Seeing God’s True Love in Illness
“The doctor said you’ve got uremia. At present, there is no effective treatment for it. But you can still be kept alive by renal dialysis and you’ll receive a kidney transplant once a suitable donor is found in the future. …” my wife said in tears.
When I heard the word “uremia,” my head buzzed and my body went limp. “This is a deadly disease!” I thought, “Isn’t this the death penalty for me? Heavens! I haven’t lived the wealthy life I want yet. How come I got such a disease? Could it be that my life will end this way? Heavens, I don’t want to die. Please save me. …” Lying on my sickbed, I kept crying out to Heavens in my heart out of desperation and helplessness. Tears blurred my eyes and all the years of my struggle for a better life flashed by in my mind …
I Accomplished Something While Struggling for Money
The year when I was born, my father passed away. My mother remarried because life was very difficult. My stepfather always gave me the cold shoulder, and after my half brothers and sisters were born he looked down on me even more. When I could understand things, I often heard others say “Money is not everything, but without it you can do nothing” and “Money is the magic key that opens all doors. Where there is money, there is a way.” I thought if I became rich in the future, surely my stepfather wouldn’t belittle me then. So I made a resolution that after growing up, I would strive hard to make money to live the happy life of the rich, and become an outstanding person that my stepfather would admire.
Shortly after I finished primary school, my stepfather sent me to learn carpentry in a construction company. Though not well educated, I focused on learning the skills with great effort. Only several years later, I became a skilled carpenter and started to take on some small projects alone. Afterward, I got married and worked even harder. As I earned more and more money, I enjoyed a better life than before. However, I was far from satisfied with what I had, because when I saw that my neighbor had built a five-storey house with luxurious decor, and especially when I saw their luxury car parked right in front of my home, I couldn’t get over it and was extremely envious of them and other rich people. To live the same life and win the envy and admiration of others, in addition to working for the company, I also rented an abandoned farm where I raised more than one hundred pigs with my wife in our spare time. Though the farm was not large, it produced considerable income for us. In order to make money, I often worked hard day and night no matter how arduous or tiring it was, and as long as I saw I had more and more money I would feel that life was sweet.
Through years of efforts, I became well-known locally as one of the rich. My co-workers and neighbors, who had once looked down on me, all began to smilingly seek me out, and sought advice from me on how to raise pigs. And even my stepfather, who had always given me the cold shoulder, also changed his attitude and showed kindness to me. It felt glorious to be able to live such a life, and enjoy the satisfaction that money brings. Thus I resolved to make even more money. As my wife and I pulled out all the stops in our pursuit of getting to the top, an unexpected accident happened to me …
Serious Diseases Came One After Another, Shattering My Dream
To speed up a big construction project, my company urged us workers to work overtime. I began to spend day and night at work. To make more money, after finishing work on the construction site I had to take care of the work on the farm, leaving myself completely exhausted every day. One wet day, just before the project was nearly complete, I slipped and accidentally fell off the scaffolding, and was knocked unconscious on the spot. My colleagues took me to the hospital in time. I was lucky to survive after the emergency treatment, but the injuries to my head and the severely broken lumbar vertebra, even though healed, left their mark on me—I still often feel pain in them. However, this didn’t stop my blind pursuit of money. I kept my nose to the grindstone with my wife in spite of my ailments, all in order to tower above others and live the life of the rich. But then another deadly disease ambushed me unknowingly, shattering the dream I had been striving so hard for.
One afternoon, when I got home from work, I started not feeling well and lay down for a short rest. At dinner time I began to vomit and felt chilly all over, which I thought resulted from catching a cold. But then I started feeling more and more miserable: I had an acute pain in my lower abdomen, I was sweaty all over, and had urinary stoppage. Seeing my unusual condition, my family hurriedly took me to the town hospital, where the doctor didn’t make a definite diagnosis but just put me on some drugs and told me to go to the city hospital for a check-up if I didn’t get better. After going home, I took the drugs, but they didn’t help relieve my pain. In great torment, I had a hard time holding on till dawn. Then my son quickly drove me to the city hospital. The test result was actually something I had never expected: uremia. It was so hard for me to accept.
After I had calmed down a bit, I was still very heavy-hearted. Seeing that my family was all sad because of my sudden disease, I also felt as terrified and distressed as could be.
