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By Lin Kang, China
Harmony and Happiness
I had six siblings. Although my family was poor, I, living in this big family, felt very happy and warm. In the early 1980s, the trade of repairing the bike was very popular. After I had learned how to repair the bike, I opened a bicycle repair shop of my own at the county town and pulled it off. After a few years, I built a building at the county town. At that time, it was rare that a country man could build a building at the county town. But I did it and I was the only one who did it in my whole village. So, my relatives and friends all admired me.
As time went by, my brothers and sisters and I all went our separate ways and built our own families, and our lives were not bad. Though we were in different provinces and cities, we often called each other. Our solicitude made me feel warm in my heart. Furthermore, my wife also promised that even if I would go to beg, she would be still with me. She took great care of me: When I came back after work and felt a little tired, she would prepare some good food and buy some tonics for me to eat. What’s more, in order to alleviate burdens on me, she also went to work and kept me in the dark about it. When I asked her, she said, “Although you can make some money now, don’t we still have to pay the loan? I don’t want you to bear all of the stress alone. I just try my best to share your burden.” What she said moved and comforted me very much.
We brothers and sisters got along well with each other; my wife and I were also attached to each other; moreover, I had two clever and sensible children. My happy family and rich life made my villagers endlessly envious. I also felt very content and that I would desire nothing more because I could have such a happy family in this life. For ten years, I was immersed in the sea of happiness all the time. I thought that this kind of life would be with me until old age, but unexpectedly …
Splitting and Falling Apart
One morning, I had planned to replenish my goods. But when I was going to get up, I found that I was weak throughout my body and no matter how I exerted my strength, I couldn’t get up. I thought to myself: Usually I am always in good health and even scarcely catch cold, but today how could I be like this? I couldn’t help developing indescribable agitation and dread inside. After being examined, the doctor said that I had suffered from serious nephritis and that if I didn’t take medicines, nephritis would become urinaemia and then it wouldn’t be cured. The villagers all said, “Nephropathy is the so-called rich man’s disease. If someone suffers from this illness, then it means that he will be unable to work all his life and become a useless person.” That year, I was just 32 years old which was just the golden and the most superior age in life and the best years to make money. Facing this sudden illness, I felt great pain, thinking: I am the head of the house. If I lose the ability to work, what about my family and what about my children’s future prospects? Immediately, I felt that everything went dark before my eyes and that I couldn’t bear it as if the sky had fallen.
While I was treated in the hospital, I listened to an old man who once had suffered from nephropathy narrating his course of how his nephropathy was cured in the past few decades. He also said that at that time there were several patients but only he was cured and the others all died. Hearing this, I collapsed on the stool, weak all over. At that moment, I felt helpless and hopeless as if I was sentenced to death. I, who was bewildered, dragging my heavy steps, walked on the street. I kept asking myself: Does my whole life really end like this? Do I really have no hope? I am still so young … Walking before the door of a drugstore, I couldn’t help stopping my forward pace, thinking: If someday I were really unable to care for myself, I would better drink pesticide to end my life.
After knowing that my illness would never be cured, my wife was completely disappointed at me. After I was treated for only three months, she wasn’t concerned about whether I would live or die and did not even look at me at home and moreover she even found another man outside. When she came back and saw me, she would either beat a pot or throw a knife. Later, my sister-in-law told me that my wife wanted to kill me with scissors … Hearing my wife’s malicious words, I felt especially disappointed. Thinking that she once promised that in this life, even if I would go to beg, she would be with me, but when I fell into difficulties, she was so heartless and malicious, my heart was broken at that moment. I deeply felt that there was no true love between people. What she pointed to was that I was very competent and rich, but now facing the difficulties, she just wanted to abandon me. However, seeing my two young children, I could only eat humble pie and bottle up all the dissatisfaction I felt with her. Not long after, she went far away with my son, leaving my daughter and letting me bring her up.
