Our family has always been a host family, and one day in 2005, thanks to an evildoer’s report, my parents and several brothers and sisters were arrested by the great red dragon. My birth sister fortunately survived a near-drowning as she fled, only escaping with her life because God protected her. My parents and the brothers and sisters at my family’s house were detained and fined, and all were tortured, all came out with injuries. When I heard the news, I couldn’t control my emotions. I didn’t have the heart to fulfill my duties. I thought, “At a time like this I should go home no matter what. My parents raised me, and now that they’re in trouble, even if I can’t do anything, I should at least be there to check up on them and comfort them.” So, I took the train home and went straight to my paternal aunt’s house (who also believes in God) to see my parents. At that time I saw their wounds had not healed, I felt horrible inside, and tears burst from my eyes. It felt like my parents had been humiliated. That’s when my parents told me: During the escape from the great red dragon, my birth sister dove into the river (this happened in December, after dark). The water was up to her neck, and the river currents were strong, wild plants were found caught on her pant leg, her shoes were stuck in the mud, and she didn’t know how to swim, so it was an utter mystery how she got to the other side. God must have miraculously protected her, or the results would have been too terrible to contemplate (the deep water and strong currents had taken the life of a man in his 40’s several days before). Later, my birth sister hid at the house of an older sister who gave my sister a change of clothes while crying as she dried her wet clothes over the fire, and otherwise took very good care of her. Several days after that she learned that this older sister’s house was no longer safe, so my birth sister went to hide at my maternal aunt’s home. She came out during the day to bring a letter to our church informing our leader of my family’s situation, but when she returned, my maternal aunt’s younger daughter said to her, “Hey cousin, why did you come back? I thought you left. We’ve already folded up the bed.” My sister realized my maternal aunt was afraid of getting involved and didn’t want to let her stay there, so crying, she left their home, and risked arrest to come home because she had nowhere else to go. After my parents were released, when they learned about my sister’s near-drowning and how she was kicked out by my maternal aunt, they were very angry, but my maternal aunt, in a tone convinced she was right, answered with, “That’s right, we are afraid of getting involved. You brought these arrests on yourselves. You had a perfectly good life, but you had to go and screw it up, and now you almost got someone killed!” I never imagined that my closest relatives, the people closest to me in the past, at a time when the great red dragon was arresting my family and their lives were in danger, at a time when comfort is needed most of all, would actually say such inhumane words or do such cruel things. To know that they could made me very sad. None of the people we helped most in the past came to check in on us or comfort us. Those who had the best relationships with us not only didn’t speak to my parents when they met on the street, they moved out of my parents’ path. Some who used to nod and say hello to us now turned their backs to us and gossiped. Only our brothers and sisters came to visit us and fellowship in the evenings. I never believed our family could come to such an abject state. I was again trapped in refinement, with thoughts of betraying God forming in my heart. Later, after receiving a revelation from God, I experienced what my brothers and sisters had fellowshiped about, “Relationships between people are based on nothing but mutual interest, family and friends merely help one another, being relationships built on a foundation of mutual use.” I also thought back to my parents’ talk about what they gained from their experience of being arrested by the great red dragon, for example: When the great red dragon used a leather whip to beat my father, he said he didn’t feel too much pain, and that the belt broke into three pieces as they hit him. My sister said she didn’t feel any fear at all during her experience, and even though it was December, she said she never felt cold coming out of the water. God gave her extra strength and confidence. Arrest by the great red dragon had actually made their faith more steadfast. It had made them stronger. My father said that he hadn’t believed God’s words in the past, and that he was an admirer of the great red dragon, but this incident had shown him the great red dragon was merely a gang of thugs, bandits who would take away anything in our house worth money and would rather arrest law-abiding believers in God than murderers and arsonists. I was ashamed when I understood that we all live under God’s leadership, everything we experience is part of God’s sovereignty and arrangement, no person has the power to help another, familial affection will only drive us away from God, and that the things people can help each other with only accord with the flesh, not with the truth. Thoughts like “not wanting my parents’ flesh to suffer” not only bring no benefit to their life, they bring no benefit to their salvation. Only God knows what man needs, and