How to Know God’s Will in the Trials of Illness?
By Qiyuan, United States
A Sudden Disease Made Me Feel Painful and Depressed
In 2011, when I was 17 years old in high school, I came to the hospital for a physical check-up. A nurse told me that I got hepatitis B and that I should go to see a doctor immediately. At that time, there suddenly was a buzzing in my head, and I felt all my blood was surging into my head. I thought: “It’s over. My grandma died of cancer, and my uncle also died of liver cancer. They passed away with enormous suffering. Now, could it be my turn? Will I also die like this? Can this disease be cured?” Holding my inspection report, I felt my hands were trembling. Then I plodded upstairs to see a doctor. The doctor said to me: “Your illness is very serious, and so I can’t guarantee a cure. But if you don’t receive treatment, it will grow into liver cancer, and at that point, it will be too late for you to be treated.” After hearing what he said, I was even more worried: The doctor even can’t guarantee that this disease can be cured. I really don’t know how to face it. At this time, I felt confused about my future, as though half of the heaven collapsed.
On my way back home, I felt myself stagger and couldn’t stop my tears from flowing. I kept asking myself: I am only 17 years old, and I am so young; why is it me who’s got this disease? Why can’t I be as healthy as others? In the future, I will be unable to do as many jobs as others do. What shall I do? During that period, I still went to school as normal. However, I didn’t dare to tell my classmates around me that I got this disease, for I worried that they would laugh at me and exclude me, and see me as offbeat and weird. Therefore, I usually had my meals alone. Whenever I thought of my disease, I would cry tears. The pressure of study and the obsession of the illness made me very depressed. I often leaned alone against the window and gazed at the outside scenery, trying to calm the depression in my heart this way.
Having Faith in God Allowed Me to Be Firm and Courageous and See God’s Deeds
During that time, I frequently came before God and prayed: “Oh God! Now I am very scared and in a lot of pain, and feel that my pressure is rather significant. God, I really hope that I can get better and be as healthy as others. God, I am very perplexed, not knowing how to face my disease or how to walk the future path. God, please enlighten me and guide me so that I can understand Your will and walk out of this negative situation.”
In the beginning, I didn’t dare to tell my brothers and sisters about the matter of my disease, for I worried about how they would see me. Yet as I always kept this matter all in, I felt very depressed. Later, in a meeting, I gathered my temper and spoke to my brothers and sisters about my disease. I didn’t expect that not only did they not laugh at me, but they also read some of God’s word to support and help me. I saw God’s word saying: “When sickness happens it is due to God’s love and His good intentions are surely behind it. Even when your body endures suffering, take no ideas from Satan. Praise God in the midst of illness and enjoy God in the midst of your praise. Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking and never give up, and God shall shine His light to you. How faithful was Job? Almighty God is an all-powerful physician! To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well. If you have but one breath, God will not let you die.” “Faith is like a single log bridge, those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over without worry. If man has timid and fearful thoughts, they are being fooled by Satan. It fears that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God. Satan devises every way possible to send us its thoughts, we should always pray that the light of God will shine on us, and we must always rely on God to purify us from Satan’s poison. We shall always be practicing in our spirits to come close to God. We shall let God have dominion over our whole being.” A sister patiently communicated to me, “God is almighty, and everything is in God’s hands. What our condition will be isn’t up to the doctor but up to God. As long as we truly rely on God and look up to Him, I believe He will guide us. The Old Testament states that Job lost his children and his wealth, and his body was covered in sore boils. Faced with such a great trail and refinement, though he didn’t understand, he believed that God was right beside him, and that everything of man as well as man’s life and death is in God’s hands. Although having weaknesses, he didn’t become negative or in retreat. Instead, he repeatedly prayed to God in his heart and praised God’s holy name. At last, he stood witness for God, making Satan humiliated in defeat, and at the same time he obtained God’s commendation and blessings. We should also follow Job’s example, come before God more often to pray, and beseech God to enlighten us to see through Satan’s tricks, so that we can generate our true faith in God and stand witness for Him.”
