God’s Words Guided Us Through the CCP’s Schemes of Persecution
The fifth day of the twelfth lunar month in 2012 was a day that Zhang Zhiyong would never forget. That afternoon, after he finished his duty, he happened to pass the entrance of his village and went home by the way. Just when he arrived home, a sister in the church hurried to his home and said, “Bad news, Brother Zhang. The CCP police arrested your son; he has been imprisoned for six days. The church informs you of leaving your family right away to avoid the CCP police’s arrest. They will possibly come to arrest you.” Zhang Zhiyong was shocked at this news and was at a loss what to do momentarily. In panic, they quickly hid the books of God’s word, simply packed his baggage, and left home carrying a quilt in a hurry.
It was very cold in the twelfth lunar month as it just snowed. The northwest wind blew strongly and the temperature was over ten degrees below zero. Zhang Zhiyong and his wife managed to rent a bungalow and settled down in another place. The house was low and small and it was very cold in the room. At night, the couple sat on the bed with the quilt covering them. His wife wept and said, “It’s so cold. I can’t imagine how the CCP police is torturing our son. Can he stand firm?” Listening to what his wife said, how wasn’t Zhang Zhiyong worried about their son? He said, “What can we do now? All we can do is offer upfor our son, and ask God to give him faith and strength and protect him to stand testimony.” Then he and his wife kneeled down and offered up prayer for their son, “O God! Please care for and protect my son, give him faith and strength. Please keep him from becoming a Judas, or selling out brothers and sisters and the interests of the church despite the tortures, so that he can stand testimony.” After the prayer, they felt a bit secure in their hearts. That night, they stayed awake. The longer they sat, the colder they became. There was even no hot water in the room. They were thirsty and their throats were dry, but they had to drink cold water to wet their throats. In such a hard environment, Zhang Zhiyong felt a little passive and weak. Then God’s words came to his mind, “It is My constant feeling that the path God guides us along does not go straight up, but is a winding road full of potholes; God says, furthermore, that the rockier the path is, the more it can reveal our loving hearts. Yet none of us can open up such a path. … I believe that this is the path led by God, so I endure the torment of all the suffering and continue onward. For this is what God has ordained, so who can escape it? I do not ask to receive any blessings; all I ask is that I am able to walk the path I ought to walk according to . … This is because I have always believed that the amount an individual must suffer and the distance they must walk on their path is ordained by God, and that no one can really help anyone else” (“The Path … (6)”). God’s words gave him confidence and strength. He understood God’s will and knew: The path God leads us to take is not smooth but bumpy; only in this way can our inadequacies and flaws be revealed and our faith and love for God be made perfect. On the way of believing in God, no matter what kind of persecution or tribulation comes upon us, we can’t avoid and escape from it; only by relying on God and looking up to God can we go on walking past. However much every man must suffer and what kind of persecution or tribulation man has to experience has long since been arranged by God. With this knowledge, he was no longer passive and weak, or worried about his son as just now, because he knew all this is in God’s hand. God permitted that his son was arrested by the CCP, and it was time for him to bear testimony. Just as Job was tempted by Satan. After Job stood testimony for God, God appeared and said to him and blessed him. Then he cited God’s words in fellowshiping God’s will with his wife. God’s words led them to pass through the unendurable night.
During that period of time, Zhang Zhiyong secretly went home from time to time to see whether there was anything wrong. Once, when he went back and just opened the door, he found a letter on the ground. He immediately picked it up, only to find that it was from the local police station. He was aware of the bad circumstance that the CCP police had come here. So he locked the door hastily and left home. He went back to the rental room and opened the letter, in which was marked the road map of how to visit his son. Just then Zhang Zhiyong thought of God’s words: “At all times, My people should be on guard against the cunning schemes of Satan, guarding the gate of My house for Me; they should be able to support each other and provide for each other, so as to avoid falling into Satan’s trap, at which time it would be too late for regrets” (“Chapter 3” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe). The timely enlightenment and guidance of God’s words made him realize that this was Satan’s scheme. Because his family were well-known believers in God in their local place, the CCP police held the list of their names. The police wrote to them, aiming to seduce them into visiting their son and use this chance to arrest them together. Zhang Zhiyong saw through Satan’s trick and turned it down.
The New Year was just around the corner. They missed their son very much. Zhang Zhiyong felt annoyed in the room, so he went out for a walk and when he happened to pass a station, he saw lots of people were busy going home for family reunion. Then, he felt distressed. He couldn’t help thinking that he dared not go home because of the CCP’s hunting, and that his son was still tortured in prison so that his family broke up, and were unable to get together. The more he thought, the sadder he was. Sorrowful tears welled out from his eyes. At the thought that it was totally caused by the CCP government’s persecution of belief in God, Zhang Zhiyong hated this devil regime more from the depth of his heart.
