I Am Resolute on This Path
By Han Chen, China
A few years ago, I was arrested for preaching the gospel. The Communist Party sentenced me to three years for “organizing and using a xie jiao organization to undermine the enforcement of the law.” After I got out, I thought I could finally attend gatherings again and resume my duties, but I didn’t imagine that the police would keep watching me and limiting my freedom. When my parents took me to the police station for my residential registration, the officer in charge of me told me fiercely, “You must report to me if you want to leave the area, and you are forbidden from leaving this city or going abroad for five years. You also cannot practice your faith. If I find out you’ve been to religious gatherings, I’ll put you right back in prison. And then don’t even think about getting out!” Hearing this, scared I could be arrested again, my parents asked my older sister to keep an eye on me to make sure I didn’t reador contact any brothers or sisters. My sister found me a job as a sales clerk, and if I was ever out late she would call me and ask, “Where are you? What are you doing?” Once, when I was reading God’s words on my tablet, my sister noticed and pressed me on whether I was reading His words, and even tried to snatch the tablet away from me. I quickly blurted out that I was reading a novel and she left me alone. After that, I had to hide under my blankets to read God’s words only after she was asleep, and sneak off to gatherings after work.
One day, my sister found some words of God that I had copied down and questioned me, “You still have faith and attend gatherings, don’t you?” I answered angrily, “Having faith and worshiping God is right and natural. Leave me be!” She then rushed to call our eldest sister, who drove over and slapped me in the face as soon as she walked through the door, yelling at me, “How dare you still believe? Your faith put you in prison, which left Mom crying her eyes out every single day. If you get sent back there, think of what it will do to Mom! Can’t you just give up this God stuff and give her a break for once?” Hearing her say this was almost unbearable, and the tears flowed freely down my face. My mother had been so loving toward me ever since I was a child, and now that I was grown up I was making her worry about me. If I were arrested again, would she be able to manage? I was feeling some weakness, so I quickly prayed to God, asking Him to protect my heart. Later, I saw this in God’s words: “God created this world and brought man, a living being unto which He bestowed life, into it. Next, man came to have parents and kin, and was no longer alone. Ever since man first laid eyes on this material world, he was destined to exist within the ordination of God. The breath of life from God supports each and every living being throughout growth into adulthood” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in). Yes, my every breath comes from God. He was watching over and protecting me as I grew up. Any kind or helpful people, especially the love and care from my parents, were all arranged by God. I should give thanks to God and pay back His love. Denying God or betraying Him would be unconscionable. I thought again about how I was imprisoned for believing in God, stressing out my mother and causing her health to deteriorate. Wasn’t all this because of the Communist Party? If they didn’t arrest and persecute me, my parents wouldn’t have to be afraid. The Communist Party wants me to betray God. I will not allow its schemes to succeed. At this thought, my resolve was restored, and I knew I had to believe in and follow God no matter how much my family stood in the way. After that, I kept on working while also attending gatherings and sharing the gospel.
In February 2017, I was getting ready to go to work one morning when I got a call from an unfamiliar number. The caller said, “This is Chief Chen of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission. Come in within the next two days to sign a statement saying that you do not believe in God. All the other local believers who were arrested and released have already signed, you’re the only one left.” Hearing this made me really angry. My faith just entails me attending gatherings and reading God’s words, but they put me in prison for it, tortured me, and tried to brainwash me. Now that I was out, they were still keeping tabs on me, not letting me practice my faith or gather, even trying to force me to sign something renouncing my faith. They are truly despicable and evil! But then I thought, if I told him I would not sign, would they come to my work and take me back to prison? I didn’t want to go back to jail and live such an inhuman life. So I said to him: “I’m busy with work over the next two days and I don’t have time. I’ll come in in a few days.” To my surprise, the next morning, that Chief Chen sent me a text saying: “Your health insurance card has come through. Come by and get it today.” I looked at the message and thought to myself: “I never applied for a health insurance card. Is this one of Satan’s tricks?” I thought of something God said: “You must be awake and waiting at all times, and you must pray before Me more. You must recognize the various plots and cunning schemes of Satan, recognize the spirits, know people, and be able to discern all kinds of people, events, and things” (“Chapter 17” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words reminded me that Satan has many tricks. By saying all of the local believers who were arrested and then released had signed except for me, Chief Chen was trying to trick me into going. Since that trick had failed, they used the health insurance card as bait. They really are crafty. Thinking through all this, I decided not to go in.