After listening to the sister’s fellowship, I was very moved. When I was weak and didn’t know God’s will, God allowed me to know His will through my brothers and sisters supporting and helping me. I really felt that God didn’t abandon me, and that He was accompanying me by my side. God said: “To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well.” God’s words gave me faith. I was willing to follow Job’s example, and when sickness befell me I was willing to have faith in God and bear witness for Him. After that, I entrusted my condition to the hands of God, and meanwhile, I actually received treatment. Who would have thought that six months later when I went to the hospital for an examination again, the doctor told me that I was better and the virus was controlled. After hearing what he said, I was very excited. I knew this was God’s protection and blessing of me. Thank God!
As My Disease Started Getting Worse, I Lived in Refinement
In 2015, I came to America to study. At first, I felt everything in America seemed quite alien to me. Thanks to God’s guidance, I quickly contacted the local brothers and sisters and started my church life. Afterward, I often read God’s word, and spread theand performed duties together with my brothers and sisters. At times when the hours of spreading the gospel and attending classes conflicted, I would choose to ask for a leave to perform my duty without hesitation. I thought to myself: The lessons can be made up later, but I can’t gain eternal blessings if I don’t fulfill my duty well. I can’t miss such an extremely rare opportunity.
One day, I saw one of my classmates was moody. Chatting with him, I learned that one of his family was diagnosed with late-stage hepatitis B in a recent check-up. After hearing his words, I remembered that I had this disease too. Then I began to worry if my disease would flare up again. But I thought: I haven’t felt uncomfortable for a long time. Does this disease disappear? So, I decided to go to the hospital for an examination.
The next day when I arrived at the hospital, I was very nervous, thinking: In case the disease remains or even deteriorates into cancer, what shall I do? Can my disease be cured with American advanced technology? If it cannot be cured, then what shall I do in the future? Although I prayed to God in my heart saying that I was willing to obey no matter what the result would be, it revealed that my stature was too small when the fact happened. After the basic examination, the doctor said, “Are you feeling okay?” I replied, “Yes.” Then the doctor frowned and said, “It’s strange. If you feel well, why isn’t your heartbeat normal?” Having heard his words, I felt very nervous, thinking in my heart: “Is this a premonition that my disease will deteriorate? Otherwise, why is my heartbeat not normal?” Seeing the doctor’s serious expression, I was fraught with grim possibilities. Then I asked the doctor why my heart beat abnormally. He just replied it was hard to ascertain that before the exact results of my blood test was out.
As the day of my getting the results of my blood test came nearer, I was both worried and afraid. I was afraid of knowing the results and didn’t dare to face it. Two days later, I went to get the results. The doctor told me that a large amount of HBV replicated inside my body and I got hepatitis B. He also said that hepatitis B was highly contagious and I needed to receive treatment immediately. When hearing this result, I thought: It’s over. Why does my disease get worse? Could it be that I don’tproperly? If my disease deteriorates, can I still normally believe in God and do my duty? Can I continue leading a church life together with my brothers and sisters? On my way home, I felt it was particularly strenuous for me to ride on a bicycle. I also had no heart to look at the beautiful trees and flowers beside the road.
After I got home, the words “hepatitis B” vibrated inside my head all along. When I saw on the internet that a few of hepatitis B patients would swoon and die in several days, I suddenly became afraid: Will I also be like them? If I really die like this, isn’t my faith useless? Besides, these years of price I have paid in doing my duty will come to nothing. Now I haven’t fulfilled my duty loyally yet, so will I be able to be commended by God? If I die, will I enter the heavenly kingdom or hell? Besides, none of my brothers and sisters around me get the disease, but why do I get this? I perform my duty as well as others. The more I thought, the more I envied their being able to fulfill their duties in peace without being disturbed by the disease. After doing enough good deeds, they could alsoby God and . However, look at me again. I didn’t know whether or not I could do my duty and prepare good deeds in the future. If my disease really deteriorated, then at that point, I could only watch that my brothers and sisters received God’s praise, but I was set aside by God and wailed. At the thought of this, I started to harbor suspicions about God and complain to God in my heart. I always thought crazy thoughts involuntarily: Does God not love me? Does God not want to save me because I am too corrupt? Have I done something wrong which offended God’s disposition? … I didn’t understand God’s will or know how to face this disease. I also didn’t know what the future would be or what would happen tomorrow. The more I thought like this, the more I felt dark and deep in pain. Meanwhile, I also couldn’t restrain my tears. Although I still was doing my duty, my spirit was very weak. I no longer had the previous motivation and I didn’t even want to eat.
