6. The Meaning of Suffering and What Kind of Suffering Believers of God Must Bear
Relevant Words of God:
Today, most people don’t have that knowledge. They believe that suffering is without value, they are renounced by the world, their home life is troubled, they are not beloved of God, and their prospects are bleak. The suffering of some people reaches a certain point, and their thoughts turn to death. This is not the true love of God; such people are cowards, they have no perseverance, they are weak and powerless! God is eager for man to love Him, but the more man loves Him, the greater man’s suffering, and the more man loves Him, the greater man’s trials. If you love Him, then every kind of suffering will befall you — and if you don’t, then perhaps everything will go smoothly for you, and all will be peaceful around you. When you love God, you will feel that much around you is insurmountable, and because your stature is too small you will be refined; moreover, you are incapable of satisfying God, and you will always feel that God’s will is too lofty, that it is beyond the reach of man. Because of all this you will be refined — because there is much weakness within you, and much that is incapable of satisfying the will of God, you will be refined inside. Yet you must clearly see that purification is only achieved through refinement. … Only after experiencing hardship and refinement does man know that God is lovely. Having experienced up until today, it can be said that man has come to know part of God’s loveliness — but this is still not enough, because man is so lacking. He must experience more of God’s wondrous work, and more of all the refinement of suffering set out by God. Only then can man’s life disposition be changed.
from “Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Do not be discouraged, do not be weak, I will reveal to you. The road to the kingdom is not that smooth, nothing is that simple! You want blessings to come easy, right? Today everyone will have bitter trials to face, otherwise the loving heart you have for Me will not grow stronger and you will not have true love for Me. Even if it is just minor circumstances, everyone must get through them, it’s just that they differ to some degree. The circumstance is one of My blessings, how many often kneel before Me to ask for My blessing? Silly children! You always feel that a few lucky words count as My blessing, yet don’t feel that bitterness is one of My blessings. Those who share in My bitterness shall certainly share My sweet. That is My promise and My blessing to you.
from “Chapter 41” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Now, it is mainly that people have not yet obtained truth and life, and they are in the midst of seeking salvation, so they must suffer a bit during this period. Right now, everyone in the world is being put to trial: God is still suffering, so how could you not suffer as well? Without refinement by way of great disasters, people cannot have genuine faith, nor will they obtain truth and life. Not having trials and refinement would not do. … Some people suffer familial hardship, and some suffer marital hardship; some suffer persecution, and do not even have a place to rest their feet. No matter where they go, they can only stay at the homes of others, and so they suffer in their hearts. Is not the suffering you encounter now the very same suffering of God? You are suffering along with God, and God is suffering along with people. Today you all have a part in Christ’s tribulation, kingdom, and patience, and in the end you will obtain glory. This kind of suffering is meaningful, but you absolutely must be resolved. You must understand the significance of today’s suffering and why you must suffer so. Seek a little truth from this, and understand a little of God’s intention, and you will then possess the resolve to endure suffering. If you do not understand God’s intention, and merely ruminate on your suffering, then the more you think about it, the more distressed you feel, and then you will be in trouble. … Thus, now all these things must be seen clearly, and truth must be understood from them. When people have truth, they have strength. When they have truth, they are filled with inexhaustible energy. When they have truth, they have will. Without truth, they are like the limp dregs of tofu. With truth, they are firm and emboldened, and they do not feel their suffering as suffering, no matter how much they endure. What does this suffering of yours amount to? God incarnate is still suffering. You are people corrupted by Satan with a nature that rebels against God. You have all unconsciously done many things that disobey God, in resistance to God. You should be judged and you should be chastised. A sick person cannot fear suffering when they are treated, so is it possible for you, who have corruption and wish for your dispositions to be transformed and to gain life, not to suffer a little? Your suffering should be borne and must be borne; you are not without blame for it, much less was it forced on you. Your current suffering amounts to nothing more than the hardship of rushing about and a little tiredness from work. Sometimes you feel grief in your hearts as you discover that your corruption never changes, and you are somewhat tormented by your corrupt nature. Sometimes there is a part of God’s words you can never understand, or your hearts are pierced while you read God’s words, and you feel pained while undergoing some refining in God’s words. Otherwise, you do your work poorly and always make mistakes, blaming yourselves and hating that you cannot fight through it and that you cannot do the work. You suffer in all these ways. Sometimes you see others progress, and feel that your own progression is too slow, that you receive God’s words too slowly, and that the light comes too little. You suffer some in these ways. Sometimes your environment threatens you, putting your mind in a state of anxiety, keeping you from rest, and forcing you to live in fear, and thus, you suffer a little. What other suffering is there besides these kinds? You are not made to do any heavy labor, nor do you have superiors or bosses beating you and cursing you; no one is enslaving you. You are not suffering any of those things, are you? The hardships you suffer really are not actual hardship. Think about that for a minute: Is this not the case? You must understand the significance of your expending yourselves for God, as well as why you want to do this. If it is to pursue truth, to pursue life, and to fulfill your duties and repay God’s love, then that is completely righteous — a positive thing — and it is Heaven’s law and earth’s principle. In that case, you will never have regrets, and you will not become negative.
