Fortune and Misfortune
By Dujuan, Japan
I was born into a poor family in a Chinese rural village. Because my family was poor, I sometimes did not even know if I would have my next meal, let alone snacks and toys. And from a young age, I would wear what my older sister used to wear. Her clothes were usually too big for me. As a result, my classmates would laugh at me and they would not play with me. My childhood was very bitter. From that point on, I resolved to myself: Once I grow up, I will be somebody and make lots of money. I won’t let others look down on me again. Since my family had no money, I was forced to drop out before junior high school graduation. I went to the county town to work in a medicine factory. In order to earn more money, I would frequently work until 9 or 10 PM. However, the money I earned was little. Afterward, when I heard that my sister was able to earn in five days what I earned in a month selling vegetables, I quit my job at the medicine factory and went to sell vegetables. After a period of time, I found that I could make even more money selling fruits, so I decided to start a business selling fruits. After I married my husband, we started a restaurant business. I thought that now that I had a restaurant, I would be able to earn even more money. Once I could earn a considerable amount of income, naturally, I would win other’s admiration and regard. Other people would start looking up to me and at the same time, I would be able to live a better life. However, after managing the business for a while, I found that we couldn’t make much money running a restaurant. I started getting anxious. When would I be able to lead a life that others would admire?
In 2008, a random opportunity came up. I heard a friend say that in Japan what you earned in one day was roughly equal to ten days’ wages in China. When I learned this news I was overjoyed. I thought that finally I had found a good opportunity to make money. Although the agent’s fees to go to Japan were expensive, I thought to myself: “There’s no gain without pain. No matter how much the agent’s fees would be, as long as we have jobs in Japan, we’ll be able to recoup the money quickly.” In order to realize our dreams of leading a better life, my husband and I decided to go to Japan immediately. After we arrived in Japan, we were able to find a job very quickly. Each day, my husband and I worked for over ten hours. Work stress was quite significant. I was completely exhausted all day long. After work, all I wanted to do was lie down and rest. I did not even want to eat. I found it difficult to endure such a fast-paced lifestyle. However, once I thought about the money I would have after I struggled for a few years, I encouraged myself: Although it is hard work now, life later on will be beautiful. I definitely must stick at it. As a result, each day I worked my fingers to the bone as if I were a money-making machine. By 2015, I collapsed under the heavy work load. I went to the hospital for an examination and the doctor told me that I had a herniated disc and that it was pressing against a nerve. If I continued to work the way I was working, I would eventually be bedridden and unable to care for myself. This news hit me like thunder from a clear sky. I became extremely weak right away. My life had just begun to be better off, and I was getting closer and closer to my dream. I never would have thought that I would get sick. I refused to give up. I thought: “I’m still young. If I just grit my teeth I’ll be able to put up with being a bit unwell. If I don’t earn much money now, and I go back to China with little money, won’t I lose even more face?” And so, I gritted my teeth and dragged my sick body to keep working to make money. However, after a few days, I was so sick that I literally could not get up.
I felt very miserable as I lay on a bed in the hospital with nobody to take care of me. “How do I end up in this situation? Could it be that I will actually be unable to get out of bed?” I really hoped for someone to be by my side. Unfortunately, my husband was at work and my son was at school. My boss and my colleagues were only focused on profit. They basically did not care at all about me. When I looked around the sick ward at an assortment of patients each in their own pain, there was a sentiment in my heart that I could not express, and I couldn’t help pondering: For what purpose do people live? How can one live a meaningful life? Can money really buy happiness? I reflected on what I had after 30 years of struggling. I worked in a medicine factory, sold fruit, ran a restaurant and came to Japan to work. Even though I did earn some money all these years, however, I endured much sadness. I had thought that once I reached Japan, I would be able to realize my dreams very quickly. After a few years in Japan, when I returned to China, I would be able to start a new life as a rich person and be envied by other people. However, now I was lying in a sick bed, even facing spending the second half of my life in a painful existence confined to a wheelchair…. At the thought of this, I started to regret that I had risked even my own life in order to earn money and get ahead in life. The more I thought about this, the more bitter tears began flowing down my face. In agony, I couldn’t help calling out in my heart: Oh, God! Save me! Why is life so cruel?
