God’s Love Guided Me Through the Trial of Illness
By Yiming, Hubei Province
I Rejoice to Be Reunited With the Lord
I’m 78 this year and I have always suffered from headaches and diabetes. After I began to believe in the Lord in 2005, the illnesses that had beset me for years were eased; I perceived God’s love and thanked the Lord from the bottom of my heart. Two years later, a relative preached God’s work of the last days to me and he said that the Lord Jesus had returned as the incarnated Almighty God. He said that Almighty God was now performing a newer, higher stage of work on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, and that Almighty God was using the truth to judge and chastise man, to cleanse our corruption, and God would lead those who ultimately attained salvation into His kingdom. I was thrilled to hear this news, and I thought to myself, “I never imagined that I would actually be able to welcome the Lord in my lifetime. If in the future I could be led by God into His kingdom, that would be wonderful indeed!” Thinking this, my heart became filled with a joy I couldn’t express, and I thanked God’s love and salvation. After a period of seeking and investigating, I became certain from reading God’s words that Almighty God was indeed the Lord Jesus returned, and very soon after I was living the church life and doing all I could to perform my duty within the church.
Illness Strikes, and My Deplorable Motives Are Exposed
In the twelfth month of the lunar calendar, I was just doing my housework when suddenly I felt a pressure on my heart and found it difficult to breathe, and I had a feeling like I couldn’t catch my breath and was about to suffocate. My husband saw that I was in distress and he hurriedly called our daughter and her husband, and they took me to the municipal hospital.
After a comprehensive checkup, the attending doctor said with an imposing expression: “You have a very serious illness. It’s a problem with your heart that could cause you to die at any minute. You need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment straight away.” The doctor’s words were like a bolt from the blue and I immediately started to panic. I thought, “How come I’ve suddenly contracted such a serious illness? And I could die at any minute? Since I started believing in God, I’ve always faithfully fulfilled my duty. How could God not protect me? If I die, I won’t be able to see the spectacular event of the manifestation of the beautiful kingdom, and I won’t be able to live with my daughters and my husband again. Will I not be able to share in the eternal happiness of the heavenly kingdom?” The more I thought, the more grieved I was, and a feeling of desolation crept into my heart. In pain, all I could do was keep praying to God in my heart: “O God! Such a serious illness has now befallen me, and I feel helpless and weak. I don’t know what to do and I don’t understand Your will. But I believe that all this is happening by Your leave, and I ask You to lead me and guide me.” After I’d prayed, these words of God came to my mind: “Now you all know that man’s belief in God is not solely for salvation of the soul and welfare of the flesh, nor is it to enrich his life through love of God, and so on. As it stands, if you love God for the sake of welfare of the flesh or momentary pleasure, then even if, in the end, your love for God reaches its peak and you ask for nothing, this love you seek is still an impure love and not pleasing to God. … This kind of love can only maintain the status quo; it cannot attain eternal constancy, nor take root in man. This kind of love is that of a flower which bears no fruit after it has bloomed then withered. In other words, after you have loved God once in such a way and there is no one to lead you on the path ahead, then you will fall. … Those gained by God are those who rebel against Satan and escape from its domain. Such men will be officially numbered among the people of the kingdom. This is how the people of the kingdom come to be. Are you willing to be this kind of person? Are you willing to be gained by God?” (“What Viewpoint Believers Ought to Hold” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The revelations of God’s words made me ashamed, for only then did I realize that it was actually my views on my belief in God that were wrong. Thinking back, I only started believing in the Lord Jesus so that my illnesses could be cured, and afterward I heard that one could get into the heavenly kingdom and enjoy eternal bliss if one accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, and so in order to attain this blessing, I accepted the gospel of the last days and actively fulfilled my duty, believing that the more I worked for God the greater my blessings would be in the future. But now a life-threatening illness had befallen me and my hopes to be blessed were just about to be dashed. So I began to blame and misunderstand God and reason with God, believing that I’d abandoned everything and expended myself for God, and suffered and paid a price for God, and that God should therefore bless me and not allow me to contract such a serious illness. Only then did I see that my belief in God and the fulfilling of my duties had not been sincere, much less was I performing the duty of a created being to repay God’s love. Instead, I had gone by my own personal motives and my purpose was to gain blessings from God and enjoy the grace and blessings of God. My expending myself had also been done in order to bargain with God and to obtain the bliss of the heavenly kingdom in return. With such a tainted belief in God, no matter how faithful I appeared on the outside, it could not stand up against the facts; when a slight storm came along, I fell easily, like a pretty flower that is tender and beautiful for a short time, but which bears no fruit. I thought about how everything I had had come from God, and how I should fulfill my duty well to repay God’s love, and that this was a heavenly law. And yet I had used my duty to make bargains with God, filled with my own extravagant desires—was I not rebelling against God and trying to cheat Him by performing my duty in this way? I had not a shred of conscience or reason! I then understood God’s will. God was using this illness to test me and to enable me to see clearly the wrong motives behind my belief in God. He was using this refinement to purify and change me, to make me let go of the unreasonable demands I was making to God, to make me recover my conscience and reason, and worship the Creator standing firmly in the place of a created being. Thinking this, everything suddenly clicked into place and I thanked God for His salvation. Were it not for the salvation of God, I’d still be pursuing along the wrong path with nothing as my reward at the end of it, and I could then only be abandoned and sifted out by God. Through this illness, I also came to see that, if one doesn’t know God’s work and doesn’t know how God purifies and saves man, one is then unable to revere and obey God, and when things happen that is not to one’s liking, one will become dispirited, and will even misunderstand and blame God; my stature really was so pitifully small. Thinking of these things, my heart was filled with self-reproach and a feeling of indebtedness to God.
