Spiritual Warfare: Two Months Spent “Imprisoned” by My Husband
By Baituo, South Korea
“My wife, you’d better keep the bank cards. It’s my fault for having blindly believed the CCP’s rumors and for trying to obstruct your belief in God, and even taking the bank cards away from you. Oh, let’s not talk about it anymore. Belief in God is a good thing. You keep on believing in God, and I won’t bother you anymore.” Hearing my husband say this, I kept offering up my thanks and praise to God in my heart. Thinking back over these past two months, if it hadn’t been for God’s guidance, I’d still be living “imprisoned” by my husband …
My Family Believe the Rumors and Try to Stop Me From Attending Meetings
In May 2017, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. After I joined the church life, I saw that my brothers and sisters took God’s words as their principles for action, and that they sought to be honest people. Whenever they had a difficulty or problem or corruption, they would open their hearts to each other, seek and fellowship about it, and they would help and support one another. When I was with my brothers and sisters, I felt very relaxed and free. As I was being watered by God’s words, I came to understand more and more truths, and I really wanted to play my part in the spreading of the kingdom gospel so as to repay God’s love. And so, I began to expend myself enthusiastically for God. But just at that time, my family read the Chinese government’s rumors online which condemned and discredited The Church of Almighty God, and they began to oppose my belief in God.
One day, my son said to me: “Mom, it says online that The Church of Almighty God ropes people into the church and takes their money. You must never go to one of their meetings again!” My husband, who was also there, chimed in and advised me not to go to church anymore. When I heard them say this, I became furious, and I thought to myself: “The church has never appealed to people to make donations. The books of God’s words that they give out are all free, and the brothers and sisters are principled in their preaching of the gospel. What it says online is just not how it really is.” And so, I said to my husband and my son, “All those things you’ve read online are rumors fabricated by the CCP and are simply at odds with the facts! You haven’t investigated Almighty God’s work of the last days and you don’t understand The Church of Almighty God. How can you listen only to the CCP’s side? It states clearly in ‘The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom’ as expressed by Almighty God: ‘Kin who are not of the faith (your children, your husband or wife, your sisters or your parents, and so on) should not be forced into the church. God’s household is not short of members, and there is no need to make up its numbers with people who have no use. All those who do not believe gladly must not be led into the church’ (The Word Appears in the Flesh). Our church only preaches the gospel to those with good humanity, and who sincerely believe that there is a God. The church makes anyone who wants to join pass a rigorous examination, and they have to write a letter of application about why they want to join the church. This is the only way someone can be admitted into the church. We simply don’t preach the gospel to people who do not sincerely believe in God and who have bad humanity. Though they may want to join the church, the church will not admit them, even if they are relatives of a member. And yet the CCP makes the false charge that we rope people into the church—this is a barefaced lie and a deception! And saying that the church appeals to people to make offerings is even less true. In the church’s Work Arrangements, it expressly stipulates: ‘The church does not allow anyone to ask others to make offerings through preaching or any other reason. All those who are keen to talk about making offerings have ulterior motives. The matter of making offerings depends on each individual’s conscience and reason, as well as their understanding of truths’ (‘The Principles for Establishing a Church and the Management of Church Life’ in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God’). The church has never once asked us to make offerings and, what’s more, the books of God’s words that are read by those investigating the true way and by brothers and sisters are free. And yet the CCP says the church takes people’s money! This is all groundless fabrication, rumor-mongering and slander, making up false charges against the church and blaspheming against God! All those rumors online are totally deceiving, and you mustn’t believe those outright lies!”
After I’d spoken, they were silent for a moment, and my son then said, “Dad and I still worry about you. Please don’t go to the church anymore! I’ll get you a fitness card. If you go to the gym to work out, you’ll not only make friends, but you can exercise too. What do you think?” When he’d finished speaking, I said to him, “I’ve lived this long, and I can tell the difference between good and bad. Since I started believing in God, I’ve felt so relaxed and liberated, and when I meet with the brothers and sisters and we fellowship about God’s words together, I feel happy. I can say whatever I want, and I feel incredibly at ease, and I enjoy it. It’s not like when worldly people make acquaintances, with their guard up against each other or else trying to outdo each other and cheat each other, living such wearisome lives and in such pain! You want me to go to the gym to work out and make friends, but will that bring freedom to my spirit? I know in my heart that believing in God is the right path, and I want to follow God in earnest. Why won’t you let me have this?”
