Faith: The Source of Strength
By Ai Shan, Myanmar
Last summer. I was looking into it online and others fellowshiped lots of truth with me on things like how the Lord returns, how to listen for God’s voice and welcome the Lord, how to tell the true Christ from false ones, God’s 6,000-year plan, and lots of other aspects of the truth. I also read lots of’s words. I looked into it for two months or so and became certain that Almighty God is the returned. I was thrilled, and accepted His work of the last days. I couldn’t wait to tell my family the good news about the Lord’s return to bring them before God. But before I had a chance to share the gospel with them, my battalion commander summoned me back out.
I shared the gospel with them later, over the phone. One time, my wife and I started talking about how to welcome the Lord, and she asked me if I believed in. She said the pastor said those people abandoned their families, and I should give up that faith. Hearing that made me feel awful, and angry. I said, “Don’t be a fool. How can you just blindly believe what the pastor says? Is there any basis for him saying that? I’ve believed in Almighty God for over four months. Have I abandoned you? I don’t care about family? I just know the CCP is madly arresting and persecuting believers, splitting lots of believers’ families apart. How could they twist the facts to say we don’t want our families? Those are lies. You absolutely can’t listen to their rumors and lies.” Then I told her, “A reasonable person should do some seeking on the topic of the Lord’s coming and see if Almighty are the voice of God. It says in Romans 10:17, ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.’ The Lord Jesus also said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). God’s sheep hear His voice, so we should look into anything regarding the Lord’s coming and listen for His voice. God’s words are the truth—they’re powerful and authoritative. They couldn’t come from a person. I’ve determined that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned because I’ve seen all His words are the truth, that they’re God’s voice.” She wouldn’t listen at all. All I could do was just end the call. I called her again a couple weeks later but she just turned her phone off. Then as soon as it was time for the evening gathering, she started calling me over and over. I couldn’t settle down in the gathering or get any enlightenment from God’s words. I didn’t know what to do, so I prayed to God, asking Him to guide me through the situation. After praying, I thought that even though I didn’t understand God’s will in that yet, I had to have faith. I couldn’t be constrained by it, but had to focus on the gathering. I felt a little calmer then.
But then another day, my wife suddenly called me and said, “You bought a cellphone to listen to Eastern Lightning’s preaching, but our daughter is sick and we won’t have money left for her treatment. You’re not taking care of her because of your faith.” I knew she was only saying that because she didn’t want me to believe in Almighty God. We could borrow the money if we needed it, and it’s really normal for children to get sick. She would have gotten sick whether I was a believer or not. I want the best for her too. How could my wife misunderstand me that way? Seeing she was using our child’s illness as an excuse to keep me from my faith was really upsetting for me. Before I said anything, she went on, “If you insist on believing in this, we may not even be a family in the future.” This was heart-wrenching to hear. I was wondering if she really wanted a divorce while our child was still so small. I felt awful and just hung up without saying anything more. But what she’d said just kept bothering me constantly and I couldn’t help but start blaming God. I was wondering why He hadn’t protected our family harmony and our daughter’s health.
For a while, I couldn’t calm myself before God in gatherings and I didn’t have any enlightenment for fellowship. So I kneeled before God and said, “God, my stature is small. I’ve been feeling so down and weak since my wife said those things. Please stay with me and guide me to understand Your will.” That evening I read a passage of Almighty God’s words. “While undergoing trials, it is normal for people to be weak, or to have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work, and not deny God, just like Job. Although Job was weak and cursed the day of his own birth, he did not deny that all things in human life were bestowed by Jehovah, and that Jehovah is also the One to take them all away. No matter how he was tested, he maintained this belief. In your experience, no matter what refinement you undergo through God’s words, what God requires of mankind, in brief, is their faith and their love for Him. What He perfects by working in this way is people’s faith, love, and aspirations. God does the work of perfection on people, and they cannot see it, cannot feel it; under such circumstances, your faith is required. People’s faith is required when something cannot be seen by the naked eye, and your faith is required when you cannot let go of your own notions. When you do not have clarity about God’s work, what is required of you is to have faith and to take a firm stance and stand witness. When Job reached this point, God appeared to him and spoke to him. That is, it is only from within your faith that you will be able to see God, and when you have faith God will perfect you. Without faith, He cannot do this” (“Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in). His words showed me that the path to His kingdom isn’t all smooth sailing. There are all sorts of hardships and trials, and lots of things we don’t like will happen. But we have to go through all this to reveal whether we have true faith in God, and whether we can bear resounding witness for Him. When my wife was opposing my faith in Almighty God, at first I had the faith to keep bearing witness to her. But when she started threatening divorce and our kid got sick, I started complaining. I blamed God for not protecting my family’s wellbeing, for my child’s illness. I saw I didn’t have true faith in God. A couple bad things and I started blaming God—how was that testimony? Then I started wondering: Why would I lose faith in God the moment something happened to my family? Why couldn’t I help but blame Him?
