By Chen Xin, China
She Suddenly Learns That Her Daughter-in-law Has Cancer
“Xiaolin, what is wrong?” asked Xinrui with concern as she picked up the phone. “Mom, the doctor says Xiaojie has liver cancer, and it is already late stage,” answered Xiaolin, choked with sobs.
This terrible news came like a bolt from the blue to Xinrui and she immediately collapsed onto a stool in the yard. She thought: “My daughter-in-law is only in her thirties and was always in good health, so how come she’s suddenly contracted such a serious illness? My husband has died, my elder son lives far away and cannot take care of us, and my grandson is only ten years old. If my daughter-in-law were to die, then would our family …” Xinrui didn’t dare continue down that line of thinking. She then took a deep breath to calm down and comforted her son, saying, “Don’t worry, Xiaolin. Maybe the doctor has misdiagnosed her. You should take Xiaojie to another hospital for more checkups.”
“She received the examination at the best provincial hospital. It can’t be wrong,” said Xiaolin with certainty.
“Even if the diagnosis is right, there must be a cure for Xiaojie’s illness since medicine is very advanced today. Don’t worry about it,” Xinrui comforted her son, but in her heart she really wished that the hospital had made a mistake, for in that case her daughter-in-law wouldn’t be in mortal danger.
“The doctors have thoroughly examined Xiaojie. They say the cancer cells have spread throughout her body and that there is nothing they can do about it. They even refuse to accept her,” said Xiaolin in sobs.
Xiaolin’s words shattered the last shred of hope in Xinrui’s heart. She felt painfully empty and thought: “During this period of time, I’ve been actively performing my duties in the church, doing whatever the church arranged for me to do without any delay, so why did this thing happen to our family? Why hasn’t God protected us?” Xinrui felt as pained and distraught as though her heart had been cloven in two. Worry and despair flooded her mind, and she couldn’t stop her tears from falling. Despite this, she forced herself to hold it together and said to her son, “If this provincial hospital doesn’t accept Xiaojie, take her to other hospitals. Stay calm and do not panic. We will do whatever we can to treat her.”
The next day, it was snowing heavily outside. Inside the room, Xinrui was anxiously waiting for Xiaolin to call. “Xiaolin, how is Xiaojie now?” asked Xinrui as soon as she got through to Xiaolin.
“Mom, there is a hospital that is willing to take Xiaojie, but the doctors still say because Xiaojie’s illness has become advanced, they can’t do anything about it. They say if we want them to keep treating her, they will do everything they can, but we may lose both her and our money in the end,” said Xiaolin, sounding worried.
“No matter what, as long as the hospital is willing to accept Xiaojie, there is a hope that she will be cured.” Xinrui held up and encouraged her son, but her heart was overwhelmed with worry and anxiety. A few days later, when she called again to ask about Xiaojie’s condition, Xiaolin told her, “Xiaojie has just undergone a surgery. After a CT scan and a consultation, it is confirmed that the tumors are on her cervical vertebrae and legs. Because her cervical vertebrae had been dislocated, we spent 90,000 yuan to buy a steel plate from Beijing and the doctors have inserted it into her body. When they were operating on her legs, they found the bones there are also diseased. Now Xiaojie is under observation in the ICU surrounded by machines, tubes are inserted everywhere in her body, and her breathing is very shallow. Before, about half an hour after the surgery, she suddenly stopped breathing, and it took the doctors ten minutes to bring her back. They say her illness doesn’t seem like cancer.”
After hanging up the phone, Xinrui instantly collapsed onto her bed and her heart was burning with anxiety. She didn’t know what to do but could only pace back and forth in the room. In panic, she knelt on her bed and made a prayer to God, but after that she still couldn’t calm down, so she hurriedly went to Sister Liu’s house in the neighborhood. As soon as she got there, Sister Liu asked her with concern what had happened.
“My son called and said Xiaojie has cancer, and it is already late stage. What … what should I … do?” Before finishing speaking, Xinrui’s face had been wet with tears and she could say nothing more through her sobs.
Sister Liu poured a glass of water for Xinrui and then comforted her, saying, “Relax. Take it easy.”
She Finds the Way of Practice Through Fellowship
Xinrui then told Sister Liu about her daughter-in-law’s condition as well as her worries and fear. She said, “Over these years, I’ve been performing my duties in the church to the best of my ability, so how could this happen to my family? Why hasn’t God protected us? What is God’s will in this?”
Learning about what was happening to Xinrui, Brother Zhang (Sister Liu’s husband) fellowshiped to her, “Sister, when something not in accord with our notions comes to us, though we don’t know what God’s will is, we mustn’t complain to God and blame Him, but should first submit and seek the truth. Let’s look at what God’s words say about this.”