Hearing me speak, my husband said with a sullen face, “If you absolutely have to believe in Almighty God, then we won’t try to stop you. But you’re not to keep the family’s bank cards any longer, so give them all to me!” When my husband said this, I felt an inexpressible emotion well up in my heart, and I thought: “We’ve been married for over 30 years, and I’ve always kept the family’s bank cards. I never imagined that my husband would stop trusting me because he’s believed the CCP’s rumors. I feel so hurt! Oh, the Chinese government is so evil. My family used to be very supportive of my belief, but because the CCP fabricates rumors and slanders the church, my family has been thrown into such chaos!” Afterward, so as to dispel my husband’s worries and stop him from trying to obstruct my belief in God anymore, I gave him all our bank cards.
The Oppression Increases: I Am “Imprisoned” and Threatened With Divorce
After some time had gone by, my husband saw that I was still persisting with going to meetings, and so he came up with a new trick to stop me—he started to follow me wherever I went. Because my husband was following me around all day, I couldn’t go to meetings and I couldn’t answer telephone calls from my brothers and sisters. All I could do was read God’s words by myself at home. But it was impossible for me to read them when my husband was at home, and so I felt like I was under house arrest, without any personal freedom whatsoever. One day, I couldn’t bear it any longer and I argued with my husband. Unexpectedly, he said to me angrily, “If you keep going to this church, then we’ll get a divorce! It’s your choice!” Hearing my husband say he wanted a divorce, I felt incredibly hurt. We’d been married for over 30 years and he’d never once mentioned divorce before, and yet now he was using divorce to strongarm me into giving up my belief in God. I felt so upset. But I knew that believing in God and worshiping God was heaven’s law, and I couldn’t leave God no matter what happened. And yet I didn’t want to give up my family either. If we really did get divorced, how would I live? Thinking this, I felt all conflicted, and I didn’t know what to say to him. Just then, my son and his wife also advised me not to go to meetings anymore. Seeing my whole family opposed to my belief in God, my heart weakened a little and I wondered why it was so hard to believe in God, and whether my life thereafter would always be that way. But no matter what, I had to believe in God. So I thought about it and decided to just keep reading God’s words at home, and not to go to meetings for a while.
After that, although I was no longer attending meetings, my husband still didn’t relax his vigilance. Whenever he found me reading God’s words, he would give me a look, and the words “if you believe in God then we’ll have to divorce” were never far from his lips. I felt my life had become so oppressive and unbearable. When I thought of how my brothers and sisters were expending themselves to spread God’s kingdom gospel, whereas I was like a bird in a cage not able to do anything, being constrained even when I just read God’s words, I felt indebted to God, and my heart was in a lot of pain. Crying, I constantly prayed to God: “O God! I don’t know how to get through such a situation as this, and I ask You to enlighten me and guide me …” After I’d prayed, these words of God came to my mind: “Only the words of God can supply the life of man, and only the words of God can give man light and a path for practice, particularly in the Age of Kingdom” (“The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words brought light to my heart, and I thought, “Yes! In the Age of Kingdom, God performs the work of guiding and supplying man’s life with his word. Only God’s word is the truth, and only by reading His word and seeking the truth within His word will I find strength and have a path to follow. During that time, because of my husband’s attempts to obstruct me, I wasn’t able to quieten my heart and read God’s words in earnest. If I lost the guidance of God’s words, how would I be able to get strong and take a stand? From now on, I must rely on God and pull myself together, and must do everything I can to read God’s words.”
