I Rely on God to Persevere in Faith Though My Family Obstruct Me From Believing in God
By Haoran, Portugal
“Haoran, have you really started to believe in Eastern Lightning?” asked my mother worriedly.
“See? Mom is crying. Is it that your belief in Almighty God is more important than mom?” my brother’s tone was filled with reproach.
“O God, no matter what difficulties and obstacles I may encounter, I wish to rely on You and follow You to the very end!” I prayed in a firm tone.
Whenever I think back to scene after scene of the past, deep emotions well up within me. If not for God’s guidance, I wouldn’t have been able to follow God to this day.
My Family Obstruct Me From Accepting the True Way
One day in 2018, I was fortunate enough to hear the kingdom gospel of Almighty God. Through a period of seeking and investigating, I saw that the words expressed by Almighty God were so rich that they had revealed many truths, such as what it is to believe in God, the inside story of the Bible, the mystery of incarnation, the mystery of mankind’s future end and destination, and so on. The more I read God’s words, the more I felt they are exactly what the Spirit says to the churches, and I believed from the depths of my heart that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus and then began to attend gatherings. Not long after, however, my family found out that I had accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, and a battle without weapons thus began …
One night I was studying when my mother and brother suddenly broke into my room. “Have you made contact with Eastern Lightning?” asked my mother anxiously. Hearing this, I became very nervous and thus called to God to guide me by giving me wise responses to what my mother said. In earnest, I said, “The Lord Jesus has returned as Almighty God. You too should investigate it.” Holding my hand, my mother said anxiously, “Haoran, I’ve heard about Eastern Lightning from the pastor. It is a church that is being cracked down on by the CCP government in China. The pastor doesn’t allow us to have contact with them.” My brother also said to me with a look of concern, “Haoran, you should see what it says on the internet about Eastern Lightning …” As he said this, my brother held his cellphone in front of my face for me to see the online rumors that condemned Eastern Lightning. “Could it be that The Church of Almighty God is really like what it says on the internet?” I thought. “But through interacting with the brothers and sisters and reading Almighty God’s words during the meetings, I’ve really gained a lot, and The Church of Almighty God is nothing like what the online rumors describe….” But I didn’t know how to handle my mother and brother, so I immediately prayed to God: “O Almighty God, I’ve been certain through reading Your words that You are the returned Lord Jesus. I ask only that You help me and bestow on me the words I should say.” After the prayer, my heart calmed down a little.
I then said to them, “All the rumors on the internet were fabricated by the CCP, an atheistic political party which doesn’t believe in God’s existence and is in enmity of God, so how can we believe their words? When it comes to studying the true way, we shouldn’t listen to those rumors, but should practically study the way to see whether it is expressed by God and whether it has the truth. This is because the Lord Jesus said: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6). Only by practicing according to the Lord’s words can we receive Him. But now we just blindly believe the rumors fabricated by the atheistic CCP government and the pastor without investigating — is this in line with the Lord’s will? The Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees back then stubbornly held on to their own notions, believing that a man who was not called Messiah could not possibly be God, thus arrogantly refusing to accept the truth spoken by the Lord Jesus. They wantonly condemned the Lord Jesus’ work, created many false rumors about Him, and in the end colluded with the Roman government to crucify Him, becoming eternal sinners against God. Let’s look at the pastors and elders nowadays. When faced with the Lord’s return, not only do they not seek, but on the contrary they collude with the CCP government to resist God’s work in the last days, spread the CCP’s rumors in the church to deceive the believers, and forbid the brothers and sisters to listen to the word of Almighty God and accept the true way, firmly controlling the believers in their own hands. Are they any different from the Pharisees who defied God in the time of Jesus? There is a passage of God’s words I’d like to share with you.”
As I took out my laptop and was about to read, my mother immediately stopped me and said, looking worried: “Haoran, have you really started to believe in Eastern Lightning? …” Before I had the chance to answer, my brother snatched away my laptop and cellphone. I was stunned and didn’t know what to say. My mother kept trying to persuade me and then began to cry. “See? Mom is crying,” said my brother. “Is it that your belief in Almighty God is more important than mom?” At these words and the sight of my mother’s tears, I felt really bad, so I called out to God in my heart: “O God, my mother and brother are obstructing me from accepting the true way, which is really painful for me, but I know You are the returned Lord Jesus and I don’t want to betray You. Please give me faith so that I can stand witness.” I lowered my head and kept praying to God in my heart. Gradually, my mother stopped crying and, seeing that I was not speaking, she then left my room with my brother.