God loves man the most. I saw a passage of God’s word that said, “From when He created the world, God has done much work involving the vitality of life, has done much work that brings life to man, and has paid a great price so that man might gain life, for God Himself is eternal life, and God Himself is the way by which man is resurrected. God is never absent from the heart of man, and lives among man at all times. He has been the driving force of man’s living, the fundament of man’s existence, and a rich deposit for man’s existence after birth. He causes man to be reborn, and enables him to tenaciously live in his every role. Thanks to His power, and His inextinguishable life force, man has lived for generation after generation, throughout which the power of God’s life has been the mainstay of man’s existence, and for which God has paid a price that no ordinary man has ever paid. God’s life force can prevail over any power; moreover, it exceeds any power. His life is eternal, His power extraordinary, and His life force not easily overwhelmed by any created being or enemy force. The life force of God exists, and shines its brilliant radiance, regardless of time or place. God’s life remains forever unchanged throughout the upheavals of heaven and earth. All things pass away, but God’s life still remains, for God is the source of the existence of all things, and the root of their existence. Man’s life originates from God, the existence of the heaven is because of God, and the existence of the earth stems from the power of God’s life. No object possessed of vitality can transcend the sovereignty of God, and no thing with vigor can break away from the ambit of God’s authority. In this way, regardless of who they are, everyone must submit under the dominion of God, everyone must live under God’s command, and no one can escape from His control” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Through God’s words and reality, I experienced the extraordinariness and greatness of God’s life force, that He lives among man at all times, at all times guides mankind and displays His power, and that every person lives in arrangements masterminded by God. Facing God’s word, I saw how tiny I was and how insignificant emotional ties are. What could I have done against the difficulties my family faced? Wasn’t God the one who protected them, cared for them, and led them through the crisis? Can man’s love of another man be greater than God’s love for man? At the same time, God’s words judged me, “Who among you can truly expend wholly for Me and offer up their all for Me? You are all half-hearted, your thoughts go round and round, thinking of home, the outside world, food and clothing. Despite the fact that you are before Me doing things for Me, in your heart you still think of your wife, children and parents at home—are all these your property? Why don’t you commit them into My hands? Do you not believe in Me enough? Or is it that you’re afraid I will make inappropriate arrangements for you? Why do you always miss your home? And miss other people! Do I occupy a certain position in your heart? And you still talk about letting Me have dominion within you and occupy your whole being—these are all deceptive lies! How many of you are for the church with all your hearts? And who among you think not of yourselves, but are for the kingdom of today? Think very carefully about this” (“The Fifty-ninth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I saw that what I cared for in my heart was still my family, because I didn’t have true faith in God, I still couldn’t entrust them completely to God’s hands; I saw that I did not live in the truth, and even though I was performing my duties in God’s house, I often worried about my family, and did not let God occupy my heart. I could not respect God above all others and faithfully perform my duties. I had been fooled and afflicted by Satan. If not for these “unfortunate” things happening to me, I never would have seen things clearly. It’s just as this hymn of God’s word says, “When it comes to the state of man’s life, man has yet to find the real life, he still hasn’t seen through to the desolation and miserable conditions of the world; were it not for the advent of disaster, people would still embrace Mother Nature, and would still engross themselves in the flavor of ‘life.’ Is this not the voice of salvation that God speaks forth to man? Why, among mankind, has no one ever truly loved God? Why does man love God only in the midst of chastisement, yet no one loves God under His protection?” (“Mankind Does Not Know God’s Salvation” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). If not for what these circumstances revealed to me, I never would have truly understood the relationships between people, and I would still be controlled by family ties, love, and friendship, inextricably trapped in the pursuit of these things, deceived and made to suffer by them, happy in my ignorance; if not for the “disaster” that befell me, I would still be pursuing evil worldly trends, unable to see my own lowliness; if not for the chastisement and judgment , I never would have received the truth, never would have taken the correct path of life, and it was God’s salvation that allowed me to never taste the flavor of “life” again. When I understood all this, I decided that I would wholeheartedly believe in God and pursue the truth to repay God’s love for me.
