When the Lord returns, how can we recognize His voice and welcome Him?
By Gan’en, China
Each of us will meet many things in our life, including myself. I have experienced many dangers in my life but survived miraculously. It is only because of God’s protection that I have lived until today.
The thing which impresses me most is that when I was 40, I got a cerebral infarction. One day I went to sleep and couldn’t be wakened. Luckily my wife noticed my situation in time and I survived. However, from then on, I became very weak and always got cold and fever. When I was over 60, I suffered from a lung infection. In a period of two years, I had been hospitalized for seven times and taken all kinds of medicine. Later, as soon as I took medicine, I would get anaphylaxis. And once I fainted after given an injection. Though I was rescued, my liver, spleen, and kidney were seriously damaged and my illness got more and more serious. The doctor advised me, “You must stop taking medicine or you’ll be in danger. You’d better go back home to convalesce.” My children had no choice but to take me home. I knew clearly that when I returned home, I could do nothing but wait for death. After I was back home, I felt it difficult to get up on and off the kang. Even when I moved a little, I would gasp and cough for a long time, being hard to breathe. Seeing my wife prepare the funeral pyre for me, I felt terrible in my heart and thought: Alas! It seems the time of my death is near!
Just when I lost hope in life, a neighbor preached the’ gospel to me, and thus I turned to Him. Thanks for the Lord’s blessings, I gradually got better and could take a little exercise later. So I actively attended the meetings in the church and felt the peace and joy bestowed by the Lord from my heart. Yet several years later, the preacher in the church returned to the world to work and make money, and nobody took charge of the church and watered us, so all the brothers and sisters became passive and weak. Then, many of them didn’t come to attend meetings and the church was in a mess. I also felt I had lost the presence of the Lord and my spirit was in drought and darkness. My illness became severer and I felt very pained, really worse than death.
In 2012, my relative preached God’s gospel of the kingdom to me and told me that the Lord Jesus has returned and done the work of judgment beginning with the house of God and that only after I keep up with God’s work, can I receive God’s salvation. So I accepted it gladly. Since I had health problems, and couldn’t go out for meetings, the brothers and sisters often came to help and support me. They also gave me a book named Utterances of Christ of the Last Days and told me to read it at home. Later, I saw in the book that when Job encountered such a major pain, he still extolledand bore witness for God, and at last he saw God’s deeds. So my confidence grew and I resolved to pursue actively, hoping I would get better. After a period of time, I could take some exercise and my illness got much better. Seeing this, my wife also gladly praised God’s great power. I was full of even more.
Yet not long afterward, my lung disease got worse. Sometimes I coughed so badly that I almost couldn’t breathe, and I began to choke and my lips turned purple. I felt pained and terrible like every bone had scattered apart. Nevertheless I had to bear the pain for inspection and medicine were not allowed by my body. I felt so pained that I couldn’t sleep at night or eat anything. Seeing my situations, my wife could do nothing, so she advised me to pray more. However, at that time I had lost faith in God and thought: Why didn’t God protect me? Why did my illness become more serious? It is better to die early than to endure the hardship like this, so that I would no longer cause trouble to my family. I felt as if I had arrived at the end of my life, so I was not willing to pray to God or read.
One day, a brother came to see me. After I told him my condition, he played a hymn of God’s word: “After Satan had corrupted man. Man then became more and more degenerate, the illnesses of man were deepened, their suffering became more and more severe, and man felt more and more the emptiness, the tragedy and the inability to go on living of the world. Man felt less and less hope for the world, and these are all things that came about after Satan. So in order to bring the wonderful destination that awaits man away from Satan’s grasp, God must experience this suffering Himself and pay this price. Man then will completely turn to God. God has suffered all this pain on man’s behalf, paying the price. He will then have a powerful testimony. Mankind afterward will never again experience all the sorrows and joys of the world. All the pain and troubles of man’s flesh will be resolved. Mankind will never again experience birth, death, illness and old age. They will wholly belong to God, and enter the wonderful destination.” After listening to the hymn, he fellowshiped with me, “In the beginning when God created man, His intention was to let man live happily and enjoy all the things He prepared for mankind. At that time, man didn’t have the sufferings of birth, death, illness and old age at all. However, after Satan tempted man to commit sins, man betrayed God and lived under the domain of Satan and became its captives. Thus, man began to suffer sorrow, illness, and death. All of these sufferings are not brought by God but by Satan. Like our parents, God can’t bear to see man endure these sufferings, so in the last days He personally became flesh to experience the sufferings in the world. His intention is to save us from the affliction of Satan and to remove the pain and annoyance of our birth, death, illness and old age, and in the end He will take us to a wonderful destination. However, when God came to save us, Satan is unwilling to accept its defeat. It uses the illness to torture us, which makes us complain and misinterpret God, and even want to die. Its intention is to use our illness and weakness to disturb and damage ourand to make us lose our faith in God. If we don’t have the discernment, we are easily duped and captured by Satan. God is almighty and our life and death are in His hand. Without His permission, Satan dare not touch a single hair of ours. We should look to God and rely on God in all things and submit to His sovereignty and arrangements. And God has His time for when you get better. God says: ‘Praise God in the midst of illness and enjoy God in the midst of your praise. Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking and never give up, and God shall shine His light to 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.’”
