Gains Made Through Adversity
At the end of 2019, a relative shared the gospel ofin the last days with me. I saw that the words of Almighty God had authority, and that they were the truth. I felt that this was the voice of God, and so I accepted God’s new work gladly. I read God’s word every day and didn’t want to miss a single gathering. Sometimes, there would be problems with the internet or power supply where I was, and I couldn’t attend the online gatherings. I would be very upset, but I’d quickly read the details of the gathering afterward, and then send my understanding of God’s word to the group, commune with the brothers and sisters, and do my duty to the best of my ability.
After a while, I was selected as a church leader. At first, I shared the responsibility of the church work with two other leaders, so I didn’t find it too difficult or stressful. Before long, I was chosen to oversee the work of several churches. At the beginning, I didn’t want to do this duty. It was because I felt that I hadn’t practiced as a leader for long, and that I still had many shortcomings and things I didn’t understand, so I was very worried that I wouldn’t do this duty well. Later, I read the word of God: “Noah had heard but a few messages, and at that time God had not expressed many words, and so there is no question that Noah did not understand many truths. He did not comprehend modern science or modern knowledge. He was an exceedingly ordinary man, an unremarkable member of the human race. Yet in one respect, he was unlike anyone else: He knew to listen to (The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Two: How Noah and Abraham Listened to God’s Words and Submitted to Him (Part One)). Noah had never heard any profound messages and he didn’t understand many truths, but he had a heart that feared and obeyed God. When God told Noah that He was going to wipe out humanity with a flood and that Noah was to build an ark, Noah accepted without hesitation. Noah was aware that the commission God had given him was not an easy one, as building an ark would entail felling trees and making precise measurements, but even though the project was vast and difficult, Noah did not shrink back, as he knew that this was God’s commission of him. In pondering God’s words, I realized that I didn’t have Noah’s humanity or sense. When the leader put me in charge of the work of several churches, I didn’t have faith in God and only relied on my own abilities. I felt that my work capabilities were limited, that I hadn’t practiced for long as a church leader and had many shortcomings. I worried that I’d not do well, so I was unwilling to accept this duty. I didn’t have Noah’s faith in God, nor did I have a heart that feared and obeyed God, much less the humanity or sense that Noah had possessed. Realizing this, I no longer worried, and I was willing to obey and accept this duty as Noah had accepted his., he knew how to follow and abide by God’s words, he knew what man’s station was, and he was able to truly believe and obey God’s words—nothing more. These few simple tenets were sufficient to allow Noah to accomplish all that God had entrusted to him, and he persevered in this for not just a few months, nor several years, nor several decades, but for over a century. Isn’t this number astonishing? Who could have done this but Noah? (No one.) And why not? Some people say it is due to not understanding the truth—but that is not in accordance with fact. How many truths did Noah understand? Why was Noah capable of all this? The believers of today have read many of God’s words, they understand some truth—so why is it that they are incapable of this? Others say it is because of people’s corrupt dispositions—but did Noah not have a corrupt disposition? Why was Noah able to achieve this, but the people of today are not? (Because the people of today do not believe God’s words, they neither treat nor abide by them as the truth.) And why are they unable to treat God’s words as the truth? Why are they incapable of abiding by God’s words? (They do not have God-fearing hearts.) So when people have no understanding of the truth, and have not heard many truths, how does a God-fearing heart occur in them? (One must have humanity and conscience.) That’s right. In people’s humanity, two of the most precious things of all must be present: The first is conscience, and the second is a sense of normal humanity. The possession of conscience and sense of normal humanity is the minimum standard for being a person; it is the minimum, most basic standard for measuring a person. But this is absent from the people of today, and so no matter how many truths they hear and understand, they are not able to possess God-fearing hearts. So what is the difference in the essence of people today compared to Noah? (They have no humanity.) And what is the essence of this lack of humanity? (Beasts and demons.) ‘Beasts and demons’ doesn’t sound very nice, but this is in line with the facts; a more polite way to put it would be that they have no humanity. People without humanity and sense are not people, they are beneath even beasts. That Noah was able to complete God’s commission was because when Noah heard God’s words, he was able to commit them to memory; for him, God’s commission was a lifelong undertaking, his faith was unwavering, his will unaltered for a hundred years. It was because he had a God-fearing heart, he was a real person, and he had the utmost sense that God entrusted the building of the ark to him. People with as much humanity and sense as Noah are very rare, it would be very hard to find another”