During this period, I didn’t know how many times I came before God to pray: “O God! Now I am in a lot of pain and very weak. I always suspect that You will reveal and eliminate me because I have done something bad. I know this thought doesn’t conform with Your will, but I really don’t understand what Your will is. I can’t see the path in front of me, and don’t know how to experience. God, please enlighten me and lead me so that I can understand Your will.”
Under the Guidance of God’s Word, I Understood God’s Good Will
Later, I saw that it is said in God’s word: “How many believe in Me only so I would heal them? How many believe in Me only so I would use My powers to drive unclean spirits out of their bodies? And how many believe in Me simply to receive peace and joy from Me? How many believe in Me only to demand from Me more material wealth, and how many believe in Me just to spend this life in safety and to be safe and sound in the world to come? How many believe in Me only to avoid the suffering of hell and to receive the blessings of heaven? How many believe in Me only for temporary comfort but do not seek to gain anything in the world to come? When I brought down My fury upon man and seized all the joy and peace he originally possessed, man became doubtful. When I gave unto man the suffering of hell and reclaimed the blessings of heaven, man’s shame turned into anger. When man asked Me to heal him, yet I acknowledged him not and felt abhorrence for him, man went far away from Me and sought the way of witch doctors and sorcery. When I took away all that man had demanded from Me, they all disappeared without a trace. Therefore, I say that man has faith in Me because I give too much grace, and there is far too much to gain.” “In this, we discover a previously unidentified problem: Man’s relationship with God is merely one of naked self-interest. It is the relationship between the receiver and giver of blessings. To put it plainly, it is like the relationship between employee and employer. The employee works only to receive the rewards bestowed by the employer. In a relationship like this, there is no affection, only a deal; there is no loving and being loved, only charity and mercy; there is no understanding, only resignation and deception; there is no intimacy, only a gulf that cannot be bridged.”
God’s words of judgment tugged on the strings of my heart. Comparing myself with God’s words, I realized my incorrect perspective of faith. In face of the fact, I saw that my believing in God was only to gain peace, joy and blessings, and to avoid suffering pain in the disaster. I regarded God as my lifeline, as the One who could bless me. When God satisfied my own desires, healed my illness and allowed me to enjoy His grace, I was willing to zealously sacrifice for Him; however, when He didn’t bestow grace and blessings upon me, I would become negative, complain and misunderstand God’s intentions. I recalled in the past, although studying in school, I was willing to do my best to perform my duty. When the hours of attending classes and doing my duty conflicted, I would choose to put my duty first. That was because I thought studying well could only make me have temporary material comforts in the future, yet after doing my duty well, I could enjoy eternal blessings. A good job couldn’t compare with obtaining the eternal blessings in the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, I must perform my duty. However, since I learned of the results of my blood test, first of all I thought of my destiny, worrying whether my disease could be cured. Seeing this disease probably endangered my life, I wondered whether or not God didn’t want me and whether or not He was going to expose and eliminate me. Especially when I saw that my brothers and sisters didn’t get this disease, I started to complain that God was kind to others but not to me, and thought that God was not fair. Looking back on my behavior, I saw that what God’s words revealed was too right. Ever since I believed in God, from the outside I had always been waving the flag of performing my duty, but in reality I wanted to make God satisfy my desires and wanted to receive God’s rewards and blessings in exchange for my suffering of performing my duty. Isn’t this making a deal with God? Isn’t this defrauding and using God? God is holy and righteous, so how could He allow me to enter His kingdom who had an intention to obtain blessings and always deceived Him? I understood that on the outside what I encountered now was illness, but God’s intention was to reveal and reverse my wrong perspective of faith, and call me back from the wrong path. Behind my disease lay God’s true love of me. At this time, I no longer felt sad and upset because of my disease. Instead, I was grateful to God for His revelation and salvation.