In My Pain, God’s Words Strengthen My Faith
After they left, I recalled what had happened and felt as if I had just fought a war. It had never occurred to me that my mother and brother would be so opposed to me believing in Almighty God. Thinking of how my mother raised me up and how I made her worry and cry, I felt really indebted to her and also felt very weak and negative within. Just then, a passage of God’s words appeared in my mind: “YYou must be awake and waiting at all times, and you must pray before Me more. You must recognize the various plots and cunning schemes of Satan, recognize the spirits, know people, and be able to discern all kinds of people, events, and things…. Satan’s various hideous features are set before you: Do you stop and edge backward, or do you stand up and, relying upon Me, continue to move forward? Thoroughly expose Satan’s corrupt and ugly features, spare no feelings, and show no mercy! Fight Satan to the death!” From God’s words I understood that I couldn’t only see things I encountered from the outside, but instead should view them from the perspective of the spiritual world and see through Satan’s deceitful schemes. Today when my mother and brother came to disturb me and prevent me from accepting the true way, on the outside it looked like they were doing this for my own good, but in substance it was Satan exploiting my emotions to disturb me, to make me betray God and thereby lose God’s salvation of the last days. Now the Lord Jesus has returned to express the truth to save us, I thought. Since I know this is the true way, I should continue down this path and not be constrained by my emotions.
Unexpectedly, in the following days, my parents began to restrict me from going outside and they also asked my brother to keep an eye on me. For many days, I couldn’t read Almighty God’s words or contact my brothers and sisters in the church. In this kind of situation, I again gradually became negative and felt it so hard to believe in the true way. I just wanted to follow God’s new work, yet my parents actually asked my brother to watch me. Unable to read God’s words or attend gatherings, my spirit felt parched and I really wanted to gather together with my brothers and sisters. It then occurred to me that I could have gatherings on the internet via cellphone, so I secretly used my allowance to buy myself a new cellphone …
The next afternoon, I went out to attend the gathering through my cellphone. After I talked about what I’d experienced during that period, Sister Han sent me a passage of God’s words: “While undergoing trials, it is normal for people to be weak, or to have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work, and not deny God, just like Job. … what God requires of mankind, in brief, is their faith and their love for Him. What He perfects by working in this way is people’s faith, love, and aspirations. God does the work of perfection on people, and they cannot see it, cannot feel it; under such circumstances, your faith is required. People’s faith is required when something cannot be seen by the naked eye, and your faith is required when you cannot let go of your own notions. When you do not have clarity about God’s work, what is required of you is to have faith and to take a firm stance and stand witness. When Job reached this point, God appeared to him and spoke to him.”
From God’s words, I came to understand that God arranging all manner of environments is for us to develop true faith in Him. Back then, when Job encountered such big trials in which he lost his property and children and was attacked by his wife and friends, although he couldn’t grasp God’s will, he was still able to hold fast to his faith in God and stand witness. In the end, God appeared to him and bestowed even more blessings upon him. But look at myself — when my family persecuted me, took away my cellphone and grounded me, obstructing me from accepting the true way, I started living in weakness and negativity — I simply didn’t have any resolve to hold to the true way! I cannot be passive any longer, I thought. I must emulate Job and have faith in God and rely on Him to bravely face this situation.
The Persecution Escalating, I Choose the True Way and See God’s Deeds
When the meeting was over and I returned home, I found that my parents were in my room, which was a bit of a mess as if it had been searched. In a severe voice, my mother asked, “Haoran, why are you back so late? Where is your allowance? I remember there were 50 euros in your piggy bank.” “I spent them on some stuff,” I replied. My father then said angrily, “Did you give your allowance to those people from Eastern Lightning? How else would it have gone missing? Haoran, wake up!” Hearing this made me really upset, and I knew it was because they had seen the CCP’s rumors that they said those things. I thought: The saying on the internet that Eastern Lightning cons people out of money is purely a rumor of the CCP. When I gather together with my brothers and sisters, we merely fellowship Almighty God’s words and share our own understanding of them. The brothers and sisters are all pursing the truth, not the money, and no one has ever talked about making offerings or asked me for money. Besides, Almighty God’s words say, “I do not want people’s notions or thoughts, much less your money or your possessions. What I want is your heart. Do you understand? This is My will; moreover, it is what I wish to obtain.” Also, there is a strict rule from the church: “The church does not allow anyone to ask others to make offerings through preaching or any other reason.” God is doing His work in the last days to save people, not to solicit money from them. The church’s rule clearly stipulates that those who ask others to make offerings will be expelled from the church. New believers are not allowed to make offerings, and even if they do, the church won’t take them. The CCP fabricates those rumors merely to discredit The Church of Almighty God, deceive people and prevent them from investigating the true way. Ugh! Why do my parents believe the CCP’s rumors?
