Why does God allow setbacks or failures? How should we trust God in difficult times and thus keep our faith in God? Read this article to find the answers.
Breaking Through Encirclements
The northeastern China was freezing cold in November. The snow even did not melt when it touched the ground. Hunched and tucking their hands under the armpits because of cold, many pedestrians walked forward with caution. One morning, with the northwesterly wind howling, there were me, my brother-in-law and his wife, and more than a dozen brothers and sisters in my home, sitting on the warm kang. Every one of us was holding a book titled Judgment Begins With the House of God, with the Bible laid alongside. Two sisters from the Church of Almighty God were communicating with us about the truth of the three stages of God’s work. While drawing the picture of the three stages of God’s work they fellowshiped, “God’s work is from the Age of Law to the Age of Grace, and then to the Age of Kingdom, rising higher and deeper with each stage. During the last stage God expresses His words to judge, chastise and purify man….” I listened and nodded. My heart was so enlightened: It turns out that there are many mysteries about God’s management plan to save mankind. Who can illustrate them so clearly other than God Himself? So it must be the work of the true God. At the sunset of the next day, we all agreed to seek and investigate Almighty God’s work in the last days.
Later, they two communicated about the truth concerning the significance of God’s incarnation. As we were listening with keen attention, our church leader, Wang Ping, dropped by suddenly. She pointed at the two sisters from the Church of Almighty God the moment she stepped in and asked me, “What are they doing here?” I replied frankly, “They are Sister Zhang and Sister Mu….” Before I could finish my words, she became flustered, saying, “Sister Zhang? Sister Mu? I think they are just the preachers of the Eastern Lightning, just thieves of stealing sheep, just robbers….” What she said totally shocked everyone present. I thought: Sister Wang Ping always talks about loving your neighbor as yourself and loving your enemies. How could she make such far-fetched remarks just after entering the room and even judge and condemn the two sisters? As I thought of this, I heard Sister Zhang calmly talk to Wang Ping, “Sister, today we come only for preaching the gospel of the Lord’s return to you, nothing else….” But Wang Ping interrupted her, saying, “The Lord has come back? The leaders like me don’t even know; how could you know it? That’s impossible. The Lord Jesus has said, ‘All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them’ (John 10:8). You two get away immediately and never set foot here again.” Hearing Wang Ping’s words, I felt an aversion to her. How could she have no compassion? Then I said to her, “Sister Wang, it’s so late today. How could you let them go? The Lord taught us to even love our enemies, not to mention the two sisters who are also believers in God. If we treat them like that, do we still count as believers in God? …” Wang Ping became angry before I could get my words out. She pulled the hand of my brother-in-law’s wife and said to them, “Zhao Gang doesn’t tell them to go away, then let’s go. Stop listening to them.” Then, she left in a rage with the couple.
After they left, Sister Mu asked us, “Brothers and sisters, what do you think about what just happened? Let’s talk about it.” They all glanced over their shoulders and looked at me, without saying a word. I said directly, “Through reading Almighty God’s words and listening to your fellowship in these two days, I can recognize that the words of Almighty God are all the truth and He is the of the Lord Jesus. But there is something in what Wang Ping said. She is our leader after all. She has believed in the Lord for years, knows the Bible very well and has always run around and spent for the Lord. When the Lord comes back, she should have known it first.” Sister Zhang replied graciously, “Brothers and sisters, man has the notion that the Lord should first give revelation to the leaders when He comes again and then make it known to ordinary believers. Does this conception accord with the truth or the fact? Let’s recall the time that the Lord Jesus came to do His work. Those Jewish Pharisees believed that when the Messiah came, He would surely appear to them first. However, they never would have thought in a million years that the Lord Jesus did not inform them first when He came. Rather, He first let the fisher men and the tax collectors whom people looked down upon hear the gospel. This shows us that God does not give revelations to the leaders alone and He also enlightens those ordinary believers who follow Him. For God is righteous and absolutely impartial toward all men. The people that bring God joy are those who are good-hearted and who long for and seek the truth. God will enlighten and guide this type of people regardless of whether they have status. Just as the