I was born into a Christian family, and both my grandmother and my mother are Christians. When I was one year old, my mother accepted the work of Almighty God—the returned Lord Jesus, which was strongly opposed by my grandmother. In my childhood, I remember, my grandmother frequently said to me, “Pray to the Lord Jesus whenever you feel unwell or have difficulty with your homework, and He will keep sickness away from you and give you wisdom.” Yet my mother often told me, “God created this world, He created us, and He is by our side all the time. Remember to pray to Almighty God when you encounter any problem, and He will care for and protect you.” The two different kinds of voices rang in my ears from time to time. Bewildered, I once asked my mother, “Mom, grandma told me to pray to the Lord Jesus, whereas you told me to pray to Almighty God. Whom should I obey?” My mother replied, “Actually, the Lord Jesus and Almighty God are one God, but God has taken different names in different ages because of His different work. The Lord Jesus did the work of the Age of Grace, while Almighty God does the work of the Age of Kingdom. In every age, God changes the means of His work and assumes a new name, but regardless of the changes to His name and His work, God’s substance remains unchanged. This is just as you go to school in red today, and go to a restaurant in blue tomorrow. Though you wear different dresses and do different things in different places, you are still you. Nevertheless, when the new age has come, we should follow God’s new work. So now we must pray to Almighty God.” After hearing my mother’s explanation, I still felt perplexed, and rather dubious of the work of Almighty God.
In August, 2014, I came to study in the United States. Several months later, my mother also came here, and she contacted the Church of Almighty God in the United States. From then on, I began to experience the existence of Almighty God bit by bit. When I first arrived in America, I found it hard to get used to the life here, especially because I had to live in someone’s home by myself. Since I was so timid that I didn’t dare to sleep alone, my mother told me, “We should believe that God’s authority is unique. When you feel afraid at night, pray to God. Satan and demons are also under God’s dominion. As long as you have God in your heart, they are unable to get close to you.” Every time after hearing my mother’s fellowship, I felt a lot safer and more peaceful in my heart.
In December, 2015, I started to attend meetings. However, since I hadn’t gained a deep understanding and appreciation of God, I attended most of the meetings reluctantly. It was not until later, when I experienced two matters, that I realized the true existence of God and verified that Almighty God is exactly the unique God Himself and that He is by my side all the time.
It was a Friday afternoon, and we had only an art class left before we could go home from school. One of my classmates suddenly said to me, “Let’s cut the last class, and go to the city center for dinner and shopping. I’ve learned that a new seafood restaurant there is offering very delicious food.” I was tempted by her words, for I only had a light lunch at noon and was feeling hungry. Just at that moment, my stomach began to give rumbles in cooperation as if it were hurrying me to leave for dinner. However, I somewhat hesitated: I have never cut class before. What if my truancy is discovered? But then I thought that Xiao Li had never been caught even though she had cut the important classes so many times, so my truancy wouldn’t be discovered either. So I agreed with my classmate, and went to ask my art teacher for leave by saying that I was going to see a doctor in the afternoon and had to leave early. Afterward, my classmate and I took a taxi to the city center for dinner and shopping, and I didn’t return home till eight or nine o’clock in the evening. When I got home, I received an email from the teacher in charge of the international students in our school. It was required in the email that I offer proof that I had seen a doctor that day when I went to school the next day. I was nervous to read this, and hastened to go and discuss it with my classmates. One of them said, “There’s no need to give the teacher your proof. It’s privacy.” Her words sounded reasonable, but I felt I was in the wrong after all, so I was ashamed to justify myself boldly. Then I turned to my host mother, hoping that she would think of a way for me, but she told me to admit my fault to the supervisor. At her words, I was torn between admitting my fault and going on with the deception. At night I kept tossing and turning, unable to sleep, as I wanted to go and confess my wrongdoing, but I was afraid that if I did so, my teachers and classmates would have a critical view of me, and the good image I had maintained would be completely ruined in a day. In pain, I went before God to pray and seek His guidance. After that, I came across a passage of God’s word: “using … pretensions to cover up their own lies, or even using more lies to make relationships or deal with people. Not only do they not feel any blame, they use even more lies to cover up their mistakes or previous lies. They don’t feel any blame or discomfort no matter how many times they lie. People with a bit of conscience and humanity will normally think when they lie awake at night: ‘Oh, lying makes me feel so bad. How can I let this slide? I’m so despicable!’ But they don’t think this way. They’re fully relaxed with their legs crossed when they sleep at night. ‘How about it? I lied again today and managed to dupe that fool. I was so nervous but they didn’t even notice!’ They’re even happy with themselves! How many conditions does such a person have? Lying is a revelation of their nature, and their natural revelations don’t have any restraint or constraint. They say whatever they want, whenever they want. This is one condition. At the same time, they don’t feel any blame, discomfort or accusation after lying. They’re not worried that God inspects people’s hearts and what kind of responsibility they will have to bear after making up this lie and doing this thing. Another one is that, because they worry their lie will be exposed and discovered by other people, they use more lies to cover up this lie. They wrack their brains to find a way, a method to cover up their own lie and conceal the truth about themselves. Do such people ever feel any repentance for these conditions they have?” (“Life Entry Is Most Important to Believing in God”). Every sentence of God’s words revealed my inner thoughts, like a light suddenly lighting up the dark side in my heart, which left me terribly ashamed. I thought, “It is true. I cut a class by telling a lie. After that, I not only didn’t want to admit my fault readily, but also racked my brains trying to think of a way of turning things around and covering up the fact. I didn’t feel ashamed and uneasy or repentant at all, and I even thought that the teacher in charge of the international students was too meddlesome. Oh! My behaving like this was disobeying God and detestable to God! I didn’t think anything as God has required of us. In what sense was I a believer in God?”