On New Year’s Eve, cheers and laughter were heard everywhere. Zhang Zhiyong and his wife had to hide in the room and dared not go out. Listening to the lively talking and laughing from their neighbors, they felt much pain and sadness. In the room, there was nothing to eat but some sweet potatoes and his wife cooked some. They ate and wept. At that moment, Zhang Zhiyong remembered a hymn of God’s word that he had often sung, “As a created being, you should of course worship God and pursue a meaningful life. As a human being, you should expend for God and endure all suffering. You should gladly and assuredly accept the little suffering you are subjected to today and live a meaningful life, like Job, like Peter. You are people who pursue the right path, those who seek improvement. You are people who rise up in the nation of the great red dragon, those whom God calls righteous. Isn’t that the most meaningful life?” (“The Most Meaningful Life” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs).
After singing this hymn, they got some comfort, and didn’t feel that sad or weep, because they understood God’s will from His words. Though they encountered persecution and tribulation and suffered some hardships, there was God’s kind intention in this matter. It wasthat came upon them. When they were persecuted for the righteousness’ sake, they were blessed. Just like Job and Peter, because of their belief in God, they were attacked and persecuted by Satan, but they sought the truth and practiced the truth, so they was able to stand testimony for God and put Satan the devil to shame in the end, and were thereby approved by God and lived a valuable and meaningful life. Therefore, suffering such hardship for the sake of belief in God is precious and meaningful. Then, his wife said to him, “We should definitely pursue the truth and perform our duties properly to repay God’s love, and put Satan to shame and defeat it.” He looked at his wife and nodded determinedly. …
The CCP was full of wiles. When its trick failed, it tried another. So they sent another letter to Zhang Zhiyong’s home. The letter said that they had transferred his son to the Procuratorate and asked Zhang Zhiyong and his wife to visit his son. Zhang Zhiyong realized that it was Satan’s another scheme. The CCP aimed to arrest them when they went to see their son. He saw through Satan’s scheme and didn’t fall for it. But his wife insisted on visiting their son. He said to her, “We’re well-known believers in our local place. Since our son has been arrested, the evil police won’t let us off. They just want to use this trick to capture us. We can’t bring trouble to the church, and we should see through their tricks.” But no matter how he tried to persuade her, she still insisted. He had no choice but to agree.
On the next early morning, the church arranged for Zhang Zhiyong to perform a duty. He said to his wife, “We should first consider the interests of the church. Let’s not talk about it until I get my duty done and come back.” After he finished speaking, he drove his three-wheel vehicle to perform his duty. It was already six p.m. when he completed his duty. At the time, a brother asked him about this or that, as if stalling for time. He was very anxious in his heart and thought: It’s so late and I have a long way to go. Also, it’s dark and cold outside. You’re not considerate toward me. Finally, everything was done. On Zhang Zhiyong’s way back, he felt it uneasy to go to see his son. So he prayed to God in his heart, “O God! We are going to visit our son tomorrow, but we don’t know how the environment will be. I can’t see through this matter. I’m willing to seek You and rely on You in everything. If the environment is appropriate, please prepare a way out for us. If it is not, please set up people, matters, or things to stop us.” After praying, he continued to return. It was about nine at night when he arrived home. He took out the key and was ready to open the door. It was dark and he couldn’t see clearly, so he used a lighter, and found that the lock of the door was sealed. Only then did he realize it was God’s orchestration that the brother kept stalling for time. God knew the police came to his home at that time, so He set up an environment for him to stagger that period of time to escape from the police. Just then, God’s words occurred to him, “Man’s heart and spirit are held in the hand of God, everything of his life is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts. Such is the way in which God presides over all things” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”).
God’s words allowed him to deeply understand that God is ruling over and arranging everything for him by his side, caring for and keeping him to avoid being abused and swallowed by Satan. This time, if God hadn’t arranged for the brother to stall for time, he might have fallen into the hand of the CCP police. He was grateful to God for His love and protection from the bottom of his heart. When he went back to the rental house, it was already ten at night. He told all that to his wife. She also realized this was God’s keeping and that God was setting up an environment to stop them. After this experience, they didn’t intend to visit their son, nor did they dare to go back home. Later, Zhang Zhiyong learned from brothers and sisters: The CCP often went to his home, and when they found no one in, they went to their backroom or to their field to find them. The police went to his home several times and finding that they hadn’t gone back, they arranged for informers around their home. Once the informers found them back, they would phone to report them. From then on, they never dared to go home.