Lord , ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled’ (Matthew 5:6) and ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ (Matthew 5:8). As long as man yearns after the truth, God will enlighten and lead him to come before Him. If any leader claims to be given revelation first when the Lord comes back, his nature is too arrogant. Just as Almighty God says, ‘And so I say that those who have “seen through” God and His work are ineffectual, they are all arrogant and ignorant. Man should not define the work of God; moreover, man cannot define the work of God. In the eyes of God, man is smaller than an ant, so how can man fathom God’s work? Those who are constantly saying, “God does not work in this or that way” or “God is like this or that”—are they not all arrogant?’ (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words, we can see that His almightiness and wisdom are unfathomable. Man is only a tiny creature with limited mind and intellect. How can he then fathom the work of the Creator? Therefore, we should maintain a heart of reverence on the matter of waiting for the Lord’s second coming and seek and investigate it carefully. We should not casually define or judge God by our notions and imaginations, which will offend God’s disposition.” Hearing her fellowship, I realized that man is so insignificant before God, even less than an ant. Moreover, corrupted by Satan, full of arrogant corrupt disposition, man always defines God according to his notions and imaginations. And when God’s work conflicts with the conceptions of man, man will even deny and condemn God. It turns out that man dares to do anything without the knowledge of the truth or the heart that fears God. It is really too dangerous. I then thought that the Lord Jesus once said, “I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in your sight” (Matthew 11:25-26). I now finally saw that it was indeed the fact. Sister Zhang’s fellowship made me realize that the viewpoint that the Lord should give revelation to leaders first when He comes back was wrong and ridiculous. Meanwhile, I have gained a new knowledge of God’s fairness and righteousness.
The next morning after Sister Zhang and Sister Mu left, Brother Guan, who was the high-level co-worker of our church, came to my home. He asked me, “Brother Zhao, I heard that you had accepted the Eastern Lightning.” I said seriously, “Yes, I have. Because from Almighty God’s words I come to understand many truths I did not understand before, such as the mystery of God’s three stages of work, the significance of God’s incarnation and so on. From them I see that Almighty God’s words are indeed what the Spirit said to the churches prophesied in Revelation.” He cast a glance at me, saying, “Brother Zhao, do you just convert to their belief? Do you know who they are?” I replied, “I think they are quite humane, and their communication of the truth is clear and illuminating. What they talked about were the truths regarding God’s work. I have gained a lot these two days.” He said angrily, “Why are you so stubborn? It is said in Hebrews 6:6-8, ‘If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes oft on it, and brings forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is near to cursing; whose end is to be burned.’ As a preacher, you have enjoyed so much grace from the Lord. Instead of leading brothers and sisters to believe in the Lord properly, you actually led them to leave the church. Aren’t you afraid of being punished? If you still don’t turn around, you will lose the Lord’s keeping. Your good life will be over, your former illness will recur and your two children won’t find good jobs….”
After Brother Guan went away, I became a little uncertain, thinking: What he said seems somewhat reasonable. I have believed in Almighty God; what if I lose the Lord’s grace? Thinking of this, I had some weakness in my heart. So I quickly knelt down and prayed to God: “Almighty God! Brother Guan’s words made me feel a bit weak. O God! I am wondering if what he said is true. I really don’t know what to do next….” In the middle of my prayer, my wife came back. Then I told her what had passed. After listening to me, she asked nervously, “Did he really say this?” I nodded. My wife said with a little worry, “He is a great leader who believes in the Lord for many years. Besides, he is familiar with the Bible very well. I think he is truthful. What will we do then if something happens as he said?” At that point, I suddenly remembered the truth of the three stages of God’s work which Sister Zhang and Sister Mu had communicated with us. Then I said to my wife, “Nevertheless, there is something wrong with Brother Guan’s viewpoint. He said that we had departed from the Lord’s way and betrayed the Lord Jesus. In fact, when we have followed Almighty God, we have kept pace with the footsteps of the Lamb. We are wise virgins. How could the Lord punish us? …” During our communication, Sister Zhang and Sister Mu showed up….
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