35. I Have Found True Happiness
By Zhang Hua, Cambodia
I was born into an ordinary farming family. Even though we weren’t wealthy, my father and mother loved each other and treated me very well—you could definitely say that we were happy in our family life, and blessed. After I grew up, I told myself: I have to find a husband who will treat me well, and then build a blissful, happy family. This is what is most important. I do not seek riches—all I need is a loving relationship with my husband and a peaceful family life.
I met my husband through a mutual acquaintance. I didn’t like him at first because he was quite short, but my father and mother had a good impression of him. They said that he had a kind heart and he would treat me well. I could see that he treated people with sincerity, and he seemed like someone who would treat his family well. I thought, “It’s okay that he’s a bit short. As long as he treats me well, it’s fine.” And so, I agreed to the wedding and in 1989, we got married. After getting married, my husband treated me tenderly and took good care of me. I also put my heart into caring for him and always kept him at the front of my mind. After our two daughters were born, I stayed at home and took care of the household so that he could go to work without having to worry about anything. Our two children later had to leave town for school, so I rented a place nearby to be with them while they studied. As long as I was able to take care of something, I never troubled my husband about family matters, large or small. Sometimes things were difficult or tiring, but our relationship as husband and wife was filled with mutual love, care and consideration, and we lived a peaceful life. I felt that I had a really happy life.
At that time, the money that my husband earned was just enough to cover our daily expenses. Even though our lives were a little hard, I never complained to him. I felt that a husband and wife should share in life’s joys and sorrows. But later on, the financial situation at my husband’s workplace deteriorated; it got to the point that he was only taking home half of what he used to make each month and we were having a hard time paying for our children’s tuition. In an effort to help share the stress my husband was burdened with, I started borrowing money from our relatives frequently. I thought, “These hardships are only temporary. Things will get better with time.” Since we ended up borrowing money for so long, our debts grew and grew, and we both became very stressed. In 2013, my husband got the idea to go abroad to earn money. When he told me, even though I was reluctant to see him go, I thought, “If he goes abroad for two to three years and earns some money, we’ll be able to pay off our debts and improve our family situation. What’s more, our children are growing up and we want to give them a nice life.” For the sake of our family, I agreed to him going abroad to work.
My husband went to Cambodia and stayed there for three years, during which time I stayed at home and took care of the kids and our aging parents. At first, my husband would frequently call home and show that he cared for the family. He would also send money back home. But over time he started calling less and less and in the end, things got so bad that he didn’t call or send any money for a long time. I was worried that something had happened to him, so I went to go see him, and took our daughters along with me. When we got to Cambodia and I saw that my husband was safe and sound, I was very relieved. Since it was our first time in Cambodia, I had planned on the three of us staying there for a while to be with my husband, and then going back to China. However, I found that every time I left the house with my husband, the people that knew him would give me strange looks. Since we did not speak the same language, I had no idea what they meant by it. A week later, without any warning, my husband carried a strange child in his arms to come see me. He told the child, “Go on, say hello to your auntie.” At the time, I just stared blankly because I had no idea what was going on. When I asked my husband, I found out that this was a child he had had with another woman in Cambodia. I got so angry that I couldn’t speak, not even a single word. I felt like an idiot, completely at a loss. When I tried to tell him off, he said, very calmly, “This is totally normal. A lot of people here do this!” Hearing him say this made me so angry that I started trembling all over. I never would have thought that my own husband, who had loved me for so many years, could say something so cold and heartless and do something so brazen. In my rage, I gave him a couple of hard slaps. His betrayal was like a bolt from the blue for me—I simply could not accept this fact. I became totally paralyzed. I just sat on the floor and cried bitterly. I asked myself over and over, “Why would he do this to me? Where is the husband that I used to know? He gave me his pledge of undying love—was that, and his tenderness and care, all fake? I’ve given my all for this family. I never asked him for money or for nice things. But now …” I felt terribly humiliated, and deep inside I felt hurt and wronged. I felt like there was no way I could go on living.
