7. Freed From Anxiety Over My Illnesses

By Jin Xin, China

My mom got cancer and passed away before I got married and my dad developed high blood pressure when he was 57, causing a blood vessel to rupture, leaving him semi-paralyzed and bedridden for 15 years. He ended up dying in agony. The sight of my dad lying in pain left a dark shadow on my heart. I had high blood pressure and angina. Sometimes, half my head would go numb, and it felt like I was being poked with needles. I also had all sorts of other health issues, and I was on long-term medication. I realized that I had the same symptoms as my father, and I was constantly worried: “I am getting older now. What if I became incapacitated like my father? How could I live with that? How could I do my duty and pursue the truth? If I couldn’t do a duty, how could I be saved?” So, any time symptoms cropped up, I was plagued by feelings of anxiety. One time, a church urgently needed someone to support them. An upper leader talked to me about going to help, but I was thinking: “There are a lot of problems in that church. If I go it will be a big hassle and I’ll have to put a lot into it. I’m already in poor health, so it’ll just tire me out even more. Will my condition keep getting worse? What will I do if I truly get sick?” So, I turned it down. A few months later, that church was really in need of someone, and the upper leader came to talk to me about it again. I felt really guilty. I hadn’t been considerate of God’s will before, and I was pretty troubled after that. I couldn’t turn down that duty again, so I agreed to go.

But as soon as I got to the church, I saw that they weren’t achieving anything with their work, and I felt a lot of pressure. There were lots of issues to address if I wanted to improve the work results, and it would be really hard. My mind was constantly whirling. I started to feel numb in my head again, and I felt a discomfort, as if bugs were crawling inside my brain. I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t have any energy during the day. I felt weak all over and didn’t have any strength at all. I was kind of worried. Would my condition keep getting worse and worse? If my blood vessels clogged just like my dad’s did, would I just collapse? If I became a vegetable, or paralyzed, or even lost my life, how could I do a duty, and how could I attain salvation? I was plagued by worries over my illness, and even though I was in charge of the gospel work, I didn’t want to bother with the details of the problems. I was rarely overseeing details of the work, afraid I’d be incapacitated if I exhausted myself. I was really impatient, and wanted to hand this hectic gospel work over to a newly elected leader. This church already wasn’t accomplishing much in the gospel work, and I didn’t address the problem in detail, which meant that work didn’t pick up at all. I was worried then about whether my condition would get worse, and that if it were to flare up, my life would be lost. If I were to die, I wouldn’t be able to do my duty and be saved. But I thought, I was in the middle of doing a duty, so God should protect me, and I probably wouldn’t get seriously ill. So, I felt a little more at peace. My concerns still haunted me from time to time, though. Especially when I saw the brother working with me in his 70s without health problems, as I was younger than him and yet riddled with illness, I couldn’t help but feel sad: “The brother is in good health and must have an easy time doing his duty. Why am I not healthy?” I felt really helpless and got kind of negative in my duty. In late December 2022, the pandemic flared up. I already had lots of underlying conditions and then I got infected with Covid. I had a fever, felt weak all over, and was coughing up blood. I didn’t have any appetite and couldn’t eat for two weeks. I was feeling awful at that time. I thought, “I’m done for, my health is truly ruined. If I lose my life, how can I still do a duty? Some people got Covid, had a cough for a few days and then were fine. But I never stopped doing my duty, and I’ve had a high fever for several days and haven’t been able to eat anything. How can I have gotten so sick?” I felt more down the more I thought about it, and I was miserable. After a while my fever went down, but the two people I worked with got infected, and no one was there to do church work. With no other option, I had to drag my weak body to gatherings. I ran around for two or three days while sick, and it was hard to coordinate a lot of tasks because of the pandemic. My heart started to disengage, and I felt like the work was too hard. My health was getting worse and worse, and I wasn’t doing the work well, so I thought I may as well go home and recuperate. Maybe I would get a little bit better. Back at my host’s house, my angina suddenly flared up, and I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. I was thinking, “If I keep on doing the duty of a leader, my health won’t be able to take it anymore. I’d better not do this duty.” I felt really depressed, and stayed in bed for two or three days. I felt that if I wanted to get better, I had to do it myself and take better care of my health, that that was realistic. I wrote a letter to the leader to explain my thinking, and went back home as soon as I sent it. On my way home, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “I’ve been a believer all this time, but my health is in this state and I can’t do my duty well. I suppose I’ve been fully exposed this time; can I still be saved?” When I got home, I lay in bed feeling empty inside, and I couldn’t sleep. I was filled with guilt. I also thought about all the details of the gospel work I was responsible for that needed arranging. If I just stayed home, this would certainly delay the church’s work. Doing that wasn’t in line with God’s will. Wasn’t I just throwing in the towel and betraying God? So I prayed to God, “God! Why in the face of this situation do I feel so weak and unwilling to do my duty? I know this isn’t in line with Your will, but I can’t carry on. I don’t have an ounce of strength left. Oh God, I feel so lost, and I’m in so much pain. Please enlighten and guide me, please give me faith and strength.”

