43. After the Death of My Partner

By Zhanqi, China

My wife and I accepted God’s work of the last days in the fall of 2007, one after the other. Through reading God’s words, I became certain that Almighty God is the true God, who has become flesh to save mankind from the disasters. I thought that having the chance to accept God’s salvation in our old age was an incredible blessing, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we couldn’t miss. We both took on a duty soon after accepting the gospel. I was sharing the gospel and watering newcomers, and my wife was at home hosting. We passed our days happily. Before long, my wife’s stomach condition, bronchitis, and a few other ailments had gotten better on their own. God had graced and blessed us. Our faith in God grew, and I had more drive for sharing the gospel. In 2012, I was arrested and taken to the township police station when I was sharing the gospel. After my release, the police would still harass us now and then because of our faith. They also threatened us that if we kept our faith, the future prospects of our children and grandchildren would suffer. Our daughter-in-law believed the CCP’s lies about our faith, and kicked both me and my wife out of the house during the Chinese New Year festival. We had nowhere to go, and we felt miserable and weak. We comforted and encouraged each other, saying: “This is a refinement from God, and it’s hardship we should bear. We can’t become dispirited. We can do without anything at all, but we can’t be without God.” After that, we stayed in an abandoned house, doing a hosting duty. We stayed there 8 years, and though it was a run-down place, we were never bothered for believing and eating and drinking God’s words, so our hearts were free.

In September 2022, the angina my wife had had for years began acting up, and she was having several attacks a day. The pain was getting more and more frequent, too. In gatherings, she couldn’t even kneel down for prayer. Sometimes her heart pain would start up while she was washing her face. When it hurt really badly, she had to just stand there, and finish washing her face when the pain faded. Seeing my wife’s condition deteriorate by the day was upsetting and concerning for me, but I figured we were believers, so we had God’s care and protection. God is almighty, He can bring the dead back to life, and there’s nothing He can’t do. She’d been riddled with illnesses before, but after gaining faith she’d gotten completely better, so what was this little health problem? I didn’t think much of it and I comforted her, saying: “Don’t be afraid—we have God. He’ll protect us.” I noticed later that my wife was in even more pain, and taking more medication didn’t help at all. I thought of how God does practical work, and He protects people, but we have to cooperate in practical ways. I then rushed my wife over to the hospital. The tests showed her liver, kidneys, and lungs were all damaged. The doctor sent her right over to the ICU, saying her life was in immediate danger, and that I should sign a notice of critical condition. I was stupefied when I saw that notice of critical condition, and I nearly collapsed. I just couldn’t accept that reality. I didn’t dare believe it. How could something like that happen? We were believers with God’s protection, so that shouldn’t happen to us. I implored the doctor, asking him to think of a way to cure my wife’s disease, to use any drugs that might work. The doctor said he couldn’t make any guarantees. Hearing that from him, I was in even more pain. I thought I couldn’t rely on the doctor, so I’d lean on God. When I got back to the ward, I called out to God in prayer: “God! My wife is seriously ill and the doctor doesn’t know what to do. I’m handing her over to You. You’re the almighty doctor who can even bring the dead back to life. Nothing is impossible with You. I won’t blame You even if she can’t be healed.” I knew that God isn’t performing supernatural work now, but I thought about some brothers’ and sisters’ experiential testimonies. They started to become seriously ill, then leaned on God, and miraculously got better. I was still hoping for a miracle to happen to my wife, that her condition might improve. But to my surprise, the morning of the third day, she couldn’t even talk anymore, and she couldn’t open her eyes. I could see that not only had her condition not improved, but it was getting worse and worse. I was absolutely heartbroken, and called out to God in my heart over and over, “Oh God! My wife clearly isn’t doing okay. She’s a true believer who has followed You over 10 years. She has suffered and been oppressed for her faith, so please show a miracle and make her better. You could cure her, then it would make our evangelism and witness more convincing.” But I was shocked when, on the fourth day, her breathing stopped. I was in total despair. There’s no way for me to describe the pain I felt; I was in tears, and I couldn’t help but start to blame God: “God, no matter what, my wife was a believer. She suffered and toiled to follow You, and she never blamed You no matter how ill she got. Why didn’t You protect her? Now that she’s gone, I’m left all alone with no one to turn to. How can I keep on living? We all die just the same, whether we’re believers or not, right? I’m getting up there in age, too, and my