After I was admitted to hospital, I kept God in my thoughts at every moment, and I felt that my heart and God had become even closer. I thought of God’s words that say: “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” of Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From within God’s words, I saw God’s authority and love, and in my heart I then said a prayer to God: “O God! Although I feel a little fainthearted now that this illness has befallen me, yet I believe that You are the Ruler of all things and my illness is also in Your hands. I wish to entrust myself to You and I believe that You are my pillar. I ask that You give me faith and enable me to submit to Your orchestrations and arrangements.”
Death Approaches and God’s Words Strengthen My Faith
Over ten days later, my illness was still no better. One day, I suddenly went into shock and had to be resuscitated. My son-in-law, seeing my condition worsen, had me transferred to the provincial hospital. The specialist at the provincial hospital looked at my medical transfer papers and arranged for me to be in the intensive care unit, and he gave me oxygen. I heard another patient say that all the patients admitted to the intensive care unit were going to die soon. I felt terrified when I heard them say this, and I thought to myself, “Has the doctor arranged for me to be here because I’m going to die soon?” As I thought this, I felt death approaching, and in my heart I felt inexplicable panic and unrest. That afternoon, they wheeled a man into the ward and an hour later he was dead. In that instant as I watched him being wheeled away, I felt myself being enshrouded by death and I felt that the next death would be my own. The more I thought about it, the more afraid I became: “Could it be that I really am going to die? But I don’t want to die, I want to …” I was utterly helpless and terrified, and all I could do was to call on God silently in my heart, asking Him to protect my heart. Just then, these words of God came to mind: “When Job lost his livestock that filled the mountains and untold masses of wealth, and his body became covered in sore boils, it was because of his faith. When he could hear the voice of Me, Jehovah, and see the glory of Me, Jehovah, it was because of his faith. That Peter could follow Jesus Christ, it was by his faith. That he could be nailed to the cross for My sake and give glorious testimony, it was also by his faith. When John saw the glorious image of the Son of man, it was by his faith. When he saw the vision of the last days, it was all the more by his faith. The reason why the so-called multitudes of the Gentile nations have obtained My revelation, and came to know that I have returned in the flesh to do My work among man, it is also because of their faith. All those who are smitten by My harsh words and who are saved—have they not done so because of their faith? People have received a lot of things through faith. What they receive is not always blessing…. For example, in the case of Job, he received Jehovah’s blessing as well as a scourge through faith. Whether you receive a blessing or suffer a scourge, both are blessed events” (“The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God’s words ignited my hopes and gave me faith. I thought of all the saints throughout the ages, like Job and Peter. When they were undergoing all manner of trials, though they were grieved to the core and in extreme pain at the time, and they couldn’t understand God’s will, they still had true faith in God. No matter what God did, they didn’t complain, but instead they obeyed the Creator standing firmly in their place as created beings, and in the end they obtained God’s blessings and witnessed God’s great power and sovereignty. For example, when Satan’s attacks and temptations came upon Job, his property was all taken away, his children met with disaster, and his whole body was covered in sores, and he suffered such a great degree of pain. And yet he had a place for God in his heart, and he would rather have cursed the day he was born than speak sinfully, and in the end, he spoke these words: “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). What he held onto was true faith in and reverence for God. He was willing to obey whether God gave or God took away, and in the end God appeared to him, and Job’s love and faith for God were heightened. Although there was no comparison between the saints of all the ages and myself, it was also by God’s leave that this illness had befallen me now, and even more so it was by God’s love. God wanted to give me true faith and compassion, to allow me to experience His authority, and to make true knowledge of God arise in me. My life and death were in God’s hands and God would have the final say. All my worries were unnecessary, and they were the result of not believing in the sovereignty of God and always wanting to rule and orchestrate things by relying on my own strength. Thinking this, my heart was much calmed.
