When the Lord returns, how can we recognize His voice and welcome Him?
By Chen An, China
One day in 2014, I suddenly received a phone call from my leader and was asked to go to his office. When I entered there, I saw his face was sullen. I wondered: He usually wore a smile as we met, but what’s wrong with him today? Did anything go wrong with my work? Before I thought more about this, he asked me seriously, “Lao Chen, we heard you’ve believed in God. Is it true?” At his words, I was shocked and thought: How does he know it? What does he mean by calling me here for this matter? But then I had a second thought: Believing in God is right and proper. It neither contravenes the national constitution nor violates any regulations in our unit. So, I admitted my belief in God. He continued, “In a recent conference, the government ordered us to fire all those who. If we don’t carry it out, we’ll lose our places. Considering your fine performance in your work, I don’t want to dismiss you. So, I call you over today. As long as you write a letter guaranteeing that you will not believe in God, we’ll still allow you to work here. Now you have ten days to consider it. If you insist on believing in God, we will definitely fire you.” What he said astonished me and it was hard for me to accept. I was indignant: The Chinese Communist Party is truly evil! Isn’t it a good thing that we walk the right way by believing in God? Why does it oppress us bitterly? I have heard brothers and sisters fellowship, saying that the CCP government threatens and tempts Christians to betray God with various base means: Children of Christians are not allowed to join the army or take the college entrance examination, much less sit for the civil service examination; in all units, any worker who believes in God will be removed from their positions and moreover, their labor insurance and retirement pensions will be cancelled. At that time, I didn’t believe this so much, thinking that “Citizens have freedom of religion, and their legitimate rights and interests are protected” the CCP government’s proclaimed was true. Today, however, such a thing really comes upon me. I will actually be fired by my company because of my belief in God. Ah! What a terrible world it is!
The next day, I couldn’t calm myself at work at all. I was in anger and hatred, not knowing what to do. I thought: My job is quite good. Although I can’t earn big money, the income is more than enough to support my family. If I insist on saying that I believe in God, my job will surely be lost. Moreover, with so much unemployment nowadays, it is not easy to find a job. If I lost this job, my family would be in straitened circumstances. Or I might as well… I can just make a fool of them, saying that I will not believe in God at the leader’s face? When this idea crossed my mind, I felt awful and accused by my conscience. God was inspecting my heart! If I write the letter of guarantee, does it mean that I surrender myself to Satan, become Satan’s laughingstock and lose testimony? If I really do that, it will become a mark of my betrayal of God, which will be an indelible spot.
I was distressed at this matter very much. I was unwilling to betray God, but I had to consider my future life. It was hard for me to give up this job. My heart was at a fierce war with itself. Then I prayed to God, telling Him my trouble. His words enlightened and guided me. I thought ofsaying, “Something is revealed through the human disposition of the people in this world, including yourselves sitting here. How is this interpreted? It’s the worship of money. Is it hard to get this out of someone’s heart? It is very hard! It seems that Satan’s corruption of man is thorough indeed! Can we say that? (Yes.) So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive one day in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? … Don’t many people see getting money as being worth any cost? Don’t many people sacrifice their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Don’t many more people lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Isn’t this a loss for people? (Yes.) Isn’t Satan sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Isn’t this a malicious trick? … You might know the true way, you might know truth, but you are powerless to pursue it. You might clearly know the word of God, but you are unwilling to pay the price, unwilling to suffer to pay the price. Instead, you would rather sacrifice your own future and destiny to go against God to the very end. No matter what God says, no matter what God does, no matter how much you realize that God’s love for you is deep and great, you would still stubbornly stay the course and pay the price for this saying” (“God Himself, the Unique V”). God’s words made me see the light. For the time being, I had concerns about money and my future life? Satan was using my weakness to tempt me, wanting me to grovel before it for the sake of money, lose my dignity and integrity, so as to turn me into a person who is ungrateful and treacherous, and to make me deny God and betray Him, and thus lose the opportunity to be saved and end up going to hell together with it. Satan is so sinister and malicious. It kills man in an invisible way. Thanks be to God. If it hadn’t been for God’s words that led and kept me in time, wouldn’t I have fallen prey to its trickery? It would be too late to regret until then. At this thought, I was scared, feeling as if I had escaped from death.
