• Bro. Zilong Lin •
Chapter 15: Experiencing Many Tribulations (Part Six)
F. Sentenced to Three Years Yet Again
1 Pet. 4:12-13 Beloved, do not think that the fiery ordeal among you, coming to you for a trial, is strange, as if it were a strange thing happening to you; But inasmuch as you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice exultingly.
2 Cor. 11:23a Ministers of Christ are they? I speak as being beside myself, I more so! In labors more abundantly, in imprisonments more abundantly.
After 1994, the sphere of my service that God has measured for me kept on increasing. Various provinces in the northern parts of the Mainland all have brothers and sisters who came for fellowship. The gospel keeps on more widely propagating in the entire county of Fuqin. Since 1994 to 1998, every year there’s at least over two thousand people baptized. It was even up to over three thousand people in 1995. Many young people received grace and pursued the Lord fervently, we’ve also focused even more on the perfecting work. The coworkers of Fuqin kept their one accord, that the Lord’s blessing increased significantly.
In 1996, after the nationwide storm started attacking, the hardships fell upon me as well. In August 21, 1997, I was arrested, imprisoned for twelve days before being out on probation. In December 17, 1998, the court passed down my sentence of three years, I was imprisoned for another month. On the evening of May 25, 1999, I was in jail again. Not long after, due to my wife is very sick and about to die, I was bailed out again on June 25.
In these three years, I entered and left jailed for a total of three times, and even that I had to be bailed out to see the doctor. Regardless of bitterness, joy, fortune or disaster, I am willing to obey, only that God’s will succeed upon me, I only will that I glorified the Lord’s name!
This time the court sentenced me to three years with the crime of “Disturbing Public Order”. The sentence documents listed two truths: 1. In 1992, I gathered a coworker’s meeting in Fuzhou for all the coworkers in Fujian Province; 2. I made “Sojourner’s Hymns” before and after my past few times of sentencing, appraising the viewpoints of Witness Lee. I countered to say, the coworker’s meeting was only held for one day in a believer’s home, discussing matters of faith, not many attended, how can it disturb the public order of Fuzhou? “Sojourner’s Hymn” I’ve already completed in 1973, Witness Lee’s books only trickled in from abroad after 1980s, how can it be said that my hymns are propagating his view points? I once wrote a plea to the court while I was in prison, the summery goes as thus: “My faith is completely based on the Bible, the center of my faith is Jesus Christ, because of this I do not admit that what I partook of is ‘cult’ or ‘Shouters’. The “Sojourner’s Hymns” that I’ve written only focuses on points in the Bible, many of them has Bible verses in them as proof, not focused on anyone else’s perspective. Besides, these hymns are only sung among a part of the believers, how can it disrupt social order?” Though the truth is such, I was still sentenced to three years of prison.
In October 17, 2001, there was only fifty days left in the three-year sentence, was detained, for twenty-one days. Later because I was old, frail and have heart disease, I was released. This here is in my tenth time in prison, the Lord brought me out yet again, thank and praise the Lord!
From 1956 until today, for the Lord’s name and His testimony, I’ve entered and left prison ten times, and sentenced four times, got sentenced to a total of twenty-four years, and suffered seven years of surveillance. The Lord knows that I am not opposing today’s government authority, bring discord to society, but just by the teaching of the Bible, I am respectful of today’s authority, obedient to today’s national system. Though the government sentenced me many years, I am not bitter. I consider that this is God’s design for my personal path. If I suffered due to doing immoral things, that’s worthless. I was criminalized because of serving the Lord, serving the church, saints and writing some literature. I’ve suffered much in my life, from man’s perspective it truly is full of shame and harshness, experienced all the hardships of men; but for the Lord, and thru His permission, I am willing to accept. From the other perspective, The Lord used these suffering to perfect me, so that my self can be broken, that He can be expressed more upon me. May the Lord gain glory upon my humble person, and carry out His will.