I Entrust My Life and Death to God and I Witness God’s Deeds
A few days later, my family asked the hospital specialist and a professor to give me a thorough examination. After consulting together, the specialist and the professor said that my illness was a coronary occlusion caused by my diabetes, that three arteries were now blocked and that I had to undergo surgery right away, otherwise, they said, I could die at any minute. But they said that even if I did have the operation, they could not guarantee that I would be cured.
My family then had me transferred to a specialist heart hospital. After examining me, the doctor said that I had to have the operation right away, but that the risks were great. When operating on cardiac problems caused by diabetes, the incisions do not heal well, the doctor said, and if the opening did not heal, the result would be even worse than not having the operation at all. Because this operation had to be done by grafting blood vessels from my thighs to bypass the blocked coronary arteries around my heart, if the operation failed then I could be paralyzed for the rest of my life. Also, things could go wrong at any moment during the operation and there was a possibility that I could die on the operating table. The doctor said it was difficult to predict whether I would ever wake up again after the operation, and he asked my family to consider carefully whether or not they really wanted me to have the operation. After hearing the doctor out, my daughter and son-in-law were hesitant, afraid that a lot of money could be spent, and I may still not be better afterward, and then not only would they have no money left, but I’d still not be cured either. My husband was also a believer in God and he knew that our lives and deaths were in God’s hands, and that it wasn’t human beings who have the final say. And so he said to the doctor without any hesitation, “You just concentrate on performing the operation, and whether my wife survives or not has nothing to do with this hospital. I can bear anything that happens.” My husband then signed the consent forms, and the doctor began to prepare for the operation.
After everything was ready, I was wheeled into the operating room. As I lay on the operating table, I thought of what the doctor had said, and sorrow and distress once again filled my heart. I thought, “If I really do become paralyzed, won’t that be like a living death? With my husband so old now, won’t I be a burden on him? Though I have several daughters, they all now have their own lives and families, so who could look after me all year round? If that really does happen, then I’ll just have to think of a way to end it all!” But then I thought that I could possibly die alone on the operating table, and my heart became even more troubled. Just then, I realized that my state of mind was wrong, and I hurriedly called on God to protect my heart and make me able to submit to His orchestrations and arrangements. At that moment, a passage of God’s words came to mind: “Who of the whole of mankind is not cared for in the eyes of the Almighty? Who does not live in the midst of the Almighty’s predestination? Whose birth and death come from their own choices? Does man control his own fate? Many people cry out for death, yet it is far away from them; many people want to be those who are strong in life and fear death, yet unbeknownst to them, the day of their demise draws near, plunging them into the abyss of death; many people look to the skies and sigh deeply; many people cry great, wailing sobs; many people fall amidst trials; and many people become the prisoners of temptation” (“The Eleventh Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Yes! The God I believe in controls all things and the fate of every human being is in His hands. The time when each person is born and the time when they die are predestined by God, so wasn’t my fate also orchestrated by God? I thought of how, although I was resolved to bear witness to God, when I was faced with a real test I began worrying about my own life, death and future; I was both afraid of dying and worried about being paralyzed and becoming a burden on others, and I was thinking about ending my own life. By doing this, was I not desiring to orchestrate my own fate? How was this submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements? Did this not show that I had no faith in God? God gave me my life and whether I lived or died was in God’s hands. I knew I should not be timid, not be afraid, and not live amidst the deceits of Satan, but instead I should have faith in God, look to God and entrust Him with my life, my death and my future. Thinking this, I prayed to God in my heart: “O God! I will soon be having an operation. Although I’m still worried, yet I believe that the success or failure of this operation is in Your hands. Whether I live or die, I wish to submit to Your orchestrations and arrangements.” After praying, I felt much calmer. The doctor anesthetized me, and soon after I knew nothing more.
After the operation, I was moved to the intensive care unit for observation. When I woke up, already two days had passed, and my family told me joyfully that the operation had been very successful and that all I had to do now was recover. When I heard this, I felt very moved and I kept thanking God for His love! I knew that having survived the operation and that the operation had been so successful was all down to God’s wondrous protection! I became convinced from the bottom of my heart that our lives and deaths are controlled and orchestrated by God, and that this is a manifestation of God’s authority.
