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One day, I took a bus home. As soon as I got on the bus, two monks who were playing with their phones jumped out at me. One of them was in grey robes, while the other was in yellow. I took a seat right behind the monk in grey robes and a middle-aged man who got on later sat behind the monk in yellow. The bus moved ahead. Then the middle-aged man leaned close to the ear of the monk in yellow, saying, “Master, I wanna do odd jobs in your temple. Could you talk with your abbot about this for me?” The monk replied, “Our temple is small, and just receives a few incense-offerings of believers. You’d better go to the Jiuhua Mountains.” The middle-aged man said, “It is not about money. I just want to do some good things, so as to be ill and die. Do any eminent monks in your temple know how to self-cultivate to avoid disease and death?” One of the monk looked the man up and down, saying, “How could people who eat all sorts of grains not get sick? How could people escape death if contracting a serious illness? It is a rule that all people must experience birth, aging, sickness, and death. No one can get rid of it. And no eminent monks can answer your question, either.” After these words, the two monks looked at each other and smiled. The middle-aged man smiled with a wink, asking, “Then what is your self-cultivation for? If you tell me a bit of secret, then I will spend money hyping you.” At hearing that, both of the two monks turned their heads and looked at him, and the one in grey said helplessly, “Do you think those cultivating themselves know the secret of never being ill or avoiding dying? Now that you think so, then you just go to be a monk!” Hearing this, the man in middle age started giggling, while the two monks looked at him with a hollow laugh.
Listening to their talk, I was lost in contemplation: Yeah! In our life which only lasts for a few decades, none of us can dictate our own life and death. Some people fought against disease at their early age, but after having spent a great quantity of money and seen many well-known doctors, they still could not be cured and passed away with regret in the end; some people, who had been sentenced to death by the doctor, were considered by most people to doom to lose life, yet as a consequence, death eluded them and they came to a natural end. There are many people who are strong in life and are just planning their own future ambitiously, but unexpectedly, death is drawing near to them; however, some people, who are ordinary-looking and always unwell and sick, were in danger several times, but things always barely turned out okay and they are alive till now.
Recall that I was often ill since I was six years old. I remember in a rainy autumn morning, I was sitting on the back of the bike in illness and my father pushed the bicycle to send me to the hospital. My mother supported my arm with one hand, and held an umbrella to protect me from the rain with the other. At that moment, my elder brother shouted after my mother, “Mom, buy a pair of white gym shoes for me. A sports meeting is to be held in my school.” My mother returned, “How could you be so thoughtless? Your younger sister has been sick like this, and even the money for rice is all used for her treatment.” After a short while, I struggled to look backward over my shoulder and saw my elder brother standing at the end of the lane, wiping the tears in the rain. I thought, “My elder brother, why are you crying? It would be so great if I were as healthy as you. …” At that time, I truly desired good health. Later, when I grew up and reached the age of marriage, in the streets I often heard someone say the following words, “ So-and-So has just got married. His wife is so weak and sickly, just like Lin Daiyu (heroine of Dream of the Red Chamber). She can’t live for a long time. Nice as she looks, she is totally unsuitable to be a wife. The tongue is not steel, yet it cuts. These words made me who was suffering diseases fear death more ever since. I was really afraid that I would pass away suddenly someday.
Until one day, I was fortunate to receive God’s kingdom gospel from a relative and be chosen by God and come before Him. I heard the utterances of the Creator and understood lots of mysteries of human life, such as how God dictates the fate of our lives, as well as our birth and death. God’s words say, “Where did the pain of birth, death, illness and old age present throughout the life of man come from? Because of what did people first have these things? Did man have these things when they were first created? They didn’t, did they? So where did these things come from? These things came after man was tempted by Satan and their flesh became degenerate, such as the pain of the flesh, the troubles and emptiness of the flesh and the extreme wretchedness of the world. Satan began to torment man after it had corrupted them … So this suffering was brought on man by Satan, and it only came after man had been corrupted by Satan and became degenerate.”