However, once I started the work, I encountered a new problem. I found that I had a lot of work to do. For example, I had to get to grips with the states of the brothers and sisters within the church, support those who weren’t gathering normally, get to know the duty difficulties people had and fellowship to resolve them, and help people learn how to do their duties, and so on. These were all responsibilities that I had to bear. When faced with these problems, I didn’t know where to start, I didn’t know how to do this work well, and I felt extremely stressed. These difficulties caused me to become negative, and I just wanted to tell the leader that I felt I wasn’t fit for this duty because I had no experience and I was having a lot of difficulties with it. Later, the leader found out about my state and sent me a passage of God’s word to help me. I read the word of God: “Back when God sent Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, what was Moses’ reaction to God’s having given him such a commission? (He said he was not eloquent, but slow of speech and tongue.) He had that one, slight misgiving, that he was not eloquent, but slow of speech and tongue. But was he resistant to God’s commission? How did he treat it? He fell down prostrate. What does it mean to fall down prostrate? It means to submit and accept. He prostrated his whole self before God, heedless of his personal preferences, and did not mention any difficulties he might have had. Whatever God would have him do, he would do it at once. Why was he able to accept God’s commission even when he felt there was nothing he could do? Because he had real trust inside him. He had had some experience of God’s sovereignty over all things and matters, and in the forty years he experienced in the wilderness, he had come to know that God’s sovereignty is almighty. So, he accepted God’s commission with alacrity, and set off to do what God had commissioned of him without another word about it. What does it mean that he set off? It means that he had real trust in God, true reliance on Him, and true submission to Him. He was not cowardly, and he did not make a choice of his own or try to refuse. Instead, he fully believed, and he set off to act with God’s commission upon him, filled with trust. He believed this: ‘If God has commissioned this, then it will all be done as God says. God has told me to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, so I will go. Since this is what God has commissioned, He will go to work, and He will give me strength. I need only cooperate.’ This is the insight Moses had. … Circumstances at the time were not favorable for the Israelites or for Moses. Leading the Israelites out of Egypt was, in the human view, simply an impossible task, because Egypt was cut off by the Red Sea, and crossing that would be a great challenge. Could Moses really not have known how difficult it would be to fulfill this commission? In his heart, he knew, yet he said only that he was slow of speech and tongue, that no one would heed his words. He did not, at heart, reject God’s commission. When God told Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he lay prostrate and accepted it. Why did he not mention the difficulties? Was it that, after forty years in the wilderness, he did not know the perils of the world of men, or the state to which things had progressed in Egypt, or the current plight of the Israelites? Could he not see those things clearly? Is that what was happening? Certainly not. Moses was intelligent and wise. He knew all those things, having personally undergone and experienced them in the world of men, and he would never forget them. He knew those things all too well. So, did he know how difficult the commission was that God had given him? (Yes.) If he knew, how was he able to accept that commission? He trusted in God. With his lifetime of experience, he believed in God’s omnipotence, so he accepted this commission of God with a heart full of trust and without the slightest doubt. … Tell Me, in his forty years in the wilderness, was Moses able to experience that, in God, nothing is difficult and that man is in God’s hand? Very much so—that was his truest experience. In his forty years in the wilderness, there were so many things that posed mortal danger to him, and he did not know whether he would survive them. Every day, he would have struggled for his life and prayed to God for protection. That was his only wish. In those forty years, what he experienced most deeply was God’s sovereignty and protection. Later, then, when he was accepting God’s commission, his first feeling must have been: ‘Nothing is difficult in God. If God says it can be done, then it certainly can. Since God has given me such a commission, He will certainly see to it—it is He who will do it, not any man.’ Before taking action, people must plan and make preparations in advance. They must handle the preliminaries first. Must God do these things before He acts? He has no need. Every created being, no matter how influential, no matter how capable or powerful, no matter how frenzied, is in God’s hand. Moses had trust, knowledge, and experience of this, so there was not a shred of doubt or fear in his heart. As such, his trust in God was particularly genuine and pure. He may be said to have been filled with trust” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only With True Obedience Can One Have Real Trust). Having read God’s word I realized that I was a coward who did not trust in God and that I had no faith in God. God called upon Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt so that they would no longer be enslaved. Moses did not have an army to fight against the Pharaoh, and it was very difficult to complete this commission, but Moses was able to obey the word of God, and he believed that God would personally lead His people out of Egypt. Thinking back on myself again, I saw so much work that I couldn’t do, and so I wanted to cast aside this duty because I felt I was under a lot of pressure, that this duty was a burden on me, and that I couldn’t complete it. I did not trust in God, and I had no faith in God. I only believed in my own limited abilities. I thought that my being able to do my work well was related to my caliber and experience. I didn’t believe that the work is all done by God and we just play a supporting role. I had been truly arrogant. It was with God’s permission that I was able to perform that duty. Everything is governed and arranged by God. I had to have faith to cooperate practically. From now on, I could no longer reject this duty. I believed that as long as I leaned on God and looked to Him, He would guide and help me, allowing me to understand the truth and all sorts of principles of doing duties through all sorts of difficulties, and gradually come to do my duty well. I also learned that having the chance to do this duty was God giving me a chance to practice, and through this strengthening my faith and bolstering my weak points, so that I could shoulder heavier burdens and do my own part, which is God showing me favor.