A Boundless Ocean of Bitterness
In the following course of the long treatment, I spent all my savings. When seeing me, my relatives and friends all avoided me as if they encountered plague and when I borrowed money from them, they all flat-out refused me. I had six siblings and my oldest brother and youngest brother were both very rich but they didn’t lend me any money while I was ill. Only my older sister who lived in a poor household gave me 1,000 yuan. At that time, my family had been destitute and I didn’t even have living expenses. A boss of a construction site beside my house had pity on me, so he allowed me to keep track of the attendance of the workers working in his construction site and gave me 30 yuan every month. Thus, my daughter and I could only live from hand to mouth on 30 yuan every month. As I had no money to treat my illness, I could only go to a herbal medicine stall on the roadside to buy some herbal medicines on credit.
Once, I saw my second brother face to face at the doorway of my house and he was right at a gas station few dozen meters away. But he just glanced at me and turned away. This scene before my eyes made me feel his heartlessness and that the distance of few dozen meters was so far that it was out of reach. My uncle brushed past me on the street, and he also didn’t look at me … I had no choice but to call my younger brother, who was the richest, to borrow 200 yuan. He readily promised on the phone, but after I waited for half a month at home, he still didn’t have any response. When I called him again, he agreed on his lips but at last he still didn’t lend me any money.
There is a Chinese saying, “Never promise to lend money to an incurable patient, and do not guarantee food supplies for the poor.” Since doing that was like throwing money away. My younger brother’s past promise made me, who was originally helpless, see a little hope, but later his heartlessness threw me into the abyss. My wife had no love and my brothers were so heartless. Was there anyone else who was the closest in the world? … Sitting at home, I recalled one scene after another of the past. The more I recalled, the more I felt sad, and I could not stop my sorrowful tears from falling. During the six years of the torment of my illness, I had experienced: My wife left me, my children were scattered, my family broke apart, my brothers abandoned me, and even my son also didn’t ask or care about me, as if I was a redundant person in this world. I thought to myself: Then what is the purpose of my living? I’d better die, lest I suffer the pain.
The Light of Hope
During that time, I attempted suicide several times but I all failed. Just when I felt that my life was hopeless and that I was deeply trapped in the boundless ocean and bitterly struggled, in the spring of 2009, my older sister brought a sister to come to preach the gospel to me. After seeing that my house was in a mess and very dirty, they helped me clean up my house and do housework. For six years, I had not tasted the love and care. Although we had never met each other before, now she could help me like this, which made me feel very warm. After tidying my room up, they let me watch the video of Genesis and talked with me about God creating the universe and all things and creating man with dust, the origin of mankind’s corruption and how mankind has developed up to today … After watching the video and hearing the sister’s fellowship, I came to understand that man was created by God, that we came from God and that we lost direction only because of Satan’s corruption. At that moment, I realized that I myself was a created being and that I shouldand accept His salvation.
Once, I saw God’s words, “The Almighty has mercy on these people who suffer deeply. At the same time, He is fed up with these people who have no consciousness, because He has to wait too long for the answer from humans. He desires to seek, seek your heart and your spirit. He wants to bring you food and water and to awaken you, so you are no longer thirsty, no longer hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel the desolation of this world, do not be perplexed, do not cry., the Watcher, will embrace your arrival any time. He is watching by your side, waiting for you to turn back. He is waiting for the day your memory suddenly recovers: becoming conscious of the fact that you came from God, somehow and somewhere once lost, falling unconscious on the roadside, and then, unknowingly having a father. You further realize that the Almighty has been watching there, awaiting your return all along.”
Every sentence of God’s words revealed His care and love for us, as if a loving mother was calling her own child to go home. My heart couldn’t help feeling warmth, and feeling cared for and loved. Thinking that for six years my life had changed a lot: I changed from being successful in my career into being penniless; aside from falling serious ill, my wife betrayed me, my relatives also strayed from me and no one had asked or cared about me. I often felt that I myself had no support and couldn’t feel the warmth of love and moreover, many times I thought of ending my life with death. Just when my life had no hope, God’s gospel came upon me and made me see hope and light again. Actually, God was always watching by my side and waiting for me, who was lost, to return. At that moment, I felt God’s love and salvation and no longer felt that desolate. I was very moved and full of gratitude to God in my heart, feeling only God was my true support. Therefore, I came before God and prayed, “O God, my life is controlled by Your hands. No matter what arrangements You make, I’ll be willing to rely on You and look up to You.” Later, I frequently led the life of the church together with brothers and sisters: reading God’s words, singing hymns and communicating the truth. Gradually, the worry and fear in my heart disappeared unconsciously and I was no longer pessimistic as before.