In 2007, when I returned to my hometown to perform my duties, I learned that a brother who joined the faith with me, because he couldn’t see through the darkness and evil in society, surrendered to the temptations of the world, betrayed God, and left God’s family. His parents and the brothers and sisters repeatedly fellowshiped with him to convince him to stay, but he stubbornly turned his head and refused to look back, choosing instead to return to the world. Before long his entrapment in these worldly trends became deeper. He was a handsome man and had made quite a lot of money, so he started involving himself with many women. Eventually he was murdered, and we heard his organs were sold. His parents never saw his body. I felt sorry for him when I heard the story, but I also saw the tragic result of pursuing worldly trends, and even more so I saw how God used my parents’ urging to stop my return to the world, which made me experience God’s care and protection of me, and made me understand that having money in this world is a downhill path that ends in ruination of the self. God said, “Poor mankind—how could they know that the land upon which they were raised is the land of the devil, that the one who raised them is actually an enemy who hurts them. Yet man does not awaken at all; having sated his hunger and thirst, he prepares to repay the ‘kindness’ of his parents in bringing him up. That is how man is. Today, he still doesn’t know that the ‘king’ who raised him is his enemy. The earth is littered with the bones of the dead, the devil makes manic merry without cease, and carries on devouring the flesh of man in the ‘netherworld,’ sharing a grave with human skeletons and vainly attempting to consume the last remnants of the tattered body of man. Yet man is ever ignorant, and has never treated the devil as his enemy, but instead serves it with all his heart” (“Work and Entry (9)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Through God’s words I saw the truth, that this is how Satan corrupts mankind, I saw that its malicious essence will eventually swallow men, and that without God’s timely salvation, I too would have been swallowed by this evil worldly trend and been buried with it. Upon understanding this, I offered my sincerest thanks and praise to God! It was God’s mercy, grace, and protection that carried me to this day.
I have now performed my duties in God’s family for several years, and in God’s family I have experienced God’s love. No matter where I perform my duties, God is always there to take care of me. I get along with my brothers and sisters as if they were family, we don’t use each other, and there is no exchange of benefits. My brothers and sisters are so sincere that even if our corruption shows through to each other at times, through opening our hearts and communicating about our understanding of ourselves, there are no grudges or guardedness. We help each other and offer one another love, everyone is viewed equally, and no one is treated differently because they are poor or rich. I have health problems, so I often get sick, but my brothers and sisters are very considerate and take very good care of me, which made me experience that even without blood ties among my brothers and sisters, they can be even closer than relatives. I get along well with my brothers and sisters, and with God’s guidance, we all pursue the truth and strive to perform our duties.
My experiences throughout these years have also helped me gradually come to understand God’s will, as well as to see that the work God has done upon me is the work of salvation and love, the words expressed by God are the truth, but more so that they are the words which save our lives. These truths have become God’s best care and protection for me. If I departed from these words or did not view things from the basis these words provide, I would ruin myself. I was deeply corrupted by Satan and unable to directly grasp the meaning of God’s words, so God arranged many different circumstances, people, matters, and things, designed for my needs, to benefit and perfect me, to help me understand His words. Amid my hardships and trials, I unwittingly came to see that these words expressed by God are all truth, that they are things that mankind needs. Not only do they grant mankind life and allow him to live out the life of a normal man, they also point out the correct path in life, because God is the truth, the way, and the life. As the word of God says, “I do not need man to do anything but accept the reality of My words and the original meaning of My words. Though My words are simple, in substance they are complex, for you are too small, and have grown too numb. When I reveal My mysteries directly and make plain My will in the flesh, you take no notice; you listen to My voice, but do not understand the meaning. I am overcome with sadness. Although I am in the flesh, I am unable to do the work of the ministry of the flesh” (“The Ninth Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In God’s word I saw both the urgency and sadness in God’s heart. All the words God expresses are the truth, but mankind is too small in stature and too numb, and so pays no notice of God’s will, which fills God with melancholy. I want to comfort God and cooperate with Him, and even though there is much of the truth I don’t understand, through my continuing pursuit of the truth and fulfilling my duties, God will provide me enlightenment and illumination so that I may understand His words. There is still much corruption in me that must be purified, and I need to experience much more of God’s work as well as God’s judgment and chastisement and the accompanying hardships and refinements, but God’s demands of man are not high. He asks only that I accept the reality of His words.
In the past, when I had just started believing in God, I did not love and treasure these words of His, but the circumstances God arranged for me and years of refinement made me see these words of God as riches, but without those circumstances I never would have gained a true understanding of God’s words. I offer my praise and thanks to God! It was God who saved me, and it was the words of life from God that awakened me and rescued me from a life of being deceived under Satan’s influence. In God’s words, I came to know the true meaning of life, etc. I came to know that God has always cared for mankind, and has always watched over and protected mankind, understand that mankind cannot leave the supply, nourishment, watering, and support of God’s words, that only God is the truth, the way, and the life, and know that there is no salvation but through Him. God’s words carried me to today, and I want to make God’s words my motto, my marker on the path forward, and a guide for my conduct. Oh God! You saved me, Your words awakened me, keeping me from going astray. I want to follow You along this path all my life and never leave You, and no matter what trouble or difficulties my decision may bring me, in any situation, I wish to follow in Your footsteps to accompany You and comfort You, and I will follow You to the end of the road, always and forever!