I No Longer Cower in Timidity
By Mu Yu, China
I heard about a sister’s arrest on September 2. I was on my way to a leader’s house that day, but no one was home. Sister Xiao Hong, who lives across from her, happened to see me. She called me over to her place and said nervously, “Something’s happened. Zhou Ling was taken by the cops. That was two days ago and we haven’t heard a thing. The leader went to let everyone know—she should be back soon.” When I heard the news, I felt both nervous and afraid. Zhou Ling was a leader before, and I didn’t know what sort of torture the police would use on her. Would she break under the torture and become a Judas? I’d just been at her house. If the police were doing a stakeout, they might have seen me. I moved here in the first place because I was on the run. The great red dragon has been after me nonstop for years. If they got me, they’d definitely use even worse torture on me. They might beat me to death. I was really afraid and wanted to get out of the area as soon as possible, but there were some things I urgently needed to discuss with the leader, and my leaving would delay it. I was hoping the leader would come back soon. The leader got to Xiao Hong’s house before long, then went back home after we finished our discussion. After just two or three minutes had passed, Xiao Hong ran back in a panic and said, “The leader was just leaving, and seven or eight cops took her and left. Zhou Ling was in their car, too. She must have told them where the leader lives. Whatever you do, don’t go out.” My heart leapt into my throat. Xiao Hong and the leader lived right across from each other. The police could be just a few steps away. If they got me, I was sure I wouldn’t get away unscathed. I didn’t even dare look out the window, and I was calling on God nonstop, hoping the cops would leave soon. The police car drove off after about an hour and my heart finally calmed down. But Zhou Ling was at my house a couple days before—what if she sold me out, too? My place wasn’t safe anymore. Where should I go? I had a notebook there with brothers’ and sisters’ phone numbers written in it that I needed to remove as soon as possible. There were three other host homes close to mine. If they weren’t notified right away, they might be arrested and then more brothers and sisters would be implicated. But if I went back right then, I could be playing right into their hands. I’d been out of town doing my duty for years, and I was a major target for arrest by the police. I’d suffer even worse torture if I were arrested. No, I had to go on the run and find a safe place right away. These thoughts unsettled me, and I was calling out to God nonstop. Then I thought of a passage of (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 10). I saw that my stature was small and I lacked true faith. Seeing those around me arrested one after another, I was afraid and wanted to find a safe place to hide. I was disregarding the church’s interests to protect my own safety—how selfish! With the leader arrested, lots of others had to be notified, and lots of copies of God’s words had to be moved. If that wasn’t taken care of ASAP, it could lead to lots of other church members’ arrests. As a church deacon, protecting brothers and sisters as well as the books of God’s words was my duty and responsibility. If I were timid and got cold feet, and lived a pointless existence, that would be incredibly irresponsible. God was watching me at this critical time to see if I’d be considerate of His will and protect the church’s work. I had to lean on God and take care of the follow-up work right away. As for whether I’d be arrested or not, that was up to God alone. I was ready to leave my safety in God’s hands. When I realized that, I wasn’t as nervous and fearful anymore. As I approached my house, I saw a police car stopped at the entrance. My heart started pounding. Apparently the Judas did sell me out. I didn’t know if the three host homes nearby had also been searched. I had to report the situation to upper leadership as soon as possible, so they could take precautions and make arrangements in time to prevent even greater losses to the church’s work.. “You should not be afraid of this and that; no matter how many difficulties and dangers you might face, you are capable of remaining steady before Me, unobstructed by any hindrance, so that My will may be carried out unimpeded. This is your duty; otherwise, I shall bring My wrath upon you, and with My hand I shall…. You will then endure endless mental suffering. You must endure all; for Me, you must be ready to relinquish everything you possess and do everything you can to follow Me, and be ready to expend your all. Now is the time that I shall test you: Will you offer your loyalty to Me? Can you loyally follow Me to the end of the road? Be not afraid; with My support, who could ever block this road? Remember this! Do not forget! All that occurs is by My good intention, and everything is under My observation. Can you follow My word in all that you say and do? When the trials of fire come upon you, will you kneel down and call out? Or will you cower, incapable of moving forward?”
I knew that Sister Su Hua had upper leadership’s contact info, so I went to find her. Right after I got there, her nonbeliever husband said nervously, “Some police just came by. Su Hua is out, which is the only reason they didn’t get her. They just went to your place to make more arrests.” I left in a hurry, not daring to hang around. On the way back, I was thinking about how evil the great red dragon is. It makes such incredible efforts just to arrest people who believe in God. Brothers and sisters were being arrested one after another, and I was in danger of arrest at any moment. If I couldn’t take the torture and became a Judas, wouldn’t my path of faith be at an end? The more I thought about it, the more weak and afraid I felt, like being a believer in China was too hard, too dangerous. I called out to God in my heart over and over, “God! What should I do?” Then I thought of this passage from God’s words: “Faith is like a single log bridge: Those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over, sure of foot and worry-free. If man harbors timid and fearful thoughts, it is because Satan has fooled them, afraid that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God. Satan is trying in every way possible to send us its thoughts. We should at every moment pray for God to illuminate us with His light, at every moment rely on God to purge Satan’s poison from within us, practice within our spirit at every moment how to come close to God, and let God have dominion over our whole being” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 6). God’s words gave me faith and strength. I realized I was living in fear, afraid of being arrested and beaten to death. I was falling for Satan’s tricks. Satan was using my weakness to hold me back, to get me to lose faith in God so I wouldn’t dare do my duty. Then I’d slowly grow distant from God and betray Him. I had to see through Satan’s tricks. The more I faced these kinds of situations, the more I should draw close to God and rely on Him, living by His words. Even if I were arrested, I would submit and not complain. I would stand firm in my witness and satisfy God.