Afterward, I often prayed to God about my difficulties, asking Him to guide me through this situation. My brothers and sisters would often send me God’s words and videos as well, and so every day I would avoid my husband and read God’s words and watch videos on my cell phone. The more I read the words and watched the videos, the more enjoyment I felt. Especially when I watched brothers and sisters singing and dancing in praise of God, I would feel so moved that tears would pour down my face—I longed so much to be one of them. Later, I watched some videos about the CCP arresting and persecuting brothers and sisters, and I saw so many brothers and sisters in prison suffering the cruel tortures and torments of the CCP police. Yet still they relied on God and looked to Him, and these experiences of standing firm in their testimony to God even at the cost of their own lives moved me terribly. Compared to the cruel tortures and torments my brothers and sisters were going through, all that had happened to me was that my family was opposing me and obstructing me. After a little suffering, I had become weak and negative and had complained of my great woes and stopped going to church. I felt so ashamed, and the experiences of my brothers and sisters encouraged me greatly. In one of the videos, there was a passage of God’s words which said: “Thus, during these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should walk until the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In an instant, God’s words had given me faith, and I understood that these tribulations that had befallen me were truly God testing my devotion and obedience to Him. I had to rely on God like my brothers and sisters did, so I asked God for faith and strength so that I would not be constrained by my family any longer, and so that I could stand firm in my testimony to God.
God’s Wondrous Arrangements Enable Me to Be Watered by the Truth
One day, I went for a walk by the river, and for some reason my husband was not following me that day. Unexpectedly, I happened to bump into Sister Jin from the church, and she immediately asked me why I hadn’t been to meetings in so long and why she hadn’t been able to get in touch with me. I told her all about my current plight, and she took me to her home and read to me God’s words: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Sister Jin then gave me fellowship, saying, “Sister, the situations we encounter every day appear on the surface to be just people interacting with each other, but actually behind it all a spiritual war is raging! God has come to perform His work and save us, but Satan doesn’t want us to attain God’s salvation, and so it uses all manner of people, events and things to obstruct and oppress us. Take what you’ve been going through, for example. Satan first used your husband and your son to harass and obstruct you, and would rather you went to work out at the gym than attend meetings or read God’s words. Seeing that you still insisted on going to meetings, Satan then used your husband to follow you wherever you went, even to threaten you with divorce. Through this, it makes you become negative and weak because you cannot endure the suffering, you lose your faith to walk the path of belief in God, and finally you shun God and betray Him. You lose the chance to attain God’s salvation, and you return once again under Satan’s domain to continue to be fooled and harmed by it. This is Satan’s despicable aim and sinister intent, and we must be able to see through its cunning schemes!”
After listening to her fellowship, my heart was suddenly filled with light, and I thought: “So it turns out that these past two months of my family obstructing me and oppressing me has been a kind of spiritual warfare, and by means of this war Satan has harassed me and been trying to make me shun and betray God, and lose my chance to attain salvation. I didn’t understand the truth and was unable to see through Satan’s cunning schemes, and so I was duped by Satan. My heart gradually began to shun God, I’ve often felt negative and weak and I’ve been living in Satan’s tricks.”
