My granddaughter developed a low-grade fever—what was this all about?
One day in June of 2009, my six-year-old granddaughter Guoguo listlessly came home from school and then weakly lay down on the bed. I thought this was very strange, as she was usually so full of life, skipping and running everywhere. I thought: “Why did she fall onto her bed as soon as she got home? Could she be ill?” I rushed her to a clinic to see a doctor. The doctor there said that my granddaughter had a low-grade fever, he prescribed her with some antipyretics, and then I took her home. However, after taking medicine for over a day, Guoguo was no better. So I took her to the clinic to receive intravenous therapy. When she was on a drip, her fever receded, but one or two hours after the infusions she began to get a fever again. Later, she could not eat, and even if she ate something, she would vomit it up. She was wasting away day by day, and finally she even didn’t have the strength to speak. My wife and I then hurriedly called our son and daughter-in-law and, once they’d learned about Guoguo, they rushed back.
The next day, my son and daughter-in-law took Guoguo to the county hospital. Not long after they got there, my son called me up and said: “Dad, Guoguo said just one thing when we got here, then her mouth began to stiffen, and now she can’t speak. The doctor advised me to take Guoguo to another hospital as soon as possible.” As soon as I heard what my son said, my mind was all abuzz and my entire body became limp and weak like a deflated rubber ball. I thought to myself: “How could my granddaughter’s illness get worse so quickly? Now it’s at the point where she can’t speak. If something happens to her….” When I thought about this, I felt hurt and saddened as if a knife had been twisted into my heart, and I could not stop the tears from falling. During those few days, my wife and I could not eat or sleep well. Just as we were worried about Guoguo’s illness, our son called again and said, “Dad, after the examination, the doctor said Guoguo has contracted encephalitis, and at present, Guoguo’s mouth is still stiff, she can’t feel anything on the left side of her body, and she is half-paralyzed. Her condition is extremely serious. The doctors will only give her two treatments. If she gets better, they’ll continue the treatment; if not, they’ll discontinue it. And they also said that even if her illness is cured, she could be disabled.” When I heard my son’s words, my tears flowed freely like beads from a broken string, and I felt great pain as if my heart was going to break. I thought: “She is only six. If by some chance her treatment doesn’t go well and she becomes paralyzed, how will she live?” I dared not keep thinking about it, and I came before God and prayed to Him in tears: “O God, all things are in Your hands; whether we live or die is in Your hands. Whether my granddaughter gets better or not isn’t up to the doctor. You arrange and hold sovereignty over everything. I’m willing to entrust my granddaughter to You. I beg You to save her.” After praying, my pained, anxious heart calmed down a little.
I harbored resentment in my heart when my granddaughter didn’t get better.
After that, my wife and I expected that Guoguo would get better. However, the reality was not like I had imagined. Guoguo’s condition did not improve at all. Unconsciously, a desire to blame God arose in my heart, and I thought: “My wife and I have been doing our duty and we also obey the arrangements of the church. How can such a thing happen to us? Why doesn’t God protect her and make her soon well again?” The more I thought about it, the more awful I felt; my entire being became extremely negative and weak, and my spirit got darker and darker. Just when I was in pain and had nowhere to turn, a brother came to my home and read a passage of God’s words pertaining to my situation: “How many believe in Me only so I would heal them? How many believe in Me only so I would use My powers to drive unclean spirits out of their bodies? And how many believe in Me simply to receive peace and joy from Me? How many believe in Me only to demand from Me more material wealth, and how many believe in Me just to spend this life in safety and to be safe and sound in the world to come? How many believe in Me only to avoid the suffering of hell and to receive the blessings of heaven? How many believe in Me only for temporary comfort but do not seek to gain anything in the world to come? When I brought down My fury upon man and seized all the joy and peace he originally possessed, man became doubtful. When I gave unto man the suffering of hell and reclaimed the blessings of heaven, man’s shame turned into anger” (“What Do You Know of Faith”).
Then the brother fellowshiped: “has revealed our intentions, purposes, and all manner of improper, extravagant demands in believing in Him. God created mankind and provides all things necessary for our survival. Therefore, it is the law of heaven and earth that we people should believe in and worship God. But after we were corrupted by Satan, our natures became too selfish and contemptible. We no longer purely for the sake of loving and satisfying God, but instead we believe in order to obtain blessings or to have a happy family; this is making bargains with God. Our faith is completely tainted—when God’s blessings come upon us, our hearts are filled with joy, but when the situations arranged by God don’t satisfy our desires, we lose faith in Him, and we start to become negative, to misunderstand and blame Him, and even shun Him and betray Him. This is caused by our wrong views on belief in God.
