By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
The Lunch Before Departure
One midday, the scorching sun beat down on the earth. In the hot sun, Yezi, with some sorrowful look on her face, kept a firm hold of the hand of her 11-year-old son, walking into a restaurant, whose twice-cooked pork slices were her son’s favorite dish. This was the last time that she accompanied her son to eat twice-cooked pork slices, as the next day she would have to leave home and her son and go somewhere else to perform her duty on account of avoiding the arrest of the CCP government. After they ordered the dishes, her son, with a helpless look, said to her, “Mum, I can’t eat with you or hear your stories anymore in the future.” Immediately tears welled up in her eyes, and she was unable to speak a word with a lump in her throat for a good while. She knew that her son was unwilling to part from her. She didn’t want to weep before him, but she couldn’t hold back her tears. Her son had never left her since his birth, but she would part from him the next day. It seemed years away before she could again live with her son, read together with him, and tell stories about God’s work to him. At the thought of that, she felt gnawingly sad. Since she accepted God’s work of the last days, she had always led her son to and , and he also attended meetings regularly with other little brothers and sisters of his age. Ever since he had meetings with his little brothers and sisters, through communicating God’s words with them, he could realize and voluntarily admit some of his mistakes, and became much more sensible than before. But now, owing to the persecution of the CCP, Yezi had to leave him in the care of her unbelieving parents-in-law. As they didn’t believe in God, perhaps her son could no longer read God’s words or attend the meetings as before. She was worried he would become as unreasoning and self-willed as other children because of losing the church life. All her concerns, cares, and anxieties made her heart greatly distressed. How much she yearned for staying at his side to teach him to read more of God’s words, teach him how to live as a human and how to worship God when he was young! Yet in this country which regards God as its enemy, she was now even deprived of the right to be a qualified mother due to the persecution of the CCP. Much oppressed as she felt, Yezi had nowhere to vent it. Recalling her experience of being arrested, she still had a lingering fear. Now the CCP attempted to catch again those believers of God who had once been arrested and tried to brainwash and imprison them. Some of the brothers and sisters in the church had been taken to the brainwashing class; some believers’ houses were searched by the police and the police even kept them under surveillance, looking for an opportunity to arrest them. For the sake of safety, Yezi had to leave home for elsewhere to perform her duty. Seeing Yezi shedding tears, her son kept asking, “What’s wrong with you, mum? What’s wrong?” At that moment, being repeatedly inquired by her son, she mumbled, “Nothing.” Her son looked round, and seeming to have understood something, stopped asking her. By then Yezi felt such extreme pain that she had no idea how to express her conflicting emotions. And she perceived that her son, who cried easily, was now trying to be strong and not to make her sad. Looking at her lovely and sensible son, she felt that her sole consolation was that he had grown up a little in such adversity because of the leadership of God’s words.
Yezi’s thoughts returned to that evening when she told her son about her departure. When they were reading ’s words together, she said to him, “Son, let’s read a passage of God’s words together.” Then she read, “From the moment you come crying into this world, you begin to perform your duty. You assume your role in the plan of God and in the ordination of God. You begin the journey of life. Whatever your background and whatever the journey ahead of you, none can escape the orchestration and arrangement that Heaven has in store, and none are in control of their destiny, for only He who rules over all things is capable of such work” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading God’s words, she said, “Son, now the police are trying to recatch the believers in Almighty God who was once arrested and put them into jail. I’ve been arrested before; if I continue to believe in God at home, I’m likely to be arrested again anytime. If that happens, you will suffer too. As I have told you before, those police are especially cruel to your uncles and aunts who believe in Almighty God. I don’t want you to suffer persecution with me, because you are so young.” A trace of fear and anxiety showed on his face, and he said, “Mum, you must hide quickly so as not to get caught by the wicked police. I don’t wanna lose you. If you are caught, I will be bullied by my classmates.” Yezi hesitated for a while, saying, “Son, God’s words say that every one of us comes into the world to play our own roles. God has saved you and me, but there are many people who haven’t yet come before God. I have to preach the to them. If I hide instead of going to preach the gospel, I would be too selfish, and God wouldn’t like me. Now I have to go to another place to preach the gospel, where I won’t be found by the police. But I cannot take you along, because you have to go to school and if you stay with me, the police will easily find me, which would cause the church a lot of trouble. So I can’t accompany you all the time. