By Xingfu, France
Everyone desires happiness, but happiness is always far away from us in real life, and achieving the true happiness is even an extravagant wish for us.
I yearned for a happy marriage as a girl. When I reached the age of marriage, many guys chased after me. I chose my classmate who lived in my village. For I was attracted by his good humanity when I was at school. Since I knew him pretty well, I felt confident about our future. Though no one except my father wanted us to be together, I still married him.
Unexpectedly, after my marriage, my mother-in-law disliked me because I was slightly built and had difficulty in field work and business. She didn’t treat me as her family at all, and sometimes even got sarcastic with me. I often felt so aggrieved that I’d hide under the quilt shedding tears. Besides, my husband, who had been very good to me, gradually changed. He often went out early and returned late, and when I talked to him, he always said, “Quiet! I am very tired.” After we had a child, my mother-in-law didn’t allow me to take care of my child and asked me to do the housework. I was loath to tear myself from my son, but for my family to live happily, I felt it was worthwhile enduring some hardships.
Later, my husband returned home later and later. When I asked him where he went, he just put me off with his business but never talked to me in detail. I didn’t know that he was in debt to the extent of more than 100,000 yuan until the creditor came to my home. Once, I urged my husband to stop fooling around for I had no idea how to deal with the creditor. But I had scarcely said a few words when he had a row with me, and he even beat me, which made me very sad. When I told this to my parents-in-law, they chose to accept the face of my husband and find fault with me. To save my parents from worrying, I didn’t pour my sadness to them. I often threw myself into the bed crying with a grievance, and even thought of death. But at the thought of my little son and old parents, I lost the courage to die. For the sake of my parents and son, I endured all the sufferings silently and told myself: I must pull myself together and live tenaciously.
However, the reality was crueller than I thought. When I was thirty years old, my parents passed away within 7 days of each other, which hit me hard and caused much pain to me. Thinking of my dead parents, my idle husband, and my cruel parents-in-law, I didn’t know how to face my future life. I was bathed in tears and my son was the only hope that kept me living.
Not long after, I opened up a barbershop to gain a livelihood. Since then, the creditor often came to my shop to demand payment of my husband’s debts. In order to keep my family in peace, I borrowed some money from my elder brother and repaid all the debts. Despite of my sacrifice, my husband didn’t have the slightest change but instead became worse and worse. He did nothing good but just fooled about all day long and often came to my shop asking me for money. I worked so hard to earn money, while he spent money like water. When would this hard life end? Later, I decided to not give him money any longer. Unexpectedly, since I didn’t give him money, he incited my son to treat me coldly and throw the clothes I bought for him on the floor. Faced with my son’s misunderstanding and my husband’s shamelessness, I was heartbroken and tearless. All my efforts at marriage and family were repaid with hurts and pains instead of a happy life. I no longer wanted to live in this way, and finally I divorced with my husband.
After my divorce, I no longer pursued a happy marriage but poured my whole heart into money and enjoyment. In 2012, I came to France. I thought I would live a happy life in this richly endowed and democratic country. However, when my fellow villager took me into his accommodation, I heard at the table that some people earned money through prostitution. I hated earning money in this way, and thus asked my fellow villager to find me a proper job. Later, he found me a job in the country. The working conditions there were dreadful, and I was often bullied and subjected to abuse for some little mistakes, which hurt my pride badly. Because I didn’t know anybody in this strange land, I could only taste the bitter by myself. Once I saw a woman with black hair like a Chinese, and then I hurriedly spoke to her, but she didn’t understand at all. Turns out that she was a Thai. Whether it was the language, environment, or even the perfume in the air, they were all strange to me and made me feel hard to adapt to the life here, but in order to survive, I forced myself to endure all the sufferings.
So many times did I feel lonely and miserable but have no place to say. Once I found a tree which looked like the Chinese scholar tree, and it gave me a warm feeling. Since then, when sad I would come to that tree and pour out my grief to it. Later, I wandered from city to city, changing one job after another. After several years of hard work, I earned some money and bought a house in the city, but the loneliness, emptiness, and helplessness inside me not only didn’t vanish but increased. I felt I had no goal or direction in my life. Sometimes at the thought of the prospect of my future fate, I couldn’t fall asleep at night.
Late in 2016, when I had a video chat with my friend, she said she suffered from diabetes and felt bad. I told her to go to the hospital immediately. Next day, when seeing the doctor, she was advised to go to a large hospital. Unfortunately, before being transferred, she passed away. Soon afterward I heard that my sister-in-law had become a vegetable. Hearing these in succession, I was shocked and came to realize: Men are too small and too weak to resist the coming of death. Though I am still alive, what is the point in living? These misfortunes added to the loneliness and emptiness in my heart.