Brother Zhang then opened up the book ofand began to 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.” “Job was instantly transformed from a rich man possessed of great wealth to someone who had nothing. No one could have withstood this astonishing surprise blow or properly reacted to it, yet Job demonstrated his extraordinary side. The Scriptures provide the following account: ‘Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped.’ This was Job’s first reaction after hearing that he had lost his children and all of his property. Above all, he did not appear surprised, or panic-stricken, much less did he express anger or hate. … Job was very calm and clear-headed then. His perfect and upright humanity enabled him to rationally and naturally make accurate judgments and decisions about the disasters that had befallen him, and in consequence, he behaved with unusual calm: ‘Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped.’ ‘Rent his mantle’ means that he was unclothed, and possessed of nothing; ‘shaved his head’ means he had returned before God as a newborn infant; ‘fell down on the ground, and worshipped’ means he had come into the world naked, and still without anything today, he was returned to God as a newborn baby. Job’s attitude toward all that befell him could not have been achieved by any creature of God. His faith in Jehovah God went beyond the realm of belief; this was his fear of God, and obedience to God, and he was not only able to give thanks to God for giving to him, but also for taking from him. What’s more, he was able to take it upon himself to return all that he owned, including his life.”
Brother Zhang then fellowshiped, “From God’s words we can see that, it is not by chance that we encounter unfavorable or unfortunate things, and that behind them is a spiritual war and it is Satan making a wager with God to see if we can firmly stand witness and not lose. It can be seen from Job’s experiences that, after Satan accused Job before God, Job’s cattle and sheep were stolen, his servants were killed, and his children met with disaster, and then his whole body broke out in sores. At that time, Job didn’t understand God’s will, but he had a heart that revered God and he never said a word of complaint to God. He even rebuked his wife, saying, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?’ (Job 2:10). In the end, Job stood witness for God through those trials and shamed Satan. God blessed him even more and Satan never again accused him—he became a free man before God. We should understand God’s will from Job’s experiences. Your daughter-in-law’s illness, on the one hand, is a temptation of Satan. When Satan saw you expending for God, it was not content to stand by, so it practiced its trickery to make your daughter-in-law fall ill, trying to make you blame and misunderstand God, and even grow apart from God and betray Him. Satan’s sinister motive is blatantly clear. On the other hand, this matter that has befallen you is also God testing you to see whether you stand on the side of Satan misunderstanding and blaming God or stand on the side of God to bear witness for Him. In fact, whether your daughter-in-law’s condition improves or not is controlled by God’s hands. No matter what the final outcome is, you should emulate Job, obey God’s sovereignty and stand firm in your testimony to Him.”
After listening to God’s words and Brother Zhang’s fellowship, Xinrui could not help but sigh: “Yes. Back then, Job didn’t hear many words of God, but he could pray and seek during his practical experiences and contemplate God’s will behind everything He arranged for him. He realized that he was a created being, that all he possessed came from God, and that no matter what God arranged, His good will was behind it all. This is why he could stand firm in his testimony amidst all manner of temptations from Satan and become someone who feared God and shunned evil. But look at myself—my spiritual stature is really too small. When I learned that my daughter-in-law has late stage liver cancer, I not only couldn’t obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, but even complained to Him. Is there any reverence for God in my heart?”
Within the Revealing of Facts, She Realizes Her Wrong Attitude Toward Her Faith in God
Afterward, Sister Liu continued to fellowship: “Actually, the reason we are able to blame God in this kind of environment and cannot obey God like Job did is also related to our attitude toward God. Let’s read another passage of God’s words and then we will understand. Sister, why don’t you read?”
Xinrui began to read: “In the beginning, man did not have any viewpoint on God. Man’s so-called viewpoint was just some conceptions and imaginings concerning God. That which conformed to people’s conceptions was accepted; that which did not conform was obeyed on the surface, but in their hearts people strongly clashed with and opposed it. This was man and God’s relationship in the beginning: God viewed man as a family member, yet man treated God as a stranger. But after a period of God’s work, man came to understand what God was trying to achieve. People came to know that God was the true God, and they came to know what man could obtain from God. What did man regard God as at this time? Man regarded God as a lifeline, hoping to obtain grace, obtain blessings, obtain promises. And what did God regard man as at this juncture? God regarded man as the target of His conquest. God wanted to use words to judge man, to test man, to give man trials. But as far as mankind was concerned at this point in time, God was an object that he could use to achieve his own goals.”