I thought of the notebook with brothers’ and sisters’ phone numbers that I still had at home. I had to go back; otherwise, if the police found it they’d all be arrested. But the police could be staking out my house—wouldn’t I be playing into their hands? Just as I was feeling conflicted, I remembered God’s words. “Each of you believes yourself to be so compatible with Me, but if that were the case, then to whom would such irrefutable evidence apply? You believe yourselves to possess the utmost sincerity and loyalty toward Me. You think that you are so kindhearted, so compassionate, and have devoted so much to Me. You think that you have done more than enough for Me. But have you ever held this up against your actions? … You shut Me out for the sake of your children, or your husband, or your own self-preservation. Instead of caring about Me, you care about your family, your children, your status, your future, and your own gratification. When have you ever thought of Me as you spoke or acted? On frigid days, your thoughts turn to your children, your husband, your wife, or your parents. On blistering days, I hold no place in your thoughts, either. When you perform your duty, you are thinking of your own interests, of your own personal safety, of the members of your family. What have you ever done that was for Me? When have you ever thought of Me? When have you ever devoted yourself, at any cost, to Me and My work? Where is the evidence of your compatibility with Me? Where is the reality of your loyalty to Me? Where is the reality of your obedience to Me? When have your intentions not been for the sake of gaining My blessings? You fool and deceive Me, you play with the truth, you conceal the existence of the truth, and betray the essence of the truth. What awaits you in the future by going against Me in this way?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ). Every question felt like an accusation from God in my heart. When everything was peaceful, I could leave my home and job behind for my duty. I felt like I was devoted to God. But when actually faced with the great red dragon’s arrests, I saw how small my stature was. Before, I was just shouting empty slogans and doctrine. A real crisis revealed my true stature. All I thought about was how to protect my own interests. I wasn’t protecting the church’s work at all. I wasn’t someone who cared about God’s will. If I was, when something involved the church’s interests, I’d be able to give up everything for God, even my life. I thought of all those books of God’s words. Brothers and sisters risked their lives to deliver them, and so many were arrested by the great red dragon in the process of transporting them. Some were even beaten to death. They set aside concern over their life and death so that brothers and sisters could read God’s words; they did their duty and satisfied God. But me? I didn’t consider the church’s interests. I just thought of my own safety when something happened. I was afraid of being arrested and tortured to death. Normally, I’d bend over backwards for something that benefited me, but now I couldn’t make the slightest sacrifice for the church’s sake. Compared with those brothers and sisters, I was incredibly selfish. I had no consideration for God’s will. Now that a church leader had been arrested, as a church deacon hiding out instead of protecting church work was safer, but I lost a chance to do my duty and bear witness. Then what was the meaning of my life? Wasn’t I just a walking corpse? At this thought, I prayed to God, “God, whether or not I’m arrested today is entirely in Your hands. Please give me faith and wisdom so I can lean on You and do my duty.”
Around 2 a.m., I got to the house of a sister that lived nearby. I found out that the police had visited several other homes close to mine. Some of the brothers and sisters ran away and escaped arrest. They told me that the cops were sure to come back, and told me to leave right away. I didn’t dare hang around. I saw there was no one waiting at the entrance of the house, so I rushed back home and got the notebook with the phone numbers. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Then I went to Brother Yang Guang’s place. As soon as he saw me, he said fearfully, “Yesterday I was arrested along with my wife. They let us go last night. Several other brothers and sisters have been arrested, too.” I rushed out of there. I was thinking on the way back that the situation was deteriorating, and arrests were happening all over the place. If I’d been sold out by the Judas, the police were sure to have a description of me, and with so much surveillance around, I could be arrested at any moment. What if I couldn’t withstand their torture? That was a terrifying thought for me. I’d be a little safer if I went into hiding, but the follow-up work still wasn’t done. If I went into hiding now, wouldn’t that make me a deserter? I’d been a believer all these years and enjoyed so much watering from God’s words. If I ran away at a critical time, not even fulfilling my duty or responsibilities, I would have no conscience or humanity whatsoever. Would I even count as a believer? I would be no different from a Judas who betrays God. At this thought, I quietly made up my mind that I would rather be arrested and die at the hands of the police than run away and live a pointless existence. I had to stand firm in my witness, satisfy God, and do my utmost to fulfill my duty. And so, I went right back to my host’s home.