Since there have been problems with water, electricity, the internet, and the economy in recent years in Venezuela, we have to work harder than usual to support our families. My father and I would go out fishing every morning at 3 a.m., and we wouldn’t get back until around three or four in the afternoon. I felt so tired floating out at sea all day, but when I got back home, I didn’t want to rest because there were still so many things that I couldn’t do in duty, and I needed to spend more time studying, equipping myself, and making up for my shortcomings to be able to perform my duty properly. If I didn’t perform my duty well, I would be letting down God. I thought about the saints of the Age of Grace. They followed the (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only With True Obedience Can One Have Real Trust). When you encounter difficulties, call out to God with your heart, and you will have faith and strength. The capabilities of humans are limited. We have no means of seeing things beyond our field of view, so we always fear the difficulties that arise before our eyes. God rules over all things, and so long as we sincerely rely on God, God will guide us and help us perform our duties. The word of God gave me faith and strength. I couldn’t fail to do my duty in the face of numerous difficulties. I had to pray and rely on God to get through these difficulties, and work even harder in the performance of my duty. So I started going out in the street looking for a more stable internet connection that would enable me to gather normally. Sometimes when I was hosting a gathering, I would go out on the street at about 8 p.m., and only get back home at around half past ten or eleven when the gathering ended. I was very scared on the way back home because I was living in a dangerous place, and I was scared that somebody would steal my phone, in which case I’d not be able to carry on gathering or performing my duty. I’d often pray to God, asking Him to give me the strength to persist amidst difficulty. Before long, I received a message. One of the brothers had found out about my situation and had taken the initiative to send me a message: “Brother, I know that you’re going through a difficult time right now, and that you’ve been going out onto the streets late at night to do your duty. This is extremely dangerous. I have a bike, and I can lend it to you when you need it. This will make it easier for you to get about.” I felt so grateful to God. I’d learned a lot through these difficulties, and I’d also learned to rely on God. I’d come to realize that it is God who is sovereign over all things, and that it is God who arranges environments for everyone. I had actually seen the actions of God, and my faith in God was stronger now. When others encountered difficulties like those I encountered, I shared the word of God with them, and I fellowshiped some of my own experience to help them and give them faith in God., spread the gospel, did their duties, underwent many difficulties and dangers, and suffered greatly. How could what little I was suffering even compare? Therefore, the first thing I’d do when I got home each day was to grab my phone and see what work and assignments there were. I’d also be sending messages to brothers and sisters asking them whether they were having any difficulties. If there was anyone who didn’t know how to perform their duty, I’d help them and tell them of what I had learned while doing my duty. In the performance of my duty, I began to learn to rely on God, and when my brothers and sisters were going through difficulties, I would pray to God to guide me, and allow me to find the words of God that would help them. After sharing God’s words and fellowshiping with them on my experience and understanding, their states would turn around somewhat. In the course of helping the brothers and sisters, my understanding of the truth became even clearer than before. In undergoing this I saw that no matter the difficulty, as long as we wholeheartedly rely on God, He will always guide us. Though the difficulties were growing, I was not as weak as I had been at first. But before long, I ran up against another big problem. Because of the poor internet where I was, I had no way of regularly gathering or communicating with my brothers and sisters, and no way of performing my duty. I knew that this issue was out of my hands, so I prayed to God for a long time, asking Him to guide me through this. After praying, I gradually calmed down. I then read the word of God: “When you are at your most difficult time, when you are least able to feel God, when you feel most painful and lonely, when you feel as if you are far from God, what is the one thing you should do above all else? Call out to God. Calling out to God gives you strength. Calling out to God lets you feel His existence. Calling out to God lets you feel God’s sovereignty. When you call out to God, pray to God, and put your life in God’s hands, you will feel that God is by your side and that He has not abandoned you. When you feel that God has not abandoned you, when you truly feel that He is by your side, will your trust grow? If you have real trust, will it wear down and fade away with the passage of time? Absolutely not”
After I’d get home from fishing each day, I’d stay home and read God’s word, and when it was time for gatherings I’d bike out onto the streets to find a place with good internet. Every time I prayed to God, I prayed for God to guide me in doing my duty better. I was no longer concerned with my difficult situation. I just wanted to do my duty well in keeping with the will and demands of God. Even if I had to face more difficulties, I was willing to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, to experience the environment that God had arranged for me, and to seek to satisfy God’s heart. After a while, the brothers and sisters helped me find a suitable home which had comparatively stable internet. I was so grateful to Almighty God because here, I could do my duty better, and under the guidance of God, I had made great progress with my duty. After that, the leader told me again that I would be responsible for even more work, that my burden would be even greater, that there would be even more work to do, and I would need to look after and help even more brothers and sisters. But I no longer have any worries or complaints. So long as I continue to trust in and rely on God, God will guide me and help me do my duty properly.