I was treated for over one month, and every day I was expecting that the doctor could cure my disease or that a miracle would happen. Yet no matter what advanced therapies were used, my illness not only didn’t get better, but even worsened. I felt death was drawing ever closer, and so got more and more fearful. In despair and endless remorse, I thought: “In order to live the life of the rich and be highly regarded by my stepfather, co-workers, and neighbors, I worked hard day and night. Now, I have a lot of money and I am indeed looked up to by others, but I’m suffering from this disease—this incurable disease. I used to believe that having money meant having everything. With money, I could stand tall and proud, and others would listen to me and look up to me. After I had made big money, even my stepfather, who used to dislike me, looked at me with new eyes. This made me certain that the saying, “Money is the magic key that opens all doors. Where there is money, there is a way,” is right. But only now that I’ve got this fatal illness that even the doctors can’t cure, do I realize that money, which I have spared no pains to get, can’t relieve my pain, much less buy my life. Now I have to endure the torment of the illness every moment of every day. Rather than living in such pain, it’d better for me to die!”
In My Despair and Helplessness, God’s Love Guided Me
It was when I was in all this pain and despair that I got acquainted with a brother who believes in God. He preached God’s kingdom gospel to me, but at that time I had lost confidence in life and so said weakly to him: “To be honest, I don’t know how much longer I can live so how can I be minded to believe in God?” At the sight of my depressed expression, he read me a passage of God’s words: “What is the source of the lifelong suffering from birth, death, illness, and old age that humans endure? What caused people to have these things? Humans did not have them when they were first created, did they? Where, then, did these things come from? They came into being after humans were tempted by Satan and their flesh became degenerate. The pain of human flesh, its afflictions, and its emptiness, as well as the extremely miserable affairs of the human world, only came once Satan had corrupted mankind. After humans were corrupted by Satan, it began to torment them. As a result, they became more and more degenerate. The diseases of humanity grew more and more acute, and their suffering became more and more severe. Increasingly, people sensed the emptiness and tragedy of the human world, as well as their inability to go on living there, and they felt less and less hope for the world. Thus, this suffering was brought down upon humans by Satan.”
After reading God’s words, the brother fellowshiped this: “In the beginning, when God created mankind, we didn’t have the pain of birth, aging, sickness, death, nor did we have anxiety or distress. Our ancestors Adam and Eve lived a carefree life in the Garden of Eden and enjoyed all the pleasurable things bestowed by God. But after they were tempted and corrupted by Satan, God drove them out of Eden. Thereafter, people have become ever more depraved and corrupt, have strayed further and further from God, and have been living under the domain of Satan. Satan uses various methods and ways to afflict and torture mankind. For example, Satan employs money to entice and corrupt us, so that we bustle about for money and for enjoyments of the flesh; we neglect our health for the sake of making more money. As a result, we get ill through overwork, life gets hard, and mental pain and sorrow follow. All these appeared after Satan corrupted mankind. …” After hearing the brother’s fellowship, I realized that my tiring and painful life was brought about by Satan. Reflecting on my life, I saw that I was lured by money to blindly pursue a better life. Even when I got ill time and again because of overwork, I still wouldn’t slow down but kept working in spite of my illnesses. This resulted in me suffering from this serious illness—a consequence of being harmed by Satan.
I told the brother about my painful experience of slogging my guts out in order to live the life of the rich. He heard my account, and then communicated this with me: “In the past, I also lived by the satanic laws of survival such as ‘Money is not everything, but without it you can do nothing’ and ‘Money is the magic key that opens all doors. Where there is money, there is a way.’ like you do. To live towering above others, I also strived hard. As a result, I not only didn’t make much money, but got a skin disease instead. I spent much money to cure my illness and lived in agony. In helplessness, I prayed and relied on God. Through reading God’s words and seeking communication and help from the brothers and sisters, I came to see clearly how Satan used money to afflict me and I also came to know the root cause of my misery. As I read more of God’s words, I gradually broke free of pain and I felt increasingly relieved and liberated. And, miraculously, my skin disease disappeared almost without me realizing it.”