I read a passage of God’s words that gave me some understanding of my mistaken views about faith. Almighty God says, “Today, you do not believe the words I say, and you pay no attention to them; when the day comes for this work to spread and you see the entirety of it, you will regret, and at that time you will be dumbfounded. There are blessings, yet you do not know to enjoy them, and there is the truth, yet you do not pursue it. Do you not bring contempt upon yourself? Today, although the next step of God’s work has yet to begin, there is nothing exceptional about the demands that are made of you and what you are asked to live out. There is so much work, and so many truths; are they not worthy of being known by you? Is God’s chastisement and judgment incapable of awakening your spirit? Is God’s chastisement and judgment incapable of making you hate yourself? Are you content to live under the influence of Satan, with peace and joy, and a little fleshly comfort? Are you not the lowliest of all people? None are more foolish than those who have beheld salvation but do not pursue to gain it; these are people who gorge themselves on the flesh and enjoy Satan. You hope that your faith in God will not entail any challenges or tribulations, or the slightest hardship. You always pursue those things that are worthless, and you attach no value to life, instead putting your own extravagant thoughts before the truth. You are so worthless! … What you pursue is to be able to gain peace after believing in God, for your children to be free from illness, for your husband to have a good job, for your son to find a good wife, for your daughter to find a decent husband, for your oxen and horses to plow the land well, for a year of good weather for your crops. This is what you seek. Your pursuit is only to live in comfort, for no accidents to befall your family, for the winds to pass you by, for your face to be untouched by grit, for your family’s crops to not be flooded, for you to be unaffected by any disaster, to live in God’s embrace, to live in a cozy nest. A coward such as you, who always pursues the flesh—do you have a heart, do you have a spirit? Are you not a beast? I give you the true way without asking for anything in return, yet you do not pursue. Are you one of those who believe in God? I bestow real human life upon you, yet you do not pursue. Are you no different from a pig or a dog? Pigs do not pursue the life of man, they do not pursue being cleansed, and they do not understand what life is. Each day, after eating their fill, they simply sleep. I have given you the true way, yet you have not gained it: You are empty-handed. Are you willing to continue in this life, the life of a pig? What is the significance of such people being alive? Your life is contemptible and ignoble, you live amid filth and licentiousness, and you do not pursue any goals; is your life not the most ignoble of all? Do you have the gall to look upon God? If you continue to experience in this way, will you not acquire nothing? The true way has been given to you, but whether or not you can ultimately gain it depends on your own personal pursuit” (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I found the answer here. My goal and perspectives in faith were wrong. It wasn’t to gain the truth, but it was so my family would be well and safe, our lives easy. I just wanted to live in God’s embrace and enjoy His grace. When I had His blessings, I had the faith to follow Him, but when there were problems at home, when my kid was sick, I complained and blamed God for not protecting my family. I didn’t really have faith. I even felt wronged about that happening to me, feeling like God should bless me for my faith, that I shouldn’t encounter that kind of thing. Then I realized my faith was entirely built on receiving blessings and simply didn’t stand up to the test. Having faith, worshiping God is right and natural. It’s like children being filial to their parents—we shouldn’t be transactional with God. But I was always trying to get things out of God, to get His grace and blessings. I didn’t have any conscience or reason. I was exactly the sort of person God was talking about—no heart, no spirit. How could that kind of faith be in line with His will? At that point, I saw that these difficult things had happened with God’s permission. Going through all that was exposing my incorrect perspectives on faith, so I could reflect on and know myself through God’s words, change my wrong ideas, and gain true faith in God. That was God’s purification and salvation for me. Understanding God’s will gave me faith in Him. I didn’t want to keep pursuing peace and blessings for my family. I needed to be in gatherings when I should be. I also set my resolve before God that no matter what happened in the future, I would keep pursuing the truth.