from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
When God works to refine man, man suffers. The greater his refinement, the greater his love of God, and the more of God’s might is revealed in him. The less man’s refinement, the less his love of God, and the less God’s might is revealed in him. The greater his refinement and pain and the more his torment, the deeper his true love of God will be, the more genuine his faith in God will be, and the deeper his knowledge of God will be. In your experiences you will see that those who suffer great refinement and pain, and much dealing and discipline have a deep love of God, and a more profound and penetrating knowledge of God. Those who have not experienced being dealt with have but a superficial knowledge, and can only say: “God is so good, He bestows grace upon people so that they can enjoy Him.” If people have experienced being dealt with and disciplined, then they are able to speak the true knowledge of God. So the more wondrous God’s work in man is, the more valuable and significant it is. The more impenetrable it is to you and the more incompatible it is with your notions, the more God’s work is able to conquer you, gain you, and make you perfect. The significance of God’s work is so great! If He did not refine man in this way, if He did not work according to this method, then God’s work would be ineffectual and without significance. This is the reason behind the extraordinary significance of His selection of a group of people during the last days. It was said before that God would select and gain this group. The greater the work He carries out within you, the deeper and purer your love for God. The greater the work of God, the more man is able to get a taste of His wisdom and the deeper is man’s knowledge of Him.
from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You must suffer hardship for the truth, you must give yourself to the truth, you must endure humiliation for the truth, and to gain more of the truth you must undergo more suffering. This is what you should do. You must not throw away the truth for the sake of a peaceful family life, and you must not lose your life’s dignity and integrity for the sake of momentary enjoyment. You should pursue all that is beautiful and good, and should pursue a path in life that is more meaningful. If you lead such a vulgar life, and do not pursue any objectives, do you not waste your life? What can you gain from such a life? You should forsake all enjoyments of the flesh for the sake of one truth, and should not throw away all truths for the sake of a little enjoyment. People like this have no integrity or dignity; there is no meaning to their existence!
from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When receiving the judgment of God’s words, we must not fear suffering or pain, and we particularly must not fear that God’s words will pierce our hearts. We should read more of His words regarding judgment and chastisement, and exposure of our corrupt essences. When reading God’s words, we must hold ourselves up to them more. We present every single one of these corruptions — we all match up to these. … We must first know that it doesn’t matter if any of His words are easy on the ear, if they make us feel bitter or sweet — we must accept all of them. We should have this attitude toward God’s words. What kind of attitude is this? Is it an attitude of godliness? Of forbearance? Or, is it an attitude of suffering? I’ll tell you, it’s none of those. We must affirm God’s words to be the truth in believing in God. Since they are the truth, we should accept them with reason. Whether or not we are able to recognize or acknowledge it, our first attitude should be one of acceptance of God’s words without exception.
from “The Importance and the Path of Pursuing the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Loving God requires seeking God’s will in all things, and that you probe deep within when anything happens to you, trying to grasp God’s will, and trying to see what God’s will is in this matter, what He wishes you to achieve, and how you should be mindful of His will. For example: Something happens that requires you to endure hardship, at which time you should understand what God’s will is, and how you should be mindful of His will. You must not satisfy yourself: First put yourself to one side. Nothing is more abject than the flesh. You must seek to satisfy God, and must fulfill your duty. With such thoughts, God will bring especial enlightenment to you in this matter, and your heart will also find comfort. Be it big or small, when something happens to you, you must first put yourself to one side and regard the flesh as the most lowly of all things. The more you satisfy the flesh, the more liberties it takes; if you satisfy it this time, next time it will ask for more, and as this carries on, you come to love the flesh even more. The flesh always has extravagant desires, it always asks that you satisfy it, and that you gratify it within, whether it be in the things you eat, what you wear, or in flying off the handle, or pandering to your own weaknesses and laziness…. The more you satisfy the flesh, the greater its desires become, and the more debauched the flesh becomes, until it gets to the point when people’s flesh harbors even deeper conceptions, and disobeys God, and exalts itself, and becomes doubtful about the work of God. … Thus, you must rebel against the flesh, and not pander to it: “My husband (wife), children, prospects, marriage, family — none of them matter! In my heart there is only God, and I must try my best to satisfy God, and not satisfy the flesh.” You must have this resolve. If you are always possessed of such resolve, then when you put the truth into practice, and put yourself aside, you will be able to do so with but a little effort.
