God Led Me Through the Days of Toiling for Fame and Gain

By Yonggan

I strived to be a strong one in life.

Everyone hopes they are strong in others’ eyes, and I was not an exception. When at school, once, I was not at the top five in an exam, and I felt so sad. After that, I was more diligent in my study to try to come out first in the next examinations. Whenever I heard the villagers compliment me in front of my parents for my success at school and gaining glory for my parents, I felt very proud and glorious, so I studied harder.

God Led Me Through the Days of Toiling for Fame and Gain

After stepping into the world, I paid more attention to my own image and always strove for the best at work. At that time, I had just gone to work in a food products factory. In order not to fall behind the others, I secretly made the inward determination that I must pull my socks up to surpass others. After a period of hard work, I achieved results in my work. Both in the quality of the products and in the performance, I surpassed all my colleagues; I also gained my leader’s recognition. My leader often took my product as a sample to let my colleagues learn more from me. Sometimes when leaders of my county came to inspect our factory, my leader would also arrange for me to sit on the first row. Because I was appreciated and recognized by my leader, my vanity was greatly satisfied. But behind the temporary vanity, I must pay a great price for it. During Chinese New Year and other holidays, the leader would require us to work overtime and the working hours were 5 or 6 hours longer than usual. Most of my colleagues were utterly exhausted and asked for leave. However, in order to maintain my performance and not to fall behind the others, I still insisted on working every day as if I were a robot. Due to long work, I often didn’t get much sleep and thus I was so tired that I had a sore back. Sometimes, when I was utterly tired, I would think: I work so hard just to strive to do well and get praise from others. But when I truly obtain my leader’s and colleagues’ high regard and praise and earn more money than others, I’m not as happy as I thought. Instead, I feel weary in body and mind. Why do I do this?

I suddenly had nephritis, which made me feel grieved and heart-broken.

One morning, I suddenly found that my eyes were puffy. At that time, I thought it was caused by working overtime and staying up late, so I didn’t focus more on it. But later my hands and feet also began to grow swollen, and I felt weak throughout my body and even got breathless as I climbed the stairs. I thought: Do I have any illnesses? How about I ask for leave to see a doctor. But then I also thought: I’m so young and usually feel well, so my illness shouldn’t be serious. What’s more, if I ask for leave just because of this small illness, won’t my work be delayed? If it causes my performance to fall behind others, what will my leader and colleagues think of me? … When I thought of this, I decided not to go to the hospital.

Another two days later, I really couldn’t hold on. Only at that time did I ask for leave to go to the hospital. After doing some tests, the doctor said, “You have nephritis. You should be hospitalized at once. Otherwise, your illness will get more and more serious and the outcome is unimaginable.” I had no choice but to stop busying myself working. After half a month in the hospital, I was little better. Then I was transferred to a provincial hospital and was treated for a period of time. Unexpectedly, I was no better but rather grew worse. The liquid waste in my body couldn’t be drained away and I grew swollen all over my body. I felt awful, as if the water inside me was ready to burst out of my skin. For the sake of deadening the ache and managing the illness, the doctor let me take the hormone pills. However, after a period of time, the side effects from hormone medicine use drove me to insanity; sometimes when I got dressed, I put on an outer waistcoat under my thermal underwear. Seeing this, my mother looked worried and even my father who was always strong also secretly shed tears several times. Looking at my old parents and the bottles of medicine on the bedside table, I felt I was in a state of desperation. I continuously asked myself, “I’m just in my twenties. How can I have this type of illness? Do I work hard and try with all my might just to be exchanged for such a result?”

The Gospel crossed my path and kindled the light of hope.

Just when I was in tremendous suffering and didn’t hold onto any hope for life, my mother preached God’s gospel of the last days to me. She told me to pray to God more and rely on Him, for only He is our only reliance. I who was miserable and helpless felt as though I’d been thrown a lifeline, so I called out to Almighty God my mother believes in to save me again and again. Miraculously, after prayers I didn’t feel so much pain and nor did I feel that hopeless in my heart. The pain of my body was also alleviated. Afterward, when I convalesced at home, whenever I was free, I would read God’s words, and pray to Him, hoping to get better soon. But after a period of time, my illness returned. The doctor said that, this kind of illness was the most refractory and the most difficult; every time it returned, it was very dangerous and would even endanger my life. Once I thought that I would be like this in this life and that I would lose my life at any time, my tears flowed down unceasingly. My mother comforted me by my side, “Don’t worry. We have God. We should rely on Him.” Her words reminded me so I prayed to God, “Oh, God! Whether my illness can be cured or not, I will commit it to You. My life and death are in Your hands. Please protect me and remove the timidness from my heart so that I can obey before You….” After praying, I recalled Job’s experience my mother had told me. At that time, Job’s body became covered with sores. He was miserable and weak, but he didn’t deny God. Instead, he still maintained his faith in and his obedience to God. Finally he gained God’s approval and God doubly blessed him. Pondering Job’s experience, I had confidence. I was determined to obey God’s arrangement and entrust my illness to His hands instead of complaining. After I came back home from the hospital, I normally attended meetings and prayed. A month later, when I went to the hospital for re-examinations, what surprised me was that the result actually showed that everything was normal. Though the doctor said I still needed to take hormone pills to manage my illness, this experience allowed me to have some understanding of God’s almightiness. I kept thanking God in my heart.