The Source of My Suffering
Later, I saw God’s words, “Man’s corrupt disposition stems from his being poisoned and trampled upon by Satan, from the egregious harm that Satan has inflicted upon his thinking, morality, insight, and sense … and are utterly unlike how God originally created them.” “‘Man has been so corrupted by Satan that he no longer has the appearance of man.’ This phrase has now gained slight recognition from the vast majority of people. It is so said because the ‘recognition’ here is merely superficial acknowledgment as opposed to true knowledge. … All of you are familiar with the word ‘betrayal’ because most people have done something to betray others before, such as a husband betraying his wife, a wife betraying her husband, a son betraying his father, a daughter betraying her mother, a slave betraying his master, friends betraying each other, relatives betraying each other, sellers betraying buyers, and so forth. All of these examples contain the essence of betrayal. In short, betrayal is a form of behavior in which one breaks a promise, violates moral principles, or goes against human ethics, and which demonstrates a loss of humanity.”
Only after reading these two passages of God’s words did I understand that the reasons why the world has the desolation and miserable conditions and is cold and heartless and why people betray each other are because people have been corrupted by Satan and have already completely lost humanity and reason and mankind’s nature is selfish: Apart from interactions based on money and profits, people are taking advantages of each other and have no true love at all. Thinking that when I had money, my wife showed care for me, took very good care of me and even promised that she would still be with me for a lifetime even if I would go to beg; my relatives and friends also praised and thought highly of me and when they had difficulties, they all turned to me—I simply became a “golden child” in their eyes. However, when I was ill and fell into difficulties, how I expected I could receive my family’s help and care but actually what I received was helpless attack, absence and betrayal. Just as the saying goes: “In time of prosperity, friends will be plenty; in time of adversity not one in twenty.” In my six years of the torment of illness, I deeply tasted the fickleness of the world in society and the indifference of people and saw clearly that this hypocritical world had no love at all. If I didn’t come before God, didn’t have the guidance of God’s words and had no God’s care and protection, then I could only live in sorrow and pain throughout my life. Now, I understood that man was created by God and only by coming before God to pursue the truth and pursue to know God could we have a true human life and true happiness to speak of.
The Other Bank of Happiness
The following days, I hungrily read God’s words, listened to hymns and led the life of the church. The more I read God’s words, the more I felt my heart brighten and the more I had joy. Then I determined my will in front of God: I am willing to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement and give my remaining life into God’s hands; for every day I am alive, I will pursue the truth and worship God to properly repay His love. At that time, the hymn I loved the most was: “What kind of people are the happiest? Those who love God are the happiest. They are approved by the practical God and live with meaning. They live in the light of God’s presence, having God’s care and blessing. … Ah! Brothers and sisters, how happy such people are! … They live in God’s word, with peace and joy in their heart. They have beautiful hopes and have stepped onto the bright, right way of human life. … Ah! Brothers and sisters, such people are the happiest!” I personally felt that only being able to accept God’s gospel and having God’s care and protection were true happiness.
Half a year later, unexpectedly, I miraculously recovered. I couldn’t describe how excited I was and could only silently praise and thank God within my heart. Seeing I recovered so quickly, brothers and sisters were all very happy and said to me, “Thank God for His great power and salvation. Brother, that you recovered so quickly is a miracle and is really the manifestation of God’s great power. Man’s life and death is all controlled by God’s hands. As long as we truly trust God, we can see God’s wonderful works.” Through this experience, I truly tasted God’s love and faithfulness. Nowadays, under the leadership and shepherding from God’s words, I feel particularly at peace and joyous in my spirit and have found true happiness and the path for a human life. Thank God for giving me a second life! All the glory be to God! Amen!
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