By Liu Cheng
“The doctor said you’ve got uremia. At present, there is no effective treatment for it. But your life can still be maintained by renal dialysis and you’ll receive a kidney transplant once a suitable donor is found in the future. …” My wife said in tears.
When I heard the word “uremia,” my head buzzed and my body went limp. “This is a deadly disease!” I thought, “Isn’t it a death penalty to me? Heavens! I haven’t lived the life I want; how could I get such a disease? Could it be that my life will come to an end this way? Heavens, I don’t want to die. Please save me. …” Lying on the sickbed, I kept crying out to Heavens in my heart out of desperation and helplessness, while tears blurred my eyes and years of my struggle for a better life flashed in my mind …
Struggling for Money, I Accomplished Something
That year when I was born, my father passed away. My mother remarried because of the difficult life. My stepfather always gave me the cold shoulder and, after I had brothers and sisters, he looked down on me even more. As far as I could understand things, I often heard others say “Money is not everything, but without it you can do nothing” and “Money is a magic key. Where there is money, there is a way.” I thought if I became rich in the future, surely my stepfather wouldn’t belittle me! So I made a resolution that after growing up, I must strive hard to make money to live a happy life of the rich, and be an outstanding person for my stepfather to admire.
Shortly after I finished primary school, my stepfather asked me to learn carpentry in a construction company. I, though not well educated, focused on learning the skill with great effort. Only several years later, I became a skilled carpenter and started to contract some small projects alone. Afterward, I got married and worked even harder. As I earned more and more money, I enjoyed a better life than before. However, I was far from satisfied with that, because when I saw my neighbor had built a five-storey house with luxurious decoration, and especially when I saw their luxury car parked right in front of my home, I felt unbalanced inside and was extremely envious of the rich’s life. To live the same life and win the envy and admiration of others, apart from working in the company, I rented a deserted farm, where I raised more than one hundred pigs, and managed it with my wife in our spare time. Though the farm was not large, it could also bring me a considerable income. In order to make more money, I often worked hard day and night no matter how arduous or tiring it was, and as long as I saw I had more and more money I would feel sweet in my heart.
Through years of efforts, I became locally well-known for being rich. My colleagues and neighbors, who had once looked down on me, all began to approach me smilingly on their own initiative and sought advice from me on how to raise pigs. And even my stepfather who had used to give me the cold shoulder also changed his attitude and showed kindness to me. I felt glorious to have lived such a life, and enjoyed the satisfaction from money. Thus I further resolved to make more money. As my wife and I exerted all our might in the pursuit of standing out above others, an unexpected accident came upon me …
Serious Diseases Coming One After Another Shattered My Dream
To speed up the process of the project, my company urged us to work overtime. I began to spend day and night on my work. To make more money, after finishing the work on the construction site, I had to spare time to take care of the work on the farm, leaving myself in complete exhaustion. One day just before the project was nearly complete, it was drizzling when I slipped and fell accidentally off from the wooden board on the scaffold, and went into a coma on the spot. My colleagues took me to the hospital in time. I was lucky to survive after the rescue, but the injured head and severely broken lumbar vertebra, even though cured, left their mark on me—I still often feel painful until now. However, this didn’t stop my blind pursuit of money. I kept my nose to the grindstone with my wife in spite of my disease with the aim of towering above others and living the life of the rich. Then another deadly disease attacked me unknowingly, shattering the dream I had been dying for.
One afternoon when I got home from work, I was not feeling well, and lay down for a short rest. At dinner time I began to vomit and felt chilly all over, which I had thought resulted from a cold. But then I was feeling more and more miserable: I had an acute pain in my lower abdomen, sweaty all over and with urinary stoppage. Seeing my unusual condition, my family hurriedly took me to the town hospital, where the doctor didn’t make a definite diagnosis but just put me on some drugs, and told me to go to the city hospital for a check-up if I didn’t get better. After going home, I took the drugs, but they didn’t help relieve my pain. In great torment, I had a hard time holding on till dawn when my son quickly drove me to the city hospital. The test result was actually what I had never expected: uremia. It was so hard for me to accept.
