Shackled

March 19, 2022

By Li Mo, China

In 2004, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, and before long, I was reported for spreading the gospel. On that day, I was working at the hospital, and my colleague told me the hospital director was looking for me. I went into the director’s office and saw two uniformed police standing there. They said to me, “Someone reported that you believe in Eastern Lightning and have been preaching the gospel everywhere. Eastern Lightning is a key national crackdown target, and all Eastern Lightning believers are political criminals who will be sentenced to prison!” They also threatened me, saying that if I continued to believe in God, they could cut me off from my job at any moment, and even if I went to work, I might not get paid for it. Even my husband’s job and my son’s eligibility to go to university, become a soldier, or go abroad would be affected. They said that if one day they caught me preaching the gospel, I would be sent to prison. At the time, I was a little worried. I thought, “If I don’t give up my belief in God, the police won’t let it go. If I lose my job and my husband’s business is affected, how will we survive in the future? And if I’m arrested and sent to prison, who will take care of my young son? If my son’s future was affected by my belief in God, then I would owe him too much …” The more I thought about it, the more upset I felt. I called out to God to protect me. At that moment, I thought of a passage of God’s word. “From the moment you come crying into this world, you begin to fulfill your duty. For God’s plan and for His ordination, you perform your role and start your life’s journey. Whatever your background, and whatever the journey ahead of you, no one can escape the orchestrations and arrangements of the Heaven, and no one is in control of their own destiny, for only He who rules over all things is capable of such work” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I contemplated God’s word, and then I understood: Everyone’s fate is under God’s sovereignty. Whatever happens to our family is in God’s hands, and no person can decide it. God is the Creator, and it’s natural and right that people believe in God and worship God. The police wanted to use my husband’s and my work and my son’s future to threaten me, to force me to abandon the true way and betray God. This was so despicable! At that time, I made up my mind that no matter what my life became in the future, I would never compromise with Satan. Then the police asked me to report my brothers and sisters, but I refused, and they had to leave.

After that, they often went to the hospital to ask if I still believed in God or spread the gospel. Sometimes I was performing surgery on a patient, but no matter how urgent, it had to be interrupted. It started to make me angry. I thought, “I only believe in God and follow the right path, and I haven’t done anything bad, so why do the police always come to harass me, so that I can’t even do my job in peace?” The constant investigations of me caused an uproar throughout the entire hospital. My colleagues saw me as a dangerous person. Some talked about me behind my back, and some of them asked me directly, “What did you do while believing in God? Why do the police constantly come to investigate you? Your belief in God brought the police right to our door. This is a serious matter.” The director’s attitude toward me also changed. He used to take me seriously, but after that incident, every time he saw me, he always asked me, “You didn’t go out to preach, did you?” He also told me to keep my phone on 24 hours, so that I was always reachable. Once, the director told me, “The police have come here looking for you many times over your belief in God. Don’t believe in God anymore. You’ve always done your job well, and everyone’s opinion of you is good. Don’t ruin your future over your belief in God. It’s not worth it. If you get arrested or end up worse, as your boss, it won’t be easy for me to explain, either …” During that period, faced every day with the constant surveillance of my boss and the strange eyes of my colleagues, I was depressed and miserable. I prayed to God to ask for faith and strength, and asked Him to help me stand strong in that environment. Then, I read a passage of God’s word, “The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, and so, in this land, those who believe in God are thus subjected to humiliation and oppression…. Because it is embarked upon in a land that opposes God, all of God’s work faces tremendous obstacles, and accomplishing many of His words takes time; thus, people are refined as a result of God’s words, which is also part of suffering. It is tremendously difficult for God to carry out His work in the land of the great red dragon—but it is through this difficulty that God does one stage of His work, making manifest His wisdom and His wondrous deeds, and using this opportunity to make this group of people complete” (“Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s word, I understood His will. China is a country ruled by the Communist Party, and is the place that most seriously resists God. Those who believe in God in China will inevitably be persecuted and humiliated, but God uses the Communist Party as a service-doer to perfect our faith, and thereby make a group of overcomers. This is God’s wisdom. I thought about how, because I believe in God and walked the right path, I was harassed and monitored by the police and also endured humiliation and criticism from colleagues and friends, and I realized that this was being persecuted for righteousness and it was a glorious thing. Once I understood this, I didn’t feel so miserable, and I promised myself that no matter how the Communist Party tried to hinder and persecute me, I would follow God to the end.