I also read these words in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “For thousands of years, all people have been constrained and bound by death and none can get past it. Fearing death has been the most vital weakness of man. … Actually, man’s life and death are both in God’s control and are predestined by God. Man’ soul comes from God, and man’s flesh is also given by God. Both the flesh and soul of man belong to God, but by no means belong to man himself. Man’s everything comes from God, which is a fact no one can deny. It is God who has the sovereignty over man. Humans themselves do not have. We should subject to God’s manipulation whether we live or die. As a matter of fact, man’s life and death are decided by one word of God …”
Through God’s words, I came to know that there were no birth, death, illness and old age for the mankind God created in the beginning. Just because our ancestors, Adam and Eve, were tempted by the serpent and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, betrayed God and sinned, from then on, illnesses and death began to befall us mankind. Nevertheless, the fact that the life of all things comes from God and our life and death and fate are still in His hand has never changed. Take me as an example, when I was young I never expected that I could still be alive now. At that time, when I went for my physical examination, the doctor often told me: “If you want to live as long as others, you must do more exercise. If your financial condition permits, you’d better eat more health care products. Otherwise, you are too weak and your resistance is low as well.…” The doctor did not continue to say, but through these words I understood it would be very difficult for me to live to be seventy or eighty years old as an ordinary person and I might die in my middle age. Before I believed in God, I had led a gloomy life. Sometimes when I looked silently at my families and friends around me, I would uncontrollably shed tears, feeling painful at the prospect of my leaving this world and these familiar people someday. To my surprise, several decades have passed and now I am more than sixty years old. My hair has turned gray and I am of average constitution, yet I do not have any serious illness. My peers all pay more attention to keeping fit and healthy at this age while I just do some exercises in my free time and my means do not admit of my having many top grade health care products. However, I do not have any feeling of discomfort. I am no longer as I was in my youth nor am I like most of the unbelievers nowadays, being afraid of death or desiring to live to be hundred. This is because in my earlier life I have experienced that life and death is by no means controlled and influenced by us humans, and that only God has the authority to rule over our life and death.
God’s words say, “From when He created the world, God has done much work involving the vitality of life, has done much work that brings life to man, and has paid a great price so that man might gain life, for God Himself is, and God Himself is the way by which man is resurrected. God is never absent from the heart of man, and lives among man at all times. He has been the driving force of man’s living, the fundament of man’s existence, and a rich deposit for man’s existence after birth. He causes man to be reborn, and enables him to tenaciously live in his every role. Thanks to His power, and His inextinguishable life force, man has lived for generation after generation, throughout which the power of God’s life has been the mainstay of man’s existence, and for which God has paid a price that no ordinary man has ever paid. God’s life force can prevail over any power; moreover, it exceeds any power. His life is eternal, His power extraordinary…”
Now I can go out for meetings normally, do some work in the church within my capacity, and deal with trivialities in daily life. My children do not need to worry about me. Many acquaintances all think that I seemed younger, and even I myself feel so. At least I feel in the mood to be young. I have always believed that every extra minute of my life is granted by God, because it is God who is using His great power to keep me alive, and this is His grace and blessing for me. God gives me the time and chance to read more of His words. Furthermore, He gives me the opportunity to spread the gospel of God to more people, so that through me, a person who was dying in appearance, they can see the fact and authority of God’s sovereignty over human fate, and feel even more that no other love in this world can compare with God’s love. It is God who bestows us life, selects us from the evil and corrupted world, and brings us before Him; now in the last days, while the worldly people are suffering all sorts of disasters in differing degrees, God protects and cares for us and keeps us away from the disasters. Besides, before the destructive disasters prophesied in Revelation comes, God allows us to have the time and the opportunity to read God’s words and pursue the truth so that our corrupt disposition can be purified and transformed. … All God does is for the sake of our life, and He has bestowed all the truths for our pursuit of salvation on us, which is much more meaningful than the continuation of lifespan we pursue. We cannot decide our own life and death, much less possess the way of eternal life. God comes again in the last days, has revealed the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and bestows us with the way of truth for the pursuit of purification and salvation, so that we can obtain the truth and know God and thereby attain God’s salvation and survive the great disaster. By then, we will truly attain the way of eternal life and live forever in God’s kingdom.
