By Cheng Hao
The duty that my wife and I fulfill in the church is to preach God’s gospel of the last days. Just not long ago, my wife was promoted to gospel group director, while I, as a result of my own arrogance and wanton behavior, disrupting and interfering with the gospel work, was sent home to reflect on myself. Given that my wife and I began fulfilling our duties at the same time, seeing her promoted while I was dismissed from my duties was a hard pill to swallow. Tears came to my eyes as I thought: “God is classifying people according to their kind and, since I’ve been dismissed and sent home, I’m certainly being exposed and eliminated by God. Oh! Who would have thought that after all these years, my life as a believer would end in such utter failure? All I can do now is wait for my punishment.” Then I headed home with a heavy heart. From then on I became mired in my sense of defeat and my heart was full of misunderstanding and blame for God. I sank entirely into a darkness I could not extricate myself from.
One day, I happened upon the following two passages of God’s words: “I never said that you had no future, much less that you had to be destroyed or suffer perdition; have I publicly announced such a thing? You say you are without hope, but is this not your own conclusion? Is this not the effect of your own mentality? Does your own conclusion count?” (“You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will for the Salvation of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “You don’t see God’s righteous disposition, and you always misunderstand God and distort His intentions, which causes you to always be pessimistic and lose hope. Is this not self-inflicted? … You do not understand God’s work and you don’t understand God’s will at all; even more so, you don’t understand the good intentions God has put into His 6,000 years of management work” (“God’s Will Is to Save People to the Greatest Extent Possible” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Reading these passages, I realized with a start: Is God not talking about me? As soon as I learned that the church was sending me home, I started taking stabs in the dark, and concluded that I had been exposed and eliminated by God. I then lost the confidence to pursue the truth. I lived in a perpetual state of negativity and misunderstanding, utterly resigned to my own failure. At that point, I looked into my heart, asking: “Do I really understand why I’ve met with this ‘misfortune’? Do I really understand God’s will? I don’t! Has God said that I can’t be saved? He hasn’t. Then why would I make wild conjectures and unfounded delineations? Was this not arrogant and deceitful? Hasn’t sinking into this place of dark suffering been my own doing? How foolish, how absurd I have been!” Thus, I went before God in prayer, asking for His enlightenment so that I may understand His will in being exposed this way.
Later, I saw this passage of God’s words: “All that He does is true love for you; He has no ill intention. It is because of your sins that He judges you, so that you will examine yourselves and receive this tremendous salvation. All this is done to work man. From beginning to end, God has been doing His utmost to save man, and He is certainly not willing to completely destroy the men He created with His own hands. Now He has come among you to work; isn’t this even more salvation? If He hated you, would He still do work of such magnitude to personally lead you? Why should He suffer so? God does not hate you or have any ill intention toward you. You should know that God’s love is the truest love. It is only because of people’s disobedience that He has to save them through judgment; otherwise, they would not be saved. … He does not have the heart to let you become even more depraved; neither has He the heart to see you living in the filthy place like this, being trampled by Satan at will, or the heart to let you fall into Hades. He only wants to gain this group of you and thoroughly save you. This is the main purpose of doing the conquering work on you—it is just for salvation” (“The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). All these heartfelt words from God warmed my heart and roused me from my numb state. As it turned out, though my situation seemed like misfortune upon first inspection, it was actually God visiting His love upon me. God wanted me to reflect on myself through that failure and fall so that I could find the root of the failure and get back onto the right path. His goal in exposing me was not to eliminate me, but was to save me. That was God’s will. I had been arrogant and uncompromising, fulfilling my duties recklessly and according to my own will. God simply couldn’t bear to see me continue to fall into corruption. He especially could not bear to see me face punishment for offending God’s disposition through my wanton acts. Thus, He brought salvation upon me through judgment and chastisement. The church now arranging for me to return home was to force me to return before God and reflect on my deeds through that failure and stumbling, and that kind of exposure. It was to have me know my own corrupt essence and that the path I was taking was wrong, and to have me develop true repentance, allowing me to step onto the right path of pursuing the truth and a change in disposition. This was the very real work of the salvation that God visited upon me. All He did was care for and love me. Otherwise, I would still be unwittingly living in sin, still be acting recklessly, disrupting and interfering with the gospel work. In the end, I would have been punished by God for offending His disposition. It wasn’t until that moment that I came to see how real God’s salvation is. There is nothing false or empty about God’s love—it is true and real. It is through failing and stumbling that people know themselves, and it is through judgment and chastisement that He purifies and transforms people. I, however, failed to know God’s work and the method of His salvation. I failed to seek the earnest intention in God’s salvation, instead delimiting myself at every turn while misunderstanding and complaining about God, living within negativity and throwing in the towel. How unreasonable I am—how little I understand!
I couldn’t help but prostrate myself before God and offer up my thanks and praise to Him: “Dear God, thank You! Through this experience, I have realized that Your salvation is real and that Your judgment and chastisement are full of love. Without these, I never would have taken an honest look at myself. I would have continued to live in corruption, on a downward spiral, trampled by Satan and carried off by it in the end. Through this experience, I have also come to realize that Your essence is love and that no matter what You do, it is to save mankind. God, I vow to become a new person, to invest myself fully in pursuing the truth and changing my disposition. No matter what the outcome, I vow to fulfill my duties as a creature to satisfy You.”