We are all familiar with the word happiness, and furthermore, attaining happiness is everyone’s long-cherished dream. In this materialistic and money-oriented society, many people believe that possessing enough money and living in affluence and luxury is happiness. For the sake of obtaining the so-called happiness, many people are deeply sucked into the vortex of money, without fear of suffering or exhaustion, and some people even lose their precious life. There was an instance of this kind beside me.
My elder sister-in-law, who engaged in a variety of businesses including interior decorating and lumber sales, was a clever, able and glib woman, wholeheartedly pursuing to live an affluent and happy life. In order to achieve this goal, she worked hard from dawn till dusk, and sometimes even had no time for meals. When she came home from work in the evening, she had to cook for the kids and help them with their homework. Afterward, she also had to tally up the day’s sales at the close of the day’s business. Day after day and year after year, she was just like a machine which winds up and keeps running, and even wished she could handle more than one thing at the same time. Because of the long period of being overloaded with work, frequently choking with resentment in business and handling the complicated personal relationships, she had swelling and pain in throat and coughed all the year round. However, because she was busy making money, she had no time to see the doctor, but only depended on medications to maintain the symptoms. Afterward, her illness became more and more serious. She didn’t go to the doctor until the pain was more than she could stand. But, having missed the best time for treatment, she had to undergo an operation for removal of tonsils, and this operation left a scar on her neck, which constantly reminded her of the consequence of struggling for money.
Sadly, in order to fulfill her goal of enjoying a high and extravagant life, she still didn’t stop her hurried footsteps, but dragged her weak and exhausted body to continue her struggle. In this manner, after twenty years’ hard work, she finally lived a happy life which was something admirable, possessing several hundred millions’ worth of assets, having the qualifications to invest in real estate and hold grand auctions, having real estate properties all over the country. And each member of her family of four owned a car. They traveled in different parts of the country for vacations in different seasons every year and tasted the local delicacies. She had gained the happy life she wanted. However, good time didn’t last long. Just when she was ready to enjoy the happy life, she was diagnosed with malignant breast cancer. This sudden grievous news was just like thunder from a clear sky to her, who was immersed in the happiness. Ultimately, She chose to receive chemotherapy treatment, but the after effect totally changed her. She, who was a successful career woman and always in excellent fettle and energetic in the past, looked much older now, always having a sad expression on her pale face, sitting alone silently. The long-term medical treatment resulted in her hair coming off, so she had to wear a wig. These changes hit her hard. She often wept, stared blankly, talked to herself and sighed for her miserable life. But it was too late. The only thing she could do now was waiting for the death to come.
I saw the fact with my own eyes that in order to lead a happy life my elder sister-in-law blindly pursued money and material enjoyments, but eventually she was faced with the loss of her precious life. I could not help but sigh: She paid the painstaking efforts over several decades and even sacrificed her life in exchange for the happiness. Yet the happiness was so temporary, just like the multicolored foam, disappearing without a trace in a flash. At last, what is left is only the torment of sickness, endless heartbreak and despair of life. The price she paid for pursuing the so-called happy life was too high. Nowadays, There are many people around me who are like my sister-in-law, focusing on working hard for the sake of money, ignoring their own health. From them I have seen a social phenomenon, and moreover, a crisis of human existence: When we have no money, we spare no effort to earn money recklessly. Once we have earned some money, we have lost our health, and then we have to spend the money we earn when young on medical care. It is true that we exchange our life for money under the age of forty, then exchange money for our life after forty. We all live in this kind of vicious cycle. As a result, though we have gained plenty of money and lived a happy life that we want, however, our health and life are threatened. So many people die in their prime, so many people are worn out completely, and so many people die from overwork. … Seeing these tragedies strike one after another, I couldn’t help but ask myself: Is having money and living a high and luxurious life really happy life?
I found the answer in God’s words. God says, “Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive one day in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? (Yes.) People’s status is based on how much money they have as is their respectability. 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” (“God Himself, the Unique V”). “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. The more people feel this way, the more they yearn to keep on living; the more people feel this way, the more they dread the approach of death. Only at this point do they truly realize that their lives do not belong to them, are not theirs to control, and that one has no say over whether one lives or dies, that all of this lies outside of one’s control” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). Through God’s words, I recognized: pursuing money and fame is not true happiness. Money and fame can only bring to our hearts temporary joy and satisfaction, and bring to our flesh temporary enjoyment and pleasures. But when death comes upon us, the happiness that we expend a lifetime of efforts to obtain disappeared in the blink of an eye, without a trace. Clearly, the idea that as long as we have money we can live comfortably, become respectable and attain happiness is completely a worthless, meaningless and imaginary goal. Actually, the practical value of the money we spend our entire life pursuing is not so omnipotent as we imagine; it can only provide the needs of our daily life and solve the problem of food and clothing. Regardless of how important we think money is, it seems so feeble in the face of illness and death, just like waste paper, unable to be exchanged for life, nor able to prolong our lives, and nor able to allow us to live happily. Just like my sister-in-law, she spent her lifetime pursuing the so-called happiness, finally gained both fame and wealth, and led the high life, but these worldly possessions could be exchanged neither for her life nor for her health.