During that time, my husband had been away on business in another region. I was afraid he would worry about me, so I never told him. In January 2005, my husband returned from his business trip, and when he learned about it, he was very alarmed. With a serious face, he said to me, “The government said people who believe in Almighty God are political criminals and can be caught and jailed at any time, and if the CCP catches you, they’ll beat you half to death and ruin your family’s lives.” He said our son’s future and his business would both be affected, and he asked me to stop believing in Almighty God. I thought, “My husband’s belief in the Lord is in name only. He doesn’t actually understand anything. It’s normal that he has some concerns. The Communist Party persecutes us believers in God so much, and even goes after our family members. Who wouldn’t be afraid?” I also thought of how he had been away on a business trip the whole time. I hadn’t had time to testify to Almighty God’s work of the last days to him, so I should use this opportunity to read more of Almighty God’s word with him. I fellowshipped a lot with him. He didn’t listen at all. He just said perfunctorily, “Our life is going well, so let’s just enjoy the grace of the Lord Jesus. We don’t need to accept the work of judgment.” He was afraid of being implicated if I was arrested, so he started to try to stop me from believing in God. After that, he began to watch me very closely. If I didn’t come home on time after getting off work, he called me to ask where I was and urged me to come home, and he uncharacteristically stopped going out to see his friends at night. Instead, he just sat at home watching me. When it was time for me to leave to go to meetings, he deliberately asked me for help with things. He essentially tried every means to stop me from believing in God or performing my duties. At the start, I felt very constrained, but later, I recalled a passage of God’s word. God says, “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” (“Chapter 10” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). As I pondered God’s word, I understood that, outwardly, my husband was trying to hinder my belief in God, but Satan’s tricks were behind this, and I couldn’t give in to Satan. Later, I found excuses to avoid my husband’s surveillance, and went to meetings and fulfilled my duties in secret. At the same time, I also looked for chances to talk to my husband, hoping he would seek and investigate Almighty God’s work. But my husband repeatedly avoided it, saying he would believe when priests and nuns started believing. He also asked me not to go to meetings or spread the gospel to avoid me being arrested and sent to prison. I saw that my husband wasn’t interested at all in the truth or receiving the Lord’s coming, so I stopped talking to him about it. I thought, “No matter what, I have to believe in God and fulfill my duty. I can’t be constrained by him.”

In the past, he would go on business trips after the Chinese New Year, but he didn’t go anywhere that year. One day, he suddenly knelt on the ground and begged me, crying, “You often go out to meetings and to preach the gospel. If you are arrested and sent to prison, how will we get by in the future? What will happen to this family, and our son? You have to think about our family, and our son’s future …” I’d never seen my husband cry all those years. Seeing him crying on his knees and begging me made me feel awful, and I started crying too. To comfort him, I said, “Everything is in God’s hands. Whether I will be arrested, what happens to our son in the future, all of that is in God’s hands. All we can do is rely on God to experience things. We shouldn’t worry too much.” My husband, with tears in his eyes, shook his head and said, “The police have already found you. If you continue to believe like this, you will be arrested sooner or later, and then everything will be ruined.” Seeing my husband in such anguish, I felt very sad and resentful. All of this was the Communist Party’s doing! We believe in God and preach the gospel so that people can accept God’s salvation in the last days and survive the disaster. This is saving people, and nothing is more just, but the Communist Party frantically tries to hinder and disturb us. They are nothing but a group of Satans and demons who resist God! God’s words say, “Forefathers of the ancient? Beloved leaders? They all oppose God! Their meddling has left all beneath heaven in a state of darkness and chaos! Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin! … Why put up such an impenetrable obstacle to the work of God? Why employ various tricks to deceive God’s folk? Where is the true freedom and the legitimate rights and interests? Where is the fairness? Where is the comfort? Where is the warmth? Why use deceitful schemes to trick God’s people?” (“Work and Entry (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Outwardly the Communist Party promotes religious freedom, but they actually use all kinds of methods to suppress and arrest those who believe in God, and they even use work and family to force people to deny God and betray God. It’s so despicable! If not for the Communist Party’s persecution, my husband wouldn’t try to stop me out of fear. Wherever the evil hand of the Communist Party reaches, it brings disaster. At that moment, my husband was following the Communist Party and pushing me to give up my belief in God to protect his work and family, so I couldn’t listen to him.

