The Lord has come secretly before disasters. How can we welcome Him?
By Chen Lu, South Korea
The first rain which mixed with snow fell in this winter. I stood at the window, gazing at this winter rain. Even though the rain did not beat on my body, yet I felt frozen and the chill pervaded me all over.
A few days ago, the leader of our unit told us: “Xiaowang suffered a serious disease of liver and he has already been under treatment in the hospital. His doctor said that his illness is an infectious disease which can be transmitted through person-to-person contact, food or other ways of contact. Because we often contacted him, we might well be infected with this disease. As a result, we must go to the hospital for a physical check-up right away.” The leader’s word made the office turn into a chaotic scene and everyone was worried about whether they had been transmitted. So, my workmates and I went to the hospital in a hurry to have a series of examination. After that, I waited for the result with a nervous heart. Soon, the result came out. When the doctor handed it to me, he said, “I’m sorry to tell you that you are a Hepatitis B virus carrier, and perhaps you have got it for some time, not recently.” I could hardly believe my ears. I thought I had misheard and asked him again. However, the doctor said to me with regret, “You heard me. It is true. You’d better take the time to cure. If you waste time, I’m afraid your condition will be getting worse. In that case, there will be a big trouble if the disease deteriorates into liver cancer at last. Moreover, this virus cannot be eradicated and will be carried for life. You should be mentally prepared.” Hearing his words, I was instantly like a frost-bitten eggplant, and my legs felt like dead. Darkly, with the test sheet in my hands, I didn’t know how I went home.
After going home, I fell flat on the bed and my tears flowed freely. I thought: I’m only early thirty. It is just the beautiful time of life. I still have many dreams to come true. Why do I get such disease? Could it be that I live with this disease for my whole life? How long will I live? Besides, the treatment needs a lot of money, how could I pay for it? As I was thinking, I could not refrain from crying out loud. … Hereafter, I was living in worry and fear. I frequently felt weak, the abdomen distended and the back ached. I couldn’t do anything and my mind was in a mess. After a short time, the leader suddenly said to me that Xiaowang died. Hearing this news, I was limp and feeble in one moment. I thought: He died? Xiaowang got the disease and died? He was still so young. It seems that this kind of liver disease is mortal. Then, will I be next? I felt my life hopeless and I didn’t want to do anything, completely living in darkness.
Because I had no money to pay for the costly medical expense, I had to give up going to hospital for treatment, and relied on the folk remedy that a friend gave me to relieve my condition. However, I didn’t understand: I have already believed in God and God should care for and protect me. But why do I still get this disease? At this moment, two sisters of our church came to visit me. They not merely asked about my condition with concern, and also helped me solve some difficulties in my life. Then they patiently communicated with me and said, “When a disease befalls us, there is God’s intention in it and we shouldn’t lose our.” Later, my sister read me a passage from God’s word: “When sickness happens it is due to God’s love and His good intentions are surely behind it. Even when your body endures suffering, take no ideas from Satan. 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. The life of the resurrected Christ is within us. We really lack faith in the presence of God, and may God put true faith within us. The word of God is sweet indeed! God’s word is potent medicine! Put to shame the devil and Satan! If we grasp God’s word we will have support and His word will quickly save our hearts! It dispels all things and sets all in peace. Faith is like a single log bridge, those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over without worry. If man has timid and fearful thoughts, they are being fooled by Satan. It fears that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God. Satan devises every way possible to send us its thoughts, we should always pray that the light of God will shine on us, and we must always rely on God to purify us from Satan’s poison. We shall always be practicing in our spirits to come close to God. We shall let God have dominion over our whole being.”
After reading God’s word, my heart brightened at once. Today, as for my illness that I encountered, God doesn’t want me to live in timidity and fear but allows me to rely on and look up to Him more, so that I, through this disease, could produce a true faith in Him and overcome all Satan’s schemes in accordance with His word and stand witness for God. Recalling these days, since I knew I got this disease, I have lived in fear and dread all the time. The instant I thought of what the doctor said, I was in no frame of mind to do anything and even lost hope in my life and future. What was more serious, I lost my faith in God, complaining that God did not watch over and protect me. Where did I have any true belief at all? Before the facts, I was revealed that my faith in God was pitifully little. Thinking about Job, when he was faced with losing his whole property and suffering painful sores all over, he still didn’t lose his faith in God, and could praise God’s holy name. In the end, he gained God’s approval and blessings. Actually, God’s good intention is hidden behind the facts! Understanding this, I had confidence in God again. Regardless of whether my disease was cured, I shouldn’t lose my faith in God. God is almighty and nothing is impossible for Him, and He even made the dead resurrect, not to mention my disease. Thus, I came before God and prayed: “Oh God! In these days, I have lived in my illness and always been worried that I would die. I lost my faith in You and even complained that You didn’t bless me. I didn’t seek Your intention as well and nearly fell into Satan’s trick. How foolish I am! Oh God! Thank You for arranging for my sisters in church to communicate with me, and allowing me to understand Your intention. You are a God who rules over everything, and today, I’m willing to completely commit myself to You. No matter my condition is good or bad, I only want to obey Your orchestration and arrangement.” After prayer, I didn’t feel fearful anymore and only committed myself to God’s hand. During that time, the word of God, “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,” often appeared in my mind and gave me confidence and courage to confront my disease. Gradually, I was not bound by the disease any longer, and I persisted in readingand singing hymns every day. Once I had time, I would attend meetings and fellowshiped with brothers and sisters. When it was time to fulfill my duty, I would perform it. Like this, unconsciously, my physical discomfort was wearing off and my body obviously felt relaxed all over, and my mood also lifted.