I was like my sister-in-law in the past, under the influence of this evil society, wholeheartedly pursuing money and material enjoyment, wishing I could lead a happy life admired by all. However, I didn’t have her strong resolution nor her good fortune. Though expending a lot of effort, I got little reward. Thus, I complained about the injustice of my fate many times. It was not until I believed in God and read the words of God that I knew it was not because of my misfortune, but because that all of this was God’s ordination and protection. I thought if I were as intelligent and capable as she, I would have pursued money and fame, unwilling to let them go. Ultimately, today I would have the same tragic outcome as hers. If I had terminal disease, how could I, experience His work and pursue the truth and life? Only then did I see that my having no enough intelligence and resolution was God’s protection of me.
Later, I saw two passages of God’s words, “Only if one knows God and has the truth does he live in the light; and only when his view of the world and his view of life change does he change fundamentally. When he has a life goal and comports himself according to the truth; when he absolutely submits to God and lives by; when he feels assured and brightened deep in his soul; when his heart is free of darkness; and when he lives completely freely and unrestrained in God’s presence—only then does he live a true human life and become a person possessing truth. Besides, all the truths you have are from God’s word and from God Himself. The Ruler of the entire universe and all things—God Most High—approves of you, as a real man living the true human life. What could be more meaningful than God’s approval? Such is a person who has the truth” (“How to Know Man’s Nature”). “And what is the happiness felt by believers in God like? What are the differences? Look at how, when they believe in God, most people stop pursuing wealth, they stop pursuing success, or a career, or becoming famous in the world. Instead, they live in obscurity, they live simple lives, and have no great demands toward their quality of life. There are even those who are satisfied with nothing more than being warm and well-fed. … After these people begin believing in God, to a greater or lesser extent, in the depths of their hearts they feel that nothing brings them greater happiness than following God, and that this happiness cannot be replaced by anything in the material world. There are even those who have tried; the years they spent toiling in the outside world were tiring and hard, they earned a little money, and enjoyed themselves, but what’s the result? They lived without dignity, and lived in a way that became more and more exhausting, and said to themselves, ‘It would be better to die than live like this!’ They had already seen through these things. It is not that they only began believing in God when they had no other option, but that they had truly felt that nothing brings greater comfort to their hearts, and there is no greater thing in life, than following God, walking the path of pursuing the truth, and expending for and devoting one’s life to God; that nothing brings greater happiness than gaining God and gaining the truth, nothing makes people’s hearts more steadfast. They had already felt this happiness, and it was not something they had imagined” (“Only With the Truth as Their Life Can People Live a Life of Value”). Only by continuously pray-reading these words did I realize that we human’s true happiness comes from God. When we believe in God and live before Him, no matter what difficulties and dangerous situations we encounter in our life, we firmly believe that we have God’s care and protection, and God holds sovereignty over and arranges everything. So we will no longer be unable to eat or sleep well because of the present troubles, nor will we deal with our immediate problems on our own. Rather, we give all to God and let God rule over and arrange all these. At this point, our hearts will be filled with peace and ease, as well as confidence and dependability. Such feeling is true happiness. When we believe in and follow God, obtaining supply and watering of the truth from God, then we know the disposition and being of the Creator of the heavens and earth, know the true meaning of life, and know what is good and what is evil and the difference between black and white…. Under the teaching of God’s words, we find the direction of life and know the standard and the path of shunning evil and following the good. Therefore, our hearts no longer feel lost and helpless, no longer drift and wander aimlessly. We find the true goal to pursue. Only this spiritual comfort is the genuine happiness. When we believe in and follow God, even if some day facing the threat of death, we won’t fear and despair because we deeply know that everyone’s fate is in the control of God’s hand, the life and death of every one are determined by God, and both man’s life and death have their own significance. As a result, we only wish to place our fate in His hand, and submit to everything He arranges. Therefore, our hearts will not be bound by death and we will face death calmly. This feeling can neither be brought by money nor be replaced by material things. So, only when our hearts are liberated by the truth and we live easily and steadily because of the truth can we experience the feeling of happiness. As we humans were created by God, only by receiving His salvation, coming to His house, following Him to walk the path of pursuing the truth, and gaining the truth can we obtain true happiness. And only in this way can we live a valuable and meaningful life and be satisfied to the uttermost physically and spiritually.
I saw many brothers and sisters around me, before they believed in God, had experienced life’s ups and downs in the world, fought for survival and sought money and once lived in luxury. Yet in the end, everything was all in vain. After coming to believe in God, we found the source of happiness in the words of God, willing to live by God’s words and obey all His orchestrations and arrangements, no longer living within the bondage of Satan and bound by money and fame, having truly experienced peace and happiness deep in our heart.