Just when I was in pain and helpless, that was when Almighty God’s salvation came to me and my “sickness” became my “blessing.” By chance, I knew of three sisters from The Church of Almighty God. Through reading God’s words together with them, I understood that everything in the world is not formed by nature, but created by God, that God is the Master of the entire universe, that man’s destiny is also in God’s hands, that God has all along guided and supplied mankind, and that He constantly looks after and protects mankind. I felt how greatly God loves man. But there was something I still didn’t understand: God is the Master who controls our destiny, and we ought to be happy and joyful, so why do we still suffer illness and pain? Why is life so hard? Where exactly does life’s pain come from? One day, I told the sisters about my confusion. One sister read out a passage of Almighty God’s words for me, “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? Man didn’t have these things when they were first created, did they? So where did these things come from? The pain of the flesh, the troubles and emptiness of the flesh and the extreme wretchedness of the world came after man was corrupted by Satan. After Satan’s corruption, man 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 man’s flesh became degenerate” (“The Meaning of God’s Experiencing the Pain of the World” in Records of Christ’s Talks). The sister told me that, “At the beginning when God created man, God was with him, and He took care of him and protected him. At that time there was no birth, ageing, illness or death, and no worries or annoyances. Man lived free of anxiety and cares in the Garden of Eden, enjoying all things that could be enjoyed bestowed by God, mankind lived happily and joyfully under God’s guidance. But ever since man was enticed and corrupted by Satan, mankind betrayed God, no longer obeyed Him but instead heeded Satan, and for this reason mankind lost the care and protection and blessing of God, and fell under the domain of Satan. For thousands of years, Satan has consistently used such heresies and sophistries as materialism, atheism, and evolution, as well as those absurdities and lies publicized by great men and celebrities to deceive and harm people: ‘There is no God in the world,’ ‘There has never been any Savior,’ ‘One’s destiny is in his own hand,’ ‘Be a cut above the rest and bring glory to your ancestors,’ ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ ‘Man will do anything to get rich,’ ‘Money makes the world go round,’ and ‘Money is first,’ and so on. After mankind accepted these absurdities and heresies, it denied the existence of God, denied God’s sovereignty, and all betrayed God and wanted to rely on its own two hands to create a happy life. Man’s disposition became more and more arrogant and conceited, regarding himself as infallible, more and more selfish, crafty, and evil. People amongst themselves schemed and competed against each other for fame, position and wealth, cheating each other, fighting each other, becoming increasingly anxious and exhausted. Ailments followed, pain came, and emptiness of the heart came as well. These pains and anxieties made us feel that man’s life in this world was too hard and tiring, too difficult. This all came about after Satan had corrupted man, it was Satan harming us, and it was also the bitter fruit of mankind denying God, distancing itself from God, and betraying God.”
The sister continued to communicate with me: “God cannot bear watching mankind continue to be corrupted and harmed by Satan. He has twice been incarnated amongst man to redeem and save us. Especially in the last days, the incarnate Christ has expressed millions of words; they are the truth that allows people to break free from Satan’s corruption, to be purified and fully saved. As long as we listen to God and understand the truth within God’s word, we will be able to distinguish and see clearly all the methods and ways that Satan corrupts mankind. We will see through to Satan’s evil essence and have the strength to abandon Satan, throw off Satan’s harm, return before God, obtain God’s salvation and in the end, be brought by God to a beautiful destination.” When I heard that God had personally come to save mankind, I became very emotional. Since I really did not want Satan to continue to harm me, I told my sisters about my pain and doubt: “There is a matter I don’t quite understand. A proverb says, ‘People struggle to go upward, but water flows downward.’ I’ve worked so hard to stand out and live a comfortable life, and under normal circumstances, this would mean to have ideals and ambitions. But is this way of life also a way in which Satan harms us?”