So, the next day I admitted to the supervisor that I was wrong to cut class. To my surprise, rather than criticizing me, she commended me for my honesty and approved of me confessing my wrongdoing. Nevertheless, I still couldn’t escape being punished for cutting a class. The supervisor gave me a detention, making me stay and sit for the time of a class after school to reflect on my fault. I realized that it was God’s keeping for me. Later, I communicated with a sister on this matter in the meeting, and she read a passage of God’s word to me: “If you believe in the dominion of God, then you must believe that the things that happen every day, be they good or bad, don’t happen accidentally. It is not that someone doesn’t get on with you or opposes you on purpose; it is actually all arranged by God and He orchestrates everything. What does God orchestrate everything for? It is not to reveal your shortcomings for everyone to see or to expose you; exposing you is not the final aim. The aim is to perfect you and save you. How does God perfect you and save you? Firstly, He makes you aware of your own corrupt disposition, your own nature and essence, your own shortcomings and what you lack. Only by knowing these things and understanding them in your heart can you cast them off …” (“If You Wish to Attain the Truth, Then You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You”). Through her fellowship about these words, I realized: It was under the dominion of God that I was discovered cutting class for the first time while one of my classmates could succeed in cutting class so many times. God’s purpose was for me to be aware of my corrupt condition and see my satanic nature so that I could seek a change. In the past, all others praised me as a good girl, and I also thought so. But now reality and the disclosure of God’s words made me aware that there is crookedness and craftiness within me, and that my stature is so small that I can follow others to live in corruption at any time or place, to dishonor God’s name. The detention given by my teacher caused my flesh to suffer a bit, but this lesson can remind me never to lie or cheat again in the future. If I had succeeded in truancy this time, I would think of playing truant whenever tempted by others. If so, I would only lie repeatedly and become more and more deceitful and slick, and eventually be taken captive by Satan. In that case, God would not pay any heed to me, for He likes honest people and detests crafty ones. At that time, I would be in real danger. So this was God’s love for me. Thanks and praise be to Almighty God!
Before long, a math exam came. The night before the exam, while revising for it, I found too many questions and knowledge points beyond me. As the exam was drawing near, I got extremely anxious, for my grades in this term were the most important ones, which would be a reference for college entrance. If I flunked math, all my previous efforts would be in vain. The more I thought about it, the more intense pressure I was under. The next day, just a few minutes before the exam began, I suddenly couldn’t find the notebook with some formulae on it. I became very nervous instantly, because on the notebook I had secretly set down many examples similar to the exam questions, but now it got lost. I felt I would totally fail the exam. When the exam started, I was especially flustered. I looked around, hoping against hope that I had dropped it on the floor carelessly. While doing so, I happened to notice my neighbor’s answers, and thus I rejoiced in secret to suddenly see a gleam of hope. Then I stole a glance at my teacher and noticed him very much absorbed in work in front of a computer. So I quickly answered all the exam questions roughly, and then I nudged my neighbor, giving him a sign to check his answers with mine. Outwardly we were checking the answers with each other, but in fact, I was copying most of his answers onto my exam paper. I took the whole math exam in a rather nervous state. I thought that I had finally finished the exam of my weakest subject, and intended to go somewhere to enjoy the one week’s vacation after the final exam.
