From the Highest Heights to the Lowest of the Low
My family was quite well-off when I was a child and, after I graduated from college, I managed to get a job in a work unit with some pretty good benefits and an excellent salary. After I got married, my husband and I invested in a dairy farm. The cows could produce more than 500 liters of milk a day, there was a good margin on cows’ milk at that time, and we were able to make a lot of money. At that time, my family was considered to be pretty wealthy in the local area. All my relatives and friends admired me and would often come to my home to pay visits and give me gifts. I felt like I was living a fantastic, dignified life.
Just when I was immersed in the joy of success, an unforeseen misfortune came upon my family. In 2007, my father suddenly developed a cerebral embolism. I took him to the best hospital and spent a large sum of money, but 13 months later, my father took his leave of us forever. Before I’d had time to recover from my grief at my father’s death, a month after my father died, my husband was suddenly diagnosed with lung cancer and had to have an operation immediately. He was in hospital for less than a month and his treatment bill was over 100, 000 yuan. It wasn’t long after that the news broke the story about the Sanlu poisoned milk powder. The government ordered all milk powder companies to cease production and rectify their production processes, and therefore all dairy farms found it hard to sell their milk. Because no one was buying milk from dairy cows, all we could do was pour it all away. My family’s business prospects were looking increasingly bleak, and we lost a lot of money.
Faced with one setback after another, I felt distressed and helpless, as though my life had suddenly come plummeting down from heaven and had landed in hell. I had to keep spending money on my husband’s treatment and the business still needed capital to keep it ticking along. Very soon, our savings were all gone, and I had no choice but to ask to borrow money from my relatives. To my surprise, as soon as they found out our financial situation, they all found excuses to get out of lending me any. Only a few friends agreed to lend me some money to help me through this tough time. I was so disappointed to see how indifferent the people around me were being, and I thought back to when we had lots of money. Not a day had gone by without those same relatives driving over to see us and give us gifts, but now that we had no money, they were acting as though they didn’t care at all. The words “In time of prosperity, friends will be plenty; in time of adversity, not one amongst twenty” had proved themselves true indeed! People often say, “Money is first,” “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” and this is so true. With money, you can not only live a wonderful, dignified life, but everyone around admires you and looks up to you; without money, however, even your relatives and friends look down on you and shun you. And so, I made a silent resolution: “I will work hard to earn money, strive for my own sake, as only when I’m rich will people look up to me, and only that kind of life is a dignified life.”
I Make a Comeback, but the Way Is Bitter
Because my husband was still sick, he couldn’t work, and I had to shoulder the entire burden of our family. I not only had to go to work, but I had to look after everyone in our family, young and old, as well. Later, the Sanlu poisoned milk powder incident calmed down, and our dairy farm business picked up again. So as not to disrupt the business, I lived near to the dairy farm and began work at 2am each morning. At 4.30am, I would drive the milk to market, then hurry off to start work at my work unit, and in the evenings, I still had all the housework to do. I was often so busy that I neglected meals and I was only able to sleep around three or four hours a night—I worked like a machine. Although living this way often exhausted me in both body and mind and I never seemed to have enough strength to do everything I wanted to do, so as to be able to live life on the top, I warned myself: “I must keep going. No one must be allowed to look down on me, and as long as I’m making money then I can hold my head up high.”
Several years later, my exhaustion finally began to bear fruit. Our home life was gradually getting better and our son had married and started his own business. Our neighbors, relatives and friends looked at me with approval in their eyes, all of them praising me for being so capable. When I heard them say such things, I felt as though all my years of toil had been worth it, and I felt even more strongly how great a life with money is! But just at that time, my husband’s lung cancer returned, and we had to spend a great deal of money on his treatment again. I began to work even harder. I strongly believed that as long as I kept working hard, then I could keep earning money. But no matter how hard I worked, the money I earned never seemed to be enough. I didn’t want to see the look of disdain on people’s faces by asking to borrow money from them, so I kept working even after I’d retired.