The sister read another passage of God’s words to me: “So what are Satan’s sinister motives? You aren’t clear, are you? … People think there is nothing wrong with learning knowledge, that it is the natural course. To put it mildly, to foster lofty ideals or to have ambitions is to have aspirations, and this should be the right path in life. If people can realize their own ideals, or make a go of a career in their life—is it not more glorious to live that way? To not only honor one’s ancestors in that way but also to possibly leave one’s mark on history—is this not a good thing? This is a good thing in the eyes of worldly people, and to them it should be proper and positive. Does Satan, however, with its sinister motives, just take people to this kind of road and then decide it is done? Certainly not. In fact, no matter how lofty man’s ideals are, no matter how realistic man’s desires are or how proper they may be, all that man wants to achieve, all that man seeks for is inextricably linked with two words. These two words are vitally important to the life of every person, and these are things Satan intends to instill in man. Which two words are these? They are ‘fame’ and ‘gain.’ Satan uses a very subtle kind of way, a way very much in concert with people’s notions; it is not any kind of radical way. In the midst of unawareness, people come to accept Satan’s way of living, its rules of living, establishing life goals and their direction in life, and in doing so they also unknowingly come to have ideals in life. No matter how high-sounding these ideals in life seem, they are just a pretext that is inextricably linked to fame and gain. Any great or famous person, all people in fact, anything they follow in life relates only to these two words: ‘fame’ and ‘gain.’ People think that once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on them to enjoy high status and great wealth, and to enjoy life. Once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on them in their pleasure-seeking and unscrupulous enjoyment of the flesh. People willingly, albeit unknowingly, take their bodies, minds, all that they have, their futures and their destinies and hand them all over to Satan in order to attain the fame and gain they desire. People actually do this without ever a moment’s hesitation, ever ignorant of the need to recover it all. Can people still have any control over themselves once they take refuge in Satan and become loyal to it in this way? Certainly not. They are completely and utterly controlled by Satan. They have also completely and utterly sunk down into a quagmire and are unable to free themselves. Once someone is mired in fame and gain, they no longer seek that which is bright, that which is righteous or those things that are beautiful and good. This is because the seductive power that fame and gain have over people is too great, and they become things for people to pursue throughout their lives and even for all eternity without end. Is this not true? … So Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts until all they can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds man with invisible shackles. These shackles are borne on people, and they have not the strength nor courage to throw them off. So people trudge ever onward in great difficulty, unknowingly bearing these shackles” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After finishing reading God’s words, the sister communicated to me the facts and truth of Satan’s use of fame and gain to corrupt men. Only then did I understand that all those who hold power in this world and who control mankind are the evil forces of Satan, that the famous and great people are the kings of devils who corrupt mankind, and that the atheism of Marx and the theory of evolution of Darwin have deceived and corrupted mankind to the extreme, and have caused mankind to shun God and betray Him. It was only then that I felt that books I had read in the past, were all filled with Satan’s poison, Satan’s philosophy, and Satan’s logic. If it were not the word of God revealing how Satan the devil had corrupted mankind, I would still be deceived and controlled by Satan, strenuously struggling in darkness. Man has ideals, and aspirations, that’s quite correct, but in the process of man pursuing his own ideals, Satan uses all kinds of methods to imbue men with its mode of existence, and rules for existence, to entice men to live only for fame and gain. As soon as men are mired in fame and gain, they no longer search for what is the light, and what are things of goodness, because the allure of fame and gain is so great for us, and we are so bogged down within it that we have no way of extricating ourselves. This is Satan’s shackle borne on our bodies, and it is also Satan’s ruse for corrupting men. In order to strive to be a cut above the rest, to earn more money so that others would think highly of me, I had lost my sense of myself, become a money-making machine, and even sacrificed my health for the sake of fame and gain without balking at it. I had truly become a slave to money and fame and gain. Because I was under the control of a mistaken view of life that “Be a cut above the rest and bring glory to your ancestors,” I made great efforts to struggle on, always wanting to be better. I was never satisfied, and I only had to stop once I had ruined my own health. The pursuit of fame and gain had really made my life so hard, so tiring! If it was not for the revelations of the words of Almighty God, I would never have known that my pursuit of wealth and fame and gain was mistaken and that this is one sort of method by which Satan seriously harms people, and I could see even less clearly Satan’s scheming and sinister motives to corrupt man. After this, the sister read to me several passages of the words of Almighty God, and through her fellowship about the word of God and the different methods and ways in which Satan corrupts mankind, I understood that by constantly seeking fame and gain over these years, I had been overwhelmed by pain, and in the end I had fallen ill. All of this pain was because I did not believe in God or know the truth, and I had been harmed and corrupted by Satan!