I read another passage of Almighty God’s words after that. “What does this word, ‘faith,’ refer to? Faith is the genuine belief and the sincere heart that humans should possess when they cannot see or touch something, when God’s work does not align with human notions, when it is beyond human reach. This is the faith that I speak of. People are in need of faith during times of hardship and refinement, and faith is something that is followed by refinement; refinement and faith cannot be separated. No matter how God works, and no matter your environment, you are able to pursue life and seek the truth, and seek knowledge of God’s work, and have an understanding of His actions, and you are able to act according to the truth. Doing so is what it is to have true faith, and doing so shows that you have not lost faith in God. You can only have true faith in God if you are able to persist in pursuing the truth through refinement, if you are able to truly love God and do not develop doubts about Him, if no matter what He does you still practice the truth to satisfy Him, and if you are able to seek in the depths for His will and be considerate of His will” (“Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I learned from God’s words that whether things are going well or whether they’re hard, we can’t doubt or blame God. We have to seek God’s will, stand on His side, act according to His words, and satisfy Him no matter how much we suffer. Only that is true faith. This understanding gave me a path of practice and the faith to follow God.
Later on, I gave my mom a call and asked her if my wife was okay. She said she was spending days at her parents’ house instead of taking care of our home, and she seemed like a totally different person. She also said our pastor said I was on the wrong path, that my faith was a betrayal of the Lord Jesus. He told my mom to get me to go back to the church, to give up Eastern Lightning. I was so angry when I heard that. I was just thinking about why the clergy would spout such lies. It was because of their deceptive rumors that my wife opposed my faith in Almighty God. I knew I couldn’t let them hold me back. I couldn’t listen to them, no matter what they said. After thinking through it, I told my mom, “Mom, don’t listen to those things the clergy were saying. Almighty God has expressed so many truths, and it’s God’s voice. He is the Lord Jesus returned. He and the Lord Jesus are the same God, so my faith in Almighty God isn’t a betrayal of the Lord Jesus. It’s keeping up with the Lamb’s footsteps and welcoming the Lord.” She didn’t say anything in response right then.
Then I gave my wife a call. I was surprised to find her angry. She said, “Why are you calling me? I thought you didn’t care about us anymore. Right now, make a choice. Eastern Lightning or our family? It’s fine if you don’t think of me, but you have to think of our child. She’s just eight months old.” It was really upsetting. I didn’t get it. I was just gathering and reading Almighty God’s words. I was on the right path. I’d never said I didn’t want our family or that I didn’t care about our daughter. Why would she force me into that kind of choice? Then it occurred to me she didn’t know what faith in Almighty God was, and wouldn’t listen no matter what I said. But having me give up my faith simply wasn’t possible. I was already certain that He’s the Lord Jesus returned, so I knew I’d keep following Almighty God no matter what she said. When she saw I wasn’t responding, she just hung up. The things my wife said were disruptive for me, but I knew that I couldn’t keep blaming God like before. I had to have faith, to rely on God to get through it. Then I heard aof God’s words called “You Should Forsake All for the Truth.” “You must suffer hardship for the truth, you must give yourself to the truth, you must endure humiliation for the truth, and to gain more of the truth you must undergo more suffering. This is what you should do. You must not throw away the truth for the sake of a peaceful family life, and you must not lose your life’s dignity and integrity for the sake of momentary enjoyment. You should pursue all that is beautiful and good, and you should pursue a path in life that is more meaningful. If you lead such a vulgar life, and do not pursue any objectives, do you not waste your life? What can you gain from such a life? You should forsake all enjoyments of the flesh for the sake of one truth, and should not throw away all truths for the sake of a little enjoyment. People like this have no integrity or dignity; there is no meaning to their existence!” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). God’s words bolstered my faith. I knew that as a believer, pursuing the truth is the only meaningful way to live. I couldn’t lose my faith over some troubles at home or fleshly difficulties. Lacking faith, not worshiping God would be a life without meaning or value. I couldn’t be held back by my family. My family and my child’s health were all in God’s hands, so I should hand them over to God and submit to His arrangements. I needed to pursue the truth as well as I could, and do my duty.
