When the Lord returns, how can we recognize His voice and welcome Him?
In 1997, my wife fell seriously ill. We spent all our savings to cure her illness, but with no result. It had ever driven our life into a corner for a period of time. At that point, a friend of mine preached the gospel of theto me; my wife, my two daughters, and I all accepted the gospel. From then on, we read and prayed to the Lord every day. Especially when I read the Lord’s word in the Bible, saying, “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat 11:28), I would often confide my sorrow to the Lord. Under His blessing, I suffered no distress little by little and not long after, my wife’s illness was cured miraculously. Since then on, our family was living a happy life. I became attached to the Lord Jesus in my heart and more convinced that the Lord Jesus is the true God to save man. However, just as I was beginning to confidently spread the gospel to repay the Lord’s love, the Chinese Communist Party extended its evil hand toward us. I have been arrested many times in the short span of four years, through which I underwent torture, abuse, and mocks from them. That experience, like a nightmare, remained fresh in my memory until now.
One morning of August, 2003, when I was sweeping my courtyard, five unexpected guests broke in from the backyard. Taking a look, I found one of them was the township public security officer, another was the group leader, and the other three were policemen in uniform. As soon as the group leader saw me, he smiled hypocritically and said, “Lao Wang, we wanna talk to you, let’s talk inside.” At that time, a policeman was looking around outside, and the group leader stood at the door blocking the way. I had a feeling that there must be something wrong. At that time, there were two brothers who came to preach the gospel living in my house, and they had no idea of what happened outside. The moment we entered the house the policemen showed their certificates to us and roared, “Do you know what we’re doing here today? Don’t think we don’t know you. You’ve been long reported to our police and we’ve investigate you over one month. We know everything you have done.” And then, they forced my elder daughter to bring them upstairs to make a search. At that time, I was somewhat scared since I had long heard that the CCP treated the believers in the Lord with the vicious methods, never regarding them as man at all, and once arrested they would be like sheep falling into a tiger’s mouth. Thinking of that, I continuously prayed to the Lord to grant us faith. After my prayer, I thought of the Lord Jesus’ word, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Mat 5:10–11). The Lord’s word made me understand that it was blessed to be arrested by the CCP because God wanted to test our faith through this. He wouldn’t leave us behind. When thinking of that, I didn’t feel so frightened and I made a vow in my heart: No matter what happens, I will absolutely never sell out my brothers and sisters.
After a while, they searched out all the handwritten scriptures of mine and the Bible from our room. They put them into a bag and let me shoulder it. They then took my wife, my elder sister and me as well as the two brothers to the village committee and started interrogating us separately. After interrogating my wife and my elder sister, they released them and warned them not to go around and await being called at any moment. Next, the policemen began to interrogate the two brothers and me. The one who interrogated me was a young policeman. At the beginning, I still cherished the illusion that this young policeman wouldn’t be so evil to me because he also had relatives of my age at home. Who knew that when he took me into a classroom in a school, he sternly yelled to me, “Do you know what law you broke?” I answered, “I don’t break any law.” He struck the table and stood up, gritting his teeth and roaring, “Stand still! Don’t lean against the wall. Your believing in God is breaking the law. To whom have you preached the gospel? How many people are you in charge of? Tell me the truth.” I said, “I don’t preach the gospel to anyone else. Only my own families believe in God. I just take charge of ourselves.” Upon hearing my words, he rolled up his sleeves and ran at me, slapping me on the face fiercely. Instantly, I felt dizzy; he roared again without waiting for me to regain my composure, “You still refuse to tell! Well, even if you don’t tell the truth I can still convict you of a crime. …” He then interrogated me for two hours but didn’t get any information he wanted from me. That night, he took the two brothers and me to the police station. Handcuffing us to the benches, he left us alone there and went back home.
It was far in the night. We neither ate food nor drank water for a whole day, and on top of that we were beset by mosquitoes. I felt painful and itchy all over, especially half of my face which was beaten still felt searing pain. The two brothers’ lips were dry and their mouths were bleeding. Seeing this, I couldn’t help worrying how the policemen would torture us tomorrow. At that point, the brother sitting beside me seemed to read my thought and encouraged me, saying, “Brother, what are you worried about? The Lord ever told us, ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows’ (Mat 10:29–31). The Lord is our back. We needn’t be afraid of them or worried about anything. Without the Lord’s permission, they can’t do anything to us. No matter how great our suffering is, we must believe that as long as we rely on the Lord we’ll overcome it.” After hearing such words, I felt much calmer and also had the courage.
The next day, they detained us for fifteen days on the charge of “disturbing the order of society” and then escorted us to the detention center. As soon as we arrived there, the policemen ordered us to take off our shoes, and then they drew off our leather belts, forcibly cut away the buttons from our trousers, and even took away money with us. We had to hold up our trousers and walk barefoot into the prison cell. There was just a naked bed set up by broads and beside it was a toilet, whose smell was horrible. Especially at the time of suspension of water supplies, it would make us hardly breathe. In the detention center, the policemen required each of us to pay ten yuan every day for our daily life, but instead they supplied us with thin soup that only pieces of rotten vegetables leaves were floating and the soured and moldy steamed buns. We three lived in one prison cell at first, and a few days later, the prison police put us into another cell, where lived a criminal who was a murderer and arsonist and capable of doing all sorts of evil. The prison police incited him to deal with us. He treated us as slaves and always ordered us about in front of us. One moment, he asked us to clean the floor; another moment he forced us to wash the toilet, never allowing us to take a rest. Due to being overtired, I felt I couldn’t support myself somewhat and I, too, felt rather furious. But when I recalled the word of the Lord, which is said, “But I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Mat 5:39), I kept praying to God to protect me and allow me to endure to the end. A few days later, the criminal was released. Then the prison police incited other criminals to torture us—prohibiting us from sleeping until the day we were released. Undergoing only half a month’s prison life, I, an original strong man, lost ten kilo of weight. I have never thought that the CCP hates the believers in God so much, and even was vicious at this level to me, an unarmed ordinary person. How difficult it is to believe in God and walk the right path in China!