Two months later, I went to hospital to recheck. The doctor amazingly told me, “You have already been into recovery and there is nothing bad. The time of infection has gone, too. Wait for a time and check again. If there is no problem, you’ll be fully recovered.” Hearing this news, I was quite excited and burst into tears. I knew it was God’s salvation for me. At that moment, I truly felt the authority and power of God’s word. I just used a small folk remedy, but out of my expectation, the condition was miraculously improving. I couldn’t help but thank God. God is indeed almighty and rules over everything. All of these made me have more faith in Him.
Once, during my spiritual devotion, I read the following passage of God’s word: “Some people become full of vigor as soon as they see that faith in God will bring them blessings, but lose all energy as soon as they see they have to suffer refinements. Is that believing in God? … Even though people with religious beliefs have faith in God, they don’t seek dispositional change, don’t pursue knowledge of God, and only seek the interests of their flesh. Many among you have faiths that belong in the category of religious convictions. That is not true faith in God.” These words pricked my heart, but they portrayed my exact situation. Thinking back, when I was safe and sound and my life was successful, I had strength in believing in God, full of confidence in God without doubt, and even set a determination to obey and satisfy God. However, when the disease came upon me, my faith directly collapsed, and I also lived in negativity and weakness, full of misunderstanding and blame toward God. Now, I understood that it was because my viewpoint of belief in God was wrong, and I only wanted to ask for mercy and blessings from Him. I still thought that as long as I believed in God, He should protect and care for me, making me healthy and helping me succeed in everything. Once I was faced with something against my will, I immediately complained about God, betraying and leaving God at any time or place. Was my faith full of transaction and impurities the true faith in God? Wasn’t I an unbeliever? I also thought of Job’s trials: Not merely did He lose his wealth and property and his all children overnight, but the sores covered his body. However, he still said, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). Although he believed in God and worshiped God, he didn’t conduct transactions with God; no matter how he was blessed or stripped by God, he still praised God and stood witness for God, making Satan thoroughly shamed. God approved of his faith and multiplied blessings to him as well. Nevertheless, when I encountered this sickness, I didn’t have any witness like Job’s. My own faith in God was full of transactions and impurities, and was simply the wish to obtain grace and blessings, to ask for bread to eat my fill. That grieved God’s heart too much! At the thought of that, I couldn’t help but kneel down and pray to God, “Oh God, thanks for Your enlightenment, I realize my wrong viewpoint of belief in God, and as a creation, I should obey Your orchestration and arrangement and shouldn’t have any demand for You. Afterward, no matter how badly my condition develops, I don’t pray to You for curing my pain and illness but pray for helping me obey Your whole orchestration and arrangement. I’m willing to give my whole to You, no longer having any requirements on You.”
When I understood God’s intention, my heart was not under the control of the sickness anymore. I persisted in reading God’s word, and I went out to preach the gospel with brothers and sisters as often as I could. When others saw me, they said that they couldn’t see I was a patient. After a period of time, I went to the hospital for a check-up. Before I left home, I prayed to God and said that regardless of what the result was, I was willing to obey and never complained about Him. When I saw the test result, I was shocked. There was a plus sign in the column of antibody on the laboratory test paper. It meant that my body had already produced the antibody and not only was the Hepatitis B cured but I didn’t need to worry about being infected. Never did I expect this result. I couldn’t resist bursting into grateful tears. God is so almighty and wonderful! I only practiced in accordance with God’s words, committing myself to God’s hands and obeying God’s orchestration and arrangement, that I would be cured. I truly felt the love that God gave me! Through this sickness, I also transformed my viewpoint of belief in God, and knew that God is not merely a merciful and loving God but a righteous and holy God. When the complaint toward God was filled with me, God hid His face from me；when I turned to God, God’s smiling face was revealed to me. God is so worthy of my love. From now on, no matter what happens to me, I am willing to obey God’s orchestration and arrangement, fulfilling my duty to repay His love. May all the glory be to God!
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