Persecution and Adversity Helped Me to Grow Up
By Baituo, Shandong Province
I’m an ordinary Christian in, and I’ve followed my mother in her belief in God since I was small. But belief in God in China always goes hand-in-hand with persecution and hardship. Before, I only knew in theory that God’s sovereignty and arrangements are behind this, that God’s wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s plots, that the great red dragon serves as a foil to God’s work and is a tool that renders service to God as He perfects His chosen people, but I had no actual experience or understanding of this aspect of the truth. Later, only within an environment arranged by God did I experience the CCP’s persecution and gain some true knowledge of this aspect of the truth.
I was at a meeting one afternoon, when suddenly the leader hurriedly ran over and said, “Your mother has been taken by the police for preaching the gospel. Just to be safe, don’t go home for a while. The church will arrange a host family for you.” This news was like a bolt from the blue and I was suddenly stupefied: What? My mother has been taken by the police? How will they torture her? Will she be able to endure it? I may never see my mother again. What should I do? Thinking these things, my heart was in torment and I couldn’t stop my tears. After the meeting finished, I was taken to my arranged host family and, after I was settled, my thoughts returned again to my mother. At home, I was closest to my mother. Although my non-believing father tried to force me to give up God, my elder sister ignored me because of my belief in God and all my other relatives abandoned me, I never felt lonely, because I still had my mother who also believed in God. Whether spiritually or physically, my mother always cared for me, doted on me, and helped me often. Whenever I had some problem I could always talk to her about it; you could say that she was my rock. Yet now she had been taken away by the great red dragon. For the next few days, I cried all day long, lived in constant pain and felt very down. As I was living in this state, unable to free myself, there was a guidance within: “Are you really willing to live always in darkness, allowing Satan to make a fool of you? And are you really not willing to understand God in His work and live in the light?” These words woke me up at once. I thought: That’s right. Am I really going to always live like this in darkness, allowing Satan to make a fool of me? No, I can’t! This situation that has befallen me must surely hold the good intention of God. I must seek God’s will and satisfy Him. Afterward, I often went before God to pray and to seek for God, asking God to enlighten me so that I could understand His will.
Leaving home and living away somewhere seemed like such a challenge to me, because I used to be spoiled at home and paid much attention to food, clothing and having fun. My flesh could suffer no wrong and could not endure the slightest hardship. In those days after I left home and was living with the host family, I could no longer do anything I wanted, could no longer do as I pleased like I had done at home, and when the brothers and sisters saw that I had some shortcomings, they would fellowship the truth with me. Gradually, my pampered nature and bad habits lessened, and I came to know that I should be content with having food and clothing. I also gained an insight into the essence of the flesh, never again to continue to pursue satisfaction of the flesh, and I came to know that seeking to satisfy God is the most important thing a created being should do, and I began to gain some entry into some truths which I had either not previously understood or not been able to put into practice. Before, when my mother was at home, no matter whether I had physical issues or problems in my life, I always depended on her and asked her to help me resolve them. I rarely prayed to God, didn’t seek the truth, nor did I have a normal relationship with God. After my mother was taken away, I had no one I could depend on when I came across difficulties. I could only go before God more often to pray to Him and read more ofto seek His will. Gradually, the place my mother had held in my heart grew smaller, while God’s place in my heart grew bigger. I came to appreciate that God could help me any time I needed, that I could not leave God. Moreover, I also learned to resolve my problems by relying on prayer and on my seeking of the truth, and I tasted the feeling of peace, sureness and dependability that comes from having God with me. When I lived at home, although I knew that believers and non-believers were two kinds of people that were incompatible with each other, I still felt as though only my parents and my elder sister were my family, and I always saw my brothers and sisters in the church as outsiders, always feeling some distance between us. After God had used the environment to “drive” me out of my home, I was together with my brothers and sisters in my host family from morning till night, and felt their concern and care for me, their tolerance and understanding. We spoke the same language, shared the same aspirations and helped each other through life; from my heart, I felt that this was my only true family, that only my brothers and sisters in the church were my father, mother and siblings. There was no longer any estrangement or distance between me and my brothers and sisters in the church, and I experienced the warmth that comes from having a large family. Through this environment with my brothers and sisters, I also learned how we could love each other, pardon each other and support each other through life, so that I gained some entry into normal humanity. These truths were what I could not put into practice before by attending meetings and listening to sermons at home. After my mother was taken by the police and I was forced to leave home, in these exceptional circumstances and unbeknown to me, God wrought these truths within me and gradually deepened my understanding of them. In the wake of my entering into these truths, my heart that sought to love and satisfy God became ever stronger and my will to expend my entire life for God became ever more resolute. The person I had been—who believed in God but had no purpose, who weakened whenever some problem came along—was undergoing a gradual change. What God bestowed on me really was more than I ever could have thought, and my heart became full of gratitude and praise for Him.
One day, during my spiritual devotions, I read God’s words that say: “In doing all this work, Jehovah God has not only allowed humans, who have been corrupted by Satan, to receive His great salvation, but also allowed them to see His wisdom, almightiness, and authority. Furthermore, in the end, He will let them see His righteous disposition—punishing the wicked and rewarding the good. He has battled Satan to this very day and has never been defeated. This is because He is a wise God, and He exercises His wisdom based upon Satan’s plots. … He still carries out His work in this same realistic manner to this day; in addition, as He carries out His work, He also reveals His wisdom and almightiness” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Know How the Whole of Humanity Has Developed to the Present Day). God’s words suddenly lit up my heart, and I couldn’t help but release a sigh from deep within: God really is a wise God! God’s deeds really are wonderful and unforeseen! This situation has today befallen me: Externally, it appears that the CCP police have taken my mother, taken away my only rock, made it hard for me to return home, tried to use this to obstruct my belief in God and to make me feel negative and down, or grow weak and give up by scaring me with their influence. But God’s wisdom is exercised based on the plots of Satan, and God used it to great effect. He sprung me out of my comfy nest and, through this environment, tempered my will, perfected my will to undergo suffering, trained me to have the ability to live independently, taught me how to live out normal humanity and how to be a real person; these truths were something that I had no way to understand, no way to obtain in an environment of ease and comfort. Through this environment, God wrought His truth and what He is in life inside me, so that not only did I not give up because of the CCP government’s persecution but, on the contrary, I obtained the truth that God had bestowed on me and I was brought under God’s salvation. Furthermore, through the persecution of the CCP government, I saw its savage, cruel face and its reactionary nature that resists God even more clearly. From my heart, I loathed it even more, and my heart that sought to love God became even stronger.
I give thanks to God! From this experience, I gained some practical understanding of God’s almightiness and sovereignty, and gained some practical experience of the fact that God’s wisdom is exercised based on the plots of Satan. I understood that everything that befalls that does not conform to man’s conceptions contains God’s good intention. No matter how Satan enforces its plots, God will ever be a wise God, and Satan will ever be God’s defeated foe and a chess piece in God’s hand. Understanding this, my will to follow God is now more resolute, and I am filled with faith for the road ahead!