In 2016, my husband suddenly became sick again, and I spent a lot of money using my connections to find a doctor and paying for his treatment, but after all of this effort, there was not much money left in the kitty. The stress of life, coupled with my husband’s unstable mood swings caused by his illness, which meant that he often lost his temper with me, made me feel oppressed and pained. So as not to be looked down on by anyone, however, all I could do was bury my pain right down deep in the bottom of my heart, and keep going, keep striving. Later, I heard that wages were higher in foreign countries and that one could earn a lot quite quickly, and so I decided to leave China to earn money. At first, I went to Japan, but I discovered that working there was very hard and the wages were not so great, and so I moved on to the US. I found a job very soon after arriving in the US and, although the job was very hard, the wages were high. So as to earn money as quickly as possible, I would seldom take a break, and I worked from dawn till dusk every day until I was completely and utterly spent of all energy. During that time, I would often think: “Why is life so exhausting and hard? Do we live just to make as much money as we can? What meaning is there to this way of life?”
I Have Gone Astray but I Hear the Glad Tidings, and I Finally Get Off the Treadmill
In November 2016, I was fortunate enough to accept God’s gospel of the last days. At one gathering with my brothers and sisters, I saw these words of God that say: “The fate of man is controlled by the hands of God. You are incapable of controlling yourself: Despite man always rushing and busying himself on his own behalf, he remains incapable of controlling himself. If you could know your own prospects, if you could control your own fate, would you still be a created being?” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination”). “Because people do not recognize God’s orchestrations and God’s sovereignty, they always face fate defiantly and with a rebellious attitude, and they always want to cast off God’s authority and sovereignty and the things fate has in store, hoping in vain to change their current circumstances and alter their fate. But they can never succeed and are thwarted at every turn. This struggle, which takes place deep in one’s soul, brings profound pain of the sort that carves itself into one’s bones, as one fritters away their life all the while. What is the cause of this pain? Is it because of God’s sovereignty, or because a person was born unlucky? Obviously, neither is true. At bottom, it is caused by the paths people take, the ways they choose to live their lives” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
Through fellowshiping about God’s words with my brothers and sisters, I came to understand that, as human beings, our fates are in God’s hands, and that God has predestined all such things as how wealthy we will be in life and whether our families will be rich or poor, and that these things cannot be changed by our own hard work. And yet I had not recognized God’s sovereignty and had been living by the fallacious views of Satan, such as “One’s destiny is in his own hand,” and “Man can create a pleasant homeland with his own hands.” I was always wanting to earn money through my own hard work so that I could stand out from the crowd and live life on the top, and make others look up to me and admire me. In particular, after the misfortunes that my family suffered, I began to work and toil even harder so as not to be looked down on by others, and I thought of every possible way I could to make money. I’d wanted to regain our fortune, but in the end, I just exhausted myself in body and mind without realizing my dreams. This allowed me to see that we human beings are simply unable to control our fates. We live such painful lives because we don’t recognize God’s sovereignty, because we cannot submit to the arrangements God makes for our fates, and because we always want to rely on our own hard work to change our fates. At the same time, I also came to understand that, as a created being, I would only be able to live peacefully and free by submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements.
Although I knew that our fates are in God’s hands, and I was willing to submit to His sovereignty and arrangements, because I had no real understanding of this aspect of the truth, I still involuntarily wished to rely on my own hard work to earn money. This was because I believed that, in this society where money rules supreme, only by having money would I be able to be held in high esteem by others and walk with my head held high. To have no money means to have no status amongst other people, and one will only be looked down on. Therefore, although I had accepted God’s work of the last days, I was still constantly working every day, and when my sisters asked me to spare a little bit of time to attend church gatherings, I didn’t want to do it, as I was afraid that it would have an impact on the money I’d earn.