In the days that followed my face was constantly wet with tears. I despised that woman and I despised that child. I told my husband that I wanted to get a divorce and I got ready to take my daughters back to China and then make my exit from this so-called family. But to my surprise, my husband not only wouldn’t agree to a divorce, but was also unwilling to leave that woman. I later learned that some of my family members had known for some time that my husband had taken up with another woman and had a child with her, but had been keeping me in the dark the whole time. I then felt even more so that I had been robbed of any dignity in my life. I had put my heart into managing our family, never imagining that I would be repaid with betrayal and deceit. My heart was broken. This hard blow was already painful enough, but what I really couldn’t accept were those strange looks that all of my husband’s acquaintances would give me; they even gossiped about me. It was my husband who had betrayed me and that woman who had shattered my family in the first place, but at that point, in others’ eyes, I was the interloper. I simply cannot put words to the pain that I was feeling at that time. Every single day crawled by as if it were a year and I had lost more than 10 kilograms.
Just when I had totally given myself over to despair, Almighty God’s salvation of the last days came upon me. My next-door neighbor Lin Ting heard about what had happened, so she came over and shared the gospel with me. She said, “Have faith—God can help you.” However, for someone like me who had grown up with an atheistic education, I couldn’t just snap my fingers and suddenly have faith! I didn’t respond at all. Lin Ting later came to speak with me again and said, “Read God’s words. Only God can save you from your suffering….” Everything she said was so sincere that I was a bit moved and I was embarrassed to reject her a second time, so I accepted the book The Word Appears in the Flesh. When I opened it up, I saw the following passage: “Humanity, having strayed from the Almighty’s provision of life, is ignorant of the purpose of existence, but fears death nonetheless. They are without help or support, yet still reluctant to close their eyes, and they steel themselves to drag out an ignoble existence in this world, sacks of flesh with no sense of their own souls. You live in this way, without hope, as do others, without aim. Only the Holy One of legend will save the people who, moaning in the midst of their suffering, long desperately for His arrival. … When you are weary and when you begin to feel something of the bleak desolation of this world, do not be lost, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival at any time” (“The Sighing of the Almighty” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). When I read God’s heartfelt words, I wept out loud and felt that God truly understands mankind. I wanted to die because of my husband’s betrayal, but I lacked courage and didn’t want to die that way. I had lost my purpose and direction in life and I had gotten to the point of not caring about keeping myself together at all. When I read God’s words, it was like seeing that there was hope in life and my heart found some peace. Even though my husband had betrayed me, I could rely on God. I was not alone. Almighty God said, “When you begin to feel something of the bleak desolation of this world, do not be lost, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival at any time.” I became willing to lean on God because I was someone who had been hurt, who had no one to care for me. I needed God’s embrace. Each and every day felt so hard, so exhausting, and I didn’t want to go on like that. I figured that since God understands mankind so well, He could definitely lead me away from this pain. And so, I started reading God’s words and learning to sing hymns of praise to God with Lin Ting. She told me, “When you’re going through hard times, pray to God and read His words. God can comfort our injured souls.” I did just that. Happiness bubbled up within my heart when I watched the music videos and hymn videos that the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God had filmed. Especially when I saw the video The Happiness in the Good Land of Canaan, I felt like my own heart was dancing along with the brothers’ and sisters’ singing and dancing. The depression and pain in my heart gradually disappeared and a smile finally started to appear on my face. I suddenly felt that this was the family that I truly desired and that true happiness could only be found with brothers and sisters. So, I joined The Church of Almighty God and started living a life of the church with my brothers and sisters.