Sister Jin then continued her fellowship: “God’s wisdom, however, is founded upon the cunning schemes of Satan, and no matter how savage Satan is, God still holds Satan in the palm of His hand. God uses Satan to render service to Him as He perfects His chosen people. One aspect of the harassment and obstruction of Satan is that we are able to see Satan’s evil essence that hates the truth and hates God, and we are able to see that the Chinese government is the embodiment of Satan. We can see that, not only does the Chinese government conduct widespread arrests and persecution of believers in God and forbid the Chinese people from worshiping God, but it also stretches forth its black hand to all the nations of the world, spreading all kinds of fabricated rumors and outright lies on all the major websites of the world, and discrediting, attacking and laying false charges against The Church of Almighty God. Through doing this, it deceives people, hoping in vain that the peoples of the world will resist and hate The Church of Almighty God, and go along with it in its defiance of God. The CCP truly is insidious, poisonous and insanely ambitious—it is the devil that defies God and sets itself against God. Another aspect of the harassment and obstruction of Satan is that, through this, God tests whether or not we have true faith in Him and whether or not we are able to stand firm in our testimony to God. It is recorded in the Bible that, when Job encountered the temptations of Satan, his wealth was all taken away and his children came to unfortunate ends. Job himself was covered in boils, and yet he didn’t blame God, nor did he speak sinfully. Rather, he sought God’s will with a God-fearing heart and sought to satisfy God. He kept to the way of fearing God and shunning evil and, with his reverence, obedience and loyalty to God, he fought back against Satan’s cunning scheme and he stood firm in his testimony to God. God was glorified by Job, and Satan was utterly shamed and defeated, and never dared to tempt Job again. Sister, we must emulate Job. No matter what methods or underhanded means Satan employs to harass and obstruct us, we must have faith in God, rely on God and forsake Satan, and stand firm in our testimony to God. And when Satan is shamed and defeated, we can then worship God freely.”
The sister finished her fellowship and I firmly nodded my head, and thought “Yes, because my family has been deceived by the CCP’s rumors, they have time and time again tried to obstruct my belief in God and tried to force me to betray God. And yet, through this, God has made me see Satan’s despicable wickedness, and finally I can see that the freedom of religion professed on the surface by the CCP is a cover for it making every possible attempt to fabricate and disseminate all manner of rumors and outright lies in the vain hope of deceiving even more people, to make people follow it, defy God along with it and ultimately be punished by God. The CCP is downright evil, and it is the devil that defies God! I cannot be caught out by Satan’s cunning schemes again. I will emulate Job and pray to God and rely on God, rely on my faith to stand firm in my testimony to God, and cause Satan to be shamed and defeated.”
The sister then read me another passage of God’s words: “The truth that man needs to possess is found in the word of God, and it is a truth that is the most beneficial and helpful to mankind. It is the tonic and sustenance that your body needs, something that helps man restore his normal humanity. It is a truth that man should be equipped with. The more you practice God’s word, the more quickly your life will blossom, and the clearer the truth will become. As you grow in stature, you will see things of the spiritual world more clearly, and the more strength you will have to triumph over Satan” (“Once You Understand the Truth, You Should Put It Into Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). She then gave fellowship, saying, “God’s word is the truth, the way and the life, and it is the sustenance our spiritual lives need to grow. God’s word is abundantly rich, and He expresses the truths we need to attain salvation, such as how Satan corrupts man, how to overcome Satan’s temptations, the meaning of God using the great red dragon as a foil, how God saves and perfects people, and so on. These truths are the principles of practice for our actions and behavior, and even more than this they are the instruments by which we may defeat Satan. The Bible records that Satan tried three times to tempt the Lord Jesus in the wilderness, but each time the Lord used the truth to counter Satan’s trickeries, and Satan fled in defeat. Therefore, no matter the time, we must always persist in reading God’s words, and the more Satan harasses and obstructs us, the more we must read God’s words. When we understand many truths, our spirits will then become ever stronger, and our knowledge of God will continue to grow. We will then be able to see through Satan’s cunning schemes, and Satan will never be able to harass us again.”
Hearing my sister’s fellowship, I understood that I had been caught out by Satan’s cunning scheme because I hadn’t understood enough truth, and that I should take the initiative and get closer to God and arm myself more with the truth. Only by understanding the truth could I see through all the different cunning schemes of Satan and stand firm in my testimony amidst its temptations. And so, I prayed to God: “O God! Before, I did not understand enough truth, and when faced with my husband’s threats, I did not see through Satan’s cunning scheme, and Satan’s tricks made me feel unbearable pain. I now wish to strengthen my faith and follow You. I ask that You give me faith and strength, and lead me to break free from the constraints of my husband and my son.”
