How I Faced the Persecution of My Family

September 28, 2022

By Zheng Lan, China

When I was little, my mother would often tell me: “For a woman, there is nothing better in life than finding a good husband and having a harmonious family. Only with these things can a woman live happily.” This way of thinking became deeply implanted within my psyche, and I yearned to find a good husband who would care for me once I grew up. But things didn’t turn out the way I wanted. My first marriage was a very unhappy one, which led me to my faith in the Lord Jesus. Through the grace of the Lord, my heart gained some comfort, but my husband would often beat me because of my faith, and I had no choice but to divorce him to keep practicing my faith. Later, through the introduction of a church co-worker named Yang, I established a relationship with Brother Wang. Seeing that his whole family believed in the Lord and they were really good to me made me really happy. Brother Wang and I resolved that we would work hard for the Lord and await His return together.

A year later, a sister invited me to go listen to a sermon. We had a few days of fellowship and I read a lot of Almighty God’s word. Almighty God has expressed many truths, revealing the mysteries of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, and doing the judgment work of the last days. I became sure that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. I was so excited, and when I got back home, I hurried to tell my husband the good news, which he also accepted happily. After this, we shared the gospel with the brothers and sisters at our church, many of whom, upon reading Almighty God’s word, determined it to be the voice of God, and accepted God’s work of the last days.

But to my surprise, once Yang found out about this, she rushed to several nearby churches with some other co-workers that night, and scared many of those who had just accepted God’s work in the last days away from their faith. Early the next morning, she came to my house to rile things up, asking me rudely: “Not only have you accepted Eastern Lightning, but you’ve also led other brothers and sisters to believe in it. Aren’t you betraying the Lord?” I replied: “Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. My accepting Almighty God is welcoming the Lord. Knowing that the Lord has returned and still not accepting Him—that’s betraying the Lord.” But they didn’t listen to me at all, and just condemned me instead, saying: “You’ve poached our churches’ sheep. You must confess your sins to the Lord immediately, or else the Lord will curse and punish you.” With the strength of my conviction behind me, I retorted: “The Lord Jesus said, ‘I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine(John 10:14). The sheep belong to God, not to any person. Those who believe in Almighty God are those who hear the voice of God, are welcoming the Lord, and following God’s footsteps.” Seeing that they couldn’t argue me down, they said in exasperation: “We founded these churches, we converted these people to believe in the Lord. These sheep are ours, and I forbid anyone from believing in Almighty God along with you!” They also threatened my husband and mother-in-law: “The church has always helped your family when you’ve had hard times, but if Zheng Lan keeps believing in Eastern Lightning, we’ll break off contact and never help you again.” My mother-in-law was scared to hear this, and nodded her head in agreement, saying: “Don’t worry! I don’t believe in Eastern Lightning, and I won’t let Zheng Lan believe either.” Then she said to me: “It was Yang who first got me to believe in the Lord, and she’s helped us on a number of occasions. We have to listen to her. We can’t let her down. No matter what, you can’t believe in Almighty God. In this family, what I say goes, so you all have to follow me in my faith!” So your mother-in-law had been misled. Did that impact your husband? After hearing them out, he also caved, saying: “I can’t believe in Almighty God with you anymore. Yang has helped us so much, and we got married because she introduced us. I’d be letting her down by believing in Almighty God, and since my mother is so against it, I couldn’t bear bickering about it every day.” I was so angry when I heard this and said: “You’ve read so much of Almighty God’s word, and you know that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, but you’re unwilling to follow Him, just to protect your relationship with Yang. Do you believe in people or in God?” My husband hesitated, and then said: “I acknowledge that this is the true way, but Yang says that if we keep believing in Almighty God, they won’t help us anymore. I can’t keep this faith.”