In March 2017, I made the acquaintance of Xiaomei. She preached God’s kingdomin the last days to me and told me that God is our only reliance and Savior. At first, I had some precautions toward her, for I thought there were so many bad people in this world. But later in our interactions, I found she was decent, upright, and honest. She fellowshiped with me the truth about God’s creation, Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden after Eve was succumbed to Satan’s temptation, the source of birth, death, illness, and old age. … Gradually, I had some knowledge of God’s work and was willing to attend the meetings. Because of having trust in them, I told my experience as well as my emptiness and misery to my brothers and sisters. They showed understanding for my feelings, shared their experiences and knowledge, and fellowshiped God’s word with me, which deeply touched me. A sister read a passage of God’s word: “A world in man’s heart with no place for God is dark, empty without hope. … Because man was made by God and the senseless sacrifices and explorations of man can only lead to more distress. Man will exist in a constant state of fear, will not know how to face the future of mankind, or how to face the path that lies ahead. Man will even come to fear science and knowledge, and fear even more the feeling of emptiness within him. … Man, after all, is man. The position and life of God cannot be replaced by any man. Mankind does not just require a fair society in which everyone is well-fed and is equal and free, but the salvation of God and His provision of life to them. Only when man receives the salvation of God and His provision of life to them can the needs, yearning to explore, and spiritual emptiness of man be resolved.”
God’s words spoke right to my heart. I thought: Now I live in competence and have a house, but I don’t feel happiness. I often go for an outing with my friends just to pass the time and extricate myself from this hollow life. However, after returning home alone, I still feel empty and helpless and even lose the goal in life. In fact, what I have is only temporary joy but not the true happiness. Perhaps believing in God is my only way out.
The sister continued to fellowship with me more God’s words, which allowed me to understand that only when I believed in God, could I free myself from the hollow and painful life. She read another two passages of God’s word: “There is a simplest way to free oneself from this state: to bid farewell to one’s former way of living, to say goodbye to one’s previous goals in life, to summarize and analyze one’s previous lifestyle, philosophy, pursuits, desires, and ideals, and then to compare them withand demands for man…. your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God.”
“Everything that God does is truth and life. The truth for mankind is something that they cannot lack in their lives, that they can never do without; you could also say that it’s the greatest thing. Although you can’t look at it or touch it, its importance to you cannot be ignored; it is the only thing that can bring peace to your heart.”
After reading God’s word, the sister said, “Satan deceives us with the views like ‘Love is above all,’ ‘The lovers will finally get married,’ and ‘Life is short, so have fun,’ and misleads us to make them the objective that we pursue. Many people even spend a lifetime of efforts pursuing these. Some of them fail, living in pain; some have their desires satisfied but still feel empty. Only God’s word is the truth and can lead us onto the right path of life. For what God requires of us is entirely positive. For example, God’s requiring us to be an honest person and live out the likeness of a real man is to make us become ever more normal and live more peacefully and happily. Since our life comes from God, if we lose God’s provision of our life, we will be like a fish leaving water, living the life of a walking corpse without direction or goal regardless of how much material enjoyment we have. So the true happiness is gaining God and attaining the provision of truth from Him.
I was completely convinced by God’s word and the sister’s fellowship. During my life over the previous fifty years, I devoted myself to love when young and then to money, but finally I got nothing but pain and emptiness. Thinking back to my former bitter life, my groveling and tolerance to my husband were repaid with nothing but pains and hurts; after my divorce, I came to a foreign country alone in order to live a good life, but suffered much fatigue and loneliness. I didn’t know why I did all these, nor did I know what my life goals or directions were. I really had been afflicted by Satan for half of my life. Now through the God’s word the sister read to me, I came to understand that seeking the truth and seeking to know God are the right object that I should have in my life. Thank God for allowing me to know that the true happiness is not gaining material enjoyment or money, but attaining the truth from God.”
After my years of miseries have been relieved, I read God’s word every day, attend meetings actively, and share experience and understanding with my brothers and sisters in meetings, living a happy and enriched life. At my work, I practice God’s word and experience His work and no longer feel bored. When I feel painful, God’s word comforts me; when I am lonely and desolate, my brothers and sisters care for me and help me. All these are established on the foundation of God’s love. I find the true happiness long desired and feel the warmth of a family in the church. Praise Almighty God! All glory be to Almighty God!