How to Understand God’s Will Amidst Adversity

By Chen Yan

Editor’s Note: When we first start to believe in God, we may encounter some unfavorable things. In those times, we would feel confused: “Isn’t God omnipotent? Why hasn’t He protected me? Since I believe in God, things should go smoothly in my family. So how come these unfavorable things happen to me?” If we fail to seek the truth to resolve this problem, we might blame and misunderstand God and doubt His work, to the extent that we can even deny and betray God, losing God’s salvation of the last days. After she started to believe in God, Sister Chen Yan met two terrible things. At the time of her greatest confusion, through seeking the truth, she finally came to understand God’s will and became certain of God’s work.

The First Temptation: I Nearly Lose Hundreds of Thousand Yuan in Business

In 2011, I accepted God’s work of the last days. Through reading God’s words, I came to understand that God created the heavens and earth and all things, and that we, as created humanity, should all worship Him. Therefore, I actively attended gatherings and ardently pursued. In my life, I learned how to rely on God, which saved myself a lot of trouble. Later, I actively engaged with the ranks of people who preached the gospel, in the hope of bringing more people who lived under Satan’s domain before God to gain His salvation. Just as I was cooperating with God with great faith, a fierce spiritual battle quietly began.

One day in 2012 when I was finished spreading the gospel I was back outside my apartment when I heard my husband quarreling with a client on the phone, and they seemed to be talking about how a batch of socks we had recently produced had quality problems. When I heard this, my heart sank: “That was an export order. The inspection on export goods is very strict, and this is not a small matter if there is a quality problem.”

Unhappy conversation between husband and wifeAs soon as I went inside, I immediately asked my husband what had happened. “During the spot check, they found that there were some socks which hadn’t been properly sewn up in the seams,” replied my husband, angrily. “The client therefore refuses to pay us the money until they sell out the socks. If they couldn’t, then we would have to eat the loss.” Hearing this, I thought: “This batch of socks is worth hundreds of thousand yuan. What are we gonna do if we couldn’t get the payment? The raw materials of those socks were all bought on credit, and we also need that money to pay wages and other expenses. After three months of hard work, we were just about to receive a payment of several hundreds of thousand yuan, but now we may never get it forever.” At this thought, my heart ached as though a knife had carved up it, and I felt unable to withstand this kind of blow.

That night, I lay in bed tossing and turning, unable to sleep, while my husband was sitting beside the bed sighing and groaning. After a long silence, he said, “How did this happen? This is an export order. If the client couldn’t sell the socks, we would suffer a great loss. The quality of our products has always been good, so how come …” My husband suddenly stopped and turned to me, saying, “Don’t you believe in God? Why hasn’t your God protected our family? You should just give up your faith and focus on our business.” Stunned by what my husband said, I thought: “It’s true. Don’t I believe in God? Isn’t God supposed to protect and bless us if we believe in Him? So why did this happen to my family?” My heart immediately became filled with misunderstandings and blame toward God. I no longer had the energy for faith in God, and neither was I willing to expend for Him.

Under the Guidance of God’s Words, I See Through Satan’s Trickery Behind the Scenes

After learning about my situation, a sister from the church came to visit me. When I told her about my misunderstandings and blame for God, she comforted me, saying, “No matter what kind of circumstances we encounter, we must not misunderstand or blame God. Instead, we should first calm down and seek to understand God’s will. Otherwise, we may easily fall prey to Satan’s temptations being toyed with and harmed by it, even to the point of denying God and leaving God. Let’s look at a passage of God’s words together.”

The sister then read, “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 that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle.