Later, I read more of God’s words: “The more mindful you are of God’s will, the greater the burden you bear, and the greater the burden you bear, the richer your experience will be. When you are mindful of God’s will, God will lay a burden upon you, and then enlighten you about the tasks which He has entrusted to you. When God gives you this burden, you will pay attention to all the related truths while eating and drinking of God’s words. If you have a burden related to the state of your brothers’ and sisters’ lives, then this is a burden that has been entrusted to you by God, and you will always carry this burden with you in your daily prayers. What God does has been laden onto you, and you are willing to do that which God wants to do; this is what it means to take on God’s burden as your own” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Be Mindful of God’s Will in Order to Attain Perfection). “In many cases, the trials of God are burdens He gives to people. However great the burden bestowed upon you by God, that is the weight of burden you should undertake, for God understands you, and knows you will be able to bear it. The burden given to you by God will not exceed your stature or the limits of your endurance, so there is no question that you will be able to bear it. No matter what manner of burden God gives you, what kind of trial, remember one thing: Whether or not you understand God’s will and whether or not you are enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit after you pray, whether or not this trial is God disciplining you or warning you, it does not matter if you do not understand. As long as you do not delay in performing your duty and can faithfully abide by your duty, God will be satisfied, and you will stand firm in your testimony” (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only in the Frequent Reading of God’s Words and Contemplation of the Truth Is There a Way Ahead). By reading God’s word I understand that God will not give us burdens that we cannot shoulder, that God knows our statures and what we can do. The more we are willing to heed God’s will and the more of a burden we have in our duties, the richer our experiences are, the deeper our understanding of God will be. Having gone through these difficulties, I now understand that in times of difficulty I can know myself and the actions of God better, and that I can have more faith in God. When I just started doing this duty, I lacked faith, I didn’t know to pray or rely on God, and I didn’t seek God’s guidance. I was just trying to rely on my own talents to do my duty. After reading God’s word and coming to understand His will, I gained faith and worked hard in my duty. I’d often pray and rely on God, and I’d seek and commune with leaders, becoming aware of principles relevant to doing my duty, as well as some paths and courses by which to do church work. Having gone through these things, I am no longer in a negative state, and I no longer feel that I cannot do my duty well. When things befall me each day, I learn to seek the truth, properly carry out my duty with diligence, and when I encounter difficulties, I pray to God, and God guides and helps me to get through all these environments and hardships. I also no longer feel that my troubles or stresses are so great. Had I not gone through these difficulties, I would not have been enlightened by God, I would not have these realizations and gains, much less would I have true experience. In that case, I wouldn’t do my duty properly. I now understand God’s word saying: “The more mindful you are of God’s will, the greater the burden you bear, and the greater the burden you bear, the richer your experience will be” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Be Mindful of God’s Will in Order to Attain Perfection). I long to bear more burdens to repay God’s love.
Nowadays, Venezuela has many difficulties with its economy, public services, and internet. Though I sometimes feel stressed, I have learned to rely on and seek God, and to have faith in Him. If I had not undergone these difficulties, I wouldn’t understand the importance of doing my duty or how to seek God amidst difficulty. Thank God for allowing me to make these gains and attain this knowledge.