After this, my mother-in-law stood in my way a lot. One time, she said to me: “Our family would be happy if we practiced our faith in the Lord together. If you insist on believing in Almighty God, and my son and I believe in the Lord Jesus, will you two be able to stay together as time goes on, having different ideals and paths? Doesn’t a woman need to establish a family at a certain point? Who will care for you when you’re old? If you get a headache or a fever, who will take care of you? My son loves you dearly, but if you insist on believing in Almighty God, you two will end up divorced, and when that happens, you’ll be out of a home. I’m saying all this for your own good. Have a good think about it!” At the time, I felt a little uncertain. Would the family fall apart if I kept my faith in Almighty God? A woman’s greatest joy in life is finding a good husband and having a stable family. I didn’t want to lose this family, so should I listen to my mother-in-law and give up my faith in Almighty God? I felt really guilty when I thought about it that way. Hadn’t I been longing for the Lord’s return in my years of faith in the Lord? The Lord Jesus has returned, so if I didn’t follow Him, did I still count as a believer? I couldn’t give up on following God. At the time, I still held a glimmer of hope for my husband. I felt that as long as I kept reading him God’s word every day, he would come around in his understanding and be able to keep believing with me. After this, I would read God’s word to my husband whenever I had time. I’d always make good food for the family, and keep the whole house clean and tidy. No matter what my mother-in-law said about me, I gave her the same filial respect as always, hoping that would move my husband, and that we could keep believing in Almighty God together. But no matter how hard I tried, my husband would get annoyed whenever I brought up Almighty God, and he would fall asleep whenever I read God’s word to him. Seeing my husband like this made my heart turn cold. At this time, I realized that God’s sheep hear His voice, and that my husband’s faith wasn’t true, that he wasn’t a person who pursued the truth, and that I shouldn’t be relying on my emotions to drag him along, as this wasn’t in line with God’s will. If someone is not one of God’s sheep and they don’t love the truth, then no matter how much you try, it’s all for nothing. The whole family may believe, but there’s no guarantee they’ll all be raptured. This also fulfills the Lord Jesus’ prophecy: “In that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left(Luke 17:34). “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left(Matthew 24:40). After a while, my husband and mother-in-law’s persecution became increasingly severe.

One day, Sister Li came to give me some books of God’s word, and my mother-in-law stood in the courtyard screaming abuse at her, attracting lots of attention to the commotion. I was just about to send Sister Li away when my mother-in-law yelled at my husband: “Give Zheng Lan a beating for me!” Then my husband grabbed a chicken and swung it at me violently like a madman. I dodged it and the chicken was smashed against the iron gate beside me, and fell down, dead. Seeing that my husband hadn’t hit me, my mother-in-law screamed at the top of her lungs: “Hit her! Hit her!” My husband’s eyes were bloodshot, and he rushed over to me screaming: “You look like you’re asking for a beating! You’re gonna get it today! If you keep believing in Almighty God, you can get lost!” I was so scared to see my husband, who had always been so gentle with me, suddenly become so vicious and demonic. How could he be so hateful toward me like an enemy? I was bitterly disappointed, seeing him itching to kill me to vent the hatred within him. Seeing him raising his fist against me, I quickly called out in my heart for God’s protection. I said to my husband calmly: “The Lord Jesus taught us to love even our enemies. I am not your enemy, and I haven’t wronged you in any way, so why are you hitting me? In doing this, are you still even a believer in the Lord?” He stopped hitting me when I said that. My mother-in-law, however, was unrelenting, and said: “The anger will kill me if Zheng Lan keeps believing in Almighty God. It’s either her or me in this family. Do you want a wife or me?” Later, my husband knelt down before me and said in tears: “I’m begging you, please stop believing in Almighty God. I shouldn’t have lost my temper and I’ll absolutely never hit you again. Just listen to me this one time, and give those books back. If you truly anger my mother to death, we’ll get a reputation for being unfilial, and we’ll live the rest of our lives in disgrace. As long as you don’t anger my mother, I’ll take you to live in the city one day, and we can believe in Almighty God together.” Seeing my husband so upset, I didn’t know what to do. I knew that Almighty God has issued many truths to save man, and that I had to believe in Him. But I didn’t want to lose this family. I couldn’t hold back my tears. If he could change his mind and believe in Almighty God with me, that would be wonderful. But what would I do if I didn’t listen to him, and he took things too hard and something went wrong? What’s more, if I really infuriated my mother-in-law, not only would I be labeled as unfilial, but my husband would kick me out. The thought of these consequences made me feel limp and weak all over. I felt like I was really in a bind, and that I couldn’t overcome this situation. I then made a decision that I regret to this day.