Several days later, our school held the parent-teacher conference, and my host mother went to get the school report for me. Against all expectations, she, after coming back, told me that I had gotten good grades in all subjects except math, and my score in math hadn’t been added to the aggregate score, as the school suspected that there might exist the problem of academic integrity in it. On hearing the news, emotionally I fell to my lowest point, and very anxious and flustered, I was at a loss as to what to do. I thought about it over and over again, “The problem of academic integrity? Can it be that the school has discovered that I copied the answers of my classmate? If so, what should I do then? Cheating is such a serious problem that it can even influence my college entrance in the future. Nevertheless, now the school is merely suspecting it, which means there is still hope for me. As long as I can give a clear explanation, everything will be fine. But how should I explain it? I indeed have cheated. I might as well go to admit it.” I turned this matter over and over in my mind, unable to decide what to do. When my classmates learned about it, they all suggested that I should absolutely not admit it, and that I could make up an excuse to pull the wool over the teacher’s eyes. But I thought, “This is not what a believer in God should do.” It so happened that there was a meeting that night, hence I communicated with my sisters about my situation there. One of them told me to read this passage of God’s word: “Up until now, people have listened to a lot of sermons on the truth, and have experienced a lot of God’s work. Yet under the interferences and obstructions of many different factors and circumstances, most people can’t attain putting truth into practice, and can’t attain satisfying God. People are increasingly slack, increasingly lacking in confidence. … God’s only desire is to give these truths to man, and imbue His way unto man, and then arrange various circumstances in order to test man in different ways. His goal is to take these words, these truths, and His work, and bring about an outcome where man can fear God and shun evil. Most people I’ve seen just take God’s word and regard it as doctrines, regard it as letters, regard it as regulations to be observed. When they go about things and speak, or face trials, they don’t regard God’s way as the way that they should observe. This is especially true when people are faced with major trials; I have not seen anyone who was practicing in the direction of fearing God and shunning evil”(“How to Know God’s Disposition and the Result of His Work”). After reading God’s words, I felt grievously rebuked in my heart: Though I knew the truth about being an honest person and had just experienced a trial in this aspect not long ago, I was still unable to practice the truth when encountering a trial once again. I was well aware that it wasn’t right to cheat, but for the sake of my grade, I completely brushed aside the truth about God’s request for people to be honest. I didn’t bear witness for God but brought shame to Him. That night I lost sleep. After thinking back and forth to myself, in the end I made up my mind to be an honest person. I hurried to get up, turned the computer on, and started to write a self-criticism to confess my wrongdoing. The next morning, I went to school early and submitted my written self-criticism to my teacher, and I also apologized for my behavior and promised that I would never again cheat in the future. Meanwhile, I was prepared to get a goose egg, and was also willing to accept any punishment imposed by the school. But unexpectedly, the teacher decided to let me retake an exam. At that moment, I couldn’t help but give thanks and praises to God in my heart for His mercy toward me. God observed the depths of my heart, and He knew that I was too immature in stature to accept a goose egg at the time. God’s love for me was so real!
What was more unexpected to me was: A few days later, the whole school was assembled to award certificates of merit to those straight-A students in this term. When my name was called, I took it for granted that the teacher had mistaken the name. I didn’t realize that the certificate of merit was really for me until some of my classmates told me it was true. All my classmates were astonished that I could still get a certificate of merit even after having cheated on the math exam. I sighed in my heart: All of this is because of God’s deed! I understood that this certificate of merit was awarded to me not for my grades but for my honesty approved of by God. I further verified that God is truly by my side all the time, watching me, and that everything God arranges for me is the best.
At present, I have become increasingly fond of attending meetings. Although I still can reveal corrupt disposition in my daily life, regardless what comes upon me, I can communicate with my sisters on it and seek the truth in God’s words. Accordingly, my negative condition will vanish and be replaced by positive condition. I have sensed that God is right by my side, leading me and giving me positive guidance through various people, events, and things all the time. I am growing ever closer to God. Now I’m completely certain in my heart that Almighty God is the true God. All the glory be to Almighty God!
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God Is Right by My Side was last modified: May 13th, 2018 by Find the Shepherd
The film shown, “The Long Road of Exile,” is a part of the Chronicles of Religious Persecution in China series; it is a documentary made based on Chinese Christians’ real-life experiences of persecution. It drew the attendance of a number of local Christians.
Their lost, confused, afraid, anxious, yearning and numb hearts found comfort. They were no longer doubtful or disappointed because they felt that now there was hope and something to rely on. The Son of man standing in front of them would be behind them for eternity, He would be their strong tower, their refuge for all time.