day will come sooner or later. What hope is there as a believer?” After that, I wrote it off as hopeless and didn’t even want to read God’s words. My prayers were just a few words—I didn’t have much to say. Whenever I thought of how we had relied on each other, and those touching scenes of us during hard times, eating and drinking God’s words, fellowshiping together and encouraging each other, I just couldn’t hold my tears back. It was usually my partner who took care of me, and now that she was gone, there wasn’t anybody to look after me. I was running into all sorts of difficulties, and I felt really alone. With life being so painful, what was the point? I wanted to die and get it over with. My life was full of pain and misery in those days. I was unable to eat or sleep. It felt like a stone was lodged in my heart. My health was declining by the day. My blood pressure went up and my heart rate got really low; I was admitted to the hospital. Only then did I realize going on that way would be really dangerous, so I said a prayer: “Oh God! With my wife gone, I’m struggling and lonely. I don’t have the strength to continue on, and I’m hoping for death. I know those sorts of thoughts aren’t in line with Your will, but I still can’t forsake myself. Please give me faith, so that I can stand firm and not fall down in this trial.”

One evening as I was going to sleep, some words of God suddenly popped into my mind: “What is the essence of your love for God? If you love Me, you won’t betray Me.” I realized this was God’s enlightenment and guidance, so I quickly searched through God’s words. Almighty God says: “As I said, those who follow Me are many but those who truly love Me are few. Perhaps some might say, ‘Would I have paid such a great price if I did not love You? Would I have followed to this point if I did not love You?’ Assuredly, you have many reasons, and your love, assuredly, is very great, but what is the essence of your love for Me? ‘Love,’ as it is called, refers to an affection that is pure and without blemish, where you use your heart to love, to feel, and to be thoughtful. In love there are no conditions, no barriers, and no distance. In love there is no suspicion, no deceit, and no cunning. In love there is no trade and nothing impure. If you love, then you will not deceive, complain, betray, rebel, exact, or seek to gain something or to gain a certain amount. If you love, then you will gladly dedicate yourself, will gladly suffer hardship, you will be compatible with Me, you will forsake all that you have for Me, you will give up your family, your future, your youth, and your marriage. If not, your love would not be love at all, but deceit and betrayal! What kind of love is yours? Is it a true love? Or false? How much have you forsaken? How much have you offered up? How much love have I received from you? Do you know? Your hearts are filled with evil, betrayal, and deceit—and that being so, how much of your love is impure? You think that you have already given up enough for Me; you think that your love for Me is already enough. But then why are your words and actions always rebellious and deceitful? You follow Me, yet you do not acknowledge My word. Is this considered love? You follow Me, yet then cast Me aside. Is this considered love? You follow Me, yet you are mistrustful of Me. Is this considered love? You follow Me, yet you cannot accept My existence. Is this considered love? You follow Me, yet you do not treat Me as befits who I am, and you make things difficult for Me at every turn. Is this considered love? You follow Me, yet you try to fool Me and deceive Me in every matter. Is this considered love? You serve Me, yet you do not dread Me. Is this considered love? You oppose Me in all respects and all things. Is this all considered love? You have dedicated much, it is true, yet you have never practiced what I require of you. Can this be considered love? Careful reckoning shows that there is not the slightest hint of love for Me within you. After so many years of work and all the many words I have supplied, how much have you actually gained? Does this not merit a careful look back? I admonish you: Those I call to Me are not the ones who have never been corrupted; rather, those I choose are the ones who truly love Me. Therefore, you must be vigilant in your words and deeds, and examine your intentions and thoughts so that they do not cross the line. At the time of the last days, do your utmost to offer up your love before Me, lest My wrath never depart from you!(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen). God was judging my heart with every single question, leaving me ashamed of myself and unable to answer. As I read, I couldn’t hold back my tears of regret. God made all those demands of me, but I didn’t fulfill a single one. My love for God wasn’t true love, but false love, impure and transactional. But I still thought I had love for God. I really didn’t have the slightest self-knowledge. Generally, when I encountered hardship or sickness and I got God’s care and protection, or when I felt like I had hope of being saved and entering the kingdom, I would give thanks to God, and I had boundless energy. When faith was difficult and painful, like being arrested by the great red dragon, oppressed and rejected by my children, mocked and slandered by relatives and