In that evening, I shared my understanding with my wife. We prayed to God and sought His will together. Then we saw a passage of God’s words which said, “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 that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle” . Reading this passage of God’s words repeatedly, I felt much more brightened within. Outwardly, it seemed that the matter befalling me came from man’s arrangement, but actually it was Satan’s temptation and attack. At that very moment, God was observing whether I had true faith, whether I would live by His words, and whether I would stand testimony for Him. Then I immediately felt condemned in my heart, and I thought of God’s words, “Abraham offered up Isaac. What have you offered up? Job offered up everything. What have you offered up? So many people have given their lives, laid down their heads, shed their blood in order to seek the true way. Have you paid that price? By comparison, you are not at all qualified to enjoy such great grace…?” (“The Significance of Saving the Descendants of Moab”). Since I believed in God, I have enjoyed His care and protection, enjoyed the shepherding and supply of His words. I have understood many truths, but I have never offered up anything to Him. Think about Abraham, he would rather bear pain to give up his only child and offer him as a sacrifice in order to satisfy God. Consider Job, when he was accused and attacked by Satan, he suffered its affliction, lost all his possessions and children, and even suffered the torment of illness, but he still praised and blessed the name of Jehovah. He made a strong and resounding witness for God, putting Satan to utter shame and defeating it. And what’s more, those brothers and sisters who were suffering the arrest and persecution of the CCP, they would rather die than sign the so-called letter of guarantee to deny God and betray God even if they endured all kinds of persecutions, cruel tortures, and afflictions. But as for me, what I was encountering was only to lose my job, but I started to make my own selfish calculations and even wanted to satisfy both sides through using an “artful” scheme of Satan. I was really too selfish and contemptible, truly without conscience. Satan used dismissal to threaten me to leave God, never could I fall into its scheme. I was determined to practice according to God’s words. From this matter I also saw that the CCP, in order to maintain its grip on power forever, does almost anything to persecute those people who believe in God. It is really evil and despicable to the extreme.
Then I saw God’s words which said, “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 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? Why use force to suppress the coming of God? …” (“Work and Entry (8)”). “What does ‘coercion’ mean? (It means compulsion.) It threatens you and forces you to heed it, making you think of the consequences if you do not obey. You are afraid and dare not defy it, so you then have no choice but to be under its influence” . After reading God’s words and connecting them to the matter that came upon me, I saw that the CCP that holds power is really acting like a tyrant: They deprive Chinese people of their freedom of belief; while they ask people only to follow them, obey their every word, and work in their service; they do not at all allow us to pursue the truth and walk the right way of human life, much less do they allow us to believe in God and follow God. Apart from this, they use all sorts of means to delude people, cheat people, afflict people, and devour people, in order to make us stay away from God and walk toward the way of destruction. Ever since God began His work of the last days, the atheistic CCP has been wildly resisting God’s work. Many times they held secret meetings, issued lots of secret documents, and made use of the media and the Internet to fervently spread disparaging rumors about God’s church. They also intentionally fabricated the “Shandong Zhaoyuan Case” and shifted the blame for the homicide onto the Church of God, attempting to completely abolish God’s church through creating rumors and public opinions. To those who believe in God, they secretly monitored them, rewarded those who supervise and report on them, and surveilled anyone suspicious through phones. They also took photos of them, arrested and brainwashed them, and cruelly tortured them to force them to sell out brothers and sisters in their church and thereby become a most disgraceful Judas. Besides, the CCP government abused its power to take a malicious measure against believers in God: If someone is discovered to believe in God, all his close relatives will get involved. His children cannot attend college or hold jobs, and even the pension for the elderly in his families will be stripped of. … Believing in God in China, this atheist-ruled country, we are surrounded with danger and will be lured by its tricks from the slightest carelessness. But the more we live in such an environment, the more we can see of God’s authority and wisdom. It is God’s words that guide us to throw off the hidden traps of Satan and give us a true discernment of Satan’s evil substance.