from “Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God asks people to put the truth into practice primarily to deal with the things inside them, to deal with their thoughts and conceptions that aren’t after God’s heart. The Holy Spirit touches people in their hearts, and enlightens and illuminates them. So behind everything that happens is a battle: Every time people put the truth into practice, or put the love of God into practice, there is a great battle, and though all may seem well with their flesh, in the depths of their hearts a life-and-death battle will, in fact, be going on — and only after this intense battle, after a tremendous amount of reflection, can victory or defeat be decided. One does not know whether to laugh or cry. Because many of the motivations within people are wrong, or else because much of God’s work is at odds with their conceptions, when people put the truth into practice a great battle is waged behind the scenes. Having put this truth into practice, behind the scenes people will have shed countless tears of sadness before finally making up their mind to satisfy God. It is because of this battle that people endure suffering and refinement; this is true suffering. When the battle comes upon you, if you are able to truly stand on the side of God, you will be able to satisfy God. Suffering in the course of practicing the truth is inevitable; if, when they put the truth into practice, everything within them were right, then they would not need to be made perfect by God, and there would be no battle, and they would not suffer. It is because there are many things within people that are not fit for use by God, and much of the rebellious disposition of the flesh, that people need to learn the lesson of rebelling against the flesh more profoundly. This is what God calls the suffering that He asked man to undergo with Him.
from “Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In their belief in God, what people seek is to obtain blessings for the future; this is their goal in their faith. All people have this intent and hope, but the corruption in their nature must be resolved through trials. In whichever aspects you are not purified, these are the aspects in which you must be refined — this is God’s arrangement. God creates an environment for you, forcing you to be refined there so that you can know your own corruption. Ultimately, you reach a point at which you would rather die and give up your schemes and desires, and submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement. Therefore, for anyone who does not have several years of refinement and who has not endured a certain amount of suffering, they will not be able to rid themselves of the bondage of corruption of the flesh in their thoughts and in their hearts. In whichever aspects you are still subject to Satan’s bondage, and in whichever aspects you still have your own desires and your own demands, these are the aspects in which you should suffer. Only through suffering can people learn lessons, gain truth, and understand God’s will. In fact, many truths are understood by experiencing painful trials. Nobody can comprehend God’s will, recognize God’s almightiness and wisdom, or appreciate God’s righteous disposition when in a comfortable and easy environment or when circumstances are favorable. That would be impossible!
from “How to Satisfy God in the Midst of Trials” in Records of Christ’s Talks
God works in every single person, and no matter what His method is, what form His work takes, or what kind of tone His words have, He only has one end goal: saving you. Saving you means transforming you, so how could you not suffer a bit? You’re going to have to suffer. This suffering can involve many things. God raises up the people, matters, and things around you to expose you, to allow you to know yourself, or else He directly deals with you, prunes you, and exposes you. Just like someone on an operating table–you have to undergo some pain for a good outcome. If every time God prunes and deals with you and every time He raises up people, matters, and things, it stirs up your feelings and gives you a boost, then experiencing it this way is correct, and you will have stature and will enter into the reality of the truth.
from “To Attain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Can you just put the truth into practice straightaway after gaining some understanding of a matter? You cannot put it into practice immediately. While you are possessed of this understanding, others prune you and deal with you, and then your environment compels you and forces you to act in accordance with the principles of the truth. Sometimes you are unwilling to go through this, saying, “Why can’t I do it that way? Do I have to do it this way?” Others say, “If you believe in God, then you should do it this way. Doing it this way is in accordance with truth.” When you reach a certain point at which you have experienced some trials and ended up understanding God’s will and some truths, then you will be somewhat happy and willing to act in accordance with the principles of the truth. At the outset, people are reluctant to practice the truth. Take devotedly fulfilling one’s duties as an example: You have some understanding of fulfilling your duties and being devoted to God, and you also understand the related truths, but when will you be able to completely devote yourself to God? When will you be able to fulfill your duties in both name and deed? This will require a process. During this process, you might suffer many hardships. People will deal with you, prune you, or regulate you. Everyone’s eyes will be fixed on you, and ultimately, you will realize that the problem is yours. Fulfilling your duties while lacking devotion is unacceptable. You must not be careless or perfunctory. The Holy Spirit will enlighten you from within, and reproach you when you make a mistake. During this process, you will understand some things about yourself, and will know that you are too impure, you harbor too many personal motives, and have too many immoderate desires when fulfilling your duties. Once you have understood the essence of these things, when you are able to come before God in prayer and truly repent, those impure things can then be purified. If, in this manner, you frequently seek the truth to resolve your own practical problems, you will gradually set foot upon the right path in your faith. The more one’s corrupt disposition is purified, the more their life disposition will transform.
from “What You Should Know About Transforming Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Source From: The Church of Almighty God