I had to go back home to get my ID card renewed. I felt like it was a good chance to share the gospel with them. I was really excited. But I was also worried, because my wife and mother were against my faith, and everyone there knew what I believed in. If the local clergy knew I was back, they’d definitely try to stand in my way. I had no idea what might happen there. So I prayed out to God, saying, “O God! I want to share the gospel with my family on this trip home for my ID, but they’ve been oppressing me, and the clergy have been interfering. I’m afraid they won’t listen to my fellowship. God, I want to rely on You, and I’m putting our family into Your hands. Please be with me and open up a path for me.”
Then I heard another hymn of God’s words: “With every person, matter, and thing you encounter, God’s word will appear to you at any time, guiding you to act according to His will. Do all things in God’s word, and God shall lead you forward in each of your acts; you shall never go astray, and you shall be able to live in a new light, with even more and newer enlightenments. You cannot use human notions to mull over what to do; you should submit to the guidance of God’s word, have a clear heart, be quiet before God, and do more pondering. Do not fret for solutions to what you do not understand; bring such matters before God more often, and offer to Him a sincere heart. Believe that God is your almighty. You must have a tremendous aspiration for God, ravenously seeking while refusing Satan’s excuses, intentions, and tricks. Do not despair. Do not be weak. Seek with all your heart; wait with all your heart. Actively cooperate with God, and rid yourself of your internal hindrances” (“Follow God’s Words and You Cannot Be Lost” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Listening to this hymn, I knew that God’s will was within this trip back home. It was just that I had little faith and didn’t understand God’s will. But I had to rely on God to get through it, and the part “Believe that God is your almighty” really stuck out for me. God’s words gave me faith. I was thinking that whatever I run into every day is what God allows. As long as I truly rely on and look to God, I believe He’ll guide me to face all of it with His words.
When I first got home my wife just ignored me, but I knew that was only because of the pastor’s influence on her. I knew I had to find a chance to tell her about God’s work of the last days so she knew the truth and wasn’t misled by the pastor. So I prayed to God, asking for His guidance. Then I patiently shared some heartfelt words with her. I said, “You and my mom really should look into Almighty God’s work of the last days and read His words. Then you can see that this is God’s voice, that it’s God’s words for mankind and He is the Lord Jesus returned. If you don’t investigate it and listen to God’s own voice, but instead listen to the clergy’s rumors and lies, how will you welcome the Lord? The Lord Jesus once said, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). The Lord is faithful. As long as we truly seek, we’ll hear God’s voice and welcome the Lord’s return.” It was surprising. She just quietly listened, and didn’t seem as resistant and argumentative as before. I thanked God from the heart, knowing it was His guidance, and this gave me the confidence to keep telling them about God’s work.