Christ group travels together to understand God's willAfter reading God’s words, the sister fellowshiped, “From God’s words we can see that, the unfavorable things we encounter—your failing to receive the payment of several hundred thousand yuan and your husband asking you to give up your faith, for example—look on the surface to be interactions between people, but they actually are Satan’s temptations and disturbance, behind which there is a spiritual battle. Because Satan is in enmity with God and it wants to control mankind forever, when it sees us accept God’s salvation, it fears that we will abandon it once we understand the truth. Therefore, in order to stop us from following God, it does everything in its power to hinder and disrupt us, to make us misunderstand and doubt God and lose faith in God, so that we may betray God and lose His salvation. This is the despicable purpose of Satan. Meanwhile, these things befall us with God’s permission. God is using them to test whether our faith in Him is real, to see whether we will misunderstand and blame Him or rely on our faith to stand witness for Him. If we cannot see through this, we will fall victim to Satan’s schemes and return to its dominion. Therefore, when we encounter something unsatisfactory, we should view it from the perspective of the spiritual world, pray more to God and rely on Him, and stand firm in our testimony to God. This way Satan will be humiliated and defeated and it will never dare to tempt us again. It’s just like when Satan tempted Job in the Bible. It caused Job to lose all his property and all of his children, but Job had a God-fearing heart. He didn’t blame God for his fleshly pain, but instead bowed down to God in worship and praised God’s name. When his wife asked him to abandon his faith in God, he didn’t get caught in Satan’s deceitful schemes either. Relying on his faith and obedience, Job finally defeated Satan and stood witness for God and, in the end, he received increased blessings from God. So, you should also see through Satan’s tricks, pray to God more and rely on Him. I believe God will open a way out for you.”

After hearing the sister’s fellowship, I suddenly realized what was happening: Turns out our business running into trouble was not as simple as merely suffering some losses, but behind it is a spiritual battle. Job encountered such great trials without making any complaints to God, but when I just lost three months’ income, I felt unable to take this. I began to doubt and misunderstand God and lost faith in Him. My spiritual stature really was so small. I then came before God and prayed to Him, “O God! My faith in You is so small that I nearly fell for Satan’s trick when something went wrong with my business. Today, I finally know that Satan is trying to use this matter to crush me. I won’t blame You anymore but wish to entrust this matter into Your hands. Please guide me and give me faith and strength so that I can stand witness for You.” After the prayer, I got rid of the misunderstanding I had about God. My situation improved and smiles came back to my face.

In the blink of an eye, the year was over and our plant was about to close for the holidays. One day, my husband came home and said with a smile, “Problem solved! The client told me that they had sold some of the socks and promised that they would wire the money to us once they sold out the remaining socks. They said we can relax now.” Hearing this, my heart was overwhelmed by excitement and I gave praise and thanks to God from the bottom of my heart. Realizing that this was God’s deed and was Him opening up a way out for us, my faith to follow God was strengthened even more.

However, Satan didn’t stop there. Afterward, another temptation quietly approached …

Satan Again Stretches out Its Evil Hand: My Daughter Falls Into a Critical Condition After Swallowing a Coin

One night, my daughter opened her piggy bank, took out all the coins and then began to play with them on the bed. At that time, I was sweeping the floor and didn’t pay much attention to her. Not long after, I heard my daughter crying and then saw her coughing and struggling to breathe. Realizing that she might have swallowed a coin, I became so scared that my legs immediately went weak. I thought: If anything happens to my daughter, I won’t be able to live either. I cannot even take care of my own child—what will I say to my husband? I immediately rushed my daughter to the hospital for a checkup. When the results came back, the doctor kept shaking his head as he looked at the X-ray. He said the coin was stuck in her esophagus and told us to immediately transfer to a big hospital for treatment. After we got to the central hospital, my daughter underwent another examination there, but the result still showed that the situation was not hopeful. The doctor said there would be some risks involved if my daughter had an operation. At that time, my daughter was still crying and, as a result, her voice became hoarse. The doctor said if her throat became swollen, then they wouldn’t be able to perform the operation on her. Feeling worried, I silently prayed to God in my heart, “O God! The doctor says my daughter is in a critical condition, and I am very scared now. Please lead me. I only wish to give my daughter into Your hand and ask that You protect and care for her.” After the prayer, my heart felt much calmer.