I later read these words from God: “Satan corrupts man is through social trends. ‘Social trends’ include many things. Some people say: ‘Does it mean the latest fashions, cosmetics, hairstyles, and gourmet foods?’ Are these things considered social trends? They make up one part of social trends, but we will not be talking about them here. We only wish to talk about the ideas that social trends bring about in people, the way they cause people to conduct themselves in the world, and the life goals and outlook that they bring about in people. These are very important; they can control and influence man’s state of mind. These trends arise one after another, and they all carry an evil influence that continually debases mankind, causing people to lose conscience, humanity and reason, weakening their morals and their quality of character ever more, to the extent that we can even say that the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, and neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. … When a new trend sweeps through the world, perhaps only a small number of people are on the cutting edge, acting as the trendsetters. They start off doing some new thing, then accepting some kind of idea or some kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, will be continually infected, assimilated, and attracted by this kind of trend in a state of unawareness, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it and become submerged in it and controlled by it. One after another, such trends cause people, who are not of sound body and mind, do not know what the truth is, and cannot differentiate between positive and negative things, to happily accept them as well as the life views and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them about how to approach life and the way to live that Satan ‘bestows’ on them, and they have neither the strength nor the ability, much less the awareness, to resist” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). These words from God brought to mind what my husband had said to me: “This is totally normal. A lot of people here do this!” Aren’t my husband’s thoughts and views a real-life example of what is revealed in God’s words about how society’s evil trends suck people in and corrode them? Before my husband left the country, he could take care of the family and he cared for me and our children. However, in the three short years since leaving home to work, he had fallen headlong into following the evil trends of society—he had betrayed the people he was closest to. When my thoughts turned to society today, I realized that many women don’t think that being a mistress is anything shameful—instead, they think it means they have know-how. Many men have been poisoned by evil thinking such as “The red flag at home stays aloft while colorful flags elsewhere flutter in the breeze.” Ideas like this lead them to brazenly have affairs. They don’t think of it as shameful, but instead think of it as something to be proud of. My husband didn’t want to divorce me, but he also didn’t want to leave that woman. Wasn’t that him being controlled by that kind of evil thinking and perspective? Through reading Almighty God’s words, I was finally able to understand that actually, everyone is a victim. Everyone has been deceived by the evil thinking planted in us by Satan. This is the only reason we have been corrupted to the point of having no morals, no shame. I wondered, “What do people gain by fulfilling their own selfish desires? Can they actually obtain happiness?” As I saw it, I don’t think my husband and that woman were any happier than I am, and on top of that, that child is an innocent victim. Isn’t the misery that our entire family has suffered just the result of Satan’s corruption and harm? When I think of myself, if it hadn’t been for God’s salvation coming upon me, I would also have been rotted inside by society’s evil trends. I thought that since my husband found another woman, I could do the same and look for someone else since there would be plenty of other men who would want me. I am thankful that God saved me just when I was about to be swallowed up by Satan. God allowed me to come before Him and receive His protection. Otherwise, I would have been ruined by the evil trends of this society.
I later read these words of God: “Because the essence of God is holy, that means that only through God can you walk through life on the righteous path of light; only through God can you know the meaning of life; only through God can you live out real humanity and both possess and know the truth. Only through God can you obtain life from the truth. Only God Himself can help you shun evil and deliver you from the harm and control of Satan. Besides God, no one and nothing can save you from the sea of suffering so that you suffer no longer. This is determined by the essence of God. Only God Himself saves you so selflessly; only God is ultimately responsible for your future, for your destiny and for your life, and He arranges all things for you. This is something that nothing created or non-created can achieve. Because nothing created or non-created possesses an essence like the essence of God, no person or thing has the ability to save you or to lead you. This is the importance of God’s essence to man” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words, I could feel His love and concern for mankind, and I also came to understand that, though Satan may use all manner of social trends to corrupt and harm us, God has never given up on our salvation. God is always silently protecting us, setting up all kinds of different situations so that we may come back before Him and accept His salvation. Thinking back to how I was living in resentment and suffering after my husband’s betrayal, I knew that if it hadn’t been for God’s care and mercy, if I hadn’t been comforted and encouraged through His words so that I could see through the ploys and deceitful schemes Satan uses to corrupt people, and see clearly how Satan’s evil trends poison us, then I would have remained forever living in that state of resentment and pain. I never would have been able to free myself from it. I even would have totally destroyed myself just to make the loathing in my heart go away. Through this experience, not only did I experience God’s love, but I also really came to feel that only God can save mankind from Satan’s corruption and harm, and only God can lead us onto the path of light in life. Thanks be to Almighty God for saving me from that abyss of pain!
These days, now that I’ve read more of God’s words, I’ve come to understand a bit of the truth and I can see into a lot of issues. I no longer hate my husband or that woman. They are free to choose whatever kind of life that they want to live. I’m also able to be calm and poised with relatives and friends. I no longer have any blame for my family, because we have all been corrupted by Satan and we are all its victims. Now, I frequently attend gatherings with my brothers and sisters where we read God’s words, fellowship, and share our individual experiences. I reap a daily harvest from God’s words. I have peace and joy within my heart and my life is full of hope. I give thanks to Almighty God for guiding me onto the right path in life and for giving me a true home. This is where I have found true happiness, and all I wish is to follow God forever!