In late November 2017, I took advantage of some time off work to get my local driving license, and I planned to go back to work the next day, so I found a hotel to stay in overnight. The bathroom of this hotel was on the second floor, and after I’d showered and was coming back down the stairs, I accidentally slipped and fell down the staircase. I instantly felt an unbearable pain in my lower back, and I couldn’t move. I thought: “I’ve really done it this time! I’ve broken my back for sure. I used to have a serious lumbar disc protrusion, so won’t I now be crippled? I have no family here. What will I do if I really am crippled?” Thinking this, I became very anxious and afraid, and I felt hopeless and helpless. The wife of the hotel manager took me to hospital and, after examining me, the doctor said, “For someone of your age to fall so hard, you’ve actually only dislocated your coccyx and you have a small laceration. You’ve been really lucky!” I was so moved to hear the doctor say this, and in my heart I kept thanking God. I knew it was God who had protected me, otherwise I could easily have become crippled!
Later, a church sister came to see me, and I told her all about what had happened. After listening to my tale, she read me a passage of God’s words: “Where you will go every day, what you will do, who or what you will encounter, what you will say, what will happen to you—can any of this be predicted? People cannot foresee all these occurrences, much less control how these situations develop. In life, these unforeseeable events happen all the time; they are an everyday occurrence. These daily vicissitudes and the ways they unfold, or the patterns they follow, are constant reminders to humanity that nothing happens at random, that the process of each event’s occurrence, each event’s ineluctable nature, cannot be shifted by human will. Every occurrence conveys an admonition from the Creator to mankind, and it also sends the message that human beings cannot control their own fates. Every event is a rebuttal to humanity’s wild, futile ambition and desire to take its fate into its own hands” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). The sister then fellowshiped with me, saying, “God’s good will is behind what happened to us, and there is a lesson for us to learn! Although we believe in God and, through reading His words, we understand that God rules and administers the fate of mankind, we have been too deeply poisoned by the fallacious views of Satan. We have no true faith in and are not truly submissive to the sovereignty of God, and we still want to earn money and change our lives by relying on our own hard work. Money completely occupies our hearts, and we take no thought to reading God’s words or attending gatherings; we grow more and more distant from God, we lose our normal relationship with God, and then Satan takes advantage of this situation to fool us and harm us, trying to make us totally shun God and betray God for the sake of making money, and lose our chance to attain God’s salvation in the last days. God knows of Satan’s malicious intent and He permits such things to happen to you so that you may thoroughly understand that living by Satan’s fallacious ideas and views can only cause you to be controlled and harmed by Satan and to travel down a path of no return. At the same time, God also wants to use this kind of situation to make you truly see that you can control not even one thing that happens to you in a day, and to make you see that you therefore cannot possibly control your own fate. Sister, we must see through Satan’s deceitful schemes and we must understand the painstaking efforts God goes to to save us. We should use more of our energy in reading God’s words and pursuing the truth, for only by understanding the truth can we develop true discrimination and knowledge of the fallacious ideas and views which exist within us, utterly reject Satan and live before God….”
After listening to God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, I finally understood that this thing that had befallen me was God saving me and that hidden within it was God’s love! Although I believed in God, I had never focused on pursuing the truth and I had no discrimination concerning the fallacious views of Satan. Instead, I had concentrated wholeheartedly on making money in order to make others hold me in high esteem, my heart had grown distant from God, and I had unknowingly fallen prey to the temptations of Satan, and it had fooled and harmed me. What had happened to me also allowed me to see that our fates are in God’s hands, and that we ourselves have no control over our fates whatsoever. Had it not been for God’s protection, I would perhaps have been crippled by my fall, and then what use would any money be, no matter how much I’d earned? Money could not buy back my health! Once I’d come to understand these things, I decided that I would believe in God in earnest from that day on, that I would read God’s words more, attend gatherings and focus on pursuing the truth. Over the time that followed, as I gathered with my brothers and sisters and we fellowshiped about God’s words, I gradually came to understand some truths and I felt an incredible sense of being at ease. What I didn’t understand, however, was why, when I knew perfectly well that our fates are ruled by God, was I not able to let money go?
