By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
Restoring My Normal Relationship With God – Spiritual Awakening
By Yuanchen, South Korea
Grandma believed in God before I was born, so I knew the existence of God since I was little. But I didn’t really understand God and God’s work because of my heavy school workload. In my sophomore year, there was a study abroad opportunity to a South Korea university and I went to the interview and got it. On the weekend before I went to university, Grandma showed me God Has Brought His Glory to the East MV. In the video, I watched the sun rising from the mountains, eagles flying, followed by brothers and sisters full of exuberance; it excited my mind. Then Grandma let me watch the musical of Xiaozhen’s Story, which also deeply attracted me, describing how the whole of society is getting worse and worse, and how only believers in God can be protected from getting drawn away by the evil trends of society. After the MV and musical story, I told Grandma that God arranged for me such a good environment as South Korea and I must put a great effort to seek God.
During the period that I lived in South Korea, I enjoyed the leading of God and refreshing by the work of the. Brothers and sisters worried about the solitary nature of my studies aboard, so they particularly cared about me in my life. I sometimes had problems with classmates, and the sisters helped me understand God’s will to solve my problems, thus warming my heart.
Happy times are always short. I was going back to China on summer vacation. Before leaving, I made up my mind that I’ll read more the word of God to seek His truth.
After I got home, Mom told me unexpectedly that her student’s parents invited me to join a couple days’ trip to Hainan. I didn’t want to go at the beginning, but couldn’t stand my mother’s persuasion. Thinking of the beaches, sea views, and more others, my heart already fled to Hainan involuntarily. Before I left, Grandma reminded me: “Don’t leave God all behind. Even if you don’t read the word of God, don’t forget todaily.” I nodded and promised, and thought: I cannot forget about God, I must pray persistently.
The night after we arrived in Hainan, I had a sumptuous dinner. After dinner, the aunt took us on a walk at the seaside, and we kids were playing on the beach for a long time, and still didn’t want to go back.
After returning to the vacation house, I was tired, lying in the bed, ready for sleep. Suddenly, I remembered I hadn’t prayed to God! But I thought: I’m so tired, how about I pray to God sincerely tomorrow? So I gave up the idea of praying and soon fell asleep. The next day early morning, the aunt came and took us jogging on the seaside. Afterward, I watched TV with my sister, in the evening went swimming, then hot springs. I felt so exhausted after all these activities. In those days, whenever I wanted to pray, I always shirked it off due to my body’s laziness. I thought: Just relax for a week. I’ll read more of the word of God and pray more sincerely once I go back home. Since I had that thought, I slept until the sun had climbed up in the middle of the sky every day, and then did the same routine, living an unexamined life, feeling God was not a priority in my heart.
The short vacation life was finally over, and I had left behind my commitment with God long ago. Although I returned home, I simply couldn’t get up early to read the word of God due to the unexamined lifestyle that I developed during the vacation.
Grandma said to me many times: “You believe in God, but you don’t read His word at all. You play on the phone all day long, sleep late and get up late. And as you go on like this, you’re farther and farther away from God.” After listening to Grandma, I felt ashamed and sensed that I owed God. Moreover, because my unexamined lifestyle caused my brain and body to react very slowly, I thought of the internet news about a college student who stayed up late for a long period of time and died suddenly. I decided to change my lifestyle. So I prayed to God in my heart: “God, I know that I’m a believer, I should read more of Your word, and establish a normal relationship with You, but I have no self-control. God, I wish You could bless me through my grandma to allow myself to get up early and read the word of God.” God heard my prayer. It’s ten o’clock in the evening, I was watching the TV in the living room, and Grandma urged me to go to bed. However, I was not at all sleepy lying in the bed, and my mind was still thinking of the story of the TV drama. At the end, I still could not help it and picked up my phone to watch the drama.
The next morning, I wasn’t able to focus to read, because I slept too late last night, and I had to move my reading to the afternoon. After lunch, my friend sent a text message to me and asked me to go shopping and dining the next day. We continued chatting and I forgot about my reading. Next day, I hung out with friends and we had a meal together. Afterward, we teamed up and played a popular mobile phone game. Since that, I became fascinated with the game. Whenever Grandma came by to urge me to read the word of God, I pretended reading it, so Grandma walked way, and then I continued playing.
