Competing in This Way, I Benefit Tremendously (Audio Essay)
By Ma Xin, China
Since my husband was not engaged in honest work, frequently drank alcohol and showed no concern for family matters, I would often sink into bitterness and pain. At a time when I did not have the strength to struggle on, a relative delivered’s kingdom to me. Through reading God’s word, I understood: God expresses and does the judgment work of in order to save the human race from the hands of Satan. He instructs man to understand, obey and return to Him so that he can receive His protection and care. As a result, I gladly accepted the work of Almighty God of the last days and quickly started my church life. However, right as I found something I could depend my life upon and felt a sense of joy and cheer, Satan’s temptations pounced on me like a wild beast rushed after its prey and a spiritual war erupted …
One day, my daughter came home from school and said to me, “Mom, today, I was helping my teacher bring some things upstairs when my hand accidentally banged into the railing. It hurts a lot.” I anxiously looked at my daughter’s hand. It was not red and it was not bruised. There was just a small cut at the base of her thumb. I comforted my daughter and said, “Don’t worry, after two days, it will be better.” I thought, “I believe in Almighty God. With God’s protection and care, my child will be fine for sure.” However, after ten days, the bruise on my daughter’s thumb and half her palm became more serious. After two months, her thumb and half her palm became black and purple. Her thumb was now bigger than her big toe. This time, I became very worried. My husband and I brought our daughter to the hospital immediately. However, the examinations did not turn up anything out of the ordinary. I silently prayed to God in my heart, “Almighty God. What is wrong with my daughter’s hand? I am willing to entrust my daughter to You. Please care for her and protect her.” However, when my relatives and friends saw my daughter’s hand, they all said, “Your daughter’s hand is strangely diseased.” Her grandmother also anxiously said, “This child’s hand might become disabled.” When I heard these things, I became extremely anxious and upset: If my daughter’s hand really needs to be disabled, what will we do? She is so small. How can she bear this kind of blow? The more I thought, the more vexed, worried and pained I felt. I thought, “I have prayed to God for such a long time. Why is it that my daughter’s hand is still like this? God did not answer my prayers and He did not protect my daughter!” My heart was filled with misunderstandings about and complaints toward God. At this time, my husband botched things up at work due to his drunkenness and his boss wanted to fire him. When it rains, it pours! When I heard this news, I became even more agitated. If my husband lost his job, how would our family survive the future? This situation made me feel very ill at ease. I was unable to calm down. Even when I read God’s word, I was unable to absorb any of it. I thought, “I. Why have I encountered so many misfortunate situations? Why is God not watching over us?” For this reason, I became very negative.
When the relative who had spread the gospel to me learned of my thoughts, she patiently told me, “The reason why we encounter unfavorable matters today is because of Satan’s disturbance. There is a war going on in the spiritual world. The work of God of the last days is to save mankind. When man forsakes Satan and returns to God, Satan is not willing to be resigned to defeat. It will disturb and deceive man in every possible way. It will give man all kinds of suffering and tribulations so that man would generate misunderstandings and complaints about God. Its purpose is to cause man to deny God, reject God, lose God’s salvation and once more return under Satan’s domain. If we are this negative and keeping far away from God, we have fallen for Satan’s crafty scheme! In fact, even if we do not believe in God, these matters are unavoidable. Because our perspective about believing in God is not correct, we have given Satan an opportunity to harm us. Let’s take a look at a passage of God’s words. Almighty God said, ‘Most people believe in God for the sake of peace and other benefits. Unless it is to your benefit, you don’t believe in God, and if you can’t receive God’s graces, you fall into a sulk. How could this be your true stature? When it comes to inevitable family incidents (children falling ill, husbands going into hospital, poor crop yields, persecution of family members, and so on), you can’t even make it through these things that often happen in day-to-day life. When such things happen, you’re thrown into a panic, you don’t know what to do—and most of the time, you complain about God. You complain that God’s words tricked you, that God’s work has messed you around. Do you not have such thoughts? Do you think such things happen among you only rarely? You spend every day living amid such events. You don’t give the slightest thought to the success of your faith in God, and how to satisfy God’s will. Your true stature is too small, even smaller than a little chick’s. … Your belly is stuffed full of complaints, and you sometimes don’t go to assemblies or eat and drink the words of God because of this, you likely become negative for a great length of time’” (“Practice (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