We kept demanding an operation for a long time before the doctor finally acquiesced, but he said he couldn’t guarantee that the operation would work. Hearing this made me even more nervous. As I watched my daughter being wheeled into the operating room, I constantly called out to God and entrusted my daughter to Him. The operation lasted 40 minutes before the coin was finally taken out. When I heard the doctor say my daughter was lucky that the operation went very well, I was full of gratitude for God.

My daughter, however, still kept crying. Feeling that there might be something wrong, the doctor examined her again and found that there was inflammation in her throat and her tonsils were swollen. Given that she had just undergone the operation, if her throat got infected and festered, it would still be very dangerous. The doctor asked us to keep a close eye on her lest anything bad happen. Looking at my daughter, who didn’t even have enough strength to cry and had difficulty breathing, I felt incredible pain. At that time, my husband began to complain again: “After you started to believe in God, bad things continuously happened to our family. Last time, we nearly suffered a loss in our business and now our daughter is met with this disaster. I think you should simply stop believing. When others believe in God, things go smoothly in their families, but your faith brought a lot of disasters to our family. So what’s the point in still believing?” Listening to my husband’s complaints and looking at my daughter’s painful look, I felt somewhat weak inside and couldn’t help complaining to God again, “I believe in God. Why do bad things keep happening to my family? Last time, our business nearly lost money and now my daughter is involved in an accident. Why did all this happen? I have also been preaching the gospel and performing my duties, so why wasn’t God caring for and protecting my family?” I felt really depressed.

Understanding the Wrong Motives Behind My Belief in God, My Heart Finds Release and Freedom

Noticing that I was in a bad state, my mother said to me, “This thing happening to you is God’s examination of you. You must have faith in God and pray to Him to seek His will.” Hearing what my mother said, I came to realize that this was also a cunning scheme of Satan, just in a different form. I then thought of how last time Satan tried to make me depart from God through the quality issue coming up with our products, and it was God’s words that helped me see through its scheme. Now Satan was doing things to my daughter, whom I loved so dearly, to tempt me and attack me, and its purpose was still to make me misunderstand and betray God. Christians pray to God to seek God's willThinking of this, I immediately prayed to God in my heart: “O God! When my family encountered bad things time and again, because I didn’t know You, I blamed and misunderstood You every time. God, I now understand that this matter happening to me is one of Satan’s cunning schemes, but I am very worried about my daughter and I don’t know how to get through this. Please lead me to understand Your will.”

After the prayer, these words from God appeared in my mind: “Though you say that people who believe in God should love God, and should strive not for blessings but only to satisfy God’s will, what is manifested in your lives is a far cry from this, and has been greatly tainted. Most people believe in God for the sake of peace and other benefits. Unless it is to your benefit, you don’t believe in God, and if you can’t receive God’s graces, you fall into a sulk. How could what you have said be your true stature? When it comes to inevitable family incidents such as children falling ill, loved ones going into hospital, poor crop yields, persecution by family members, you can’t even make it through these things that often happen in day-to-day life. When such things happen, you’re thrown into a panic, you don’t know what to do—and most of the time, you complain about God.

God’s words penetrated my heart like an X-ray, incisively exposing my true state: My faith in God was just to gain blessings and peace. When there was something to be gained from God, I was filled with faith in following Him, but when it wasn’t to my benefit, I was able to betray God at any time. I was so selfish and despicable. Not until then did I realize that I could spread the gospel and perform my duties, willing to endure whatever sufferings not because I was willing to spend for God, but because I wanted to gain great blessings from God. Controlled by the desire to gain blessings, when I learned that my family business might suffer a loss, I began to complain to God, lost the motivation to believe in Him and even wanted to depart from Him. Though, through reading God’s words and the sister’s help, I gained some knowledge of Satan’s trickery from Job’s experiences and became willing to betray Satan and satisfy God, I had no understanding of my intention to gain blessings and, as a result, when Satan’s temptation befell me again, I was unable to stop myself from complaining to God again. Through God revealing me this way, I came to know my wrong view on belief in God and see my selfish and contemptible nature. I was just an unbeliever who believed in God merely to seek blessings and who hadn’t achieved any change—how pitiable I was.