A few days later, a sister came by to gather with me and I told her, feeling helpless: “You need to take back these books of God’s word to calm down my mother-in-law. My husband and I will practice our faith again once we move out.” The sister urged me to reconsider, but to protect the family, after lots of hesitation, I still had her take away the books of God’s word. Once the books had been taken away, I spent my days feeling uneasy and downcast, as if my heart had been hollowed out. I couldn’t eat or sleep and my heart truly ached. My mother-in-law was overjoyed to see that I wasn’t reading Almighty God’s word or attending gatherings anymore, and she would stand in the courtyard singing, and she’d sing extra loud whenever she saw me. I felt like this was Satan jeering at me. I was so remorseful, and hated myself for giving away the books of God’s word. Seeing how listless I was each day, my husband took me out shopping and to visit our relatives. When I saw my husband among unbelievers, smoking, drinking, playing games, and getting drunk, without any semblance of a believer whatsoever, I felt truly disappointed. I finally came to my senses. My husband clearly knew that Almighty God was the Lord Jesus returned, but he still chose to listen to Yang and my mother-in-law. Not only did he not believe in Almighty God, but he also persecuted me and kept me from believing. He even wasn’t abiding by the words of the Lord Jesus anymore, he wasn’t praying to the Lord or reading the Bible, but was smoking and drinking. His speech and behavior were completely unchristian. He was a nonbeliever, so how would he be able to believe in Almighty God along with me? I suddenly became aware that my husband telling me he would one day believe in Almighty God with me was just a trick to get me to send away the books of God’s word, to stop me from following Almighty God, to placate his mother, and get me to wholeheartedly serve their family. Wasn’t this one of Satan’s tricks to separate me from God and make me betray Him? I had been so blind and ignorant to allow Satan’s tricks to succeed. I missed those days of gathering and reading God’s word with the brothers and sisters so much, and I missed the joy that came with the accompaniment of God’s word. Thank God! It’s a good thing you were able to come to your senses. Later, I went to look for a sister I had been gathering with, but she had already moved away, and I didn’t know where the other brothers and sisters lived. Crying, I prayed to God, asking Him to guide me. I remembered that there was still a tape of hymns of God’s words at home. I was so excited and thanked God over and over. The first hymn that played was “Suffering Fills the Days Without God.” “When one does not have God, when one cannot see Him, when one cannot clearly recognize God’s sovereignty, every day is meaningless, worthless, miserable. Wherever one is, whatever one’s job is, one’s means of living and the pursuit of one’s goals bring one nothing but endless heartbreak and suffering without relief, such that one cannot bear to look back on one’s past. Only when one accepts the Creator’s sovereignty, submits to His orchestrations and arrangements, and seeks true human life will one gradually begin to break free from all heartbreak and suffering, and to be rid of all the emptiness of life(Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). I couldn’t help but burst into tears as I listened. I knelt down and prayed to God: “Oh God! My days without You have been truly dark and painful. My life has been completely without hope, and I’ve felt like I’d be better off dead. You were gracious toward me so that I could come before You, and You moved the brothers and sisters to keep on watering and supporting me. This is all Your love. But I didn’t know to cherish this and I betrayed You to protect my family. I was truly without conscience. God, I have been so rebellious, yet You still enlighten me, and move my heart with Your words. I am truly indebted to You. I want to mend my ways. No matter how my family persecutes me, I will follow You with all my heart.” After praying, I felt really at peace and at ease. To my surprise, I ran into a sister in the street the next day. I was overjoyed, as if I were meeting a long-lost relative. I knew that this was all God’s love for me, and I thanked God from the bottom of my heart.