I Find the Root Cause of My Pain
Later, I read God’s words, “‘Money makes the world go round’ is a philosophy of Satan, and it prevails among the whole of mankind, in every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been instilled in the heart of every single person. From the very beginning, people did not accept this saying, but then they gave it tacit acceptance when they came into contact with real life, and began to feel that these words were in fact true. Is this not a process of Satan corrupting man? … So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Do you feel that you could not survive in this world without any money, that even one day without money would be impossible? People’s status is based on how much money they have, as is the respect they command. The backs of the poor are bent in shame, while the rich enjoy their high status. They stand tall and proud, speaking loudly and living arrogantly. What does this saying and trend bring to people? Is it not true that many people make any sacrifice in the pursuit of money? Do many people not lose their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Moreover, do many people not lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Is this not a loss for people? (Yes.) Is Satan not sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Is this not a malicious trick? As you progress from objecting to this popular saying to finally accepting it as truth, your heart falls completely into Satan’s grasp, and therefore you inadvertently come to live by the saying. To what degree has this saying affected you? You might know the true way, and you might know the truth, but you are powerless to pursue it. You may clearly know that God’s words are the truth, but you are unwilling to pay the price or to suffer in order to gain the truth. Instead, you would rather sacrifice your own future and destiny to resist God to the very end. No matter what God says, no matter what God does, no matter whether you understand how deep and how great God’s love for you is, you would stubbornly insist on having your own way and pay the price for this saying. That is to say, this saying already controls your behavior and your thoughts, and you would rather have your fate controlled by it than give it all up. Does not the fact that people act in this way, that they are controlled by this saying and manipulated by it, illustrate that Satan’s corrupting of man is effective? Is this not the philosophy and corrupt disposition of Satan taking root in your heart? If you do this, has Satan not achieved its goal? (Yes)” (“God Himself, the Unique V”).
What God’s words revealed was precisely how I was feeling! I had always believed that, with money, one had everything, that one would be held in high esteem by others and that one could live a dignified life, and that without money, one could have no place in society and would be looked down on by other people. Especially when misfortune came to my family and I experienced the indifference of the people around me, I came to recognize even more clearly such rules of logic, such heresies and absurd theories of Satan as “Money is first,” “Man will do anything to get rich,” and “Money makes the world go round.” Under the domination of these satanic axioms and absurd theories, I used money as the standard by which my ability to hold my head high in society was measured. So as not to be looked down on by others and to once again live life on the top, I had rushed all about and worked from dawn till dusk. When I managed to make some money and my life got a bit better, I then wanted to make even more money, and when I couldn’t make much money in China, I went abroad to work and earn money. I had simply turned into a money-making machine, feeling exhausted in body in mind and experiencing unspeakable suffering every single day. Although I had managed to make some money by working exhaustively for several years, I didn’t feel happy at all. After I began to believe in God, through attending meetings and reading God’s words, I came to realize that whether someone is rich in life or poor is all in God’s hands and that we should submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. And yet I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to make even more money and I had absolutely no intention to pursue the truth. At that moment, I finally realized that these axioms, these absurd theories of Satan were just lies intended to deceive us. Satan uses our education, the effect society has on us and the theories of great and famous people to instill these axioms and absurd theories into our minds. Over time, they become our lives, driving us to constantly pursue wealth, fame and fortune, driving us to sell our lives for money, so much so that, in order to obtain money, fame and fortune, we shun God, we rebel against God, we defy God and, in the end, we are devoured by Satan and we completely lose God’s salvation in the last days. Satan truly is so evil!