neighbors, I could handle all that hardship. I’d rather flee home and beg for a living and wander the streets than betray God. I thought this meant I had genuine love and genuine submission for God, and in the end I’d be saved by God and remain. But when something real happened and my partner’s death hit me where it hurt, leaving me alone, lonely, in pain, and with no one to rely on, also shattering my dream of entering the kingdom with my wife, I was thoroughly exposed. I not only blamed God for not protecting my wife, but also questioned God, and wanted to die to go confront Him. I had no obedience. I had no trace of love for God. God has incarnated twice for mankind’s salvation, suffering all kinds of pain, expressing the truth to water and shepherd us for years, paying a great price so that we can understand the truth. No matter how rebellious and resistant I was, God was patient, tolerant, and merciful to me time and time again, giving me the chance to repent. Through danger and difficulty, God watched over us so many times, keeping us from danger. When I felt weak and negative, God’s words supported and sustained me, giving me strength, making my spirit strong. He guided me step by step to the present day. God’s love is so very practical, and so very genuine. It has no adulterations and no conditions. But my love for God was so impure and transactional. I was always shouting about how God’s words should reign supreme in my heart, but as soon as my wife died, all I could think about was her. My love for my partner surpassed my love for God—He didn’t have any place in my heart. I saw that my so-called love was just a catchphrase, a doctrine. I was fooling and deceiving God. It couldn’t withstand a test—it was totally fake! Realizing this, I regretted being too rebellious and having no conscience. I came before God to pray and repent. “God! After reading Your words, I feel I owe You. The years I’ve followed You, You’ve watered, shepherded, supported, and sustained me, paying such a great price. Your love for me is so genuine, but my love for You is just a slogan, a word. It was all fake; it was deception. I’m not worthy of coming before You. I don’t want to hurt You anymore. No matter what difficulties or situations I encounter in the future, no matter how tough things get, I won’t blame You anymore. I’m ready to submit to Your orchestrations and arrangements.” In the following days, I calmed myself, ate and drank God’s words, watched videos, and listened to hymns, and then I wasn’t in as much pain as before.

One day, I came across a passage of God’s words and only then did I realize that the reason I couldn’t let go of my wife’s death, and harbored blame and misunderstandings toward God, was because my views toward pursuit was wrong. God’s words say: “What you pursue is to be able to gain peace after believing in God, for your children to be free from illness, for your husband to have a good job, for your son to find a good wife, for your daughter to find a decent husband, for your oxen and horses to plow the land well, for a year of good weather for your crops. This is what you seek. Your pursuit is only to live in comfort, for no accidents to befall your family, for the winds to pass you by, for your face to be untouched by grit, for your family’s crops to not be flooded, for you to be unaffected by any disaster, to live in God’s embrace, to live in a cozy nest. A coward such as you, who always pursues the flesh—do you have a heart, do you have a spirit? Are you not a beast? I give you the true way without asking for anything in return, yet you do not pursue. Are you one of those who believe in God? I bestow real human life upon you, yet you do not pursue. Are you no different from a pig or a dog? Pigs do not pursue the life of man, they do not pursue being cleansed, and they do not understand what life is. Each day, after eating their fill, they simply sleep. I have given you the true way, yet you have not gained it: You are empty-handed. Are you willing to continue in this life, the life of a pig? What is the significance of such people being alive? Your life is contemptible and ignoble, you live amid filth and licentiousness, and you do not pursue any goals; is your life not the most ignoble of all? Do you have the gall to look upon God? If you continue to experience in this way, will you not acquire nothing? The true way has been given to you, but whether or not you can ultimately gain it depends on your own personal pursuit(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment). Reading God’s words made me realize my faith wasn’t for the pursuit of the truth, but it was to be blessed, to benefit, and to gain peace. I was making a deal with God. Ever since my wife and I first accepted God’s new work, I thought that we had faith, followed God, and could suffer and pay a price for Him, so He would certainly ensure our peace and health, and when His work ended, we could enter the kingdom together and enjoy its blessings. We became active in a duty as soon as we became believers so that we’d gain a good destination. I saw my wife recover out of the blue from quite a few serious health problems. We were blessed and graced by God. I became even more motivated, and even though we suffered the great red dragon’s arrest and our family’s oppression, and were run out of the house by our