By Li Qing Whenever I see the lovely smile on the face of my sleeping child, I am always grateful for God’s grace from deep within my heart. During the years when I believe in God, Satan entices and interferes me, as well as tries to distance me from God all the time by taking advantage of my weaknesses, so as to achieve its purpose of devouring man. How intense the battle in the spiritual realm is! Looking back on the road I have walked, I thank God for His salvation from the bottom of my heart. It is God who leads me step by step so that I am not devoured by Satan and come before God gradually. When I recall those freeze-frames now, I feel the sweetness of peace in my heart. As we had no child after marriage, my husband and I went to a provincial hospital to have a physical. The expert told us that I had such a slim chance of getting pregnant that we’d better give up and could only rely on science and technology. Later, my mother-in-law preached to me the gospel of Almighty God’s work in the last days and testified the words of Almighty God to me. I thought: “If I believe in God, will He bestow a child on me? God is almighty, isn’t He?” At that time, I merely wanted to gain grace from God and thus I accepted Almighty God’s work. While building up my health by rest and through nourishing food at home, I had meetings with the brothers and sisters. Then I had a very successful operation in the city hospital, and the whole family felt happy for me. I thought: Uh, believing in God is really good! God indeed protects and blesses me! I should do my utmost to believe in God. When all of us were immersed in the joy of my pregnancy, I miscarried two months later. That hit me like a thunderbolt and made me feel unbearable pain as if my heart was hollowed out. I couldn’t help complaining to God: “Doesn’t God protect man? Those who believe in God will receive peace, won’t they? Why have I lost my fetus? I’ve believed in God, why did this happen to me?” My mind was crowded with whys. Seeing that I was weak and passive, my mother-in-law fellowshiped with me and pointed out that there was a battle in the spiritual realm, I should not complain about it. She said that we believers in God should obey His sovereignty and only such a person is a wise man. But I wouldn’t listen to her and thought believing in God did me no good. I even had a thought of betraying God. Afterward, I felt too depressed to stay at home. So, a month later I found a job in the place where my husband worked. I thought that my husband would take more care of me after my miscarriage. But during the several months when we stayed together, we often quarreled with each other over some trivial matters and this brought me more suffering. In my heart, I felt extremely confused about our life in future. As a person who had little faith in God, I also forgot to pray to Him. However, God didn’t have the heart to see me living in suffering, and He arranged people, matters and things around me to touch my heart. There was a church near our lodging, from which I could hear the hymns sometimes. One day, after hearing the hymns again, I suddenly realized that I had accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days. I had listened to the testimony my mother-in-law bore to me and read God’s words. I knew that the stage of work of the Lord Jesus had passed and He has already returned to do the new work, while the people in the religious church don’t know that. Yet God graced me and let me know that. How great a blessing it is! I thought in my heart: Today, God is gracious toward me and lets me hear the gospel of the kingdom and know that Almighty God is the second coming of the Lord Jesus. With such a great salvation coming to me, I should go back home and continue believing in and worshiping God. This idea became stronger and stronger in my heart, so I started on a journey home soon. When I came home, my mother-in-law kept on giving thanks to God and advised me to have meetings. She talked with me about my miscarriage and said behind it there was a battle in the spiritual world. At that time, I felt I was enlightened in her fellowship and could understand somewhat of God’s words. I saw God’s words say, “Everything God has done in humanity has been to make them positive and allow them to grow up in life. Can people not comprehend this? Everything that causes you to be negative is a weak point of yours; it is a vital point of vulnerability, open to Satan’s attacks. Do you understand this?” (“The Interpretation of the Thirty-fifth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “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” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”). God’s words awakened me. I realized that Satan’s gaze had been fixed on me since I believed in God. It knew that my biggest weakness was that I had wanted a child. Therefore, by using my intention of wanting to gain blessings through believing in God, Satan attacked and disturbed me and made me have a miscarriage. As a result, I misunderstood and complained to God. It wanted to see whether I would continue my belief in God. It is in this way that Satan fools me. All my suffering is caused by Satan. It disturbs and devours man in every way in order to ultimately make man stray from and betray God. It is too insidious, malicious and hateful. At the same time, I see behind everything that happens is Satan’s wager with God and what God wants is my testimony to Him. When I complained to God and even wanted to leave Him at that time, I just ran into Satan’s cunning schemes. No wonder when I left God and worked away from home, I was disappointed and often quarreled with my husband, living in misery. This was because after I strayed from God, Satan toyed and harmed me as it would like. Nevertheless, God never left me, and He still guided me during those painful days. By making me hear the hymns from the church, He led me to come before Him again. After knowing the bottom of all those things, I saw God’s care, protection, and His grandeur. Although Satan’s gaze was fixed on me, like a tiger eyeing its prey, God was always beside me and kept me. He moved my heart and spirit and led me to continue my path ahead through people, events, and objects around me, protecting me from struggling painfully under Satan’s domain. I once complained to God and misunderstood