Every sentence of God’s words spoke to a deep place within Xinrui’s heart, leaving her with a feeling of shame. She couldn’t help recalling what had happened during that period of time. When she learned that her daughter-in-law had a serious illness and didn’t recover even after undergoing a surgery, she became filled with blame and unreasonable demands for God. She believed that since she had been performing her duties and actively doing the work that the church had assigned her, God shouldn’t have let this matter happen to her but should have protected her family. That was when she saw that she believed in God but treated God as someone she took advantage of: When God protected her family, she would give thanks to God for His care and protection, but as soon as something unfavorable happened to her family, she would become full of blame and requirements for God. She saw that, in her faith in God, she was actually making deals with God and trying to deceive and exploit God, and that she wanted to perform her duty to achieve her goal of gaining blessings. She felt she had not a shred of conscience or reason, and neither did she have any likeness of a normal person. “Over my many years of following God,” she thought, “each time I had difficulties and called out to God, God would guide and lead me by my side and allow me to find the way of practice. When I didn’t have a normal, blaming and misunderstanding Him, God would arrange for my brothers and sisters to help and support me so that I could come out of my negative state and gain His guidance. … God, in fact, has always treated me as a family member and, for the sake of my growth in life, He elaborately arranged various environments, people, things, and occurrences for me, during which time although I suffered some pain, I received a lot of blessings from God and, more importantly, my life grew by a large margin, I gained more knowledge of God, and I followed the path of belief in God more sturdily and with more stability.” As she thought of this, Xinrui secretly made a resolution: “I will change my wrong attitude toward my faith in God, pursue to give my heart to God, do everything with a heart of reverence and obedience, and do my utmost to satisfy God.” At that time, strength returned to Xinrui’s heart and she offered up a prayer of gratitude to God: “O God, the doctors couldn’t find out the cause of my daughter-in-law’s illness and they say there is nothing they can do to help her. But I believe that however my daughter-in-law’s condition develops and whether she can be cured or not are in Your hands. I wish to emulate Job and submit to all of Your orchestrations and arrangements, and I will never complain to You again.”
Achieving Some Self-Awareness, She Is Willing to Turn Around
After that, Xinrui often prayed to God, read God’s words and gathered together with her brothers and sisters in the church, and she also entrusted her daughter-in-law’s illness into God’s hands. Having a support to lean on, she was no longer that distressed. In the blink of an eye, one month went by …
One day, Xinrui received a call from Xiaolin, who sounded pretty depressed, “Mom, it is still unknown what the cause of Xiaojie’s illness is. As the medical fees here are too high, the doctors suggest that we transfer Xiaojie to another hospital for treatment….”
As soon as Xinrui hung up the phone, she began to feel worried again: “Even the doctors in the two prestigious provincial hospitals couldn’t find out the cause of Xiaojie’s illness, and she still cannot care for herself now. If we transfer her to a small hospital, can the doctors there treat her? …” She couldn’t dare to think more. Feelings of suffering and helplessness welling up in her, she immediately knelt before God and prayed, “O God! My daughter-in-law is still in critical condition and could die at any time. As soon as I think about the possible outcome, I feel an ominous worry. I don’t know what is going to happen. God, I only wish to entrust my daughter-in-law’s illness to You. No matter whether she can recover or not, I ask that You protect me so that I won’t complain to You and can obey Your rule and arrangements in everything. Amen!”
After the prayer, Xinrui felt much calmer. She then thought of God’s words “While undergoing trials, it’s normal for people to be weak, or have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work, and not deny God, like Job. Although Job was weak and cursed the day of his own birth, he did not deny that all things in human life were bestowed by Jehovah, and that Jehovah is also the One to take it all away.” She also remembered these words of God: “Mankind’s everything, mankind’s life and death are determined by God.”
God’s words gave Xinrui faith and strength and she came to understand that she was just a tiny created being who was unable to control the life and death of her daughter-in-law, whereas God is the Creator, the One who rules over her fate. “I should give all this to God and let Him take control and arrange,” Xinrui thought. “No matter whether Xiaojie lives or dies, I must be like Job and not complain about God in trials. I should have genuine faith and obedience to God and persist in following God and performing my duties. Only then can I be considered a person with humanity and reason.” At that time, she thought of the story of Lazarus: He had been dead for four days and his body had begun to stink, but thebrought him back with just one word. So wasn’t it much easier for God to make her daughter-in-law recover her health? Later, Xinrui entirely gave her daughter-in-law’s condition to God for Him to orchestrate and arrange, and she continued performing her duties every day, feeling much more settled in her heart.
When She Obeys, Her Daughter-in-law Is Miraculously Cured
“Mom, Xiaojie is able to stand now, and she can even walk with a crutch. She no longer needs to be fed and is recovering very well….” said Xiaolin happily. Learning that her daughter-in-law’s condition had finally improved, Xinrui couldn’t stop tears from falling. She didn’t know how to express her excitement but could only constantly give thanks to God in her heart.
After more than a year of treatment, Xinrui’s daughter-in-law gradually recovered her health and she is now able to care for herself. Every month, she would go to the hospital for a checkup, and the doctor said she was recovering really well. All of their relatives and friends who saw her all said it really was a miracle that she had made such a quick recovery.
Back then, when her daughter-in-law was sick, Xinrui was filled with blame and unreasonable demands for God, but God still took mercy on her over and over again. Instead of treating her on the basis of her rebelliousness, He used this circumstance to reverse her incorrect perspective of faith and cleanse the impurity in her belief in God. This allowed Xinrui to deeply appreciate God’s love andfor her.
Spring had come and the rape flowers in the fields gave off fresh fragrance. Xinrui was joyfully walking to perform her duties …