When I heard these words of God, my heart trembled: God really examines the bottom of man’s heart! Each word reached deep into my heart. The reason I believed in God was indeed because I wanted my family to be safe! When I encountered troublesome matters, I misunderstood God, I complained to God and I lost faith in God. I was living in negative conditions and my spiritual stature was very small. My relative continued to communicate to me, “God’s words point out our wrong perspective of believing in God in order to obtain blessings. Due to our conceptions and imagination, we believe that as long as we believe in God, God will bless us and make sure everything goes smoothly. Since this conception exists in our hearts, once we encounter unhappy situations in our lives, we immediately blame God and as a result, we are capable of denying, betraying and leaving God at any time. Satan understands this fatal weak point of ours. That is why it gives us all kinds of calamities and suffering in order to disturb us. If we are unable to see through Satan’s crafty schemes, we will involuntarily oppose God, blame God, deny God and even leave and betray God. In the end, we will be seized and swallowed up by Satan. God’s words say, ‘On earth, all manner of evil spirits are endlessly on the prowl for a place to rest, are ceaselessly searching for the corpses of men to eat up’ (‘The Tenth Utterance’ of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). What God’s words reveal are the facts of the spiritual world! If we get swallowed up by Satan, we will lose our opportunity to be saved by God. We must see through Satan’s crafty schemes!” When I heard these things from my relative, my heart brightened up immediately. Then, I knew that the things that my family was encountering were in fact Satan’s disturbance and calamity. At the same time, God also revealed my incorrect perspectives on faith. I said to my relative, “Since I believed in God, I believed that God is a God that bestows grace upon man. As long as one believed in God, things would go smoothly in one’s family and one would receive God’s care and protection. If I encountered some unhappy circumstances, I believed that something was wrong and that believing in God meant that I would not encounter these unhappy circumstances. Only after reading the previous selection of God’s words did I understand that my perspective on faith was incorrect and that Satan used this as a way to disturb me and cause me to generate notions and misunderstandings about God and keep far away from God. Truly, I had fallen for Satan’s crafty schemes! Afterward, regardless of how Satan would disturb me, I should see through Satan’s crafty schemes and I will not blame, misunderstand or even more so, betray God. I have to stand witness for God. Regardless if my child’s hand gets better or not or whether or not my husband has a job, I will be willing to entrust them to God and let God make His arrangements.” What I did not expect was that once I was willing to obey God’s arrangements and orchestrations, in a short period of time, my daughter’s hand became infected. When the doctor brushed away the pus, he discovered that there was a splinter stuck at the base of her finger. After he removed the splinter, it wasn’t long before my daughter’s hand recovered. After experiencing this situation, I could see that once I reversed my own mistaken perspectives and was willing to obey God, Satan was shamed and defeated. God took away my daughter’s sickness. God is truly miraculous and almighty!
However, sinister Satan was not willing to give up. If one of its plans failed, it would try another one. One night at around 8 p.m., my husband all of a sudden called me and asked me to go downstairs to give him some money. I wrapped our baby over one year old and went downstairs. I saw my husband strenuously exit the taxi cab. He had great difficulties moving around. When I saw my husband suddenly become like this, my heart became very anxious and I did not know what to do. All I could do was continuously call to God, “Almighty God. In this environment, please protect my heart. My spiritual stature is small. Please give me faith to stand witness in this kind of situation and to not blame You.” After I prayed, my heart calmed down a lot. However, afterward, the condition of my husband’s leg became more and more serious. He was not able to move at all. All I could do was let his elder brother and his elder brother’s wife to bring him to the hospital. When I thought about how my husband’s legs could not move, I became especially anxious. As a result, I once again prayed to God, “God! Today, my husband is sick. Satan has come to disturb me so that I would complain and betray You. I am willing to see through Satan’s crafty schemes. Regardless of how much my money needs to be spent on my husband’s condition, I will not blame You. I am willing to obey You. Please make sure that I am able to stand witness for You.” After I finished praying, my heart calmed down a lot. Not long after, my sister-in-law called and said that my husband was not willing to go to the hospital and insisted on coming home. I thought that this was God’s intentions and I let them take my husband home. After they got home, my husband’s brother and his wife pinched my husband’s leg and washed it with hot water. They busied themselves for a long time but my husband could not feel anything in his leg. Out of desperation, my husband said, “It’s over. I do not feel anything in my leg!” When I heard this, tears suddenly rushed out and I thought, “It’s over. My husband is unable to walk. If he is paralyzed, what will we do? How will our family live?”