In the twinkling of an eye, I had wasted the one and a half months’ summer vacation. After I went back to South Korea, although I called a sister, I was afraid she would know what I had been doing at home during the vacation, so I put off our meeting until a week later. After hanging up the phone, I suddenly felt anxiety and emptiness. I sat in bed dazed. I looked at my watch, it’s only 4 o’clock, still so long before bedtime, and I didn’t know what I should do. So I began to send the same message to all my friends and repeat the same dialogue to distract myself from emptiness, but it didn’t work. I never felt that time was so long, and only sleep could help me escape the reality of the sense of emptiness. It was the first time I realized that being far away from God would make me feel so empty and helpless and that being without God’s leading would be so painful and uncomfortable.
Just like that, three days passed. I could not stand myself anymore, so I sent a message to a sister for help. After the sister asked how I was doing in my home country, she told me to do repentance and sincerely pray to God, and then listen to hymns, read the word of God, and restore a normal relationship with God as soon as possible. She also let me read a piece of the word of God “A Normal Spiritual Life Leads People Onto the Right Track,” and practice in accordance with the requirements of God’s word. After the communication with my sister, I knelt down and prayed, calling the name of God, and I burst into tears. The scenes of the one and a half months’ summer vacation just appeared before my eyes. I cried and prayed to God: “Oh God, I have been far away from You, because I was devoted to the pleasure of the flesh, did not pray, and treated Your word and You with disdain. I’m so rebellious, but You didn’t give up on me, still waiting till I return to You. I really owe You, God, and I beg You to forgive my rebelliousness. I’m willing to quiet my heart before You, and I ask You to touch my heart and let me develop true love and longing for You.”
After praying to God, I felt more peace in my heart and found the word of God that my sister mentioned. God says: “If you desire to truly make your heart at peace before God, you must deliberately do the work of cooperation. That is to say, every one of you must take time away from every person, matter, and object for your personal spiritual devotionals, where you will be able to bring peace to your heart and quiet yourself before God. You should have your own individual devotional notes where you can record your knowledge of God’s word and how your spirit has been moved, regardless of whether what you write down is profound or superficial. Quiet your heart before God with intention. If you can dedicate one or two hours to a true spiritual life during the day, then your life that day will feel enriched and your heart will be bright and clear. If you live this kind of spiritual life on a daily basis, then you will be able to give your heart to God more and more, your spirit will become stronger and stronger, you will become more capable of walking the path led by the Holy Spirit, and God will bestow more and more blessings upon you. The purpose of your spiritual life is to deliberately seek and gain the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is not to observe rules or conduct religious rituals, but to truly act in concert with God and discipline your body. This is what man should do, so you must give it your all in order to do this. The better your cooperation and the more effort you put forth, the more you will be able to turn your heart toward God, and the more you will quiet your heart before Him. Once you’ve reached a certain state, God will gain your heart completely. No one will be able to sway or capture your heart, and you will belong completely to God.” In the word of God, it says that we must have a normal spiritual life every day; we should quiet ourselves before God through conscious cooperation, praying and reading the word of God, and thus receive God’s blessings. In retrospect, I didn’t love reading God’s word, I always did my own things first before I read the word of God and put my relationship with God last. Especially during the summer vacation back to home country, I didn’t read God’s word or pray at all. Now God has pointed out the way for me. Spiritual devotionals are like self-study in school: In a quiet environment, distracted from the outside influence, we read the word of God, try to figure out the will of God in the word of God and make our hearts at peace before God. We must ensure that there are spiritual devotions every day in order to establish a normal relationship with God and get the work of the Holy Spirit; only in this way can we gradually enter onto the right track of faith in God.
Thus, I made a commitment to God: “Oh God, I would like to make a commitment to You. Starting from today I promise that I will do spiritual devotions every day. But I’m too small in stature, I wish You can give me the strength to overcome the flesh, and also always keep my heart in peace in front of You. Oh God, if I was far away from You, Satan would come to tease me, get me fallen. That feeling is really unpleasant. I will not stay away from You anymore. May Your Spirit be with me and lead me. Amen!” After prayer, I felt faith returning and believed that I would certainly be able to restore my normal relationship with God through such cooperation.