When my mind came back to reality, I was heavy-hearted. Seeing that my family all lived in sorrow because of my sudden disease, I also felt as terrified and distressed as could be.
In the following treatment for over one month, every day I hoped for a miracle to happen, expecting that the doctor could cure my disease. Yet no matter what advanced therapies were used, my illness not only didn’t get better, but even worsened all the more. I felt death was drawing ever closer and so was more and more fearful. In despair and endless remorse, I thought: To live the life of the rich and be highly regarded by my stepfather, colleagues, and neighbors, I worked hard day and night. Now, I have a lot of money and I am indeed looked up to by others, but I’m suffering from this disease—this incurable disease. Alas! I used to believe that having money meant having everything. With money, I could stand tall and proud, others would listen to me and look up to me. After I had money, even my stepfather who had used to dislike me looked at me with new eyes. This made me more certain about the correctness of “Money is a magic key. Where there is money, there is a way.” But now, only when I’ve got this fatal illness that is even incurable to the doctor do I realize that money, which I have spared no pains to seek, can’t relieve my pain, much less buy my life. Now I have to endure the torment of the illness every day and every moment. Rather than living such a painful life, it’s better for me to die!
In My Despair and Helplessness,Guided Me
Just when I was in pain and despair, I got acquainted with a brother who believes in God. He preached God’s kingdom gospel to me, but at that time I had lost confidence in life and so said weakly to him: “To be honest, I even don’t know how long I can still live; how can I have the mind to? Alas!” At the sight of my depressed look, he read me a passage of God’s words: “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. Man then became more and more degenerate, the illnesses of man were deepened, and their suffering became more and more severe. Man felt more and more the emptiness, the tragedy and the inability to go on living of the world, and they felt less and less hope for the world. So this suffering was brought on man by Satan, and it only came after man had been corrupted by Satan and became degenerate.”
After reading God’s words, the brother fellowshiped: “In the beginning when God created man, man didn’t have the pain of birth, aging, sickness, death, nor did he have anxiety and distress. Our ancestors Adam and Eve could live a carefree life in the Garden of Eden and enjoy all pleasurable things bestowed by God. But after they were tempted and corrupted by Satan, God drove them out of Eden. Thereafter, people have become ever more depraved and corrupt, strayed further and further from God, and lived under the domain of Satan. Satan uses various methods and ways to afflict and torture man. For example, Satan takes advantage of money to entice and corrupt us, so that we bustle about for money and for fleshly enjoyment; we neglect our health for the sake of making more money. As a result, we get illness through overwork, followed by hard life and mental pain and sorrow. All these come after Satan corrupted mankind. …” After hearing the brother’s fellowship, I realized that our tiring and painful life was brought about by Satan. Reflecting on myself, I was lured by money to pursue a better life blindly. Even if I got ill time and again because of overwork, I still wouldn’t stop my pace of making money but still kept working in spite of my illness. This resulted in me suffering from this serious illness—a consequence of being harmed by Satan.
I told the brother my painful experience of how I slogged my guts out in order to live the life of the rich. He heard my experience and then communicated with me: “In the past, I also lived by the satanic laws of survival such as ‘Money is not everything, but without it you can do nothing’ and ‘Money is a magic key. Where there is money, there is a way’ like you do. To live towering above others, I also strived hard. As a result, I not only didn’t make money, but got skin disease instead. I spent much money to cure my illness and lived in agony. In helplessness, I prayed and relied on God. Through reading God’s words and seeking communication and help from brothers and sisters, I came to see clearly how Satan used money to afflict me and I also came to know the root cause of my misery. As I read more of God’s words, I gradually broke free of pain and I felt increasingly released and liberated in my heart. And more wonderfully, my skin disease disappeared unknowingly.”
After the brother talked about his experience, he shared with me another passage of God’s words: “People spend their lives chasing after money and fame; they clutch at these straws, thinking they are their only means of support, as if by having them they could keep on living, could exempt themselves from death. But only when they are close to dying do they realize how distant these things are from them, how weak they are in the face of death, how easily they shatter, how lonely and helpless they are, with nowhere to turn. They realize that life cannot be bought with money or fame, that no matter how wealthy a person is, no matter how lofty his or her position is, all people are equally poor and inconsequential in the face of death. They realize that money cannot buy life, that fame cannot erase death, that neither money nor fame can lengthen a person’s life by a single minute, a single second.”