I read this in God’s words that evening: “In My plan, Satan has, all along, been stalking behind each step and, as the foil of My wisdom, has always been trying to find ways and means to disrupt My original plan. Yet could I succumb to its deceitful schemes? Everything in heaven and on earth serves Me; could the deceitful schemes of Satan be any different? This is precisely where My wisdom intersects; it is precisely that which is wondrous about My deeds, and it is the principle of operation for My entire management plan. During the era of the building of the kingdom, still I do not avoid the deceitful schemes of Satan, but continue to do the work I must. Among the universe and all things, I have chosen the deeds of Satan as My foil. Is this not a manifestation of My wisdom? Is this not precisely that which is wondrous about My work?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 8). I could see God’s almightiness and wisdom in His words. The great red dragon is an enemy to God. It madly arrests and persecutes Christians and disturbs God’s work, vainly hoping to destroy the work God does to save mankind. But the great red dragon’s arrests and persecution allow us to develop discernment over its evil essence that harms man and is against God, then despise it from the heart and break ties with it. Its arrests and persecution also reveal true believers from false ones, and distinguish the sheep from the goats, and the wheat from the tares. In times of crisis, there are some who don’t do their duty out of fear, or leave the faith, and some who betray God and become Judases when they’re arrested and tortured. They are the ones exposed as tares, who are blown away. Doesn’t that show God’s wisdom and righteousness? That reminded me of how the said, “For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). I thought of saints through the ages who were martyred for spreading God’s gospel. Some were crucified upside down; some were drawn and quartered. Although they died, their deaths had meaning. But those who betrayed God and became Judases appear to still be alive from the outside, but inside their hearts are in agony. They are like living corpses, in unspeakable misery. After they die, their souls will go down to hell and be punished. That was something I didn’t fully get. Instead, I wanted to shirk my duty and hide. If I caused damage to the church’s work because of a dereliction of duty, that would be a transgression—an eternal stain. If I were able to sacrifice my life out of devotion to my duty, even if I were arrested and beaten to death, I’d be giving testimony for God and shaming Satan. My death would have value and meaning. Then I read more of God’s words. “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!” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique I). I could see God’s power and authority through His words. Absolutely everything, whether it be alive or dead, is in God’s hands. Satan renders service for God’s work—it serves as a foil. The CCP has all sorts of tricks, and harnesses the forces of many people and things, but without God’s permission, it can’t touch a hair on our heads. Just like in Job’s experience, Satan attacked and hurt him, trying to force him to deny and reject God. God allowed Satan to treat Job badly, but didn’t allow it to endanger Job’s life, and Satan didn’t dare go against God’s command. Just like how in my follow-up work, I came out of one dangerous situation after another unscathed. That was entirely God’s care and protection. All these experiences have showed me God’s authority and sovereignty. If God didn’t allow the great red dragon to get me, it couldn’t. If He allowed my arrest, I wouldn’t be able to escape it. Understanding this gave me faith. I felt ready to put my life in God’s hands and submit to His orchestrations.
Later, I found out the police hadn’t checked a home where upper leaders held gatherings. With a gathering soon approaching, I was worried they were biding their time to catch more leaders. If they weren’t notified, the leaders could be arrested and even more people would be implicated. We quickly brainstormed some ideas, and through some twists and turns, finally communicated the church’s situation to upper leaders. The leaders told us to go into hiding first, out of consideration for our safety. A few days later, a letter from the leaders came, saying that in the arrests the great red dragon had conducted in our region, two homes used for safeguarding books had been raided. Just one home was left, and everything had to be moved right away. Since everyone who knew the safekeepers of the books had been arrested except for me, and I was relatively familiar with the area and the church members, they wanted me to help move the books. I knew very well that under the circumstances it was best for me to go, and it was a responsibility I couldn’t shrug off. But the situation was so tense now and the great red dragon was still pursuing people. If I went at a time like this, wouldn’t I be putting myself in harm’s way? I felt kind of timid. But I thought of how the situation was in God’s hands, and if God didn’t allow it, the great red dragon couldn’t do anything to me. So I decided to help out. I said a prayer, “Oh God! This duty has come to me, and I’m ready to fulfill my responsibility. No matter what happens next, I’m willing to submit to Your arrangements. Even if I’m arrested, even if I’m tortured, I’ll never be a deserter again. I’ll offer You my devotion, and stand firm in my witness to shame Satan!”
So I asked around, and found the home storing the books. The brother there said seven or eight officers had already come to his house and made an arrest. They carted off his wife without a word, and fined them 2,000 yuan, but they didn’t find the books kept there—they had to be moved as soon as possible. We rushed to get the books packed into the car. For the whole drive, my heart didn’t dare stray from God for a moment. In the end we got the books to a safe place without a hitch. I thanked God over and over.
Thinking back about this whole experience, I can see God’s wisdom and almightiness, as well as how shallow my faith was. Without the great red dragon’s arrests, I wouldn’t see my own stature clearly, and I especially wouldn’t see my selfishness and fear of death, nor would I have any understanding of God’s almighty rule. I also got to experience that God really is by our side, and as long as we lean on God, He will be there and open up a path for us. This understanding is something I couldn’t have gained in a peaceful environment.