“God comes to perform His work and save man in the last days. That is, He uses all kinds of unfortunate situations to expose our inner corruption and impurities, thus making us come before Him and check ourselves against His words, know ourselves through reflection and see how corrupted we are by Satan, and how selfish and contemptible we are. We can thenand resolve ourselves to casting off corruption, and we can experience God’s work little by little. We will then no longer make bargains with God, and we will become of one mind with God, and become people who truly obey and worship God. Brother, does not the matter of the child’s sickness expose the wrong view that belief in God is to obtain blessings? So, what is God’s will? God hopes that you will reflect and understand and remedy your wrong views on what to pursue in faith, so that your corrupt dispositions may be cleansed and changed. This kind of situation is God’s love coming upon you, and it is God purifying and saving you. If we were not exposed through experiencing this kind of situation, we would still think that our faithful hearts were pure, and we would continue to believe in God bearing our wrong views. If we carried on that way, we would believe in God till the end and still not earn His praise!”
Thinking over God’s words and the brother’s fellowship, I came to some understanding, and I said to him: “What God’s words reveal is absolutely right. Since my granddaughter fell ill, I’ve constantly called on God just to ask Him to cure her illness. When I’ve prayed, I’ve asked God in a roundabout way to heal my granddaughter, and when I’ve seen her condition not getting any better, but even getting worse and worse, my rebelliousness was completely exposed. I started complaining to God, thinking that, because my wife and I believe in God and perform our duty, God should then watch over and keep our whole family safe, and we shouldn’t get sick. Only now I see that I am so selfish and despicable. Myis just for blessings, and I’m making demands of God and making deals with Him. How can my views on belief in God possibly accord with God’s will? I’m not a true believer in God!”
The brother went on to say: “Thank God! Today, you are able to recognize your wrong views concerning your belief in God. It’s the effect of God’s words on you. Now, it’s a trial and a refinement for you and your wife that your granddaughter has contracted such a severe illness. As we come to know ourselves through reflection, we must also understand God’s will and seek the way to practice from within God’s words. Only in this way will we not live in negativity and misunderstand God, but instead we will be able to truly obey and satisfy God. Let’s look at what God says.”
Understanding God’s will, I let go of my extravagant demands and obeyed God’s sovereignty.
So, I took the book of God’s words and read: “When you face sufferings you must be able to not consider the flesh and not complain against God. When God hides Himself from you, you must be able to have the faith to follow Him, to maintain your previous love without allowing it to falter or disappear. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design, and be more willing to curse your own flesh than to complain against Him. When you are faced with trials you must satisfy God in spite of any reluctance to part with something you love, or bitter weeping. Only this can be called true love and faith. … If you are like Job, who in the midst of trials cursed his own flesh and did not complain against God, and was able to detest his own flesh without complaining or sinning through his words, that is standing witness. When you undergo refinements to a certain degree and can still be like Job, utterly obedient in front of God and without other requirements of Him or your own notions, then God will appear to you” (“Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement”). “Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking and never give up, and God shall shine His light on you. How faithful was Job? Almighty God is an all-powerful physician! To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well. If you have but one breath, God will not let you die” (“Chapter 6” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning).
After reading God’s words, I understood: It turns out that sufferings mean trials and refinement to those who believe in God, and God uses trials and refinements to perfect our faith in Him. If we relinquish our fleshly interests in situations that cause us suffering and hold fast to our faith in God, if we do not doubt God no matter what He does, nor blame Him or betray Him, and God sees that we desire to satisfy and obey Him, then God’s deeds shall appear to us. As I contemplated this, I understood that my granddaughter getting sick was something that God was permitting to happen. On the one hand, my wrong viewpoint of belief in God was revealed; on the other hand, God was watching my attitude to see if I could rely on my faith, obey His sovereignty and arrangements, and stand witness to Him in this trial. Just like when Job lost a mountain of sheep and cattle, his great fortune, and his ten sons and daughters, and he himself developed terrible boils all over his body, he didn’t complain to God, but relied on his faith and obedience and stood witness to God and, in the end, he obtained God’s praise and blessing and saw God’s appearance. “I want to be like Job,” I thought. “No matter what circumstances I will face in the future, I will obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements without complaints.” With this in mind, I said to the brother: “Thank God! From God’s words, I understand His will. Through this situation, God is getting rid of my inner intention to obtain blessings in order to perfect my faith in Him and my obedience to Him. I can’t be negative and I can’t backslide, and I can’t misunderstand God anymore. My only wish is to experience God’s work.”
The brother happily said: “Brother, it’s great that you have this kind of understanding. Behind trials and refinements are God’s good intentions. We must believe that God is almighty and that He has the final say on whether people live or die. We need only rely on our faith in God to experience it, to entrust your granddaughter’s illness to God and to obey His orchestrations and arrangements. This is the sense that we should have.”
After listening to the brother’s words, I nodded my head. I then came in front of God and said a repentant, obedient prayer to Him: “O God, I’m wrong. I shouldn’t make irrational demands of You, much less misunderstand and blame You because of my granddaughter’s illness. O God! I believe that Your good will is behind it all. I am willing to completely submit to You. I willingly entrust my granddaughter’s life and death to Your hands, and submit to Your sovereignty and arrangements. Even if she really dies, I won’t speak one word of complaint.” After this prayer, my burdened and pained heart felt greatly released.
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