His heart, yet He did not treat me according to my every action, but still loved me. Thinking of this, I said to God in my heart, “O Almighty God! Thank You for bringing me back to Your family again and let me enjoy the watering and provision of Your words. I won’t leave You anymore, and I am willing to follow You and experience Your work.” Afterward, by constantly reading God’s word, I gradually understood that I always wanted to control my own fate and had my own ambition and desires, which was my weaknesses. If this could not be solved as early as possible, Satan would always exploit my weaknesses and attack me. Then, I consciously tried to equip myself with that aspect of truth. I read that God’s words say: “Because people do not recognize God’s orchestrations and God’s sovereignty, they always face fate defiantly, with a rebellious attitude, and always want to cast off God’s authority and sovereignty and the things fate has in store, hoping in vain to change their current circumstances and alter their fate. But they can never succeed; they are thwarted at every turn. This struggle, which takes place deep in one’s soul, is painful; the pain is unforgettable…. But when you truly know, when you truly come to recognize that God has sovereignty over human fate, when you truly understand that everything God has planned for and decided for you is a great benefit, and is a great protection, then you feel your pain gradually lighten, and the whole of you become relaxed, free, liberated” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). From God’s word, I realized that everyone cannot control his own fate and all matters and all things are dictated and arranged by God. Thinking back to my past, I placed trust in medical science to get a child. Although I was pregnant after the operation, I miscarried two months later and got nothing in vain. I was teased by Satan and suffered untold misery and hardship. “I don’t want to be fooled by Satan any longer. All things are controlled in God’s hand. I am willing to obey, for what God arranges for me is the best. I really had no sense to have my hands outstretched to God for grace and blessings. From now on, I won’t do that.” When I thought in this way, I felt at ease. However, God’s mercy unexpectedly reached me: I got pregnant once more! All our families could not believe that, because my husband and I had not consulted a doctor after my miscarriage. Even the doctor said before that it was hopeless for me to get pregnant normally, but it came true. I could not help crying with excitement and thanking God unceasingly in my heart. I learn from my experience that when we stray far from God, we can only be fooled by Satan and lived in suffering. Only by coming before God and obeying His sovereignty and arrangements, can we break free from Satan’s interference and receive God’s protection and blessing. Recalling what I experienced in the course, I see clearly that when people have their children and what happened at what time are all decreed by God. Now, my child is two years old, growing up in good health day by day. Along my life journey of following God, I feel extremely happy, and this is all because of God’s grace for me. All the glory be to Almighty God! If you have other understanding or new light about this article, you’re welcome to have a chat with us via the online chat window at the bottom of the website or send an email to email@example.com. We Look forward to sharing with more brothers and sisters about your enlightenment from God and growing together in Christ. You may be interested in this article: God’s Words Helped Me out of the Pain of Loss of My Son – God’s Grace
My daughter was suddenly struck down by an illness at 11 p.m., and it was God who saved her at this crucial juncture.
By Xiaoju Xinlian wept and complained, “How could I marry you? You are capable of nothing. I can never enjoy a happy life with you in all my life. If …” Her husband sat there in silence, with a helpless look. After her husband went to work, Xinlian sat there and fell into a reverie. Scenes of the past leaped before her eyes, and her thoughts ran back over the past … Xinlian has a gift for singing. When she was in primary school, she won the first place in the school singing contest. Once, a theatrical college came to her school to recruit students. Her teacher specially informed her to take the examination. On the day when she took the examination, she wore new clothes, and walked toward the examination room happily. She was glad to have the chance to show herself. She wished for a good result to reflect credit on her parents and her school. The exam began. She waited outside the room excitedly … “Next one, Xinlian.” When hearing her name called, Xinlian was pleased and nervous. After all, it was the first time for her to encounter such a situation. Meanwhile, it also was an opportunity for her to change her fate. She walked into examination room with vigorous strides. The recruiter asked her, “How old are you?” “Twelve,” answered she. The recruiter said, “Well, only twelve. No, you are too young. It must be thirteen at least.” Immediately, her smile faltered. Her dream ended in smoke in an instant. She then thought, “Alas! If only I had told them I was 13 when entering my name.” She didn’t know how she went back home that day. When Xinlian was in junior high school, her sister couldn’t go to work because she was sick. So their parents wanted Xinlian to replace her sister’s work. However, Xinlian persistently clung to her studies. Her parents had to agree with her. Later, she fell to pass the college entrance examination. Her parents knew she had a good foundation in study, so they repeatedly advised her to cram for the examination. Yet, caring about face, she put an end to her studies, no matter what her parents said. When she started to reach marrying age, her high school classmate Li Bin asked to marry her. He was a city dweller and promised that he would find her a job if they got married. At that time, it was hard for some people to get in with the townsfolk. But Xinlian was conservative: She felt shy to be in love with her classmate. Consequently, she chose her current husband. After she got married, her father-in-law died of illness, and her husband became a laid-off worker. Her husband was supposed to replace his father’s work. However, in