“blessed be the name of Jehovah.” His blessing of God’s name was unconditional, irrespective of context, and without reason.
Persecuted Christian’s Memory: 5 Years Away From Home
By Zhang Yu
On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Hanmei was still wide awake in late hours. Looking at the bright and clear moon outside the window, she couldn’t help thinking of her family. It was the fifth Mid-Autumn Festival since her parting from them. She wondered how her family are now. Whom she missed the most was her little granddaughter … When she was thinking of these, the tears ran down her cheeks. If it hadn’t been for the CCP government’s persecution of religious belief and of Christians, how could she have parted from her family? She gave a long sigh and felt believing in and following God was really hard in the country under the CCP’s dictatorial rule, not knowing when she would be captured by the CCP.
One day in 2013, after having breakfast and putting her granddaughter on the school bus as usual, Hanmei closed the door, calmed her heart down and said morning prayers. Later, she simply managed domestic chores and went to the vegetable field to pick vegetables with a basket. After walking more than ten meters, she passed by a toilet, so she went to relieve herself. She had just gone into it when suddenly she heard a car pulled up outside it. She looked through the crack in the wall and found the car actually was a police car. She was startled in her heart, and then she saw five or six people get out of the car, one of whom was a village cadre and the rest were the police. They quickly went to the gate of her house, only to find the door closed, and then the village cadre called her. At this time, Hanmei’s cellphone rang, which made her frightened in a cold sweat. She quickly turned off her phone. Then several dozen people gathered around and looked on. The police asked them about where she was. At the sight of this, she was somewhat panicked. So she incessantly prayed in her heart, “God! Today the police come to my house and it looks like they want to arrest me. I am very nervous and afraid. I ask You to lead me and give me faith and power. O God, I can only rely on You.” After praying, she was much calmer in her heart and wasn’t nervous as before. At this point, she remembered God’s word, “You should know that all things in the environment around you are there by My permission, I arrange it all. See clearly and satisfy My heart in the environment I have given to you. Do not fear, Almighty God of hosts will surely be with you; He has your back and He is your Shield” (“The Twenty-sixth Utterance”). God’s words gave her great confidence and strength. She knew although the situation was harsh, God didn’t leave her but was always with her. She thought: God is my support; what else is there to be afraid of? If today I’m arrested, I will never betray God like Judas or sell the interests of God’s family!
It wasn’t long before her husband was called back by the CCP police. Through the crack in the wall, she saw her husband open the door and several policemen all pile in. At that moment, her pulse speeded up because there were the books of God’s words and the name list of brothers and sisters of the church in her house. She was afraid that if the name list were to be found, this would bring trouble to the brothers and sisters. Soon, she saw the band of evil police bring the books of God’s words out of her house and another evil policeman drive the car over there and put the books into it. Her heart was in great pain like being pierced. With tears, she cried out in her heart: These are my books. You can’t take them away! But at this point, she could only shed tears and gnash her teeth in hatred, looking on helplessly the evil police taking the books away. After they just left, she hurried into her house and found they made a mess of everything, and she even couldn’t find a place to stand on. The quilts and clothes on the bed and in the wardrobe were thrown all over the floor, and even the sack, the rice bucket and the junk pile had also been searched. The house was in an awful mess, like being ransacked by the bandits. At that moment, regardless of anything else, she hurried to the place where she put the name list. When she found the place was also searched by the police, her heart was so nervous that it almost jumped out. Searching for the name list carefully, she found it was still there. She was moved to tears, incessantly thanking God for His protection. She breathed a sigh of relief and rapidly packed her things, not daring to stay a little longer at home. Because she was afraid that the police came again, she speedily ran to the mountain with her bag. Being scared, she climbed up the mountain without pausing to rest and hid in the mountain forest. She, bending her waist and covering her chest, breathed heavily in succession.