Right at this time when I was about to be drowned by pain and despair, I thought of God’s words: “If many things come upon you that are not in line with your notions but you are able to put them aside and know God’s actions from these things, and in the midst of refinements you reveal your heart of love for God, this is standing witness. If your home is peaceful, you enjoy comforts of the flesh, no one is persecuting you, and your brothers and sisters inobey you, can you display your heart of love for God? Can this refine you? It is only through refinement that your love for God can be shown, and it is only through things occurring that are not in line with your conceptions that you can be perfected. It is through many negative things, many adversities that God perfects you. It is through many of Satan’s actions, accusations, and its expression in many people that God allows you to acquire knowledge, thus perfecting you” (“Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Through God’s words, I understood that Satan was using my husband’s sickness to put its schemes into action. Since my perspective of obtaining blessings from God and conducting transactions with God through faith had not completely disappeared, Satan did this in order to entice me to misunderstand, blame, deny, betray God. If I did these things, in the end, I would lose God’s grace. At the same time, God used this kind of a situation to perfect my faith in Him, so that I can see things according to God’s words and penetrate through Satan’s crafty schemes. I should not rely on my intention of obtaining blessings to haggle with God once more. In the battle between God and Satan, I must stand on the side of God and bear witness to God. After I understood God’s intentions, I silently prayed to God, “God, protect my heart. Let me stand firm in this situation. Regardless of my husband’s condition, I will not blame You. Even if my husband is paralyzed, I am willing to continue to follow You.” Unexpectedly, after I finished praying, I heard my husband pleasantly say, “I am better. I can move my legs.” My heart felt very moved and I could feel that God is truly wise and almighty! God did not intentionally make me suffer this pain. Instead, He used this circumstance to test me and to reverse my incorrect perspective of faith!
Afterward, I continued reading God’s words, “After humanity was corrupted by Satan, He continuously worked among people to defeat His enemy who corrupts humanity. This battle will continue from the beginning until the world’s end. In doing all this work, He has not only allowed humanity, who has been corrupted by Satan, to receive His great salvation, but also allowed them to see His wisdom, almightiness and authority, and in the end He will let humanity see His righteous disposition—punishing the wicked and rewarding the good. He has battled Satan to this very day and has never been defeated, for He is a wise God, and His wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s plots. And so He not only makes everything in heaven submit to His authority; He also makes everything upon earth rest below His footstool, and not last of all, He makes those evildoers who invade and harass humanity fall within His chastisement. All the results of the work are brought about because of His wisdom” (“You Should Know How the Whole of Humanity Has Developed to the Present Day” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From these words of God, I understood that from the moment that mankind was corrupted by Satan, all along, Satan has been disturbing and harming man. Also, from beginning to end, God has been saving man and allowing man to break free from Satan’s harm. In my experience, from the moment I started to believe in God, all along, Satan was thinking of schemes to disturb me. It used my daughter’s and my husband’s sickness to cause me to become negative and weak. It used these situations to make me misunderstand and blame God. It attempted in vain to cause me to leave God, betray God, and drag me down into hell. Also, God’s wisdom is eternally exercised based on Satan’s schemes. God revealed my incorrect perspective on faith through Satan’s disruption, and meanwhile He used His words to enlighten and illuminate me to make me recognize my intention of obtaining blessings from God and conducting transactions with God. Through realistic people, events, and objects, God allows me to see through Satan’s evil nature and despicable deliberations and to be able to renounce evil and turn to virtue. This way, I will no longer live by relying on the deliberation of obtaining blessings. With a genuine faith in God, I can overpower Satan and be obtained by God.
After experiencing this, I can see that God’s love and salvation for man is so real! From now on, I will pray to God, rely on God more and I will stand witness in trials. I will definitely follow God unswervingly to the end! All the glory be to Almighty God!