Half a year had passed by and Zhang Zhiyong wanted to go back to see what his home was like. He got some news from brothers and sisters that the CCP had been to his home several times and didn’t quit until they were certain that he and his wife didn’t go back. But they sent their informers to monitor them. Zhang Zhiyong decided to go home when it was deep into the night. The moment he went back and opened the door, he found his home was in a mess and that the yard was rank with grass. His tears immediately ran down from his eyes. He couldn’t help recalling the joyful scene that brothers and sisters gather together to read God’s words, to sing and dance in his home in the past. But now, his family broke up because of the CCP’s persecution and hunting. His daughter had to perform her duty out of hometown and dare not come back home. And his son was arrested and tortured by the CCP police, and was sentenced for five years on an unwarranted charge. Because of the CCP’s inhuman persecution and hunting, Zhang Zhiyong clearly saw the CCP government’s devilish substance of hating the truth and being hostile to God. He couldn’t help thinking of God’s words, “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; this pack of watchdogs, meanwhile, stare with glaring eyes, deeply fearful that God will catch them unawares and wipe them all out, leaving them without a place of peace and happiness. How could the people of a ghost town such as this ever have seen God? Have they ever enjoyed the dearness and loveliness of God? What appreciation have they of the matters of the human world? Who of them can understand God’s eager will? Small wonder, then, that God incarnate remains completely hidden: In a dark society such as this, where the demons are merciless and inhumane, how could the king of devils, who kills people without batting an eye, tolerate the existence of a God who is lovely, kind, and also holy? How could it applaud and cheer the arrival of God? These lackeys! They repay kindness with hate, they have long since disdained God, they abuse God, they are savage in the extreme, they have not the slightest regard for God, they plunder and pillage, they have lost all conscience, they go against all conscience, and they tempt the innocent into senselessness. Forefathers of the ancient? Beloved leaders? They all oppose God! Their meddling has left all beneath heaven in a state of darkness and chaos! Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin!” (“Work and Entry (8)”).
In the disclosing of God’s words, Zhang Zhiyong saw through the evil substance of the CCP government who hates the truth and is hostile to God. They are publicly in enmity with God and frantically capture and persecute Christians, attempting to disintegrate God’s church, abolish God’s work, and turn China into an atheistic land. Though the constitution stipulates that Chinese citizens enjoy the right to freedom of religious belief, the CCP government, an atheistic regime, never acts according to the law. This is the trick it employs to deceive the world and cover up its sin. In order to maintain its authoritarian regime, the CCP turns China into a country full of pandemonium, darkness and chaos, and complaints. Today, through the exposure of God’s words and experiencing the CCP’s persecution and arrest, Zhang Zhiyong completely saw its devilish substance of resisting God and being hostile to God.
Over the five years’ imprisonment of their son, Zhang Zhiyong and his wife had been leading a vagrant life. They were eager to visit their son but the CCP was too evil and vicious that they had to give it up. So many times they were passive and weak, and so many times they wept bitterly, but every time it was God’s words that comforted, encouraged, sustained, and supplied them, making them walk out of weakness and pain. It was God’s love that accompanied them to this day.
Five years later, his son finally walked out from the demonic prison. Though his son was released, the CCP police still kept monitoring and shadowing him, aiming to arrest them when they went back to see their son. Zhang Zhiyong had to bear pain to give up what he loved and dared not go to meet his son.
Unexpectedly, not more than a few days after his son was released, the CCP police arrested his daughter who did her duty away from her hometown. Zhang Zhiyong and his wife had just walked out of the haze of pain when they were caught in a more painful refinement. The CCP police pressed them closely and never stopped the hunting and persecution of them, attempting to arrest all of them into the prison. This gang of devils are really malicious. At that moment, God’s words arose in Zhang Zhiyong’s mind, “When Satan comes before Me, I do not recoil from its wild ferocity, nor am I frightened by its hideousness: I simply ignore it. When Satan tempts Me, I see through its trickery, causing it to slink away in shame and humiliation. When Satan fights with Me and tries to wrest away My chosen people, I wage war with it in My flesh; and in My flesh I sustain and shepherd My people so that they may not easily fall down or get lost, and I lead them every step of the way. And when Satan retires in defeat, I will have been glorified in My people, and My people will have borne beautiful and resounding witness to Me. Hence, I will take the foils in My plan of management and cast them once and for all into the bottomless pit. This is My plan; this is My work” (“Chapter 13” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe).
From God’s words, Zhang Zhiyong understood: Though Satan the devil has many tricks, vainly attempting to use all sorts of means to arrest and abuse God’s chosen people, and to disrupt and disturb God’s work, yet God’s wisdom is always exercised based on Satan’s schemes. God uses the devilish CCP’s persecution and arrest to do service for God’s work, to make perfect God’s chosen people’s faith and love, to let the chosen people know God’s almightiness and wisdom and wondrous deeds, and to let them clearly see the CCP government’s devilish substance of hating the truth and being hostile to God. No matter what tricks Satan employs, it can never disturb or destroy God’s work. It only serves as a foil and a serving object for God to make perfect God’s chosen people, and it is only a tool in God’s hand.
Through the experience of the CCP government’s hunting and persecution, Zhang Zhiyong not only saw through its evil substance, but he also knew that the authority and power with which God rules over all things can never be surpassed by any force. He gained a genuine knowledge of God’s almightiness and wisdom and His wondrous deeds, and he had more faith in God. No matter what kind of environment he will experience, and no matter how much he will have to suffer, he is willing to perform his duty faithfully, submit to God’s orchestration and arrangement, and resolutely follow God to the end.