After the brother talked about his experience, he shared with me another passage of God’s words: “People spend their lives chasing after money and fame; they clutch at these straws, thinking they are their only means of support, as if by having them they could live on, exempt from death. But only when they are about to die do they realize how distant these things are from them, how weak they are in the face of death, how easily they shatter, how lonely and helpless they are, with nowhere to turn. They realize that life cannot be bought with money or fame, that no matter how wealthy a person may be, no matter how lofty their position, all are equally poor and insignificant in the face of death. They realize that money cannot buy life, that fame cannot erase death, that neither money nor fame can lengthen a person’s life by a single minute, a single second.”
God’s words and the brother’s fellowship made me brighten within. I said to the brother sincerely: “That’s right! All the time I regarded ‘Money is not everything, but without it you can do nothing’ and ‘Money is the magic key that opens all doors. Where there is money, there is a way’ to be my life precepts. My heart was totally occupied by money, and I believed having money could enable me to be looked up to by others and to stand tall and proud. To this end, I worked hard day and night, and even sacrificed my own health for the sake of gaining money, fame and fortune. Not until I got this incurable disease did I have to stop. Now, in the face of disease and death, I know that money, fame and fortune can’t relieve the pain of disease, that money can never save my life no matter how much I have. God’s words help me to understand that no matter how much money we have, how high our prestige and status is, or how many people adore and look up to us, when disease and death come upon us, we are so helpless, so small and powerless. Money, fame and fortune can do nothing when we face death.”
I’ve Found Happiness Through Understanding God’s Will
After the brother preachedto me, he often visited me, fellowshiped God’s words with me, and comforted and encouraged me. Gradually my mood got better, and I also felt the love and salvation of God.
With God’s protection, my illness got better day by day. Only two months later, I was discharged from the hospital. Seeing my quick recovery, the doctors all felt surprised and they all said it was a miracle. They never knew it was because of God’s wonderful help that I made such a quick recovery from my illness. During the period of my hospitalization, a middle-aged woman in the opposite ward and in the terminal stage of uremia, couldn’t bear the torment of the disease and so jumped off the building to end her life. A man in his sixties also died of uremia. And in my ward, there was a patient who was the big boss man of a company. He was wealthy and spoke loudly, and the doctors and nurses all took good care of him and even invited experts from the provincial hospital to hold consultations over his disease. But he still died, even though he had piles of money. All these tragedies allowed me to see even more clearly that having money doesn’t mean having everything. Money is not everything; it can only satisfy our material needs and give us momentary sensual enjoyment, yet it can never buy life.
If it hadn’t been for, care and protection toward me, I would have been consumed by disease like the other three patients. At that time, I was filled with gratitude to God, knowing it was God who loved and saved me. I knelt down and prayed to God: “O God! Today I’ve finally learned that my disease contains Your kind intention. But for this disease, I wouldn’t have experienced Your wonderful salvation, I wouldn’t have seen Your true love, nor would I have known that I am a created being who should worship the Creator. Because of this disease, I’m fortunate to be able to come before You and worship You. Now I know I have been corrupted too much by Satan and that I’m too disobedient. My views and pursuits in the past were wrong. I’m willing to pursue the truth properly now, and obey Your sovereignty and arrangements. Only this is the truly happy life I should pursue. God! I’m willing to come before You, to believe in You and to follow You. Amen!”
Afterward, I tried my best to perform my duty as a created being, and felt more and more secure and peaceful in my heart. Thank God! Now my wife and I enjoy a retirement pension of over five thousand yuan every month, and our son has found a job after graduation from college; we are living a peaceful and happy life. All these blessings from God are beyond what I asked for or imagined. From God’s blessings, I have learned an important fact: Our fates are all in God’s hands and our wealth is bestowed by God. I also understand that beliefs like, “Money is not everything, but without it you can do nothing” and “Money is the magic key that opens all doors. Where there is money, there is a way” are tricks for Satan to tempt us and trap us in depravity. Money, fame and fortune can only bring us emptiness, misery, and even destruction. From my experience, I know that only by obeying God’s sovereignty and arrangements can we gain the care and protection of God. Now, I am no longer concerned about money: Whether I am rich or poor, it is in God’s hands. I am earnestly grateful to God for leading me away from the restraint of money and helping me walk on the bright and happy path of life. Thank God for His salvation!