Later, she sat in the forest and recalled all the scenes happening in the morning. In such a dangerous situation, it was God’s protection that made her avoid the arrest. Thinking she was unable to return to her own home, she really hated this bunch of demons in her heart. She thought: They don’t handle or arrest those corrupt politicians, gamblers and criminals, but especially persecute and arrest us believers in God. Why don’t they allow us to believe in God and walk on the correct path of life? Isn’t this confounding right and wrong, mistaking evil for good? Then she thought of God’s word: “For thousands of years this has been the land of filth, it is unbearably dirty, misery abounds, ghosts run rampant everywhere, tricking and deceiving, making groundless accusations, being ruthless and vicious, trampling this ghost town and leaving it littered with dead bodies; the stench of decay covers the land and pervades the air, and it is heavily guarded. Who can see the world beyond the skies? The devil tightly trusses all of man’s body, it puts out both his eyes, and seals his lips firmly shut. The king of devils has rampaged for several thousand years, right up until today, when it still keeps a close watch on the ghost town, as if it were an impenetrable palace of demons; … Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin!” (“Work and Entry (8)”). God’s words let her see clearly the savage, cruel face of the king of devils. The reason why believers in God in this country are arrested and persecuted is that the king of devils holds power. They hang banners promoting “freedom of religion,” but they really persecute and arrest those who believe in God in secret with all kinds of deplorable means; they send people to shadow and monitor Christians; they use torture and extremely cruel treatment on the arrested Christians; they don’t allow the children of Christians to go to school and work normally. They try to use these ways to force Christians to deny God, reject God and betray God! The atheistic CCP government is really a perverse, heretical, satanic regime. Through experiencing the CCP’s persecution personally, Hanmei had seen clearly the evil face of the CCP government. She thought that today, if it hadn’t been for God’s protection, then she should have been in the hands of the CCP police, and didn’t know what torture and cruel treatment she would face. She didn’t dare to imagine it.
She hid herself on the mountain until late at night, and then she carefully hid the things and went back home. That night she leaned on the bed and didn’t dare to fall asleep, carefully watching the situation outside all the way. Once there was any danger, she would flee immediately. Until the second night, she thought the brothers and sisters in the church still didn’t know about her situation. In order not to put them in danger, she decided to tell them about it tomorrow. The third day, when passing by the village entrance, she heard many people discussing about her, and they looked at her with peculiar eyes. Discriminated against by the villagers and subject to their cold shoulders, she felt humiliated and somewhat distressed. She quickly went through the crowd, and then prayed to God silently in her heart: “Oh, God. Because of being deceived by the CCP government’s rumors, the villagers discriminate against and dug at me. I feel somewhat weak and wronged. May you lead me to triumph over this situation.” At that moment, a passage of God’s words rang in her ears: “The time has come for us to repay God’s love. Although we are subject to no small amount of ridicule, slander, and persecution because we follow the path of belief in God, I believe this is a meaningful thing. It is a thing of glory, not shame, and no matter what, the blessings we enjoy are not paltry at all. In countless times of disappointment, God’s words have brought comfort, and before we know it, sorrow has turned to joy. In countless times of need, God has brought blessings and we have been provided for through His words. In countless times of sickness, God’s words have brought life—we have been freed from danger, and turned from danger to safety. You have already enjoyed so many things such as these without realizing it. Could it possibly be that you do not remember?” (“The Path … (2)”). She was moved by God’s words. She thought back to the past. God selected her, brought her back to His house, and used His word to water and shepherd her to grow up, making her enjoy a great deal of grace and blessings of Him. Now she encountered the CCP’s persecution, and this was a trial for her. This was also to test her faith and love for God. What’s more, this was to let her stand testimony for God in such a situation, shame the devil Satan and obtain God’s blessings and promises. This contained God’s good intentions. In the CCP’s persecution, she had seen God’s wondrous protection, and felt God was helping and assisting her by her side and supplying her all the time, which made her timid heart become unyielding and made her have a deeper experience and knowledge of God’s words. Besides, her relationship with God not only wasn’t broken by this persecution but got closer, wasn’t this the greatest harvest? When she thought of this, she didn’t feel upset. She knew her hardships were nothing. She also knew that in order to believe in God and walk on the right path of life, the suffering was valuable and meaningful, and it was the evidence capable of humiliating Satan.