After that, my husband also read a lot of the Communist Party’s slander against The Church of Almighty God online, he essentially stopped going on business trips and stayed at home to watch me. He also asked around to find out who I had contact with and who I called. He even went to the telecom company to have my six-month call log printed out, and then asked me about the numbers one by one. To monitor me, he took me to and from work every day, and he followed me wherever I went. I felt like I was chained up, without any freedom at all. I couldn’t live the church life and I couldn’t fulfill my duty, which made me very sad, so I took advantage of my husband’s carelessness to sneak out and preach the gospel. After my husband found out, he said angrily, “If you can still go out and preach the gospel even while I’m watching you like this, then I really can’t help you. The Communist Party holds power now, so if you continue to believe like this, you will be arrested sooner or later, and this family will be broken up. So, let’s get a divorce. You can believe whatever you want once we’re divorced, and it won’t hurt our son or anyone else.” When I heard he wanted to divorce me, I couldn’t believe it. All I did was believe in God. How did it get to the point of getting divorced? Did all our years together count for nothing? The thought of how my own perfectly good family would be torn apart by the Communist Party made me miserable, and it was a fact I couldn’t bear to accept. I prayed to God, “God, please give me faith and strength, so that I can stand strong in this environment.” After I prayed, I remembered this passage of God’s word. “The utmost faith and love are required from us in this stage of work. We may stumble from the slightest carelessness, for this stage of work is different from all the previous ones: What God is perfecting is mankind’s faith, which is both invisible and intangible. What God does is convert words to faith, to love, and to life. People must reach a point where they have endured hundreds of refinements and possess faith greater than Job’s. They must endure incredible suffering and all manner of torture without ever leaving God. When they are obedient unto death, and have great faith in God, then this stage of God’s work is complete” (“The Path … (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I contemplated God’s word, and then I understood that in His work of the last days, God uses His words and various trials and refinement to perfect people’s faith. I thought of Satan’s temptations of Job. He lost his children and wealth overnight, and then was covered in terrible boils. In the midst of such a major trial, Job never complained against God, but continued to praise God’s name. He stood firm and testified for God in his trial. Then I thought about myself. My family was breaking apart because of Communist Party persecution, and I was already complaining. I saw that my stature was really too small, and I had no testimony at all. When I thought of that, I felt very remorseful, so I prayed to God to promise that even if my husband divorced me, I would not give up my belief in God.

Unexpectedly, after a few days, my husband apologized to me and said he was wrong. He said he shouldn’t have mentioned divorce, and that he felt forced by the Communist Party. After a while longer, my husband suddenly said to me, “If I can’t persuade you, then I’ll join you in believing in Almighty God.” Right, I was also quite surprised at the time. I thought he had really thought it through, so the two of us read God’s word together at home. A week later, he asked me to take him to a meeting. I thought his behavior was a little strange, so I didn’t agree. I was taken by surprise when he turned on me and said, “If you don’t take me to a meeting, I won’t believe.” He also said he did this to persuade me to change my mind. Only then did I realize my husband was pretending to believe in God, and his purpose was to find where we held our meetings so that he could monitor and control me. I really didn’t expect my husband to do such a thing. After that, the two of us were in a cold war. One day, I was reading God’s word at home, when my husband suddenly started pounding on the door as he said, “I can’t live like this anymore. How did the two of us get to this point?” I opened the door, and he rushed toward me like a madman, grabbed my neck, and shouted at me, “Why are you so determined to believe in Almighty God? Are our family and son not important to you? Are they really less important than the God you believe in?” I was choked so badly I couldn’t breathe, so I desperately called out to God to save me. I struggled, and he let go. At the time, I was very hurt, and also very disappointed. Later, I read a passage of God’s word. “Why does a husband love his wife? Why does a wife love her husband? Why are children dutiful to their parents? Why do parents dote on their children? What sorts of intentions do people actually harbor? Is their intent not to satisfy their own plans and selfish desires?” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). As I contemplated God’s word, I asked myself, “Does my husband really love me?” I thought back on all our years of marriage. My husband clearly knew better than anyone about the sacrifices I had made for our family, and he knew I had believed in the Lord since I was a child and looked forward to the Lord’s coming, but when I received the Lord, he not only didn’t support me, he stood with the Communist Party and opposed me to protect his own interests, threatened me with divorce, and even cruelly choked me. Not even the minimum respect between husband and wife existed between us. How could this be called real love? I also thought of how, although my husband believed in the Lord Jesus, he only did so as a means to demand grace. He didn’t look forward to the Lord’s coming at all. When God came in the last days to express the truth and do the work of salvation, out of fear of being arrested by the Communist Party and of Satan’s regime, he didn’t accept God’s new work, and he followed the Communist Party in forcing me to stop believing. I saw that my husband wasn’t a true believer in God at all. He was a nonbeliever. God’s words say, “Believers and unbelievers are not compatible; rather, they are opposed to one another” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). My husband and I weren’t walking the same road at all, so I couldn’t let him constrain me.