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love you or want to abandon you. Can you understand? Every one of us has our own mission. Are you aware of what your role is now?” Hearing that, he said sadly, “Mum, I don’t want you to leave me. However, as a boy believing in God, my role is to help to safeguard the environment to protect you.” But after a while, he went back on his word, saying, “Mum, I really don’t want you to leave me. Please take me with you. I would rather believe in God with you than go to school. You get me to live with my grandparents, but they don’t believe in God; then how would I continue to believe in God in the future? Please take me along.” As he spoke, he leaned over her, and kept crying, swaying his body from side to side. Yezi felt a great sadness in her heart, but she tried hard to control herself, saying, “My son, I do not want to part from you either. But now you are too young and of school age. It is very dangerous to take you along with me.” With this, Yezi took his hand and continued, “Be obedient. The children believing in God are the most obedient. Though I won’t be by your side, God is caring for every one of us. Whatever difficulties you encounter, you can pray to Almighty God, and God will watch over and protect you. He is by your side, accompanying you. Don’t be afraid.” While listening to Yezi’s fellowship, her son gradually calmed down. He raised his face with tears, and said to her, “Mum, I will listen to you. Don’t worry and just go. From now on, if I encounter any difficulty, I will pray to Almighty God. I also have my own mission, which is to safeguard the environment and the interests of the church. I am willing to live with my grandparents. You can be assured and just go.” Yezi was both happy and sad, holding her son tightly in her arms. She was sad because she didn’t know when she would reunite with her son once she left this time; she was happy because her son could understand her. She was well aware that it was God who was giving her son power. Such an environment would not only temper him and help him grow up faster but would make herself become stronger, and much more, it motivated her to preach the gospel. It seemed that this strength is a kind of love, exceeding the love of a mother for her children.
“Hello! Your order is ready. Anything else?” The waiter’s voice broke into her thoughts. “Well, that’s enough.” The dishes had been set on the table. Yezi added her son’s favorite dishes to his bowl with her chopsticks, and he settled down to his meal. Realizing was leading everyone, Yezi seemed to be much strengthened. Although separation from each other caused her and her son great suffering and even more allowed her to experience the darkness and evil of the CCP, yet she was very clear about what her mission was, for God’s love was too great and she had received too much from God. Were it not for God, she could hardly have the courage to live on. At this moment, looking at her son who was eating silently with his head bent, she thought of God’s words, “Ever since man first laid eyes on this material world, he was destined to exist within the ordination of God. It is the breath of life from God that supports each living being throughout his growth into adulthood” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Are you aware of the burden you shoulder, your commission, and your responsibility? … How many people are waiting for you to be their shepherd? Is your task a heavy one? They are poor, pitiable, blind, and at a loss, wailing in the darkness, ‘Where is the way?’ How they yearn for the light, like a shooting star, to suddenly descend and disperse the force of darkness that has oppressed men for so many years. Who can know just how anxiously they hope, and how they pine day and night for this? These men who suffer deeply remain imprisoned in the dungeons of darkness, without hope of release, even on the day that the light flashes; when will they weep no longer? These fragile spirits who have never been granted rest are truly suffering such misfortune. They have long been sealed off by the ruthless ropes and the history that is frozen in place. Who has ever heard the sound of their wailing? Who has ever seen their miserable visage? Have you ever thought how grieved and anxious God’s heart is? How can He bear to see the innocent mankind He created with His own hands suffering such torment? … Have you forgotten that you are one of the victims? Out of your love for God, are you not willing to strive to save those who have survived? Are you not willing to use all your effort to repay the God who loves mankind like His own flesh and blood?” (“How Should You Attend to Your Future Mission” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Yezi understood: Although the CCP is dark and evil and has spared no effort to persecute the believers in God, which prevents her looking after her child, yet God has been nourishing every living being among all things and accompanying everyone throughout his growth. God will also surely take care of her child, and he will surely be able to grow up happily and healthily. There’s no need for her to worry about her son much. God is the source of man’s life and man’s breath comes from God, so man should worship God and perform his duty. When she thought of that, she got strengthened. Looking at her sensible son in front of her, she felt relieved. She thought that God had undergone much greater sufferings, so she shouldn’t be distressed but should be considerate of God’s will and bring before God those who are still living in misery. Only in this way could God’s heart be comforted.
Though the lunch made her terribly grieved, she knew her choice wasn’t wrong. This was because she had experienced God’s faithfulness and loveliness, and felt the courage and power that God’s words had brought to her, and because she realized that a creature of God should worship God and that since one believes in God, he should obey His orchestration and arrangement and fulfill his responsibility, only which is what a created being should pursue!
Yezi added some dishes to her son’s bowl again and then began to eat. …