After listening to his fellowship, I suddenly saw the light. Satan is so sinister and evil that it tried to let me misunderstand God, stray from Him, and lose faith in Him. I almost fell into its traps. It turned out that my illness was brought by Satan, yet I didn’t know the fact but misunderstood God. Thinking about this, my heart truly despised it. I also realized that I was so foolish and ignorant that I couldn’t discern Satan’s evil scheme and temptation. Though I believed in God, I didn’t pay attention to pursuing the truth and knowing God but only focused on obtaining God’s grace in order that my illness would be better soon. Wasn’t it my demand of God? It was not until that time that I realized though I believed in God, I did not give my heart to Him and my intention was to get grace and blessings. My view about belief in God was wrong. I did not worship Him as the Creator of all things. Actually, whether God would bestow His blessings to me or not, I was created by Him and I should worship Him. Yet I had my own desire and demand, and my heart was still controlled by Satan … After I understood these, I felt brightened. I must put aside my intention and desire, rectify my viewpoints on belief in God, rely on God and equip myself with more truth, and submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. I would like to put my illness into God’s hands, for whether I would get better or not was controlled by God’s hand.
From then on, every day I insisted on praying, reading God’s words, and attending meetings regularly. Though sometimes I felt bad, I didn’t complain. While praying, as soon as I thought of God’s words: “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,” I would get strength. And however pained I felt, I kept reading God’s words and listening to the hymns. Sometimes I was moved by God’s words, understanding God’s love and salvation to man are so great. Unconsciously I forgot my sickness, with smile appearing on my face, and never had the thought of death. I have seen Almighty God is truly the all-powerful physician. Under the protection and care of God, I gradually got better. I also ate more and became more vigorous in body and in mind. Unknowingly, I recovered bit by bit.
God says: “Who of the whole of mankind is not cared for in the eyes of the Almighty? Who does not live in the midst of the Almighty’s predestination? Whose birth and death come from their own choices? Does man control his own fate?” It is true! We human are created by God and our lives come from God. All the life of us is in God’s orchestrations. God alone has authority and power, and God alone commands mankind’s life and death. I recalled that previously I got such a serious disease that I had been sentenced to death by illness according to the doctor’s words, yet I survived miraculously. Aren’t these determined by God’s omnipotence?
Now I have reached a good old age of 79. Though I am old and my memory is blurred, God doesn’t turn His back on me. He has been protecting me so that I can live up till now, hear His voice and receive His salvation in the last days. I feel I am the most blessed! Look at my colleagues and relatives who are younger than me, some of them have died early. Yet I, an invalid, have lived till now and I am getting stronger and stronger. In the past my wife did all the housework, but now she watches me doing that with her hands folded behind her back. Even my unbelieving daughter said, “The God you believe in is so good. He has healed such a serious illness for my father.” Some of my acquaintances also told me, “Since you turned to God, you are getting stronger.” These are the great power of God. I really give thanks to God in my heart.
When the brothers and sisters saw me, they also praised God’s mighty power and gave me a new name—Gan’en (which means being grateful). If it were not for God’s salvation, I wouldn’t live up till today. In the final stage of God’s work, I must seize the precious chance. As long as I am alive for one more day, I will worship God one more day. When I am free, I will go to preach the gospel, making more people come to know God and get His salvation in the last days. It is because I have personally experienced that only God has the authority to free us from the threat of death; that only God is our real reliance; that only when we come before God, obey His orchestrations and arrangements, and accept His salvation, can we break free from Satan’s bonds and have a wonderful destination in the end. Thank God! All the glory be to Almighty God!
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