By Zhao Wei
I was born in a poor family. My parents tried to make ends meet by working as laborers. Therefore, people in the village all looked down on us. My parents told me to study hard to be outstanding so that someday we could live a better life. I kept their words in mind and spent most of time in studying while others were playing, hoping to be successful and change my fate. My hard study paid off. I always was the top student in the class since primary school. Fortunately, in 2006 I entered the No. 1 Senior High School in our city with excellent scores. I was the only one in our village that could go to this elite school at that time. I saw the gratified smiles on my parents’ faces when they heard the news. People in the village cast us admiring looks, too.
In this senior high school, I saw many students began to fall in love. I told myself to be different and to concentrate on my school work. With the hard work, I got the first place in the class in every test. The photo of me was always on the honor roll posted on the hallway wall. Every time I got the first place in tests, I would call my parents to let them know, and I would hear their laughter over the phone. After three years’ hard work, the 100-day countdown to Gaokao (the College Entrance Examination) finally came, which would make or break my college dream. I was focusing on the examination, but something unfortunate happened to me.
One of my classmates had measles (chicken pox) and I was infected with it. Reluctantly, I asked for sick leave and went home. My mother took me to see a doctor and asked him to cure my disease quickly, because I was going to take Gaokao soon. The doctor gave me a checkup and said that it was nothing serious and I would be OK just after some intravenous fluids. For fear of delaying the study, I asked my mother to bring my books to the hospital so that I could learn while being healed. Five days later, my chicken pox was shrinking and scabbing, which meant that I had got well. Immediately, I rushed back to school to prepare for Gaokao.
It was in May, which was less than one month from Gaokao. One day, my classmates were all sleeping at noon, but I was awake, so I got up and went on studying. At night, lying in bed in my dormitory, I was still not sleepy, unable to fall asleep. Then I began to read a book under the sheets with a flashlight in bed. However, my head suddenly ached when I read the book. I wondered: What happened to me? Why am I awake all day? What should I do if this continues? I was feeling anxious and depressed while my roommates were sleeping and snoring. The same thing happened for days, even though I took sleeping pills. It really bothered me.
I was in bad mental condition due to sleep deficit. My head was heavy, and my brain wasn’t performing well in class. I found it difficult to concentrate on the lessons, no matter how hard I tried. What was worse, the harder I tried to listen to the teacher, the more my head ached. I could do nothing but constantly pat my head to relieve the pain. I even couldn’t do the problems that I had worked out before. My mind was foggy. It was the first time that I felt so helpless in study.
My declining grades frustrated my head teacher, too. I was worried, in fear that my sleep deficit and fading memory would make me forget what I had learned when it was time for Gaokao. Something must be done. Soon, my mother took me to seek treatment all around. We visited many doctors. They all said that my cranial nerves were stimulated by the hormones added in the intravenous fluids before, which made me sleepless. The doctors prescribed me many medicines, but I still couldn’t fall asleep after taking them.
My teachers had thought I would be admitted to a famous university, but it turned out that I just got 475 in the exam, nearly 100 points less than usual. I went back home in frustration, and the news of my failure quickly spread in the village. My neighbors were talking about me, “Study has done Zhao Wei wrong.” “Failing to sleep has made Zhao Wei go insane.” These words tormented my family. My father often sighed and smoked a lot helplessly, and my mother suddenly looked very haggard. I stayed in my room all day without meeting anyone or feeling like eating anything, living like a muddle-headed corpse. I was sorry to let my parents down. They had been working hard and saving every penny for the sake of me in these years, but I did so badly in the examination. For many times, when I stood at the window and looked outside, thinking of the misfortune, I would lose the courage to live on.
I was in despair. Unexpectedly, one morning, my aunt came to preach God’s work ofto my mother. They sat down on my bed, and my aunt said, “Weiwei is always good at her lessons and is the hope of our family. But who should have thought of such an end! Her unexpected failure in Gaokao tells us that we cannot control our fate. It is only God that can save us. He is our Rock. God could resurrect Lazarus, and He can make Weiwei get better, too.” Then, my aunt read me a paragraph of God’s words: “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 Sixth Utterance”). They were discussing on my bed while I was lying in bed with my face to the wall. I didn’t have the will to listen to their talking at all. After the discussion, my mother accepted the and believed in God in hope that I could get better. My aunt put a book of on my bedside when she left and told me to read it if I couldn’t fall asleep. I thought, “My head aches when I read, and I can’t remember the content, either. I will not read it!”