Seeing that I wasn’t saying anything, my parents began to search my schoolbag and clothes and found the cellphone I had just bought. They then confiscated my cellphone and said many blasphemous things about God, trying to force me to give up my faith in Almighty God. At that time, all I could do was pray to God silently in my heart: “O God, faced with this thing happening to me, I feel somewhat afraid. I ask You to help me overcome this situation so that I won’t betray You….” Just then, my father blasted a rubber ball on the floor as he angrily screamed my name, and he then said some rumors on the internet. Seeing this was really painful for me, and I kept calling out to God in my heart.
Just then, I thought of what my brothers and sisters said during the meeting that day: “When trials come upon us, we must learn to stand with God. God is observing our hearts in these situations.” Yes, I thought. This situation I am facing has God’s approval, and what He wants is my faith. So I prayed to God: “O God, although I feel some pain in my heart, I am willing to stand firm and testify for You. I ask only that You guide me….” After the prayer, I found release and security in my heart, willing to submit to all of God’s orchestrations. A few minutes later, seeing that I still didn’t say a word, my family all left my room. Seeing this, I was very grateful to God for protecting me so that I could stand firm in this situation.
After my new cellphone was taken away, I thought of another way and began to use the library computer to read God’s words and contact my brothers and sisters in the church. When Sister Zhang learned of my situation, she sent me the following passages of God’s words, “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God — behind it all is a battle.” “You must possess My courage within you, and you must have principles when it comes to facing relatives who do not believe. For My sake, however, you also must not yield to any dark forces. Rely on My wisdom to walk the perfect way; do not allow any of Satan’s conspiracies to take hold. Put all your efforts into placing your heart before Me, and I shall comfort you and bring you peace and happiness. Do not strive to be a certain way in front of other people; does making Me satisfied not carry more value and weight? In satisfying Me, will you not be even further filled with eternal and lifelong peace and happiness? Your current suffering indicates just how great your future blessings will be; they are indescribable.”
Then Sister Zhang fellowshiped, “Actually, every environment we encounter appears on the outside to be the interference of men, but, in essence, it is a battle in the spiritual world. God works to save us, but Satan does everything in its power to disturb and destroy His work, trying to prevent us from being gained by God. The CCP is a satanic regime against God, which hates the truth and Christ, so it tries every possible way to obstruct us from believing in God and following God. It distorts the facts and fabricates all kinds of rumors to condemn and slander God’s work of the last days, deceiving our relatives and using them to oppose and obstruct our belief in God, so that we may renounce the true way and lose the chance of being saved by God. However, God’s wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s schemes. God is using this situation to make us gain discernment and see clearly Satan’s malicious intent and its evil essence that resists God, so that we can abandon it and completely turn to God. Therefore, we should have a thorough understanding of the battle in the spiritual world in accordance with God’s words, see through Satan’s cunning schemes and rely on God to stand witness for Him.”
Through communicating with my brothers and sisters, I came to a clearer understanding of the battle in the spiritual realm: Turns out that Satan is using my family to attack my faith in God, and that it is because my parents have been deceived by the rumors and used by Satan that they are obstructing me from accepting the true way. Satan is so despicable and evil! Through this trial, I gained some discernment of Satan and meanwhile came to a better understanding of the meaning of going through trials. I had even greater faith to face this environment and made up my mind that no matter how my family coerced me in the future, I would definitely hold fast to the true way.
To my surprise, the next day my father came to me and said calmly, “Here is your cellphone. You may need it in your studies. But I still hope you can stop believing in Eastern Lightning.” I was so surprised as I took the phone from him. It never occurred to me that my father would give it back to me and act in a totally different way than before. This allowed me to truly see that all people, events and things are controlled in God’s hands. Getting back my phone, I kept offering thanks to God and then told this thing to a sister on Skype.
Free From the Bondage of My Family, My Spirit Gained Liberation
From that day on, my parents no longer tried to stop me by grounding me and watching me like they did before, nor did they take away my cellphone again. I often had gatherings and fellowshiped God’s words online with my brothers and sisters, through which I came to understand more and more truth and felt very liberated in my spirit. Through this persecution, I practically felt God’s leadership for me. When I was coerced by my family and lived in negativity, it was God’s words that enlightened me to understand His will so that I could cooperate with Him to stand firm in my testimony. I truly experienced what God says,“Trials are a blessing from Me, and how many of you come often before Me and beg on your knees for My blessings? Silly children! You always think that a few auspicious words count as My blessing, yet you do not recognize that bitterness is one of My blessings.” Although trials and refinement may seem to be sufferings from the outside, they actually are God’s blessings, through which we are better able to see God’s deeds, gain more faith to follow Him and grow up in life. Thanks be to God. No matter what difficulties and hardships I may encounter on the path ahead, I wish to rely on God and follow Him to the end. Amen！