By Jiang Guang
In April 1999, called by the Almighty God, I returned to God’s family. Every day I enjoyed the riches of God’s word, and I always had an ineffable joy in my heart. The only one thing, however, that could not set me free was to preach theto save people. Whenever I thought of the brothers and sisters who, for bringing people of various sects and denominations to God, worked hard running outside every day, and even endured sneers, abuses, and even beatings from the gospel friends, I became cowardly. Because I treasured my flesh most, I tried every possible means to shirk the gospel work.
One day in May of the same year, the church told us to have a meeting to elect the deacons. Fearing to be elected, I played craftiness to deceive the brothers and sisters, saying, “I have amnesia, forgetting this or that all day, and can do nothing.” I intended to make good my escape by this little trick, but I didn’t expect that my wily mentality could not escape the searching of the Almighty God. From that day on my “neurasthenia” was getting worse, and it even lasted two years. During these long days, I was pestered by demons of illness all day, ate tastelessly and slept uncomfortably, and lived in a trance, suffering many torments. The medical treatment alone cost me quite a few thousand yuan, yet my illness did not turn any better.
One day, I switched on the recorder, and this song came to my ears:
Though at your side, I cannot shoulder a heavy burden for you;
How could I feel your griefs as I am so irrational?
For my selfish desires and flesh, I forget the truth and righteousness;
When I am heartbroken, I have long broken your heart.
I even feel no sorrow at your heartrending grief.
I groan painfully in corruption, and demand of you greedily.
No one has a conscience and sense to share few of your worries.
O God! Am I not such a person? Do I have any conscience or reason? Every day you are anxious for those brothers and sisters who are in the darkness and could receive no supply of life. But I feared to suffer, and was unwilling to perform my duty to share your worries, and only knew to enjoy your riches and seek after fleshly ease. I was too selfish!
In 2001, God’s gospel work began to be targeted at cities and towns and a great number of people were needed to be transferred to cooperate there. Our church picked me and another brother. This time I dared not shirk it. In June, the brother and I arrived at Queshan County. There in only one month we won many people in preaching the gospel. The work was quite effective. But just then the brother was transferred away, and the remaining work fell upon me alone. It was then in the scorching midsummer, the sun was hot like fire, and the temperature reached 40 Celsius. I always feared to suffer and now I had a relapse. My nature of betrayal sprang up again: “Ay! All day I’m in the hot sun, and I have to help the gospel friends with their work. Such a life is too hard. And the doors and windows of my newly built house have not yet been installed. I will simply…” So I unhesitatingly dropped the new believers who needed immediate watering, and went home. Just as I had bought lumber and was ready to go at it with hammer and tongs, the brother came to me. He said, “Brother, God’s work has reached its climax. There are still many brothers and sisters who sincerely love God and have not yet come before God, and God is very anxious for that. How can you have the heart to busy yourself with the housework? That new believer is waiting for you to go watering him! In the past, we often talked about many brothers and sisters who disobeyed God and hindered God’s work and were thus punished by God. Now you’re testing God’s nature. Aren’t you afraid God will punish you?” At that moment, my heart was very hardened and I thought: Whom are you frightening! I’ll consider that after I have installed the doors and windows. So I remained at home without scruple.
On July 17th, I borrowed an electric planer and began to make the doors and windows. In less than two hours, the electric planer was out of order. I examined it, but could find nothing wrong. I put it together, but only a few hours later it didn’t work again. In my anger, I borrowed another one. But before working half an hour it stopped once more. At that moment, the Holy Spirit inspired me within: Every minute you spend now is very crucial. You should prepare enough good deeds for your destination and dedicate your whole being to God’s work. I was also aware that the matter that happened to me was from God’s discipline, but I still went my own way, stiff-necked.