Afterward, the sisters often came to communicate to me the words of God. Gradually, I became more and more convinced of God’s work of the last days, I was able to differentiate a little Satan’s ways and methods of harming men, and I understood that the most important thing is to believe in God, read the word of God, seek the truth, and submit to God’s rule and arrangements. Only by living in this way would I receive God’s praise, and only then would my life have most meaning, and be most happy! Soon after, I noticed the situation of one of my female colleagues. In order to earn money, she and her husband came to Japan to work. Even though they had both earned some money, her husband started to have some physical difficulties. He had no choice but to return home for treatment. The result was that he was found to have late-stage cancer. After learning this result, they no longer wanted to come to Japan again to earn money. The whole family was living in fear and sorrow. My colleague’s misfortune made me feel deeply the fragility and preciousness of man’s life. If man did not have life, what was the use in having more money? Can money buy life? One day, I saw the words of Almighty God, which say: “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 Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words allowed me to see even more clearly that Satan uses money and fame to bind, harm and destroy many people’s lives. But we cannot see through Satan’s schemes, and we cannot see that money and fame are Satan’s methods for harming people, for this reason we are sucked into this whirlpool from which we cannot extricate ourselves, in spite of ourselves we are fooled and harmed by Satan. At that moment, I considered how lucky I had been to be able to receive the last days’ work of Almighty God. Had I not read the words of Almighty God, I would never have seen through to the truth of Satan’s use of money and fame to harm people, and sooner or later I would also have been swallowed up by Satan.
While I was unwell, the sisters of the church often called on me. Since I could not move my hips, those sisters would help massage me and do some cupping on me. One of the sisters who was medically trained told me that if I pressed a specific acupuncture point, it would bring relief to my condition. They would also take the initiative and help me with my household chores. They took care of me as if they were my family relatives. As an expatriate in a foreign country, I was without a friend in the world. Today I truly felt moved that these sisters took care of me better than my own relatives would. I thanked them again and again. However, my sisters said to me, “Thousands of years ago, God predestined and selected us. Now, He has arranged for us to be born in the last days and to accept God’s work of the last days. Together, we walk this path. This is the rule of God. We were actually a family a long time ago already. It’s just that we got separated and it wasn’t until now that we found each other.” Once my sisters said this, I could no longer control my emotions and I hugged them with tears running down my face. At this moment, I felt a closeness with my sisters that I cannot describe. My heart was even more grateful to Almighty God.
Unconsciously, I was getting better and better. After experiencing the torment of this instance of sickness, I reflected on how I had been under the control of Satan’s incorrect life perspective. All along, I sought to stand out among my peers and lead an abundant life so that others would admire and envy me. However, I never thought what I would obtain instead was pain and sadness. I did not get even a bit of peace and happiness. Now that I have read the word of God and understood God’s will, I am no longer willing to fight against destiny nor am I willing to seek fame and gain. This is not the life I want. Now, aside from going to work, I frequently attend meetings, read God’s word and share my own experiences and understanding with my brothers and sisters. I also learn to sing hymns and live happily. I have gained a kind of assuredness and peace that I never tasted before in my heart.