After that, my husband threatened me with divorce several more times to force me to stop believing in God. When I thought that I might really lose my family, I still couldn’t bear to let it go. At the time, I prayed to God every day to ask God to guide me. One day, I saw a passage of God’s word. “As someone who is normal, and who pursues the love of God, entry into the kingdom to become one of the people of God is your true future, and a life that is of the utmost value and significance; no one is more blessed than you. Why do I say this? Because those who do not believe in God live for the flesh, and they live for Satan, but today you live for God, and live to do the will of God. That is why I say your lives are of the utmost significance. Only this group of people, who have been selected by God, are able to live out a life of the utmost significance: No one else on earth is able to live out a life of such value and meaning” (“Know God’s Newest Work and Follow His Footsteps” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I used to think having a happy family, a loving relationship with my husband, and having my material needs fulfilled was the definition of happiness, and that living this way was meaningful. But now, I saw clearly that so-called love between husband and wife is only based on not impinging on each other’s personal interests. As the saying goes, “Married couples are lovebirds until hardship makes them each fly their own way.” In the past, when I worked hard for my family and my husband, my husband cared deeply for me, but now that I believed in God, he saw that his interests were endangered, so he began to persecute me, and wanted to divorce me. To put it bluntly, so-called love between a husband and wife is just using each other. What happiness could there be in such a life? I thought of how he monitored me over the past few months, and how he forbade me from going to meetings and performing my duties. I couldn’t meet with my brothers and sisters, my heart wasn’t at peace as I read God’s word at home, and I had to think of ways to handle my husband when I went out preaching the gospel. I had no freedom at all, as if I was bound and suffocated by an invisible rope, and if things continued this way, not only would my life suffer, I would also lose the chance to gain the truth and God’s salvation. It wasn’t worth it. This was when I realized more and more clearly that the marital love of family life wasn’t true happiness. I could only live a meaningful life by pursuing the truth and doing the duties of a created being. I also remembered the words of the Lord Jesus, “He that loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that takes not his cross, and follows after Me, is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37–38). I thought of many saints throughout the ages, and how, to carry out God’s commission, they had forsaken their homes and careers and traveled across oceans to preach the gospel and testify to God, endured suffering, and even given up their lives. Their testimony earned God’s approval. God predestined that I would be born in the last days and chose me to come to Him so that I could gain His salvation. This is an incredibly rare opportunity, and God’s grace and exaltation for me. If I couldn’t properly perform my duties because of my husband’s constraints, I would owe God too much, and I would have no conscience! Realizing that, I swore an oath that I would do as the saints of the past did and forsake everything, follow God, and perform the duties of a created being.

One night, just after I got home from a meeting, I opened the door and saw that many people had come to my house, my colleagues and my husband’s friends and relatives, and the instant they saw me, all of them spoke up to persuade me to stop believing in God. Some said they saw broadcasts on TV that the Communist Party had recently arrested many believers in Almighty God, and some of them were sentenced to at least 10 years. Others said that believers in Almighty God wouldn’t just be sentenced to prison if they were arrested, many were crippled or killed in custody, and their families suffered as well. Some also repeated fallacies and rumors from the Communist Party to slander the Church, and said believers in God abandon their families. Hearing all this made me very angry. If not for the Communist Party’s persecution, my family and friends wouldn’t oppose me and attack me like this. The Communist Party distorts facts and spreads rumors so that people who don’t know the facts resist God alongside it and are condemned by God, and in the end will be destroyed with it. It’s nothing but evil! With all that in mind, I refuted them, “If you don’t understand what it is to believe in God, don’t talk nonsense about it. Do you know why I insist on believing in God despite these risks? Because the Savior has come and expressed much truth to save people, help us escape the influence of Satan, and help us escape disaster. This is an incredibly rare opportunity! The Communist Party doesn’t allow people to believe in God, frantically oppresses and persecutes people who believe in God, arrests and imprisons so many people. There are so many people who can’t return home, so many who have been crippled and beaten to death, and so many Christians whose homes have been broken. Isn’t that all the Communist Party’s doing? Obviously it’s the Communist Party persecuting people who believe in God and breaking up Christian families, but they turn things around and say believers in God are abandoning their families. Isn’t that twisting right and wrong? You not only don’t hate the CCP, but you’re trying to stop me from believing in God. Don’t you know the difference between right and wrong? The path of belief in God was my own choice. Even if I go to prison, I am determined to follow Almighty God.” When they saw they couldn’t persuade me, they decided all they could do was leave. My husband helplessly said to me, “It looks like no one can change your mind, so let’s get a divorce. You believe in Almighty God, and the government runs crackdowns on people like you. When that happens, you won’t be able to keep your job, and maybe even your life. But we want to keep our lives, so it looks like there’s no other choice. The Communist Party pushes people into impossible corners.” I was a little sad after hearing this, but I was clearly aware that the time to choose had come. I chose to believe in God, follow God, and gain the truth and the life, and my husband chose to follow the Communist Party to protect his job and future. We could only go our separate ways. At the time, I prayed to God, “God, no matter what kind of environment I find myself in, I will follow You to the end.”

The next morning, my husband and I went to the Civil Affairs Bureau to complete the divorce procedures, ending twelve years of married life. Since then, I’ve been able to go to meetings and perform my duties normally, and I’ve felt very steadfast and peaceful. I think the only meaningful life is performing the duties of a created being.

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