order to ease their mother of her burden, they allowed their brother to be the replacement. In her spare time, Xinlian always thought: If I had said I was 13 years old when taking the entrance exam for acting school, then my fate perhaps would have been changed. If I had taken my sister’s place at work that year, maybe … If I had accepted my parents’ suggestions and crammed for the exam, I probably would have gotten in to university. If I had chosen to marry my classmate, maybe … If my husband had been the successor, maybe… Recalling this, she lamented over the setbacks she had suffered, over her changing fortunes, and wondered why she couldn’t control her fate. She often regretted her past wrong choices. For this reason, she looked up to heaven to sigh deeply, and the more she thought about it, the more she suffered, sinking into the scenes of “If … maybe …”, and unable to escape. And these also confused her. One day, Xinlian came across her old classmate Yanmin. They had not seen each other for several years. After greetings, her classmate asked her how things were with her. Xinlian tirelessly told her classmate about her years of ifs and maybes. Seeing Xinlian’s perplexed look, Yanmin tapped her on the shoulder and comforted her, “There are not so many ifs in our life. A common saying goes, ‘Human fate is ordained by Heaven.’ You need not live in pain all day. Here is a book. The word within it is very good. Let me read for you, ‘From the moment you come crying into this world, you begin to perform your duty. You assume your role in the plan of God and in the ordination of God. You begin the journey of life. Whatever your background and whatever the journey ahead of you, none can escape the orchestration and arrangement that Heaven has in store, and none are in control of their destiny, for only He who rules over all things is capable of such work’ (‘God Is the Source of Man’s Life’). ‘Your temperament, caliber, appearance, stature, family in which you were born, your job and your marriage, the entirety of you, even the color of your hair and your skin, and the time of your birth were all arranged by My hands. Even the things you do and the people you meet every single day are arranged by My hands, not to mention the fact that bringing you into My presence today is actually My arrangement. Do not throw yourself into disorder; you should proceed calmly’” (“The Seventy-fourth Utterance”). Hearing these words with authority, Xinlian nodded her head ceaselessly, as if she found the answer. Indeed, no one can control his fate. Looking back over the past years, she had experienced lots of matters great or small, and so many of them were mistakes, but she was unable to do anything with them, and moreover, she was in control of nothing. … Yanmin saw her thoughtful air, saying, “What roles we play in our life are predestined by God. Everyone has his own duty and mission. Our families in which we were born, our jobs and our marriages all are arranged by God. No one can escape from the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements. Because you haven’t come before God, don’t know the Creator, and don’t believe in His orchestrations and arrangements, you have been resisting them all along, with the result that you are living in such pain. If we can defer to the authority of the Creator, then we won’t have so many ifs and we won’t live in pain. Just as this passage of words says, ‘Only when one accepts the Creator’s sovereignty, submits to His orchestrations and arrangements, and seeks true human life, will one gradually break free from all heartbreak and suffering, shake off all the emptiness of life’” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). Listening to what Yanmin read, Xinlian felt these words really were good. Later, they usually read these words together, and shared their feelings and understandings with each other. One day, Xinlian saw the words in the book, “Because people do not recognize God’s orchestrations and God’s sovereignty, they always face fate defiantly, with a rebellious attitude, and always want to cast off God’s authority and sovereignty and the things fate has in store, hoping in vain to change their current circumstances and alter their fate. But they can never succeed; they are thwarted at every turn. This struggle, which takes place deep in one’s soul, is painful; the pain is unforgettable; and all the while one is frittering away one’s life. What is the cause of this pain? Is it because of God’s sovereignty, or because a person was born unlucky? Obviously neither is true. At bottom, it is because of the paths people take, the ways people choose to live their lives. … After you recognize this, your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). Not until she read these words did she realize that the reason why she lived in pain was not because God doesn’t rule well, nor because her fate arranged by God is bad, but because after having been corrupted by Satan, she always relied on the rule of life “The fate of man is controlled by his own hands” to live, wanted to control her fate, and failed to obey the situations orchestrated by God. This is actually the base means by which Satan corrupts and deceives man to stay away from God. For these sakes, she lived in pain. After understanding this, she came before God and prayed to Him. She resolved to bid farewell to her previous lifestyle, leave her all under the control of God, obey the Creator’s plans and His sovereignty in her rest time, and follow God to live a meaningful life. Xinlian then read these words to her husband, and he nodded approvingly. Afterward, with the fellowship of a friend, her husband also accepted God’s work. On one occasion, due to a small thing, she complained about her husband again, “If …” Her husband interrupted her, and said seriously, “Everything has been predetermined by God. You have no way to control yourself, nor do I. Only obeying the Creator’s plans and His sovereignty is the wisest option. …” At his words, she was so ashamed that she could find no words. From then on, she didn’t say, “If …”; rather, she learned to obey the Creator’s plans and His sovereignty in everything. Practicing in this way, she felt more and more relaxed, free, liberated.
She had a new partner. Let’s see how they changed their incompatible relationship and became close friends.