When my husband saw that I had started going to gatherings again, he wanted to smash up my bike and he threatened to beat me. My mother-in-law also started persecuting me again like before, but no matter how they persecuted me, I wouldn’t give in to them. In order to gather normally, I had to get up early and sleep late each day to get all of my housework done as quickly as possible so that I could find time to gather and read God’s word. Though I was shouldering all the housework and I was sometimes completely worn out, my husband and mother-in-law’s attitude toward me didn’t improve in the slightest. The persecution actually got worse. When they found me reading God’s word they’d mock me, saying: “Can reading a book take the place of a meal? Who’s working if you’re lazing around?” One time, when I wanted to rest for a day because I had a stomachache and couldn’t work, my husband said to me angrily: “And what about the things I want you to do? If you don’t do them, who will?” My mother-in-law then brought me a couple of painkillers, and made me take them and get back to work. Seeing them treat me like this really broke my heart. I suffered and worked like a dog for this family, day in and day out, and yet they didn’t have even the slightest care or consideration for me. I couldn’t read God’s word in this house and I didn’t even have the right to rest when I was sick. Was this the family I wanted? Was this “happiness”? Living like this is too oppressive and painful. I read God’s word: “Pernicious influences that thousands of years of ‘the lofty spirit of nationalism’ have left deep in the human heart, as well as the feudal thinking by which people are bound and chained, without an iota of freedom, with no will to aspire or persevere, no desire to make progress, remaining instead passive and regressive, entrenched in a slave mentality, and so on—these objective factors have imparted an indelibly filthy and ugly cast to the ideological outlook, ideals, morality, and disposition of humanity. Humans, it would seem, are living in a dark world of terrorism, which none among them seeks to transcend, and none among them thinks of moving on to an ideal world; rather, they are content with their lot in life, to spend their days bearing and raising children, striving, sweating, going about their chores, dreaming of a comfortable and happy family, and dreaming of conjugal affection, of filial children, of joy in their twilight years as they peacefully live out their lives…. For tens, thousands, tens of thousands of years until now, people have been squandering their time in this way, with no one creating a perfect life, all intent only on mutual slaughter in this dark world, on the race for fame and fortune, and on intriguing against one another. Who has ever sought after God’s will? Has anyone ever heeded the work of God?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (3)). By the time I finished reading God’s word, tears were streaming down my cheeks. God’s word was revealing my state. I was so bound by this feudal way of thinking that I had no freedom. From a young age I had been controlled by ideas like “Marry in youth to have a companion in old age” and “Your husband is your rock and family is your refuge,” so I’d always dreamed of having a happy home, conjugal bliss, a harmonious family, and a life filled with joy. But reality was completely different to what I had wanted. My first marriage had been unhappy, and my husband had oppressed me in my faith and beaten me a lot. After establishing a home with my next husband, I really cherished that family, and to live a happy life I worked from dawn to dusk without complaint to manage the housework, tiring myself out until my back hurt. But not only did my husband and mother-in-law not care about me, they also persecuted me, obstructed me, wouldn’t let me read Almighty God’s word, and forced me to keep working even when I was sick. I was like a slave. This was no family! Without this family, at least I would be able to freely believe in God, read His word, and frequently gather and fellowship with brothers and sisters. This family was strangling the life out of me, it had become my entrapment and my shackles. It was not beneficial to my faith or to the performance of my duty. This family would ruin my life. I finally woke up. I had always fantasized about having a happy family, but people have all been corrupted by Satan and are filled with corrupt dispositions. People are so arrogant, conceited, crooked, treacherous, and selfish. There’s no chance that the happy marriage I once yearned for exists in this world. Ideas like “Marry in youth to have a companion in old age” and “Your husband is your rock and family is your refuge,” are just lies Satan uses to deceive people and tricks it uses to hurt people! Through the revelation of God’s word, I gained a little discernment of the essence of my family. I had been so blind and ignorant before! By believing in God, I was on the right life path and could no longer be constrained by them. I had to persist in gathering and performing my duty at all times. So I said to my husband: “I only came together with you because of faith in God. Now I’m welcoming the return of the Lord, and even if you don’t believe, I have to. Even if we divorce, I will keep on gathering and spreading the gospel.” Seeing my resolve, he agreed not to stand in my way anymore. But good things didn’t last, and before long he started persecuting me again.

One time, some brothers and sisters came to my house for a gathering. One of the sisters had a flat tire on her bike, so I got a pump to give it some air. But seeing this, my mother-in-law stormed over and snatched the pump away with a vicious look on her face. The sister was terrified and my mother-in-law scolded me, teeth gritted: “I don’t allow you to believe in Almighty God, but you insist on it. I’ll show you what’s what. I’d rather get you out of here than let you believe in Almighty God …” Saying this, she started beating me and yelling at me at the same time. She beat me until my head was ringing. Seeing me being beaten, the brothers and sisters came over to try and stop my mother-in-law, but she screamed at them: “I’ll have you all sent to the Public Security Bureau, then see if you can believe in Almighty God!” By this point, a whole crowd had gathered in the street to watch the commotion. I thought my husband would help me talk her down, but to my surprise, because of his mother’s agitation, he punched me in the back of the head, knocking me out cold. My husband’s blow turned my heart completely cold and I began to reflect on myself: What is the point of me maintaining this family?