Later words of God, “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 live on, exempt from death. But only when they are about to die 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 may be, no matter how lofty their position, all are equally poor and insignificant 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”). God’s words truly say how things really are! We expend the time and the energy of our lives to make money, but all money brings us is transient material pleasures and a few words of praise from other people—money simply cannot buy health or life! Thinking back to when my father became ill, I had spent so much money to find the best hospital for his treatment, but in the end I still couldn’t save his life; when my husband became sick, I practically worked myself to death and was still unable to relieve him of the pain of his illness. And then there are the many millionaires, the dignitaries and the TV and movie stars who are all rich, all famous and who all have status in society. They all have the admiration and respect of many, and yet some of them get cancer and die at a young age, some seek stimulation because of the emptiness in their spirits, and they begin to do drugs, and some end up killing themselves, and so on. At that moment, I saw that no matter how wealthy one is or how high one ranks in society, it is all empty. In the face of death, money is just like scrap paper—completely worthless. I gave thanks to the salvation of God for allowing me to see from the revelations of His words the underhanded means and methods Satan employs to use money to corrupt and harm people. If God had not allowed me to see this, then I would still be madly tearing around in pursuit of money, being fooled and hurt by Satan until death, without any clue about what was actually going on. Thinking these thoughts, I became filled with gratitude toward God, and I came before God to pray: “O God! I mustn’t believe in the lies of Satan anymore and ruin my own life just for the sake of earning money. O God! I wish to place my fate and my future in Your hands and be able to submit to Your sovereignty and arrangements. From this day forth, I wish to do my best to pursue the truth and live out a worthwhile, meaningful life.” After praying, I felt a tremendous sense of peace and release in my heart.
I Experience God’s Love and Embark on a New Direction
Afterward, I would read God’s words and actively attend church gatherings whenever I had time. Every day, my brothers and sisters came to see me and look after me. They cooked rice and soup for me, and they took me to hospital for regular checkups once a week. Seeing them behave this way toward me moved me a great deal. Were it not because of God’s love, who would have been willing to look after me like that without getting anything in return, and who would have looked after me so carefully and attentively? I thought, “God is always by my side and He is my help and support at need.” After my fall, my relatives back in China were unable to help me and the friends I had in the US had only asked how I was. It was only God who had been by my side at all times, watching over me. Not only did God arrange for my church sisters to come and read God’s words to me and fellowship with me about His will, thus enabling me to have discrimination about Satan’s malicious intent, but I also came to have some understanding about the painstaking efforts God goes to to save me. Through the revelations of His words, God also enabled me to see through to the factual truth of how Satan uses money to corrupt and harm us. God also allowed me to thoroughly understand that the pursuit of wealth, fame and fortune was the path of death, I corrected my wrong views on the pursuit of money, I came to have the resolve to forsake and reject Satan, and I found even more motivation to diligently pursue the truth. Now, God had once again orchestrated my church brothers and sisters to help me and look after me, and to gather with me to fellowship about God’s words…. God’s love for man is a faithful love, it is unconditional, and He asks for nothing in return. I came to feel the warmth that comes from being part of a family and, although I was in a foreign country, with God beside me I did not feel lonely. I was now feeling happy every day, and I felt so fortunate to have been able to come before God. Thinking back over the time since I began to believe in God, I realized that I had paid no attention to attending church gatherings nor to reading God’s words, but instead had just devoted all my efforts to making money. And yet God did not give up on trying to save me, and this moved me so much. I made a resolution: “From now on, I will absolutely do my utmost to pursue the truth, focus on seeking God’s will in all things and practice the truth to satisfy God. I am determined to be worthy of God’s love and salvation!”
Three months later, I had almost entirely recovered from my fall. When I went to the hospital for my checkup, the doctors were all amazed at how quickly I had recovered from my injuries. I kept thanking God from the bottom of my heart! After these experiences, I came to truly appreciate that no amount of money can buy either peace or happiness, much less can it buy life. Only by submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements and by following the life path of pursuing the truth under the guidance of God’s words can we live worthwhile, meaningful lives! Thanks be to God for leading me to find my direction in life, and for preventing me from pursuing money all the way to my grave!