents dote on their children? What sorts of intentions do people actually harbor? Is their intent not to satisfy their own plans and selfish desires?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together). God’s words were so true to life. There is no true love between people. The love between a husband and wife is based upon an assumption of mutual benefit. Before I believed in God, my husband had never treated me that way. But once he became worried that he’d be implicated if I were arrested for believing in God, he didn’t give the slightest thought to all of our years together in marriage, beating me and even threatening to kick me out of the house. Wasn’t he being so ruthless just to protect his own interests? Realizing that, I thought to myself: “Since he’s trying to push me away, I might as well just leave and be free to believe in God and do my duty.” Later, while my son was at a tutoring session with his aunt, I left for a church about 50 kilometers away, and was finally able to engage in church life and do my duty. But, at the time, I was still worried about my son. Whenever I had some down time or during holidays when I saw children coming home to their mother and father after school let out, I would think of how sad my child must have been to not have me at home, and would want to go home to see him. But I worried that my husband would beat, oppress and berate me, so I didn’t dare go back. All I could do was shed tears in secret.

Then, one day in September of 2012, I ran into my brother-in-law on the street and he forced me to come back home. After I got back home, my husband called a big meeting of the whole family. He called in his younger and older brother, my stepfather and my brother-in-law to try to dissuade me. My brother-in-law threatened me saying: “If you weren’t my sister-in-law, I’d make one call and have you sent to the Public Security Bureau.” My stepfather added fuel to the fire, encouraging my husband to suppress my actions. Seeing how things were going, I became worried that with so many people against my belief in God, my husband would oppress me even more in the future, so I wisely remarked that I was just coming home to live my life. Only then did my relatives quiet down. On my third day back at home, I saw that my church’s leader was visiting with my sister next-door and so I excitedly went over to ask her about the church’s gatherings. To my surprise, my husband followed me over and aggressively yelled at me to return home. I didn’t want to get my sisters into trouble, so I quickly returned home. When the church leader emerged from my sister’s house, my husband threatened her with a shovel, saying: “If you come around here again, I won’t be so kind next time!” Then, he took a kitchen knife and barged into my sister’s house, intent on stabbing her, and my sister’s husband and I had to hurriedly hold him back. After that, I stopped meeting with my brothers and sisters for fear of putting them in harm’s way.

During that time, I experienced a lot of mental anguish, and would often hole up by myself and cry. One time, I slipped out of the house to chat with a sister after my husband had gone out, but as I was heading back, my husband spotted me on the road while driving home. He snarled at me, saying: “Do you know I could run you over with this car?” Hearing this, my heart went cold. He wanted to run me over with his car just because I believed in God. This allowed me to see even more clearly that my husband was a God-hating demon and he would never let up on his oppression of me. I wouldn’t be able to practice my faith in that house, so my only option was to leave. But when I thought about leaving, I felt incredibly sad. I had only just reunited with my son and if I left again it’d be so hard on him! If I left, who would guide him to believe in God and walk the right path? The more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t bear to leave my son. All I could do was continually come before God in prayer: “Dear God! My husband keeps oppressing and obstructing me. I want to leave here so I can practice my faith, but I can’t let go of my son. Dear God! I just can’t decide what to do and pray that You may enlighten and guide me.” After that, I came across a hymn of God’s words: “Are people incapable of putting aside their flesh for this short time? What things can cleave the love between man and God? Who is able to pull apart the love between man and God? Is it parents, husbands, sisters, wives, or painful refinement? Can the feelings of conscience wipe away God’s image within man? Are people’s indebtedness and actions toward each other their own doing? Can they be remedied by man? Who is able to protect themselves? Are people able to provide for themselves? Who are the strong ones in life? Who is able to leave Me and live on their own? Time and time again, why does God ask that all people carry out the work of self-reflection? Why does God say, ‘Whose hardship has been arranged by their own hand?’(Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, Can Man Not Put Aside Their Flesh for This Short Time?). God’s words had a deep impact on me and I felt quite guilty. I thought of how God has incarnated in the flesh to save humankind, and expresses the truth and performs His work among men with great forbearance, enduring profound humiliation, and offering all of His love to humankind, the object of His salvation. Thinking of all the suffering God has endured to save man, I realized how incredibly practical God’s love is. God hopes that we will stand up and heed His will, casting everything aside to spread the gospel and bear witness to Him. This is God’s love for us. But I was selfish, thinking only of how there would be no one to take care of my son if I left, but failing to take heed of God’s will. I despised myself for being weak, useless, lacking in conscience, and unable to cast everything aside to follow God. Because I was unable to let go of my son, I had to settle for being trapped at home, beaten by my husband, caged and controlled with no chance to read God’s words, much less the opportunity to do my duty as a created being. I didn’t have the slightest resolve to pursue the truth and love God. Abraham was willing to give up his only son as an offering to God, so why couldn’t I temporarily part ways with my son to do my duty as a created being, pursue the truth, and receive God’s salvation? I couldn’t put aside my duty because I couldn’t let go of my son anymore. I knew God’s work of salvation was coming to a close and great calamities would soon unfold. At home, I was unable to read God’s words, attend gatherings or do my duty; if this kept up, I wouldn’t attain the truth and be able to prepare good deeds. I was liable to perish in any of the coming disasters. Then how would I guide my son on to the right path? Wasn’t my son’s fate also in God’s hands? I had no control over how much he was fated to suffer or if he could set foot on the right path. Realizing this, my anxiety subsided a bit.