Then on the next morning, my father rushed to my work looking really harried and told me, “Yesterday, Chief Chen called me into his office first thing in the morning. He told me that the city was doing a special investigation into whether or not you were still practicing your faith and that if you signed the paper asserting that you don’t, then you could lead a normal life like everyone else, and nobody will be monitoring or looking for you. But if you don’t sign, you’ll be arrested and reformed in prison. Listen to me—give up your faith and just go and sign your name.” I was indignant and disgusted to hear this. I said to my father, “Dad, you know that believing in God is the right path. Disasters are getting serious now. In the last days,expresses the truth to cleanse and save people from corruption and disasters. However, the Communist Party rabidly arrests and persecutes believers, forcing them to betray God so that they would end up in hell with it. Signing my name means betraying God and I will be destroyed in the end! I cannot sign that.” My father, scared and on edge, said to me, “If you don’t sign, the police will put you right back in jail. Do you really want to suffer in there again? Even if you won’t think of yourself, what about your younger sister? The Communist Party goes after the entire family of a believer. Look at your older sister. She graduated from a normal university and should have been able to get a job at a good elementary school, but she failed the political screening because of your faith. Your cousin had to pull some strings and spend a lot of money just to get her into an average school. And your cousin who passed the civil service exam also failed his political screening because your grandmother is a believer. Your younger sister is graduating from the normal university this year and will be looking for a job, and if you don’t sign, she won’t pass her political screening and definitely won’t find a good job. Aren’t you ruining her future? Listen to me, just grit your teeth and sign it. Can’t you just believe in secret? Why be so stubborn?” Looking at my father’s haggard face, with tears in his eyes, so anxious that there was a crusty film on his mouth, I just felt so terrible and conflicted. If I were to sign, I would betray God and be branded with the mark of the beast; I would be thoroughly captured by Satan with no hope for salvation. But if I didn’t sign, I would be arrested and sent back to jail where I’d be tortured. Physical suffering aside, what if I were beaten to death? And my sister, if she didn’t pass her political screening and her future was impacted, my whole family would hate me for the rest of my life. Thinking about all that was like a knife through the chest. I didn’t know what to do. I said to my father, “Let me think on it.” After he left, I prayed to God through my tears: “God, I’m afraid of being caught by the police, then thrown back in prison and tortured, and I’m worried my family will be dragged in, too. I’m feeling weak. Oh God, please give me faith and strength, and guide me to stand firm in my testimony.”
After I prayed, I happened upon some of God’s words. “When people have yet to be saved, their lives are often interfered with, and even controlled by, Satan. In other words, people who have not been saved are prisoners to Satan, they have no freedom, they have not been relinquished by Satan, they are not qualified or entitled to, and they are closely pursued and viciously attacked by Satan. Such people have no happiness to speak of, they have no right to a normal existence to speak of, and moreover they have no dignity to speak of. Only if you stand up and do battle with Satan, using your faith in God and obedience to, and fear of God as the weapons with which to fight a life-and-death battle with Satan, such that you fully defeat Satan and cause it to turn tail and become cowardly whenever it sees you, so that it completely abandons its attacks and accusations against you—only then will you be saved and become free. If you are determined to fully break with Satan, but are not equipped with the weapons that will help you defeat Satan, then you will still be in danger; as time goes on, when you have been so tortured by Satan that there is not an ounce of strength left in you, yet you have still been unable to bear testimony, have still not completely freed yourself of Satan’s accusations and attacks against you, then you will have little hope of salvation. In the end, when the conclusion of God’s work is proclaimed, you will still be in the grip of Satan, unable to free yourself, and thus you will never have a chance or hope. The implication, then, is that such people will be completely in Satan’s captivity” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Thinking on God’s words, I realized the Communist Party’s persecution and my family’s interference were all temptations and attacks from Satan. I thought about when Job was tempted by Satan. Everything he owned was stolen from him and he even lost his children, his body was covered in sore boils, his own wife attacked him and told him to abandon God and die, but Job stood witness, relying on his faith and reverence for God, never complaining about God or denying Him, even praising Him, saying: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). Job triumphed over Satan’s temptations, bearing a resounding witness for God. Shaming and defeating Satan, Job became a free man. After my release from prison, the Communist Party used my family to try to force me to sign a paper renouncing my faith. Every single time, it was a temptation and attack by Satan. Satan was using my love for my family and concern for my sister’s future to get me to betray God. If I defended my family and fleshly interests by betraying God, wouldn’t I be in Satan’s captivity? I knew I couldn’t fall for Satan’s tricks, but had to follow Job’s example, standing witness for God and humiliating Satan.
