By Zhang Yong
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, “I always feel that the path that God guides us on doesn’t go straight up, but it’s a winding road that is full of potholes, and God says that the rockier the path is the more it can reveal our hearts of love, but not one of us can open up this kind of path. … I believe that this is the path led by God, so I endure the torment of all the suffering and continue on. 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 however much an individual must suffer and however far 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 must be on guard against the cunning schemes of Satan, protecting the gate of My house for Me, able to support each other and provide to each other, which will stop you falling into Satan’s trap, at which time it will 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, people posted couplets and hung up lanterns in every household; 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.