One day, during my devotions I saw these words of God: “When one looks back upon the road one has walked, when one recollects every phase of one’s journey, one sees that at every step, whether one’s road was arduous or smooth, God was guiding one’s path, planning it out. It was God’s meticulous arrangements, His careful planning, that led one, unknowingly, to today. To be able to accept the Creator’s sovereignty, to receive His salvation—what great fortune that is! … If one’s attitude toward God’s sovereignty over human fate is active, then when one looks back upon one’s journey, when one truly comes to grips with God’s sovereignty, one will more earnestly desire to submit to everything that God has arranged, will have more of the determination and confidence to let God orchestrate one’s fate, to stop rebelling against God. For one sees that when one does not comprehend fate, when one does not understand God’s sovereignty, when one gropes forward willfully, staggering and tottering, through the fog, the journey is too difficult, too heartbreaking. So when people recognize God’s sovereignty over human fate, the smart ones choose to know it and accept it, to bid farewell to the painful days when they tried to build a good life with their own two hands, instead of continuing to struggle against fate and pursue their so-called life goals in their own manner. When one has no God, when one cannot see Him, when one cannot clearly recognize God’s sovereignty, every day is meaningless, worthless, miserable. Wherever one is, whatever one’s job is, one’s means of living and the pursuit of one’s goals bring one nothing but endless heartbreak and irrelievable suffering, such that one cannot bear to look back. 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” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God is the Creator, and men are His creatures. The life of every person is in the hands of God, under His control and arrangement. All that man obtains in life lies in God’s control, and is preordained by God, man’s rushing about here and there is certainly not a deciding factor. However much God bestows on man, that is how much he can obtain. If God does not bestow it on man, no matter how much he works it will be in vain. It is just like the sayings “Man plants the seed, but Heaven decides the harvest,” and “Man proposes, God disposes.” Therefore, in our lives we should obey the Creator’s control and arrangements. This is the secret to happiness in life, and it is the real life! At the same time, I also understood, that regardless of how much wealth a person has, or how high a position he holds, these are all worldly possessions of a person. He did not bring them with him when he was born and he cannot take them with him after he dies. In devoting himself to the pursuit of fame and gain what he obtains in the end is completely empty, and full of pain, and the final outcome is that he is consumed by Satan. After I had this understanding, I resolved to take on a different way of life, to start anew. I wished only to obey God’s control and arrangements, to hand over to God utterly the second half of my life for God to arrange. I would no longer pursue wealth and status to make others look highly upon me, but instead I would seek to be someone who obeys God, I would live truly for God and live to repay God’s love. Now, I work for three to four hours each day. My boss is Japanese. Although we have language difficulties, my boss takes good care of me. Whenever she tells me to do something she always uses simple words that I can understand, she never gives me any pressure. I know that this is God’s pity on me, and His blessing. I feel very grateful. At the same time I have understood even better that if man listens to God’s word, and submits to God’s control and arrangements, only then will he have a relaxed and joyful life.
Whenever I am alone, I often think back on my own course to come before God. If it were not due to illness I would not have halted my pursuit of money and fame, I would still have been a complete money-making machine, right up until I was cruelly killed off by Satan without even being aware. Satan used fame and gain to harm me, and to cause me to become ill, while Almighty God through my illness led me before Him, enabling me through the word of God to see through Satan as the chief culprit in the corruption of man, and to see clearly the schemes and truth of Satan using money and fame to corrupt man, and to consume man, which led me to see through some of the things of man. I knew from where man had come, and where he was going, I also knew the source of man’s sinning and depravity, and I understood how man should live a meaningful life. God’s words said, “When some people have just begun to believe in God, it is because of illness. This illness is God’s grace for you; without it, you would not believe in God, and if you did not believe in God then you wouldn’t have come this far—and thus even this grace is the love of God” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words are spoken so practically. I have precisely because of disaster acquired blessings! Nowadays, under the supply and guidance of God’s words, I have thrown off the bonds of Satan, and have a correct outlook on life. I have walked onto the right path of life, and my heart has been greatly released. God truly is so wise, so omnipotent! I thank Almighty God for loving me and saving me!