kids, we never turned back no matter how hard it was, determined to follow God till the end. I thought this was standing firm in our witness and having devotion for God, and that in the end, we’d be saved and remain. My wife getting ill didn’t line up with my notions, and I demanded that God show a miracle and cure my wife. I used my past suffering and oppression as capital to make a deal with God, to present conditions. My wife passing away shattered my dream that we would enter the kingdom and enjoy its blessings together. I did an immediate about-face, demanding to know why God hadn’t protected my wife. I even wanted to die to go confront God, questioning His righteousness, and felt like having faith was meaningless. I saw that in my faith, I was just like those in religion, demanding to get their fill. It was all to gain blessings and peace. When I was blessed, I thanked and praised God, and lauded His righteousness. When I wasn’t blessed, I blamed God, argued with Him and made a fuss. In my faith, all I wanted was to gain grace and blessings from God, all the while claiming I loved and submitted to God. Wasn’t that deceiving Him and toying with Him? My life and everything I had was granted by God. My marriage was also arranged by God. God had given me such great grace and blessings, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I totally changed and made complaints when something didn’t go my way. Where was my conscience? Was I even human? I was worse than a dog! A dog can watch over its owner’s house and be faithful to them, but as a believer and follower of God, I’d accepted so much of God’s watering and shepherding, enjoyed God’s abundant grace, yet didn’t want to repay God’s love, even deceiving God and trying to make deals. I didn’t have any humanity at all! I saw that I had faith only to gain blessings, not to gain the truth, pursue change in my life disposition, or live a life of meaning. After all those years of faith, I still didn’t possess the slightest truth reality. At every turn, I was reasoning with God and laying out my conditions, full of extravagant desires. Yet, I still expected to enter the kingdom and enjoy its blessings. What wishful thinking! What a delusional dream! If it hadn’t been for the exposure of that situation, I still wouldn’t know myself, and I wouldn’t see how devoid of conscience and reason I was. Before, I always thought that as a believer for years, praying and reading God’s words every single day, never retreating in the face of oppression, I was someone of stature, and I was devoted to God, so when the time came I’d certainly be saved and enter the kingdom. But then I learned, if I wanted to achieve salvation, the key was to put the truth into practice and live out the truth reality. If I didn’t change my pursuit of gaining blessings, I could believe until the end, but without any dispositional change, I’d be cast out, destroyed by God.

When I saw brothers and sisters later, they shared a couple passages of God’s words with me that addressed my state. Almighty God says: “If one’s birth was destined by one’s previous life, then one’s death marks the end of that destiny. If one’s birth is the beginning of one’s mission in this life, then one’s death marks the end of that mission. Since the Creator has determined a fixed set of circumstances for a person’s birth, it goes without saying that He has also arranged a fixed set of circumstances for one’s death. In other words, no one is born by chance, no one’s death arrives abruptly, and both birth and death are necessarily connected with one’s previous and present lives. The circumstances of one’s birth and death are both predetermined by the Creator; this is a person’s destiny, a person’s fate. Since there are many explanations for a person’s birth, it is also true that a person’s death will naturally occur under its own, special set of various circumstances. This is the reason for people’s varying lifespans and the different manners and times of their deaths. Some people are strong and healthy, yet die young; others are weak and sickly, yet live to an old age and pass away peacefully. Some perish of unnatural causes, others die naturally. Some end their lives far from home, others shut their eyes for the final time with their loved ones by their side. Some people die in midair, others beneath the earth. Some sink beneath the water, others are lost in disasters. Some die in the morning, others at night. … Everyone wants an illustrious birth, a brilliant life, and a glorious death, but no one can reach past their own destiny, no one can escape the Creator’s sovereignty. This is human fate. Man can make all kinds of plans for his future, but no one can plan the manner and time of their birth and of their departure from the world. Though people do their best to avoid and resist the coming of death, still, unbeknownst to them, death silently draws near. No one knows when they will perish or how, much less where it will happen. Obviously, it is not humanity that holds the power of life and death, not some being in the natural world, but the Creator, whose authority is unique. Mankind’s life and death are not the product of some law of the natural world, but a consequence of the sovereignty of the Creator’s authority(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique III). “In this life, people