The next day, I shared the gospel with both her and my mom. I said, “Do you know why I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days? Because I read Almighty God’s words and saw it’s all the truth, that it’s the voice of God, and I became certain He’s the returned Lord Jesus. In the last days, Almighty God has spoken millions of words, revealing to us all the mysteries of His 6,000-year management plan and of the Bible, plus how mankind developed up to the present day, how Satan has corrupted us, how God works step by step to save humanity, how He determines our outcome and final destination, what sort of person can be fully saved and enter the kingdom, and who will be punished. Almighty God has told us all of that. He’s also told us the truth of how man came to be corrupted by Satan and the root of our resistance to God. What’s more, He’s shown us the path to have our sins fully cleansed. Every single word is the truth, and it’s all so powerful and authoritative. Almighty God has expressed all of this to purify and transform us, to completely save us from Satan’s power.” At that point, I asked them, “Who do you think can express truths and save people? Only God can! People don’t possess the truth. Only Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.” Then I went on, “You really should thoroughly read Almighty God’s words, then you’ll see that it’s the truth, that it’s the voice of God, and Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned! If you hear someone bear witness that the Lord has returned and don’t look into it, but just casually condemn it because of what the pastor says, you’ll ruin your chance at welcoming the Lord. That would be a terrible shame.” Hearing that, my mom said, “Yes, you’re right. God created mankind, so we should listen to what God says, not other people.” I was overjoyed to hear her say that, and I gave thanks to Almighty God. Then she went on to tell me, “Once I asked the pastor to pray for something in our family, but he said, ‘Your son doesn’t listen to us, the clergy. He didn’t get our permission to follow Almighty God. You utterly disregard us, so don’t ask us for any more help with your family affairs, but handle them yourselves.’” I was so angry when I heard those words! I told her, “As clergy members, they should lead believers in investigating any news of the Lord’s return. Not only do they refuse to do that, but threaten believers, keeping them from hearing God’s voice and welcoming the Lord. What are their real motives? Aren’t they just trying to keep everyone tightly in their own grasp? The Lord Jesus cursed the Pharisees: ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in’ (Matthew 23:13). When the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, the Pharisees madly opposed and condemned Him so that they could keep the Jewish people tightly within their clenches. They ended up having the Lord Jesus crucified, then were cursed and punished by God. Today’s clergy are just like the Pharisees were. Not only do they refuse to seek and investigate, but they keep believers from the true way. They’re acting as enemies of God! They’ll ultimately be cursed and punished, too.”
Then I gave them testimony about how we have to listen for God’s voice to welcome the Lord, and that that’s the only way to be a wise virgin and greet the Lord. Then I urged them, “I truly hope you thoroughly look into Almighty God’s work of the last days and read His words, to see if they really are the voice of God. I’d hate to see you misled and controlled by the clergy. You need to have discernment.” My mom listened to me, then said, “You’re right. I always listened to our clergy, afraid you were taking the wrong path. That’s why I tried to keep you from believing in Almighty God. But I see your fellowship is biblically sound, and things really aren’t the way the clergy portrayed them. I’ll look into it.” She was there the whole time, listening intently. After that, I read lots of Almighty God’s words to them, then fellowshiped on the difference between following God and following man, why God is doing His final judgment work in the flesh now, and the significance of God’s work in the last days. After a few sessions of fellowship, both of them accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Seeing both of them come before God was incredibly exciting for me, and I thanked God from the heart. It was all God’s love.
Later on, my wife opened up to me. She said, “I was oppressive toward you, and even pushed you toward divorce, all because I listened to the pastor. Every time I went to church, he’d tell me you were on the wrong path and told me to urge you to turn back. I was afraid he was right, so I was constantly arguing with you and I wouldn’t listen to you at all. But over this time of reading Almighty God’s words and hearing your fellowship, I’ve seen it’s totally different from what I imagined.” Then she said, “Thinking about my attitude toward God’s new work, it really scares me. I was fighting against God, and nearly lost my chance to welcome the Lord’s coming.” Then she gave me an apology, saying, “I shouldn’t have treated you that way. I’m so sorry.” When I heard my wife say the word “sorry,” I was so moved. I nearly started crying. I felt so grateful to God.
But through that experience, I could feel God’s heartfelt efforts to save mankind. He allows these difficult things to happen to us to expose our corruption and shortcomings, to perfect our faith in Him. Sometimes I suffer and feel weak, and I feel tormented, but God never leaves my side, and always guides me with His words. This helps me see my mistaken views about faith and learn some truths, and it strengthens my faith in God. It’s all God’s guidance! Thank God!