I later saw a video reading of God’s words. Almighty God says, “Regardless of how ‘powerful’ Satan is, regardless of how audacious and ambitious it is, regardless of how great is its ability to inflict damage, regardless of how wide-ranging are the techniques with which it corrupts and lures man, regardless of how clever are the tricks and schemes with which it intimidates man, regardless of how changeable is the form in which it exists, it has never been able to create a single living thing, has never been able to set down laws or rules for the existence of all things, and has never been able to rule and control any object, whether animate or inanimate. Within the cosmos and the firmament, there is not a single person or object that was born from it, or exists because of it; there is not a single person or object that is ruled by it, or controlled by it. On the contrary, it not only has to live under the dominion of God, but, moreover, must obey all of God’s orders and commands. Without God’s permission, it is difficult for Satan to touch even a drop of water or grain of sand upon the land; without God’s permission, Satan is not even free to move the ants about upon the land, let alone mankind, who was created by God. In the eyes of God, Satan is inferior to the lilies on the mountain, to the birds flying in the air, to the fish in the sea, and to the maggots on the earth. Its role among all things is to serve all things, and work for mankind, and serve God’s work and His plan of management. Regardless of how malicious its nature, and how evil its essence, the only thing it can do is to dutifully abide by its function: being of service to God, and providing a counterpoint to God. Such is the substance and position of Satan. Its essence is unconnected to life, unconnected to power, unconnected to authority; it is merely a plaything in God’s hands, just a machine in service to God!” (“God Himself, the Unique I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Watching this gave me some insight into God’s authority and sovereignty. No matter how savage Satan is, it is just a pawn in God’s hands, a tool in service to Him. Thinking back to my arrest and torture at the hands of the Communist Party, when my flesh was weak, God’s words bolstered my faith and led me through each and every difficulty. After I was released from prison, the Communist Party continued to monitor me, and my family, taken in by their rumors, kept watch over me, too. But through the guidance of God’s words, I came to understand some truths, triumphed over temptation after temptation, and my determination to follow God was strengthened. Through all that, I saw that Satan is just a tool for God to perfect His chosen people. There was nothing for me to be afraid of. God rules everything—He is in charge of everyone’s destiny. My life and death are in the hands of God and cannot be decided by anyone else. Whether my sister can find a job, what kind of future she will have—these things are all determined by God. The Communist Party can’t even control their own fate, so how could they control my life and death, and my sister’s future? Even if one day I were to be arrested and tortured by the police again, it would be because God let it happen. I would have to rely on God and stand witness. If I cherished my life, fretted over my family’s interests, and signed the paper betraying God, that would be a mark of shame. Even if I lived, I would just be a walking corpse. With that in mind, I steeled myself to resist any temptations and attacks from Satan, and to stand firm in my testimony and humiliate Satan!
That night after I got home, my older sister yelled at me: “The Political and Legal Affairs Commission gave you three days. Tomorrow is the last day. Are you going to sign or not? Mom and Dad are getting old, they worry about you constantly. They barely ate or slept the whole three years that you were in prison. You’re out now, but still a believer, so they still live with their hearts in their throats. Are you fine letting them down like this? Do you even have a conscience? Would it kill you to sign that paper?” I realized that this was Satan attacking me through my family again. I thought 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. Do not strive to be a certain way in front of other people; does making Me satisfied not carry more value and weight? In satisfying Me, will you not be even further filled with eternal and lifelong peace and happiness?” (“Chapter 10” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I knew my belief in God is the right path, and I had to stay loyal to Him no matter what. The Communist Party misled and pressured my family into keeping me from my faith. This clearly showed me the Communist Party’s demonic essence of hating the truth and being enemies of God. I despised and rejected them from my heart. God was also testing my faith and devotion to Him under these conditions. Even without any understanding or support from others, I had to stand witness and humiliate Satan. At this thought, I told my sister: “Mom and Dad not being able to eat or sleep well, and constantly worrying, whose fault is that? Isn’t this all the Party’s fault? It’s right and natural to believe in God, be a good person, and follow the right path. But the Party not only arrested me, they also brought our whole family into it, leaving us with no way out. The Party is the culprit!” At that moment, my eldest sister called, demanding an answer: “Are you going to sign tomorrow or not? You only have two choices. Either you sign the paper promising that you don’t believe in God and go on to work, earn money, and live a good life, or you don’t sign and wait to be thrown in prison!” I replied firmly: “Even if I have to go back to jail, I won’t sign that paper!” She angrily hung up on me, and my other sister just ignored me.
I was later transferred out of town for my duties. I rid myself of Satan’s bonds and expended myself for God, body and soul. That was over three years ago. Whenever I think back on that whole experience, I feel a sense of calm in my heart. I feel like it was the best choice I ever made, and I will never regret it.