After that, I read some more of God’s words, learned a bit more of the truth and eventually let go of my worries over my son. I read this passage. “Besides birth and childrearing, the parents’ responsibility in their children’s lives is simply to provide them with a formal environment to grow up in, for nothing except the predestination of the Creator has a bearing on a person’s fate. No one can control what kind of future a person will have; it is predetermined long in advance, and not even one’s parents can change one’s fate. As far as fate is concerned, everyone is independent, and everyone has their own fate. So, no one’s parents can stave off one’s fate in life or exert the slightest influence on the role one plays in life. It could be said that the family into which one is destined to be born and the environment in which one grows up are nothing more than the preconditions for fulfilling one’s mission in life. They do not in any way determine a person’s fate in life or the kind of destiny within which a person fulfills their mission. And so, no one’s parents can assist one in accomplishing one’s mission in life, and likewise, no one’s relatives can help one assume one’s role in life. How one accomplishes one’s mission and in what kind of living environment one performs one’s role are entirely determined by one’s fate in life. In other words, no other objective conditions can influence a person’s mission, which is predestined by the Creator. All people become mature in the particular environments in which they grow up; then gradually, step by step, they set off down their own roads in life and fulfill the destinies planned for them by the Creator. Naturally, involuntarily, they enter the vast sea of humanity and assume their own posts in life, where they begin to fulfill their responsibilities as created beings for the sake of the Creator’s predestination, for the sake of His sovereignty(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique III). Through reading God’s words, I realized that a child’s fate is not related to their parents, but is determined through God’s sovereignty. My son’s fate was in God’s hands. I couldn’t control how much my son would suffer or if he’d set foot on the right path—this was all subject to the dictates of God’s arrangements. I was reminded of Joseph: He had been sold into slavery in Egypt at an early age and was bereft of his parents’ care and guidance, but Jehovah God stood with him. No matter how the captain of the pharaoh’s guard’s wife seduced him, he was never deceived. Also, Joseph suffered many hardships in Egypt, but these actually hardened his determination and taught him to rely on God. Reflecting on those brothers and sisters that didn’t leave their homes to do their duties—they often encouraged their children to practice faith and walk the right path, and some of these children did practice faith and follow God on the right path, but others got caught up in worldly evil trends and became more and more decadent. I saw that what allowed a child to walk the right path was not their parents accompanying them, but whether it was in their nature to love the truth and whether God had predestined them to do so. If my son had humanity and was an object of God’s salvation, then even if I didn’t remain at his side, he would still grow up healthy and would come to believe in God. This was all in God’s hands—I didn’t need to worry about it. In my years as a believer, I had enjoyed so much of the watering and supply of God’s words, but I was unable to do my duty as a created being because of my attachment to my son. How selfish! I had to repay God’s love by spreading the gospel, bearing witness for Him and bringing more people into God’s house. In February of 2013, I left my family and took a train to a church in a faraway town.

When the train rolled past my son’s school, I gazed out at the building where my son attended classes and thought to myself: “Who knows when I’ll see him again.” I couldn’t hold back my tears. This made me despise the devil Satan’s authoritarian rule even more. It had torn me away from my family and kept me from being able to freely practice faith and do my duty. At that moment, I longed even more for the coming time of joy and freedom when Christ would reign supreme, and it ignited my drive to pursue the truth and strive for the light. I sang a hymn of God’s words in my mind: “You are a created being—you should of course worship God and pursue a life of meaning. Since you are a human being, you should expend yourself for God and endure all suffering! You should gladly and assuredly accept the little suffering you are subjected to today and live a meaningful life, like Job and Peter. You are people who pursue the right path, those who seek improvement. You are people who rise up in the nation of the great red dragon, those whom God calls righteous. Is that not the most meaningful life?(Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, The Most Meaningful Life). Pondering over God’s words, I realized that God had predestined that I should follow Him and do my duty in this adverse environment—this was the path that God was guiding me on. As a created being, I was ready to submit to God’s arrangements, seek the truth, dutifully carry out my work to satisfy God and humiliate the devil Satan. Realizing this, I felt much more peaceful and at ease. I thanked God for leading me to break free from my captivity under my husband, allowing me to do my duty as a created being and walk the right path.

After that, I kept doing my duty in a church away from home. These years, I’ve experienced God’s words and work, come to understand some truths, and feel like I’ve gained quite a bit. Thank God for His guidance!

Footnotes:

1. “Making groundless accusations” refers to the methods by which the devil harms people.

2. “Heavily guarded” indicates that the methods by which the devil afflicts people are especially vicious, and control people so much that they have no room to move.

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