With God’s Words, I’m No Longer Afraid of Persecution
By Chencao, Italy
“Sister Wei, something’s happened! Shortly after you left, the police surrounded our meeting place and all the brothers and sisters were arrested except us three. What should we do?” Hearing this news, and looking at the expression of panic and fear in the sisters’ faces, my heart was also pounding, worry and fear welling up in my mind. Not knowing how the CCP police would spite and torment these arrested brothers and sisters, I hastened to pray to the Lord with the sisters, asking the Lord to guide them and to protect and strengthen each brother’s and sister’s heart, so that we could rely on the Lord in persecution and tribulation to bear testimony for Him.
After prayer, I remembered these words of the Lord Jesus: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Mat 5:10–12).
The Lord’s words gave me confidence and strength. That today we are persecuted and arrested by the CCP government because of our belief in the Lord, it’s a blessed thing and it’s approved of by the Lord. Think of those disciples who followed the Lord Jesus. They were also persecuted by the Roman government at that time and some of them were even martyred for the Lord. Their behavior was commemorated by the Lord. Today in such an environment, we shouldn’t be timid and afraid but should have the resolution to stand testimony for the Lord. Encouraged and comforted by the Lord’s words, I was no longer afraid in my heart. Thinking that the church books and belongings were still located in the meeting place, we decided to go there.
Arriving at the meeting place, we found there was no one in the room and that it was in a complete mess, tables and stools leaning to this side and that. Just when we were going to check if the church books and belongings were taken away, in rushed four massive policemen, roaring, “Who told you to gather together here? Come with us to the police station!” I was scared by the sudden scene, thinking: Haven’t they left? Why have they come again? Do they come here to arrest us? I felt somewhat panic in my heart, so I hastened to pray silently to the Lord: “Lord! May You protect our hearts and give us wisdom so that we can have confidence to stand witness for You.” After prayer, my heart was calmed. One sister said: “We believe in God to be a good person and follow the bright right path. And we don’t break the law. Why do you arrest us?” “Here it is a house church. It’s not permitted by the government. Your gathering together in the house church breaks the law; it’s disturbing the social order!” said a policeman fiercely. Hearing what he said was so ridiculous, and that they made such a false accusation against us believers in the Lord, I refuted angrily: “Article 36 of China’s Constitution explicitly stipulates, ‘Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy the freedom of religious belief.’ It’s legal that we believe in God and worship God. Why do you arrest us believers in God?” Another sister followed: “There are so many people involved in fraud and swindling, doing drugs, prostitution, and gambling in the society. You don’t arrest them but instead arrest us Christians. How is this legal?” Facing our questions, they had no word to reply.
I saw that a policeman tore from the wall the portrait of Jesus, the cross, and the handwritten hymn paper, took and burned them outside the door, and that another policeman rummaged through drawers casually and confiscated all the copies of the Bible and the hymn book they searched out. One sister said: “If everyone follows the Lord’s way and acts as a law-abiding citizen like us believers in God, then the society will become more stable …” Before the sister finished her words, two policemen roared with anger: “How dare you answer back!” “Go to reason in the police station!” As they said this, they rudely marched the three sisters to the gate.
At the time, a policeman suddenly turned his head, stared at me straightly, and pointed at me, saying: “You! Do you believe in God?” Seeing his vicious face, I felt a little fear, so I ceaselessly called out to the Lord in my heart to give me confidence and wisdom. At this moment, I thought that the Lord Jesus said: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28). “Whoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 10:32–33).
The Lord’s words gave me confidence and strength. I thought: No matter how vicious they are, without the Lord’s permission, they have no power over me. Anyway, I can’t betray the Lord nor deny the Lord’s name. So I replied calmly and fearlessly: “Yes, I do! Believing in God is a good thing, it is the law of heaven and earth. Why not believe?” “Humph, I see you have a quite strong belief! Go! Go to the police station with us!” Seeing his vicious face, I ignored him and went to the kitchen to cook for the child of the host family, who would be back from school soon. A policeman thought of me as the host and pointed at me saying fiercely: “I’m warning you not to have meetings here again! Otherwise, we’ll arrest you first!” Then they took away the three sisters. I silently prayed to God: “Lord, may You protect the brothers and sisters so that they, by relying on Your great power, would overcome the hostile forces of darkness, stand witness for You, and glorify Your holy name. Amen!”
At about 3 p.m., I learned that the arrested brothers and sisters were all liberated. The police photographed them, registered their personal information, confiscated the Bibles, hymn books and money on them, and also warned them not to believe in God anymore.
After experiencing this thing, brothers and sisters and I weren’t timid and afraid because of the CCP’s persecution, but instead saw clearly the CCP’s ugly face of being hypocritical. It carries the banner of freedom of religious belief, but secretly, it arrests and persecutes Christians everywhere. They are in essence demons which hate the truth and oppose God. During the process of arrest, I also really experienced that the Lord was at our side all the time, that it was the Lord’s word that strengthened our faith. The Lord Jesus is our refuge, our shield, and our ever-present help. Just as the hymn “The Lord Is My Strength” sings: “The Lord is my strength and my help. Only the Lord is my refuge.”