On 20th, I borrowed another electric planer. Obsessed with the work, I had early thrown God’s commission to the winds. As I was working at the lumber, I made further nice plans: After the doors and windows are made I will make some furniture…. On the morning of 21st, when I was skillfully operating the electric planer, suddenly I saw a machine part fallen on the ground. So I hurriedly stooped to pick it up. Unexpectedly, in the twinkling of an eye, my shirt was wound into the electric planer rotating at high speed. Quicker than words can tell, the electric motor suddenly stopped in that moment of crisis. Although I was wound down to the ground, I had escaped a greater disaster. Only my brow touched the electric motor and was bleeding. I went to the hospital and received several stitches. The doctor said, “If the cut were one more centimeter lower, you would have gone blind.” The scene of that moment, as I recalled, was really extremely dreadful. If the electric motor had not stopped running and thus my body had been dragged upon it, the consequences would have been unthinkably disastrous. This matter was really miraculous! The thick and hard electric drill, which could drill through any wood, was twisted and broken by my shirt and the electric motor, which was running at high speed, stopped suddenly! If I had not seen that with my eyes, I would never believe it was true! So, after I came home from the hospital, the first thing I did was to kneel before God and pray to him, “O God, you disciplined me, chastised me, and showed me the heavenly fire but had no heart to burn me. How am I, a rebellious and disobedient maggot, worthy to be so cared for by you? I know that you chastised me in order to make me wake up and know my disobedience, so as to get rid of my inner things unpleasant to you and be perfected by you as soon as possible. At the same time, I have also seen that your nature does not tolerate man’s offense.”
Thank God for his care and keeping. Only three days later, the swelling of my eye died down. Normally, I could and should go to perform my duty. The Holy Spirit also kept urging me within: That new believer is waiting to be fed. Hurry to sustain and save the soul! In my heart, I knew very clearly that I should go to perform my duty. However, I, an obstinate and absurd person, was still unwilling to drop my own plan. I only wanted to quickly finish my house work and return the borrowed tools. So, I again disobeyed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and once more stood on the side of satan. And I even shamelessly prayed to God, “O God, may you show mercy to me again and forgive my transgressions. When I finish this work, I will go to perform my duty.” After the, I didn’t mind if God approved of it and began to work energetically again according to my own will. Unexpectedly, in less than three hours, another accident happened: as I held the lumber and pushed it forward, the lumber suddenly flew high with a bang, and my hand pressing the lumber touched the planer blade. Instantly, the four fingers of my right hand bled. And the middle finger was cut through by the planer blade, which caused an unbearable pain. My wife and I were both petrified with terror. After quite a long while my wife said, “You must stop doing this work or you will lose your life!” When I came out of the hospital the second time, I was covered with many wounds. My hand was wound with gauze and my forehead was covered with gauze. You can imagine what my sorry appearance was like. Ay! Why did I overestimate my strength and do that intentionally? This serves me right! See if you still dare to wrestle with God again in the future! I secretly cursed myself in my heart, and I thought, “I really must do a serious soul-searching. If I no longer rein in on the brink of precipice, the one who suffers loss will still be myself.”
Later, I read these words of God: “From my long-time speech and work, what have you actually learned? Do your deceitful tricks become more skillful? Does your flesh become more experienced? Does your attitude toward me become more disdainful? Frankly speaking, so many works of mine have your previous mousey audacity increased, and your fear of me decreased. … I tell you a true word, whether or not you have a fearing heart today does not matter, and I am neither nervous nor anxious. But I still want to tell you, such an unlearned ‘scholar’ as you will eventually be ruined by your self-admiring wit. The one who will suffer will be you. The one who will be chastised will be you too. …” O God! Your every word bears authority and your painstaking intention, and your every word contains your salvation to me. But I, a numb and obtuse person, always grieved you. O God, I was really one who deserves death and destruction. As I was so disobedient, how am I worthy to enjoy your salvation? Compared with your love, I am simply unworthy to live! All that happened to me today is precisely the expression of your righteous nature and also the manifestation of your love. Without these chastisements and judgments, how could I have come before you? O God, it is your chastisements and judgments that have kept me. I give thanks to you!