Regardless of Blessings or Misfortune, Worshiping God Is Right and Proper
Afterward, I read in the word of God, “Job did not talk of trades with God, and made no requests or demands of God. His praising of God’s name was because of the great power and authority of God in ruling all things, and was not dependent on whether he gained blessings or was struck by disaster. He believed that regardless of whether God blesses people or brings disaster upon them, God’s power and authority will not change, and thus, regardless of a person’s circumstances, God’s name should be praised. That man is blessed by God is because of God’s sovereignty, and when disaster befalls man, so, too, is it because of God’s sovereignty. God’s power and authority rule over and arrange everything of man; the vagaries of man’s fortune are the manifestation of God’s power and authority, and regardless of one’s viewpoint, God’s name should be praised. This is what Job experienced and came to know during the years of his life.” “This heart awaited God’s command always, and in all places, and no matter what the time or place it welcomed whatever befell him. Job made no demands of God. What he demanded of himself was to wait for, accept, face, and obey all of the arrangements that came from God; Job believed this to be his duty, and it was precisely what was wanted by God. … That is because he did not look at whether God would bless him or bring disaster upon him, because he knew that everything is controlled by the hand of God, and that for man to worry is a sign of foolishness, ignorance, and irrationality, of doubt toward the fact of God’s sovereignty over all things, and of not fearing God.”
From God’s words, I saw that in Job’s heart he believed the heavens and earth, all things and man’s everything all come from God, that no matter whether we are rewarded or deprived and whether we obtain blessings or are cursed, God’s identity and status will never change, and that it is right and proper for a creature to believe in God and worship God. When his property was stolen, his children lost their lives and he was covered in sore boils, although not knowing why these things befell him, he still stood in the place of a creature and obeyed God’s rule and arrangements, without any complaints or demands toward God. This was a representation of Job’s rationality. God is the Creator, and I am just an insignificant creature being. My life and my everything came from God, so it was natural for me to believe in God and worship God. I should stand as a creature and perform my duty well to satisfy God, just as children should be dutiful to their parents. I was deeply corrupted by Satan and was not fit to come before God. Yet God didn’t turn His back on me. He chose me to come to His presence, and allowed me to have the chance to accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s word and pursue salvation. How was I qualified to make demands or requests of Him? I was too irrational! Thank the guidance of God’s words that turned my incorrect perspective of faith around. I was willing to give up my intention of gaining blessings, stand in my place and be a conscientious and rational creature. No matter to what extent my disease would develop in the future, I was willing to obey God’s sovereignty. So long as God allowed me to live, I would worship Him and stand witness to satisfy His will.
My Health Got Much Better and I Tasted God’s Great Grace
About one month later, I went to the hospital for a check-up. On the way to the hospital, although I still was a little nervous, I was no longer willing to make any extravagant demands of God. I kept praying to God and pondering His words. Thus, I felt bright in my heart and also felt relaxed when riding my bicycle. After the results of my blood test was out, the doctor actually said to me, “Congratulations! Your last month’s test results showed that there were 1.7 billion viruses in every milliliter of your blood, but now there are only 560 thousand viruses. The infectiousness is very low. In one short month, it’s very good to achieve such a result.” After hearing this news, my heart was full of gratitude to God. When I no longer suspected and misunderstood God because of my sickness, God then showed His mercy to me and allowed me to understand His will. I truly experienced that the purpose of God permitting the disease to befall me was not to reveal and eliminate me, but to cleanse and transform my satanic nature, and to let me rely on God’s words to live out the likeness of man.
I recalled the past when I got this disease and the doctor didn’t know how to cure it. It was God’s almighty hand that protected me and cared for me and allowed me to get better. When I lived in my sickness and foisted my misgivings and complaints upon God, God didn’t abandon me because of my rebelliousness. Instead, He sympathized with my weakness, and used His words to guide and enlighten me at all times so that I could understand His will and have faith to face such environment. I have obtained abundant provision and enjoyed too much grace and blessing from God. God’s love is too great! Small as is my stature, I am willing to entrust myself to God’s hands, pursue the truth properly and perform my duty as a creature of God to repay God’s love in the future path of life.