Afterward, I read some other passages of God’s words, “Satan has been corrupting mankind for thousands of years. It has wrought untold amounts of evil, has deceived generation after generation, and has committed heinous crimes in the world. It has abused man, deceived man, seduced man to oppose God, and has committed evil acts that have confounded and impaired God’s plan of management time and time again. Yet, under the authority of God, all things and living creatures continue to abide by the rules and laws set down by God. Compared to the authority of God, Satan’s evil nature and rampancy are so ugly, so disgusting and despicable, and so small and vulnerable. Even though Satan walks among all things created by God, it is not able to enact the slightest change in the people, things, and objects commanded by God” . “God’s victory over Satan is an inevitable trend! Satan actually failed long ago. When the gospel began to spread throughout the land of the great red dragon, that is, when God incarnate began working and this work was set in motion, Satan was utterly defeated, for the incarnation was meant to defeat Satan. Satan saw that God had once again become flesh and had also begun to carry out His work, and it saw that no force could stop the work. Therefore, it was dumbfounded when it saw this work and did not dare to do any more work. At first Satan thought that it also possessed plenty of wisdom, and it interrupted and harassed God’s work; however, it did not expect that God had once again become flesh, and that in His work, God had used its rebelliousness to serve as a revelation and judgment for humanity, and thereby conquer humanity and defeat it. God is wiser than it, and His work far exceeds it. Therefore, I previously stated the following: The work that I do is carried out in response to Satan’s ruses. In the end I will reveal My almightiness and Satan’s powerlessness. When God does His work, Satan tails Him from behind, until in the end it is finally destroyed—it will not even know what hit it! It will only realize the truth once it has already been smashed and crushed; at that time it will already have been burned in the lake of fire. Will it not be completely convinced then? For it has no more schemes to employ!” . From these words, I saw that: God’s words carry authority and they have been fulfilled one after the other. No matter what means Satan uses to deceive man and afflict man, and no matter how powerfully or ferociously it behaves outwardly, it is still subject to God’s authority. Our fate is all in God’s hands while Satan is just a foil in God’s work and a serving object used to perfect God’s chosen people. Today God personally has become flesh and come to the den of Satan—China, this atheistic country. He has expressed the truth and done the judgment work of the last days, making a group of overcomers. His work has been already accomplished. So I could no longer consider my own immediate interests and ignore. I would stand fast for justice and say “no” to Satan. So I prayed to God, “Oh God! Faced with Satan’s temptation, I can’t satisfy my own flesh anymore. I’m willing to stand on Your side, no longer worrying about my own future. Whether my life will be good or bad is in Your hands. I’m willing to obey Your orchestration and arrangement.” Later, I said firmly to my leader, “I will definitely believe in God!” Then I directly went to the office and start my resignation process.
When I truly let go of everything, I didn’t feel as reluctant or depressed as I had imagined. Instead, I felt relieved very much—standing testimony for God, I was at ease in my heart. Never had I expected that a few months later, my former leader himself came to my house and asked me to go back to work because the several persons taking my place were not capable. And thereafter, he never ever mentioned the matter of my belief in God again. This was truly the wonderful deed God revealed to me, allowing me to see that everything is ruled and arranged by Him. From this experience, I realized: When we stand on God’s side and have true, we will be able to stand testimony for Him in the midst of Satan’s temptations; when we understand the truth and rely on God’s words to live, we can see through Satan’s schemes and avoid being taken captive by it; and when we give up our future, destiny and personal plans, and commit all to God, Satan will be defeated. At the same time, I saw that only God’s words can help us to see through Satan’s schemes, and that how important His authority is to guarantee the safety of us mankind. From now on, I will equip myself with the truth through reading more of God’s words. In this way, whenever Satan’s temptations come upon me, I will be able to see through its schemes and stand testimony for God by relying on the truth God bestows upon us. All the glory be to Almighty God!