A few days later, a sister in her church came to tell her, “The police have known much about you, and they know you are the church leader. They are ready to arrest you again. Now the situation is emergent. You’re not safe at home, and you may be arrested at any time. For safety’s sake, you’d better immediately leave home to hide yourself.” Hearing the sister’s words, she was heartrending. She hated to part with her little granddaughter. Her son and her daughter in law had left home to work. How could her husband alone look after such a young child? But she knew if she didn’t leave, she would be arrested. Thus, she not only couldn’t look after her granddaughter and her family, but she would involve more brothers and sisters in trouble. She sat there in tears, feeling extreme pain. She looked from her lovable granddaughter to her house, thinking: In this country that views God as the enemy, it is impossible to believe in God steadily at home. In China, there are countless Christians’ families have been broken. They cannot go back to their own home, are separated from their spouses and children, and can’t enjoy their families’ warmth. Isn’t the CCP government the ringleader that causes these tragedies? Thinking of this, she felt both resentful and helpless in her heart. Thus she said her parting words to her husband. When it was dark in the evening and nobody would notice her, she took her luggage with tears, left home and got on the train to other place.
Through this persecution and tribulation, Hanmei had a discernment of the God-opposing reactionary substance of the atheistic CCP government. Besides, she also really experienced that God was watching over her by her side and saw God’s power and authority of ruling over everything can’t be exceeded by any enemy force. Just as God’s words say, “Regardless of how ‘powerful’ Satan is, regardless of how audacious and ambitious it is, regardless of how great is its ability to inflict damage, regardless of how wide-ranging are the techniques with which it corrupts and lures man…. Without God’s permission, it is difficult for Satan to touch even a drop of water or grain of sand upon the land; without God’s permission, Satan is not even free to move the ants about upon the land—let alone mankind, who was created by God. … Regardless of how malicious its nature, and how evil its substance, the only thing it can do is to dutifully abide by its function: being of service to God, and providing a counterpoint to God. Such is the essence and position of Satan. Its substance is unconnected to life, unconnected to power, unconnected to authority; it is merely a plaything in God’s hands, just a machine in service to God!” (“God Himself, the Unique I”). God’s words made her have a clear understanding of Satan’s substance and its role: Satan is just a serving object and a foil. If it hadn’t been for its persecuting Christians so crazily, then Christians wouldn’t have seen its essence is so evil and they wouldn’t have gained a genuine understanding of the substance of God’s holiness, beauty and goodness. At the same time, she also saw no matter how savage Satan is, it is just a pawn in the hand of God and is manipulated by God. She appreciated all of this from her personal experience. Although the CCP government has been decimating and tearing down God’s work all the way and has never stopped persecuting and arresting Christians, God’s work is still expanding forward mightily. Nowadays, God’s gospel of the kingdom has spread throughout the whole of Mainland China and has begun to expand to many countries overseas. From this, she saw God’s authority is supreme and no enemy force can prevent God’s work.
In the past few years, Hanmei has been living in God’s house and fulfilling her duty. She has obtained the care and consideration from the brothers and sisters, experienced God’s love and salvation, and felt the family’s warmth, living a happy life. Although they aren’t a family, they are much like a family. Now she still can’t go home for family union, but she believes that God’s arrangement for everyone is the best. She is only willing to fulfill her duty, pursue the truth, and obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement to repay God’s love.
1. “Making groundless accusations” refers to the methods by which the devil harms people.
2. “Heavily guarded” indicates that the methods by which the devil afflicts people are especially vicious, and control people so much that they have no room to move.
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