have but a limited time to go from understanding things to having this opportunity, possessing this caliber, and satisfying the conditions to engage in dialogue with the Creator, so as to reach true understanding, knowledge, and fear of the Creator, and walk the way of fearing God and shunning evil. If now you want God to quickly lead you away, you are not being responsible with your own life. To be responsible, you should work harder to equip yourself with the truth, reflect on yourself more when things happen to you, and quickly compensate for your own shortcomings. You should come to practice the truth, to act in accordance with the principles, to enter into the truth reality, to know more of God, to be able to know and understand God’s will, and to not live your life in vain. You must come to know where the Creator is, what the Creator’s will is, and how the Creator expresses joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness—even if you cannot attain a deeper awareness or complete knowledge, you must at least possess a basic understanding of God, never betray God, be fundamentally compatible with God, show consideration to God, offer basic consolation to God, and do what is proper and basically achievable for a created being. These are no easy things. In the process of fulfilling their duties, people can gradually come to know themselves, and thereby know God. This process is actually an interaction between the Creator and created beings, and it should be a process worth reminiscing on throughout one’s life. This process is something people should be able to enjoy, rather than a painful and difficult process. Therefore, people should cherish the days and nights, years and months spent fulfilling their duties. They should cherish this phase of life, and should not regard it as an encumbrance or burden. They should savor and gain experiential knowledge of this stage of their lives. Then, they will attain an understanding of the truth and live out the semblance of a human being, possess a God-fearing heart, and do less and less evil. You understand much of the truth, you do not do things that grieve or irritate God. When you come before God, you feel that God no longer hates you. How wonderful! Once someone has attained to this, wouldn’t they be at peace even if they were to die? So, what’s the matter with those people who are begging to die now? They just want to escape and don’t want to suffer. They just want a quick end to this life, so they can go and report to God. You want to report to God, but God doesn’t want you yet. Why would you report to God before He even calls you? Don’t report to Him before your time. This is not a good thing. If you live out a meaningful and valuable life and God gathers you away, that is a wonderful thing!(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Spreading the Gospel Is the Duty to Which All Believers Are Honor-Bound). After reading those two passages of God’s words, my heart brightened considerably. Before, I thought that since my wife was a believer for years and didn’t blame God even at death, God shouldn’t have let her die so soon. He should have let her live so we could enter the kingdom together and have a good destination and outcome. This is why I wasn’t able to let go of her death and my heart was full of blame and misunderstanding toward God. Reading God’s words showed me that having faith doesn’t guarantee a person won’t die. Birth, old age, illness and death are things that no one can avoid. Whatever age people live to is entirely predetermined by God. My wife’s birth and death were impacted by her previous and present lives, and God had arranged all that before she was even born. The time of her birth, her trajectory in life, her life’s intended mission, what age she lived to, and when she would die—none of this was random. People often say that our fates are determined by Heaven. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it. When my wife’s lifespan was up, she went naturally, and no one could have changed that. I used to think that since my wife died, she couldn’t be saved anymore. But now I know that whether someone dies has nothing to do with their salvation. The key to their salvation is whether they pursue the truth, whether they live out the reality of God’s words. Those who obey God and who pursue and gain the truth will have their souls saved after death. Take Abraham, Job, and Peter—their bodies all passed away, but their souls were saved after death, and they had a good outcome and destination. Some believers don’t have true faith and are just like nonbelievers. Even though they’re living now, they can’t be saved. My wife believed in God for many years, and I couldn’t know if her faith was true or false. No matter how God arranged her outcome, whether He sent her to hell or up to heaven, God was righteous, and He wouldn’t do anything wrong. As a created being, I should submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. I need to have that sort of reason. I lacked clarity before and I wasn’t willing to submit to God’s rule and arrangements. When my wife died, I wanted to die and get it over with. But now I realized that my wife’s death was ordained by God, and He allowed it. Also, wanting to die was defying God, it was not submitting to Him; it was rebelling against Him. My wife’s death