Later that afternoon, I was wide awake and tossed and turned in bed. I thought: Anyway, I fail to sleep. Not as well as I open the book my aunt has left to see what it is about. So, I picked up the book and paged through it aimlessly. Then I happened to see God’s words: “Since the creation of the world I have begun to predestine and select this group of people, namely, you today. … and it was predestined by Me at the creation of the world” (“The Seventy-forth Utterance”). Looking at these words, I wondered, “Can this book interpret my fate clearly?” I didn’t believe it, but these words constantly arose in my mind. To my surprise, with these words, I felt calm and was not restless. Besides, my head didn’t ache after I read a paragraph of God’s words. I was very excited and went on reading another paragraph which said: “The source of life comes from God, for all creation, whatever the difference in form or structure. Whatever kind of living being you are, you cannot move counter to the path of life that God has set. In any case, all I wish is for man to understand that without the care, keeping, and provision of God, man cannot receive all that he was meant to receive, no matter how great the effort or struggle. Without the supply of life from God, man loses the sense of value in living and loses the sense of purpose in life” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”). Then I learned: God is the source of our life. It is God that provides all that we need. We cannot receive or change anything without God’s provision and keeping, no matter how hard we struggle against the fate by relying on our own ability. These words touched my heart and reminded me of the past: I had been working hard since my childhood, hoping to change my fate and the whole family’s fate so as to improve the living standard of my family by knowledge. To achieve this goal, I was always strict with myself. Especially, when the Gaokao was approaching, I didn’t dare treat it lightly, and I kept on studying for it even though I was ill. Moreover, I requested quick treatment from doctors to get better soon, which in turn resulted in brain damage because of over-medication. Hence, I couldn’t fall asleep and had memory loss. In the end, I failed in Gaokao. After that, my parents took me to seek treatment all around but ended up in failure, which caused me to lose heart to take Gaokao again. These facts proved that God’s words are correct. It was true that without God’s provision, my family and I would never receive what we had expected, no matter how hard we tried.
To my surprise, I had a sound sleep that night. It was really a miracle. My family was surprised, too. In those days, I would read God’s word when I couldn’t fall asleep, and each time I had a feeling of the long-expected comfort in my heart. Amazingly, I could gradually sleep at night ever since I began to read God’s word, which made me truly feel the care of God.
Afterwards, my sisters often came to my house for meetings. We read God’s utterances and sang hymns in God’s praise together. Little by little, my stress was being released. After some meetings and fellowship, I found that the sisters never laughed at me as my relatives and neighbors did. Instead, they comforted me with love and communicated with me in patience. They said, “The Age of Kingdom is the Age of Word. We can find answers to all our difficulties in God’s words. His word is the light that guides the way forward.” The sisters’ fellowship made me very excited. Since I failed in Gaokao, I had been suffering from the neighbors’ ridicule and living in a constant state of panic and despair. How I yearned for the light to descend and disperse the darkness in my heart. Now, I finally found the light. God’s word was the true light that enlightened my desperate heart and took me from the dark, gloomy world to the warm family of God. This made me have a new start and hope of life.
During the meetings, the sisters also fellowshiped with me some experiences of other brothers and sisters about how they relied on God to be cured of their illness by faith. I learned from their experiences that as long as we quiet ourselves before God, pray to and look up to Him, He will surely hear us. Since then, whenever I could not sleep and was upset at night, I would kneel on the bed and pray to God, imploring Him to protect my heart. After some time, I could have normal sleep and no more memory loss. There was no longer sadness on my face. My mother was very happy to see it. Now I am living in joy that I’ve never had before. I’m getting better and in a good mood. It is God’s word that brings me out of the darkness and makes me live a life of pursuing truth. Now I see the dawn is in front.
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