God’s words and the brother’s fellowship made me brightened within. I sincerely said to the brother: “Right! All the time I regarded ‘Money is not everything, but without it you can do nothing’ and ‘Money is a magic key. Where there is money, there is a way’ as my life precept. My heart was totally occupied by money so that I believed having money could enable me to be looked up to by others and to stand tall and proud. To this end, I worked hard day and night, even sacrificed my own health for the sake of gaining money, fame and fortune. Not until I suffered from this incurable disease did I have to stop. Now, before disease and death, I do know that money, fame and fortune can’t relieve my pain from disease, that money can never save my life no matter how much I have. God’s words allow me to understand that no matter how much money we have, how high our prestige and status is, or how many people adore and look up to us, when disease and death come upon us, we are so helpless, so small and powerless. Money, fame and fortune can help nothing when we face death.”
Understanding God’s Will, I Find the Happy Life
Ever since the brother preached the gospel to me, he often visited me, fellowshiped God’s words with me, and comforted and encouraged me. Gradually my mood got better and I also felt the love and salvation of God.
God’s protection turned my illness for the better day by day. Only two months later, I was discharged from the hospital. At my quick recovery, the doctors all felt surprised and they all claimed it to be a miracle. They never knew it was because of God’s wonderful deed that I made such a quick recovery from my illness. During the period of my hospitalization, a middle-aged woman, in the opposite ward and in the terminal stage of uremia, couldn’t bear the torment of the disease and so jumped off the building to end her life. A man in his sixties also died of uremia. And in my ward, there was a patient and big boss man of a company who was wealthy and spoke louder; at ordinary times doctors and nurses all took good care of him and ever even invited experts from the provincial hospital to hold consultations over his disease, but he still died even though he had much money. All these tragedies let me see even more clearly that having money doesn’t mean having everything. Money is not everything, it can only satisfy our material need and give us momentary fleshly enjoyment, yet it can never buy life.
If it hadn’t been for, care and protection toward me, I would be swallowed by disease like the three patients. At this time, I was filled with gratitude to God, knowing it was God who loved and saved me. I knelt down and prayed to God: “O God! Today I finally know that my disease contains Your kind intention. But for this disease, I couldn’t experience Your wonderful salvation, I couldn’t see Your true love, nor could I know that I am a created being who should worship the Creator. Through this disease, I’m fortunate to come before You and worship You. Now I know I’m corrupted too much by Satan and that I’m too disobedient. My view of pursuit in the past is wrong. I’m willing to pursue the truth rightly and obey Your sovereignty and arrangement. Only this is the truly happy life I should pursue. God! I’m willing to come before You, to believe in You and to follow You. Amen!”
Afterward, I tried my best to perform my duty of a created being, feeling more and more secure and peaceful in my heart. Thank God! Now my wife and I enjoyed a retirement pension of over five thousand yuan every month, and our son has found a job after graduation from college; we are living a peaceful and happy life. All these blessings from God are beyond what I ask or think. From God’s blessings I see a fact: Our fates are all in God’s hand and our wealth is bestowed by God. I also understand that “Money is not everything, but without it you can do nothing” and “Money is a magic key. Where there is money, there is a way” are tricks for Satan to tempt and deprave us mankind. Money, fame and fortune can only bring us emptiness, misery, and even destruction. From my experience I know that only by obeying God’s sovereignty and arrangement can we gain the care and protection of God. Now, I am no longer concerned about money: Whether I am rich or poor, it is in God’s hand. I am earnestly grateful to God for leading me to break away from the restraint of money and walk on the bright and happy path of human life. Thank God for His salvation of me!
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Now, disasters are occurring frequently everywhere. In the Philippines, the pandemic and the famine have not passed yet and powerful Typhoon Molave, Goni and Tropical Storm Atsani have landed. Biblical prophecies of the coming of the Lord have been fulfilled. It stands to reason that the Lord has returned—so why have we yet to welcome His arrival? Will we not be plunged into the great tribulation if this carries on? And just what should we do to welcome the Lord’s coming?