Coming to this realization, I understood that these things coming upon me was not a bad thing but instead was God’s salvation for me. God knew my mistaken viewpoint on pursuit and He just arranged these things to wake me up. If I continued my faith with the intention of gaining blessings, I would never receive God’s approval no matter how much I suffered in performing my duties and spreading the gospel. Instead, Satan would take advantage of my wrong intention to disrupt me by constantly creating some unfavorable things, to make me negative and blame God due to not receiving grace and blessings. Obviously, if I didn’t let go of my wrong intention in belief in God, I would fall for Satan’s schemes at any time and may leave God and return to Satan’s dominion being harmed and devoured by it. This was the most wicked and contemptible aspect of Satan. Having understood God’s will, I gained release in my heart and was willing to let go of my desire for blessings and obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements. At that time, I remembered that God rules over and controls everything, and that no matter how much Satan wants to harm us, it wouldn’t dare to do anything without God’s permission. Just like when Job was tempted by Satan, God didn’t allow Satan to endanger Job’s life and so it dared not overstep the mark. Similarly, my daughter’s life and death were also in God’s hands and were not decided by Satan. So I prayed to God, “O God, I wish to entrust my daughter’s illness to You. No matter what the result, I won’t complain to You. I am willing to obey Your sovereignty and arrangement and stand witness for You.”

Later, after being treated in hospital for three days, the inflammation of my daughter’s throat eventually subsided, which allowed me to see God’s deeds, gain some understanding of His almightiness and sovereignty and also understand that no matter what God does, it is all for the sake of saving man. Afterward, my state quickly normalized and I resumed performing my duties. This experience increased my faith in God and I was willing to strive to pursue the truth so that I would be able to cast off my corrupt dispositions earlier and satisfy God’s will.

Although the Path of Belief in God Is Bumpy, God Is Leading Us to Fight Against Satan

Later, I saw this passage from God’s word, “After humanity was corrupted by Satan, He continuously worked among people to defeat His enemy who corrupts humanity. This battle will continue from the beginning until the world’s end. In doing all this work, He has not only allowed humanity, who has been corrupted by Satan, to receive His great salvation, but also allowed them to see His wisdom, almightiness and authority, and in the end He will let humanity see His righteous disposition—punishing the wicked and rewarding the good. He has battled Satan to this very day and has never been defeated, for He is a wise God, and His wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s plots. And so He not only makes everything in heaven submit to His authority; He also makes everything upon earth rest below His footstool, and not last of all, He makes those evildoers who invade and harass humanity fall within His chastisement. All the results of the work are brought about because of His wisdom.

From God’s words, I appreciated God’s love for us mankind. Satan has been corrupting mankind, practicing many trickeries to harm us, while God has been leading us, selflessly making sacrifices and devoting Himself to saving us. He is gradually recovering us from the hands of Satan and leading us out of Satan’s trickery and affliction, allowing us to live within His care and protection. Through undergoing these two temptations from Satan, I gained some discernment of Satan’s sinister intentions and also appreciated that God’s authority and power cannot be surpassed by Satan. Meanwhile, I also saw that God’s wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s plots. God was just using Satan’s plots to remedy my wrong view on belief in Him so that I could walk on the right path of pursuing the truth. I give thanks to God’s orchestrations and arrangements for allowing me to gain some knowledge of God and become more certain about His work.

How can we overcome Satan’s temptations and disruptions? Read more content about spiritual warfare on our Christian Testimonies page or read the following articles.

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