I Strengthen My Faith and Follow God
Over the days that followed, I went to work out at the gym every day, hoping for the chance to attend a meeting. When I first started to go to the gym, my husband would still follow me. But as time went on, he saw that I was no longer going to church, and he relaxed his vigilance. In this way, I would go to meetings whenever I could, and would read God’s words and preach the gospel together with my brothers and sisters. My heart felt so much more at ease, but I was still constrained by my husband at times.
At a meeting one day, I read these words of God: “When people are sad, I come to comfort them, and when they are weak, I come to help them along. When they are lost, I give them direction. When they weep, I wipe away their tears. But when I am sad, who can comfort Me with their hearts? When I am worried sick, who is considerate of My feelings? When I am sorrowful, who can remedy the wounds in My heart? When I need someone, who volunteers to cooperate with Me?” (“Chapter 27” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words deeply touched my heart, and I felt as though God was asking me this question face-to-face. I couldn’t help but think of the two months my husband had kept me “imprisoned.” Although I wasn’t able to attend meetings and I felt pain and weakness deep inside, yet by means of the brothers and sisters constantly sending me God’s words and gospel videos, God enabled me to enjoy the provision of His words and He had showed me the path of practice. God’s wondrous orchestrations had allowed me to meet with the brothers and sisters and, through the sister fellowshiping God’s words, He had enabled me to come to an understanding of spiritual warfare and to have discernment of Satan’s cunning schemes as well as the demonic essence of Satan which harms and corrupts mankind, and I perceived God’s love for me. When I was feeling most weak and in the most pain, God did not abandon me, but instead He was always using His words to guide me and to strengthen my spirit so that I would have the faith to break through Satan’s leaguer, follow God and pursue the truth. Thinking of God’s love for me, I realized that I had enjoyed so much of God’s grace, and yet I hadn’t done anything for God. On the contrary, when God needed me to stand firm in my testimony, all I had thought about were my own interests, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to live if my husband divorced me and I was constantly constrained by my husband. Thinking this, I felt so indebted to God, while at the same time I found the determination to stand firm in my testimony to God. “Today,” I thought, “I am following God and am on the right path through life, and I should believe in God frankly and honestly. I should not be cowardly and weak like I was before, being just something for Satan to mock.”
When the meeting was over and I returned home, I saw that my son and husband were home, and I decided to have a frank, open talk with them. But when I was just about to speak, I hesitated, worrying that they would try to force me to give up my belief again. I realized then that I still lacked faith in God, and so I immediately prayed to God and asked Him to give me faith and strength. After I’d prayed, I read these words of God: “You know that all things in the environment that surrounds you are there by My permission, all planned by Me. See clearly and satisfy My heart in the environment I have given to you. Do not fear, the Almighty God of hosts will surely be with you; He stands behind you and He is your shield” (“Chapter 26” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words gave me faith, and I thought, “Yes, with God as my staunch backup, what is there to fear? I will stand on the side of truth and bravely choose my own path.” Then, with a steadfast attitude, I said to my husband and my son, “I’ve been going to meetings again lately, and since I have affirmed that belief in God is the right path to follow in life, I must continue to follow it. I’ve worked hard for this family for over 30 years, and now all I want to do is spend the time I have left earnestly believing in God. If you’re still against me believing in God and you force me to choose between my family and my belief in God, then I would rather divorce than give up my belief.” After I’d spoken, my husband and my son both stared at me in astonishment, and neither said a word. After a few moments, they both left and went about their own business. Although neither of them had said a word, from their expressions, I realized clearly that they would no longer be trying to obstruct my belief in God. A while later, my husband gave me all the family’s bank cards to keep. Neither he nor my son ever said anything against my belief in God again, and my family regained the peace it had enjoyed before.
Now, I can freely read God’s words, watch videos and listen to songs of praise for God every single day. During this spiritual war, because my family were deceived by the CCP’s rumors, they had tried to obstruct my belief in God. I had felt pain and weakness, but I got through it. What I came to feel most of all was God’s love and salvation for me, and I came to appreciate the authority and power of God’s words. At the same time, I came to have discernment of Satan’s insidiousness and poison. With this experience, I now have more faith to follow God! Thanks be to God!