As I recovered, I listened to the loud cries of pain coming from some of the patients in the same ward, and some of them groaned constantly, but I felt no pain whatsoever. I knew clearly in my heart that the lack of pain from my incisions was entirely the wondrous deed of God. I perceived God’s love, and thanks and praise for God flowed forth from my heart. In the afternoon, the doctor in charge of my case came and asked me, “Madam, do your incisions hurt at all? Do you feel any discomfort?” And I replied, “Thank you for your concern, but I feel no discomfort.” Three days later, the doctor saw that I was recovering very well and had me transferred to a normal ward. I saw that patients without diabetes needed four or five days to recover after an operation before they were transferred out of the intensive care unit, and yet, despite my advanced years and having diabetes—meaning that my incisions were arguably a lot harder to heal—I was able to eat solid food only three days after my operation. I was also recovering faster than other people, and this was indeed God’s great power and His great love for me.
Over the days that followed, my husband often read God’s words to me and I pondered them, contemplating the salvation work God was performing on me, and I truly felt how real God’s love was. Despite having been tormented by illness so that I had been hovering between life and death, God was with me always and never left my side: Each time I became negative and weak and I lost my faith, God’s words led and guided me, giving me faith and strength. With God as my staunch backup, I would no longer be fainthearted and afraid; when I sincerely relied on God and became willing to wholly entrust myself to God and submit to His orchestrations and arrangements, God not only enabled me to survive, but He eased my bodily pain. This allowed me to see God’s wondrous deeds and feel God’s love. Only through this experience did I come to realize that although this incarnation of God doesn’t display signs and wonders in His work, the power of God’s words far exceeds the power of showing signs and wonders; God’s words are indeed the truth, they can become people’s life and they are both the principles and the direction for our actions.
After some time, my incisions healed very well and, whereas patients who had had the same operation as me still couldn’t move, I was able to walk outside supported by my husband. The doctors and my fellow patients were all amazed to see this. I knew very clearly in my heart, that my body could recover so quickly was God’s deed, God’s blessing and God’s love, for only God could make such a miracle happen!
Two weeks later, when I was being discharged from the hospital, the doctor said to me, “There are seven other people in this hospital with the same illness as you, and only yours was caused by diabetes. Your condition was more serious than theirs, and yet you are the first to recover. It really boggles the mind! There is still a lump in your pericardium, however, which remains a danger. You must come back to the hospital in a month’s time for a checkup. If this lump is still getting bigger, then you will have to have another operation.” Hearing the doctor say this, I no longer felt afraid or worried, and I thought to myself: “I’ve undergone such a grave illness and God did not cause me to die. I have seen God’s authority, and I now have even greater faith to rely on God. I’ll entrust my illness into God’s hands and let Him take control.” Afterward, the doctor prescribed me some medicine and I returned home. After I got home, I spent every day reading God’s words and singing God’s praises with brothers and sisters, enjoying God’s love. I felt so liberated and free, and my illness completely slipped my mind.
When I returned to the hospital for my checkup a month later, every physical indicator showed normal and the lump in my pericardium had disappeared. Once again, this allowed me to see God’s wondrous deeds and His love for me.
After Undergoing This Baptism, I Faced the Future Stronger Than Before
While in the car on the way home, I watched the tall white poplar trees go by on either side and I thought: “They are all under God’s sovereignty. They accept the baptism of wind, frost, snow and rain all year round and the life within them becomes even stronger and indomitable. This serious illness I’ve had has been like going through a life baptism; not only has it purified my love for God, but it has increased my faith in God.” I then thought of God’s words that say: “God’s life force can prevail over any power; moreover, it exceeds any power. His life is eternal, His power extraordinary, and His life force not easily overwhelmed by any created being or enemy force. The life force of God exists, and shines its brilliant radiance, regardless of time or place. God’s life remains forever unchanged throughout the upheavals of heaven and earth. All things pass away, but God’s life still remains, for God is the source of the existence of all things, and the root of their existence. Man’s life originates from God, the existence of the heaven is because of God, and the existence of the earth stems from the power of God’s life. No object possessed of vitality can transcend the sovereignty of God, and no thing with vigor can break away from the ambit of God’s authority” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I couldn’t help but sigh with emotion: The authority and power of God’s words really are so great! In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them with words, and because of God’s words, all things live and multiply within the rules predestined by God, one generation after another. In the last days, God expresses the entire truth that purifies and saves man, and even more so God’s truth is the root of our survival and the direction in which we must follow. When my life and death were hanging in the balance, God’s words gave me faith and courage. They enabled me to learn how to rely on God and look to God during my illness, they guided me to break through my fear of death and overcome the constraints of death. I really gained so much during this experience.
I wish only to believe in God and perform my duty in earnest for the rest of my life, and to repay God’s love and salvation. Thank You God!
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