After reading the word of God, I looked at the clock, and my heart was eager for watching the TV series: I already read the word of God today; it’s alright just watching a few episodes of the TV series before bed. When this thought popped up, I suddenly remembered the commitment I just made with God. And now I was going to regret it! I really had no conscience and failed to live up tofor me. So I put the phone far away, forcing myself to sleep early. The next morning, when the alarm was ringing, I habitually wanted to shut off the alarm and continue to sleep. Nevertheless, the commitment that I made with God suddenly hit me. I was afraid of falling asleep again, and I quickly sat up and knelt and prayed for God to give me strength so that I could forsake the flesh and get up for spiritual devotions. I also asked God to enlighten me and allow me to understand His will and know Him through His words. Then I went to wash my face to wake up and prepared a notebook for spiritual devotions according to the word of God. Because I often only read the word of God without my heart, I could focus better by writing down the light and enlightenment obtained from God’s word.
As I read the word of God, I pondered it and remembered the experiences of this period of time, and truly realized the love of God. If God had not arranged for the sister to help me or inspired me with His words, it was hard to say how long I would have continued rebelling against God and keeping away from Him. Now I felt only a tiny part of the love of God. I should try my best to experience the work of God, so that I could know more about God and truly love God. Trying to figure out the word of God, I was very touched, I knelt down and prayed to God: “Oh God, before I didn’t seek to make progress, and now I know a little of Your love. Oh God, please enlighten me and let me see Your work on me and know Your will, so that I’ll have true love for You and never stray from You again. Thank You, God!” After prayer, I felt very bright in my heart, and that’s the difference between praying with the lips and through the heart. At this moment, I realized: “speaking the words within your heart to God, and communing with God having grasped His will and based upon His words; it means feeling particularly close to God, feeling that He is in front of you, and that you have something to say to Him; and it means being especially radiant within your heart, and feeling that God is especially lovely. You will feel especially inspired…. After you have truly prayed, in your heart you will feel at peace, and gratified; the strength to love God will rise up, and you will feel that nothing in your entire life is more worthy or significant than loving God—and all this will prove that your prayers have been effective.” These words are very real. I feel true prayer and being close to God did bring me peace of mind and enjoyment. In the past, I didn’t like to pray, I always felt that I didn’t have anything to say to God. In fact, it was because I didn’t like to read the word of God, never pondered the word of God, and didn’t know how to pray to God. Now I know, attentively looking at God’s word and praying to God through my heart are ways of being touched by God and getting the Holy Spirit’s work, which strengthens my determination to continue my spiritual devotions.
Afterward, I read God’s words: “When people’s conditions are normal, their spiritual lives and their lives in the flesh are normal, and their reason is normal and orderly; generally what they experience and come to know within themselves at this time can be said to come from being touched by the Holy Spirit (having insights or possessing some shallow knowledge when you eat and drink the words of God, or being faithful when things happen to you, or having the strength to love God when things happen—these are all of the Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit’s work in man is especially normal; man is incapable of feeling it, and it seems to be through man himself—but in fact it is the work of the Holy Spirit. … When, in daily life, people do not oppose God, or rebel against God, do not do things that are at odds with the management of God, and do not interfere with the work of God, in each one of them the Spirit of God works to a greater or lesser extent, and touches them, enlightens them, gives them faith, gives them strength, and moves them to enter proactively, not being lazy or coveting the enjoyments of the flesh, willing to practice the truth, and longing for the words of God—all this is work that comes from the Holy Spirit.” Now, I can easily get up early for spiritual devotions and sometimes resist the temptation of TV. I can also communicate some of my own knowledge about God’s words and enjoy having a church life with my brothers and sisters. I am energetic day to day, and my relationship with God is getting closer and closer. This is all the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work, and God has been touching and leading me. Furthermore, I see that the Holy Spirit’s work brings positive power and makes me look spirited, optimistic and positive, while negative things are from Satan. Satan let me fall prey to its tricks, abandoning myself to a life of pleasure and being stuck in rebellion and corruption, and my spirit was getting darker and darker. The situation gradually caused me to be depressed and also overtaxed my body and damaged my health. So, I will learn from the word of God to distinguish between the Holy Spirit’s work and Satan’s work, no longer deceived and fooled by Satan!
After experiencing all this, I have truly realized that God loves man and His desire to save man is real and sincere and deeply appreciated the pain and emptiness of straying from God, which made me treasure the guidance of God and God’s work on me. Thank you, God! All glory to!