Later, I remembered God’s word: “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? … There are physical relationships that exist between the people of today, as well as associations by blood, but in the future, these will all be shattered. Believers and unbelievers are not compatible; rather, they are opposed to one another(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together). From the revelation of God’s word I understood that people have all been corrupted by Satan and that all people are selfish. Husbands and wives only stay together to satisfy their own selfish desires and to use each other. My husband’s sweet talk and care for me was just to use me so I’d take care of the children and the elderly, and do housework for him, and I married him so that he would act as my umbrella. How can true love exist in such a relationship? This is not true love. My husband was always standing in the way of me believing in God and reading His word, and he had long since been exposed by God as someone who didn’t truly believe in God. Just as God’s word reveals: “Believers and unbelievers are not compatible; rather, they are opposed to one another.” But I’d never been able to let him go, and I’d always wanted to keep this family going. I was truly foolish. I read more of God’s word: “Anyone who does not recognize God is an enemy; that is, anyone who does not recognize God incarnate—whether or not they are inside or outside this stream—is an antichrist! Who is Satan, who are demons, and who are God’s enemies if not resisters who do not believe in God? Are they not those people who are disobedient to God? Are they not those who claim to have faith, yet who lack truth? Are they not those who merely seek to obtain blessings while being unable to bear witness for God?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together). After reading God’s word, I could see my husband’s essence more clearly. My husband believed in the Lord Jesus in name, but in essence, he only wanted grace and blessings from God. He’d believe if there was something to gain, but otherwise, he wouldn’t. When he heard of the Lord’s return, he thought he could enter the kingdom of heaven and live on, and so he accepted this gladly. But when he was disrupted and rejected by religious people, not only did he stop believing, but he also persecuted and obstructed me. His essence was that of Satan the devil—the enemy of God. People’s essences are different, as are the paths they take, and even families can become enemies. This truly confirms what the Lord Jesus said: “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household(Matthew 10:36). I read more of God’s word. “Why is he so uncaring of God’s heart? Does he quietly condone this oppression and hardship? Does he not wish for the day when he can change darkness into light? Does he not wish to once more remedy the injustices toward righteousness and truth? Is he willing to watch and do nothing as people forsake the truth and twist the facts? Is he happy to keep enduring this maltreatment? Is he willing to be a slave? Is he willing to perish at the hands of God together with the slaves of this failed state? Where is your resolve? Where is your ambition? Where is your dignity? Where is your integrity? Where is your freedom? … Why does he not give his life to God as soon as he can? Why does he still waver? When can he finish God’s work? Thus aimlessly bullied and oppressed, his whole life will ultimately have been spent in vain; why is he in such a hurry to arrive, and such a rush to depart? Why does he not keep something precious to give to God? Has he forgotten the millennia of hate?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (8)). God’s word helped me understand His urgent intentions. God worries for mankind, and doesn’t want us to live our lives eternally within Satan’s bondage and torment. He wants us to break free of the constraints of the forces of darkness, to deliver our lives unto Him and live in the light. But I had been such a coward. My husband and mother-in-law are of the devil, and they had been standing in the way of my faith, beating, scolding, and persecuting me, but I couldn’t bear to part with this family. So I endured injustice and humiliation, and like a slave, my life revolved around my husband and family, and I pursued meaningless things. God was leading me to walk on the right path, He had expressed truths that had let me understand the meaning and the value of human life, but I lacked the resolve to pursue that. I was truly a worthless wretch. The Lord Jesus said, “He that loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me(Matthew 10:37). God chose me and saved me—He gave me truth and life. I should pursue and love God. Both my husband and mother-in-law resisted God and they were not worthy of my love or energy. I used to be so ignorant and blind. I had always pursued marital harmony and family bliss. Half my life had been spent in vain. I should use the rest of my days to satisfy God. We are now in a vital time of spreading the kingdom gospel, and more people are needed to bear witness to God’s work in the last days so that more people can gain God’s salvation in the last days. I should cooperate with God and perform my duty to the utmost of my ability. This is the only way to live a life of meaning and value.

Not long after that, I left my home to go spread the gospel. I fellowshiped God’s word and performed my duty with brothers and sisters every day, and my heart felt so at ease and liberated. Now sometimes when I encounter difficulties in my duty or when I’m sick, the sisters always help me and care for me. They treat me like family. This is all God’s love. I now realize that God is my real rock, and that the house of God is my real family. I thank God from the bottom of my heart!

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