Under the guidance of God’s words, my soul awakened.

One day, I saw the following God’s words, “In truth, out of the myriad things in God’s creation, man is the lowest. Though he is the master of all things, man is the only one among them that is subject to Satan’s trickery, the only one that falls prey in endless ways to its corruption. Man has never had sovereignty over himself. Most people live in the foul place of Satan, and suffer its derision; it teases them this way and that till they are half alive, enduring every vicissitude, every hardship in the human world. After toying with them, Satan puts an end to their destiny. And so people go through their whole lives in a daze of confusion, never once enjoying the good things that God has prepared for them, but instead being damaged by Satan and left in tatters.” “The heart of man is constantly possessed by demons and so he cannot act for the sake of God. Rather, he constantly journeys to and fro for the flesh, and profits nothing in the end. It is for these reasons that man has constant troubles and afflictions. Are these not the torments of Satan? Is this not corruption of the flesh? … What can you gain by living for the sake of your flesh and toiling for fame and fortune?

From God’s words, I understood: God has proper arrangements for the fate of each of us in life. But after we are corrupted by Satan, we’re not willing to obey God’s sovereignty and predestination. On the contrary, we live by the life principles Satan has instilled in us and try with all our might so as to get fame and gain. But in the end, either we are riddled with disease or we live in emptiness and helplessness. Finally, we are tormented by Satan to a state and then we will end our lives. I reflected on myself: Because I was fooled by these rules for survival, such as ‘As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face,’ and ‘A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies,’ I did my best to pursue others thinking highly of and praising me. So I often worked overtime and worked hard. Moreover, I was willing to do so no matter how painful or exhausting it was. Even when I felt discomfort, I still forced myself to continue working. Afterward, by my own efforts, I obtained others’ high regard and praise and temporarily satisfied my cravings of the flesh. But what I gained was so hollow before my illness. How many people looked highly upon and praised me couldn’t reduce my pain of mind at all, much less save my life. On the contrary, when I was harmed by Satan to the point that I lost hope in life and fell into a dead end, it was God that allowed me to learn to rely on and look up to Him in the face of illness and gave me the hope to go on living by letting my mother and the brothers and sisters of our church communicate His words to me again and again. Thinking of God’s love and salvation for me, I felt greatly relieved and only then did I realize what is the most worthy pursuit. In the days that followed, every day I read God’s words and prayed to God, begging Him to protect me from the control of my illness.

The side effects of the hormone pills were so strong that my entire person was out of shape: My body kept getting fat; my face became bigger; shaggy hairs sprouted from my temples; I had sprouted a beard. When I walked, my legs were weak and moreover ached me painfully as if needles were stabbing them. I was afraid in my heart, thinking: If I continued taking the hormone medicine, maybe it could result in injury to my legs or perhaps my legs would be paralyzed … Thinking of this, I decided to rely on God to gradually lower my drug dose and in the end stop taking the hormone medicine. Thanks to God’s protection, my illness didn’t get more serious owing to stopping the hormone medicine. Instead, all the symptoms that I had due to taking the hormone pills disappeared. My entire person felt refreshed and my body gradually got back to normal.

One day, I met a friend on the street. He looked at me in surprise, and said: “Do you know? Xiaoting had the same illness as you and it wasn’t as serious as yours. Unfortunately, she’s passed away while you’ve miraculously recovered from your illness. You’re so lucky!” At his words, the feeling of gratitude toward God in my heart arose of itself. I knew it was not luck but God’s love and protection that saved me. If it hadn’t been for God’s salvation, according to my condition, I couldn’t have lived to the present. At that time, I even more felt that life was indeed precious and also felt that only pursuing the truth and pursuing to know God had value and meaning.

I made a resolution to become a new person.

God Led Me Through the Days of Toiling for Fame and Gain2

Later on, I saw God’s words say, “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. … 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.

Thinking back to the past, I had ridden a bumpy road. In order to obtain others’ high regard and praise, I paid all my energy and a painstaking price and thought I would live happily in this way. But unexpectedly, I was burdened by illness in the end. When I was in pain and despair, it was God’s words that led and guided me to realize: I pursued fame and gain and lived by satanic laws of survival of “As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face,” and “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies.” Finally, what it brought myself was only endless pain and sadness. I understood that all these were Satan making me suffer and that pursuing these things was of no benefit to me. So I was unwilling to fight against my destiny or seek fame and gain. I wished only to pursue the truth and to pursue to know God, and only this is the happiest and the most meaningful thing.

Now, I do my best to fulfill my duties in the church. I attend meetings, communicate, and share my experiences and understanding with my brothers and sisters. Every day I live peacefully and happily. All the glory be to God!

 

You may be interested in reading more on our topic page about Faith and Life, or in the articles below.

»     What Is the Meaning of Life?

»     Money Is Not My Master

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