By Xiaocui, China
As the saying goes, “Opportunity knocks but once”. Whenever we miss an opportunity, we will say: If there were another chance, I would… If I had another chance, I would definitely study hard so that others would not say to me that “Having no education is really scary”. If there were another chance, I would never lose my job as willful as before. If I had another chance, I would certainly pluck up my courage to express my love for him. Maybe Now he is my husband. These are full of regrets, which often happen to us. Sometimes missing the opportunities will make us grow, and some even can be made up, but among these “ifs”, there is one we can never be back to square one. That is: If there were another chance, I would choose the path of life again and live a different life.
My eldest sister was born in the 60s, when the family was very poor. At the age of fifteen or sixteen, she began to work in the production brigade and earn work points. Face-saving was important to her and she had a strong personality. She often said, “As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face.” As long as we are living in this world, we have to work to be seen highly by others. So no matter what she did, she never fell behind the adults and never complained about the hard work. Besides, my sister was very considerate, not only following my parents’ words but also taking good care of little brothers and sisters. Even at a young age, she won lots of praise from the neighbors, friends and family members.
With time going by, my sister grew up and got married. My brother-in-law was a doctor, honest and not good at socializing. After my brother-in-law graduated, he together with my sister opened a clinic. In order to live a good life and be seen highly by others, my sister worked hard to help in the clinic. Gradually, my sister not only learned how to fill the prescription, and how to give an intravenous drip and injection, but also put all matters in the clinic in order. She greeted every patient with a smile and fulfilled her duty. So a steady stream of patients came to their clinic. Slowly, they became famous in the local area.
Man’s desire can never be satisfied. In many people’s eyes, my sister lived a happy life: she had a successful career, a happy marriage, a good reputation and excellent children. However, when my proud sister saw the wealthy people not only owned a car and a big house, but also were courted by people wherever they went, she couldn’t help but sigh, “A poor man in the crowded city has no visitor, while a rich man in the remote mountain area will be called on by distant relatives.” So in order to live a more enviable life, my sister worked hard day and night. When others turned off the lights to sleep, they began to have dinner .
After years of hard work, my sister finally got what she wanted: house, car, money and other’s flattery. It can be said that she really lived a decent and enviable life. However, when the neighbors and relatives were envious of her life, a piece of bad news broke my sister’s peaceful life.
As a result of years of overwork, my sister had pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Even if she had a surgery, she could only live three months. She actively cooperated with the treatment, but my sister, who always had a strong willpower, couldn’t bear the pain from the postoperative chemotherapy.
Just as my sister was in great pain and felt helpless, God’s salvation came to her. God’s words, as the warm spring breeze, as a warm winter sunshine, blew away the pain of my sister and illuminated her life. God’s word says, “Almighty God, the Head of all things, wields His kingly power from His throne. He rules over the universe and all things and He is guiding us on the whole earth. …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” (“The Sixth Utterance”).
God’s word gave my sister hope. She realized that her fate was in God’s hands. Although the doctor sentenced her to death, God says, “If you have but one breath, God will not let you die”. It felt like she grasped at a straw. She no longer believed in the doctor’s words but believed that her destiny was in the hands of the Creator. Since then, my sister had been immersed in the love of God, having meetings with brothers and sisters to worship God, singing and praising God, and energetically spreading the . During that time, the smile on my sister’s face had never been seen before.
Even more surprisingly, my sister miraculously recovered from her illness day by day, which was God’s grace and mercy. My sister thanked God from the bottom of her heart. In order to repay God’s great love, she spread the gospel with more energy.
However, believing in God in China, an atheistic country, is not as easy as my sister thought. Because of the CCP’s rumors and attacks, Christians are enduring various judgments, attacks and unjust arrests…
One day, the patients pointed to a sister passing the clinic who was famous for her belief in God, sneering, demeaning and saying something out of nothing. On seeing this, my sister, who had always been admired and praised by others, couldn’t calm down for a long time. She was weak. She couldn’t imagine what she should do if she were sneered like this. After thinking it over, my sister felt she couldn’t face it. After all, she had never undergone such a humiliation. She was never going to let that happen. She was afraid that the good word-of-mouth would be over. After a long period of struggle and hesitation, she eventually chose to defend her reputation gained by years of hard work and gave up God’s salvation. After knowing my sister’s situation, brothers and sisters fellowshiped with her many times, trying to help and support her. However, my sister refused again and again, and even avoided brothers and sisters. They asked me to fellowship with my sister, but she still did not want to turn back.
Afterward, my sister went back to her previous life, working hard to pursue fame.
Soon my sister’s condition deteriorated and various complications suddenly struck her, which made her think it would be better to die. Amid this extreme torment, she said to her family, “If I am unconscious, don’t send me to the intensive care unit. I struggle with pain every day. I had lived enough. Only letting me go is the best choice”. More sadly, even at this time, my sister still said: “Don’t let neighbors come to visit me, I’m afraid they will laugh at me.” Later, when the hospital informed my family to take her home and prepare for the funeral because they could do nothing to save her life, she was completely desperate. But even so, my sister still said: “Don’t go home until it’s dark. If the neighbors saw me in the daytime, how would they think?” So they went home in the dark. Before they entered the village, my sister said in weakness: “Turn off the lights in the car, and don’t let others know.”
After returning home, my sister lay in bed in silence with a cadaverous face and glassy eyes. It looked as if she was waiting for the death. The air seemed frozen, and no one spoke. When her son came back from school, she broke down, crying sadly and loudly. Her cry was full of despair and creepy.
When I mentioned God to my sister again, she said with tears in a faint voice: “I’m afraid of others’ sneering, so I give up the salvation of God and betray Him. I am fooled. If there were another chance, I would give up all to follow God.” With her choking voice, drops of tears fell on her bloodless face. Looking at the appearance of my sister at this moment, pale lips and glassy eyes, I could tell how desolate she felt. However, it was too late. My sister extended her hands, cried out to God and left the world with full regret and unwillingness…
My sister’s death shocked me. She devoted her life to pursuing fame and fortune but died with great regret. Tightly bound by fame and fortune, she struggled for them, and even gave up the salvation of God, but what’s the result? Fame and fortune destroyed my sister’s life.
Later, I saw God’s word saying, “So Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts until all they can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision to both maintain and obtain fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds man with invisible shackles. These shackles are borne on people’s bodies, and they have not the strength nor courage to throw them off. So people trudge ever onward in great difficulty, unknowingly bearing these shackles. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind becomes estranged from God and betrays Him. With each passing generation, mankind becomes more and more wicked, more and more darkened, and so in this way one generation after another is destroyed in the fame and gain of Satan” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”).
Indeed, fame and gain are invisible shackles that Satan binds man with. We cannot throw them off. Many people, like my sister, have been chasing fame and fortune all their lives, and I am not an exception. In the past, I especially envied my sister. I thought that I am not as smart and brave as my sister, so I cannot make achievements like her. Now I realize that this is all God’s salvation and protection for me. If it were not because I do not have any capital to fight for fame and fortune, I would also have chased the fame and fortune all the way under the temptation of Satan.
In order to defend fame and fortune, my sister missed the chance to by God. I will never forget the scene before she died. She cried in tears: “If there were another chance, I would give up all to follow God.” My sister’s last word is a reminder to all of us. The difference is that we still have the opportunity to re-choose, and have the opportunity to break free from Satan’s bonds and abuse, returning before God!