caused me pain and misery, but God’s good will was behind it. For one thing, it exposed my corruption, and could cleanse my internal drive to do deals with God for blessings. It also helped me know God’s righteous disposition. That was God’s love and salvation. God was allowing me to continue living at this advanced age. I should be treasuring this time and diligently pursuing the truth in the environment God set up, to understand my corruption and God’s work, to achieve submission to and worship of God, and to stop rebelling against God and hurting Him. No matter what God did in the future, what environments He arranged, I should listen to Him, live my life properly, spread the gospel and bear witness to God, live to do the duty of a created being, and submit to God’s rule and arrangements. I couldn’t let His kind intentions down. I had to get rid of my thoughts of ending my life. So, I earnestly prayed to God, “God! I don’t want grace or blessings. I’m lacking the truth, so I’m not asking for anything else, just the truth. I have a corrupt, satanic disposition and I need Your judgment and chastisement with me to keep me in check and not wanton.” With this understanding, I felt more relaxed throughout my whole body. I could enjoy my food and sleep well again. Because of the adverse circumstances I couldn’t gather with brothers and sisters, but I still did regular devotionals and ate and drank God’s words. His words watered and nurtured me, and I felt calm, at peace, and free. I also gradually recovered my health. Other villagers who saw me said that I looked vigorous, not like a man in his 70s. I thanked and praised God in my heart!

I read another passage of God’s words later that helped me understand my corruption better. Almighty God says: “No matter how many things happen to them, the type of person who is an antichrist never tries to address them by searching for the truth in God’s words, much less tries to see things through God’s words—which is wholly because they do not believe that every line of God’s words is the truth. No matter how the house of God fellowships the truth, the antichrists remain unreceptive, and in consequence lack the correct mindset no matter what situation they are faced with; in particular, when it comes to how they approach God and the truth, the antichrists stubbornly refuse to put aside their notions. The God they believe in is the God that performs signs and wonders, the supernatural God. Any that can perform signs and wonders—be it Bodhisattva, Buddha, or Mazu—they call God. … In the minds of antichrists, God should be worshiped while hiding behind an altar, eating the foods that people offer, inhaling the incense that they burn, extending a helping hand when they are in trouble, showing Himself to be omnipotent and providing immediate assistance to them within the bounds of what is comprehensible to them, and satisfying their needs, when people ask for help and are earnest in their entreaties. To the antichrists, only a god such as this is the true God. Everything that God does today, meanwhile, is met with the antichrists’ disdain. And why is that? Judging by the nature essence of the antichrists, what they require is not the work of watering, shepherding, and salvation that the Creator performs upon the creatures of God, but prosperity and success in all things, to not be punished in this world, and to go to heaven when they die. Their point of view and needs confirm their essence of hostility to the truth(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Fifteen: They Do Not Believe in the Existence of God, and They Deny the Essence of Christ (Part One)). God exposes antichrists for hating the truth. No matter how many years they eat and drink God’s words, they never view anything according to God’s words. They believe in God but don’t pursue the truth; they just want miracles. They’re always demanding that the God in their heart solve their problems and give them what they want, that everything go their way in this life, and that they live forever in the next. Their faith is entirely for blessings. My perspective on pursuit in my faith was exactly the same as an antichrist’s. I was worshiping God as if He were an idol. Usually, when we encountered a difficulty or had a health problem, I’d say a prayer asking God to watch over us and solve our problems. I thought God should give us whatever we needed, that He should meet our every demand. This is what God was in my mind. By exploiting God to meet my demands, wasn’t that deceiving and blaspheming Him? And it’s not the Age of Grace anymore, so God doesn’t do the work of healing the sick and casting out demons. His work today is judgment and chastisement. It’s to resolve humanity’s corrupt dispositions, to save us from Satan’s influence. But I didn’t love the truth or treasure God’s work. I just kept demanding grace and blessings from God. In essence, I was a nonbeliever. I’d followed God for years, enjoying the watering, sustenance of God’s word, and the care and protection of God, but I didn’t pursue the truth or try to repay God’s love. I even made unreasonable demands of God. That kind of pursuit on my part was being an enemy of God, and I would have definitely ended up punished by God. Realizing this frightened me. I didn’t want to continue down that wrong path, but wanted to confess and repent.