Not long after I was released, five brothers and sisters and I took bus to a remote place to spread the gospel. One day, when we were praying for a sick man in a host family. “Bang!” The door was kicked open, and a gang of policemen burst in. Without showing any certificates, they ordered us to stand against the wall, drawing off our leather belts and taking off our shoes. Soon afterward, they locked us up in the police vehicle and took us to the local police station. Once we arrived there, seven or eight policemen roared to us with glaring eyes in turn, “We show leniency to those who confess and sternness to those who resist. If you don’t tell the truth today, you will have yourselves to blame! Speak! What’re your names? Where are you from? Speak up!” We all kept silence and I was praying silently in my heart. Afterward, they searched me and took away my ID card, and checked my identity in the computer system. I became very nervous and thought: If they find I have once been arrested, how will they treat me? Before I could recover myself, they had got information about me and the deputy chief of the police station said to me with an evil grin, “So, you was detained once due to believing in God. It seems that you’re not afraid of death. You still don’t tell the truth until now. Today, I will definitely beat you to death.” With that, he rushed toward me and began hitting and kicking me, and even cursed me as he did so. When he tired of beating me, he asked others to continue doing so. These people were all the bullies who were professionally trained in the army. They pushed me back and forth like a sandbag. A couple of rounds later, my chest and back were beaten so brutally that I was aching unbearably, dizzy and hardly breathing. I thought: If they keep hitting me like this, I must surely be dead; even if they can’t beat me to death, they will disable me. At the thought of that, I was rather miserable. I quickly prayed to the Lord, and during my prayer, I remembered that the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross in order to redeem the mankind. Compared to that suffering, my hardship today was nothing! As long as I can drink up the bitter cup for the Lord, even if I die, it is worth it. The Lord Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28). The policemen can only kill my body, but my soul is in the hand of the Lord. I must hold nothing back and give my life to the Lord. Thinking of this, my heart became calm.
After hitting me, the police roared hoarsely, “Speak! What are you doing here? Are you a leader? Speak quickly!” I replied out of breath, “Our belief in God is—the law of heaven. Someone was ill, we—prayed for them, is it—wrong? I’m not a leader. I’m just an ordinary person believing in the Lord Jesus.” He shouted, “Even if you say nothing I can still convict you.” After that, they didn’t beat me but brought a piece of letter paper, in which was full of words written upon “Your belief broke the law and disturbed the social order. You will be detained for fifteen days.” Thank the Lord. I had thought they would never let me go easily this time, and that I would certainly be sentenced to labor reform, but out of my expectation, I was detained only for fifteen days. This was all thanks to the Lord’s protection. Consequently, I became more confident and I made up my mind that I would continue to spread the gospel after I went out of the prison.
In August of 2006, when I preached the gospel with an old brother, I was arrested again. This time, they directly took us two to the detention center after interrogation and detained me fifteen days and the old brother seven days without any reasons. During this time, the prison police instigated a criminal to punish me. He often used his hand to wrench my wrist for fun; every time I was hurt so much that my sweat kept pouring down, while he laughed with glee and didn’t loosen his hand until he got tired. Besides, he often didn’t allow me to eat or sleep without any reason at all. When he saw I showed sign of hesitation, he would rush toward me and beat me up. The policemen, however, didn’t have the slightest regard for whether I lived or died and let the criminal punish me as he liked. In this way, the criminals often grabbed my meal that I frequently felt dizzy from hunger and could do nothing but kneel on the bed praying to the Lord. Even more despicable was that the prison police called me out every few days. They asked me to write my name on a small sign and hold it up to my chest to be photographed by them. They said they would broadcast my photos on the television, letting all people know I was detained for believing in God. Their despicable methods of persecuting me made me feel my dignity was humiliated greatly, which was even more painful and grieved than being beaten. Just as when I couldn’t bear it anymore, I recalled again the scene when the Lord Jesus went to Jerusalem and was crucified: Although so many people insulted and whipped Him, He still irrevocably walked toward to where He would be nailed to the cross. Ultimately He was crucified and redeemed mankind. Thinking of this, I became confident and felt it was glory that I could endure such hardship.
And just like that, under the Lord’s protection, even though I have suffered physical pain and humiliation every time when I was arrested, I could still come back home peacefully after that. After being persecuted by the CCP time after time, I truly saw that the CCP is a gang of gangsters and bandits who specializes in opposing God and persecuting Christians. And at the same time, I appreciated the Lord’s love for me: Every time my flesh was too weak to endure the torture of the policemen, it was through my prayers that I gained faith and strength from the Lord, and it was the Lord’s word that encouraged me to stand testimony for Him before Satan, and keep me from selling my Lord and friends. I then resolved in my heart: No matter how the CCP persecutes me, I will continue to spread the gospel of the Lord, endure all pain and take up the cross to follow the Lord to the end.
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