Later on, through reading about Job’s experience, I gained even more. I learned how to face and go through trials when they occur. I read more in God’s words: “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 it 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, it is because of God’s sovereignty. God’s power and authority rule over and arrange everything about 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. All of Job’s thoughts and actions reached the ears of God and arrived before God, and were seen as important by God. God cherished this knowledge of Job, and treasured Job for having such a heart. 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. Job had never seen God, nor heard Him speak any words, issue any commands, give any teachings, or instruct him of anything. In the words of today, for him to be able to possess such a knowledge and attitude toward God when God had given him no enlightenment, guidance, or provision with regard to the truth—this was precious, and for him to demonstrate such things was enough for God, and his testimony was commended and cherished by God. Job had never seen God or heard God personally utter any teachings to him, but to God his heart and he himself were far more precious than those people who, before God, were only able to talk in terms of deep theory, who were only able to boast, and speak of offering sacrifices, but who had never had a true knowledge of God, and had never truly feared God. For Job’s heart was pure, and not hidden from God, and his humanity was honest and kind-hearted, and he loved justice and that which was positive. Only a man like this who was possessed of such a heart and humanity was able to follow the way of God, and capable of fearing God and shunning evil. Such a man could see God’s sovereignty, could see His authority and power, and was able to achieve obedience to His sovereignty and arrangements. Only a man such as this could truly praise God’s name. 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. Job’s knowledge was precisely what God wanted(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II). I saw in God’s words that Job believed all things, all affairs were ruled by God. Whether he was blessed or suffered calamity, everything came from God. When he was tested, his family’s wealth and all his children were taken away, and he was covered with boils, he still didn’t complain at all, but praised God’s name, saying, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). There were no transactions or demands in Job’s faith. He praised God’s power because he believed in God’s sovereignty. He believed that everything God does is good. Job was inherently honest and kind in character, leaving me guilty and ashamed. Compared with Job, I was so terribly lacking. Job only knew about God from what he’d heard; he hadn’t experienced the watering and sustenance of God’s words, but faced with trials, he didn’t blame God. Whether he was blessed or facing disaster, he could accept it from God and submit. Comparing myself to that, I’d eaten and drunk lots of God’s words but didn’t know to repay God’s love. When I got God’s grace and blessings, I believed in His power and authority. When my wife got ill and died, I became doubtful about God’s power and authority. I wasn’t submitting to God. I was also arguing with Him. There was no place for God in my heart, and I didn’t believe in God’s rule or arrangements. I saw that my praise for God’s authority and might was based on my assessment of my own blessings and calamities. I couldn’t unconditionally submit to God’s rule and arrangements. When a difficulty arose, I argued with God, even resisting and making a fuss. Compared with Job, I didn’t have the slightest humanity or reason. It was disgusting and odious to God. I didn’t want to hurt Him anymore. I swore that no matter what situation God set up later, whether I was blessed or suffered misfortune, I would follow Job’s example and never bargain with God again, fully submitting to His rule and arrangements. Even if I didn’t gain the truth and was cast out in the end, I wouldn’t complain. After a little while I wasn’t in such a dangerous situation, and I could attend gatherings again. I could eat and drink God’s words with brothers and sisters and live a church life. The church also arranged a duty for me. I’m really happy now.

My wife’s death revealed a lot of my own rebelliousness. The judgment and revelations of God’s words allowed me to see my despicable pursuit of blessings in my faith. I stopped putting my effort into that mistaken path. Also, I came to understand, my wife died because her lifespan had ended. Facing that appropriately causes my pain to go away. What I need to do now is diligently pursue the truth and achieve dispositional change. Whether I’m blessed or suffer misfortune, I should listen to God’s words, and submit to His rule and arrangements.

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Next: 44. A Secret Hotel Interrogation

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