I read a passage of God’s words in my seeking: “Whether you are sick or in pain, as long as you have a single breath left, as long as you are still living, as long as you can still speak and walk, then you have the energy to perform your duty, and you should be well-behaved in the performance of your duty with your feet planted firmly on the ground. You must not abandon the duty of a created being or the responsibility given to you by the Creator. As long as you are not yet dead, you should fulfill your duty and fulfill it well(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (3)). I also listened to a hymn of God’s words “Man Is So Hard to Save”: “No one intends to walk the path of following God their entire life, to pursue the truth to gain life, to achieve knowledge of God, and to ultimately live out a life of meaning like Peter. So, people go astray as they walk, coveting the pleasures of the flesh. When they encounter pain, they will be likely to become negative and weak, and not have a place for God in their hearts. The Holy Spirit will not work in them, and some people will even want to turn back. All the effort they put in their years of belief has gone to waste, and this is a very dangerous thing! What a pity it is that all their suffering, the countless sermons they listened to, and the years they spent following God, have all been in vain! It is easy for people to go downhill, and it is, indeed, difficult to walk the right path, and to choose Peter’s path. Most people have unclear thinking. They cannot clearly see which path is the right one and which is a deviation from it. No matter how many sermons they hear, and no matter how many of God’s words they read, even though they know that He is God, they still do not fully believe in Him. They know this is the true way, but cannot embark upon it. How difficult it is to save people!(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Choosing the Right Path Is the Most Crucial Part of Belief in God). Listening to this hymn brought me to tears. God’s words were really moving for me, and pointed me toward a path of practice. Even though I was sick, so long as I had another breath, and so long as I could still talk and walk, I couldn’t give up on my duty as a created being. Thinking more about my illness, I saw it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t get around. I was just kind of weak and needed to suffer a bit to do my duty. However, I cast my duty aside and went home. I’d been a believer for years, and had listened to so many of God’s words. Did I really want to give up on my duty? That was unconscionable! I realized I couldn’t keep on being so negative. Wouldn’t it be a mark of shame in God’s eyes if I gave up my duty like that? No matter when I got better, so long as I had breath, no matter how hard my duty was, I had to do all I could to cooperate. God’s words gave me the motivation for my duty, and I suddenly felt much freer. I felt a turnaround in my state, and I went back to take up my duty again.

I read another passage of God’s words after that: “Then there are those who are in poor health, who have a weak constitution and lack energy, who are often sick with major or minor illnesses, who cannot even do the basic things necessary in daily life, who cannot live or get about like normal people. Such people often feel uncomfortable and unwell while performing their duties; some are physically weak, some have real illnesses, and of course there are some who have known and potential diseases of some kind or other. Because they have such practical physical difficulties, such people often sink into negative emotions and feel distress, anxiety, and worry. What are they feeling distressed, anxious, and worried about? They worry that if they keep performing their duty like this, expending themselves and running around for God like this, and always feeling this tired, then will their health deteriorate more and more? When they reach 40 or 50, will they be confined to their beds? Do these worries hold up? Will anyone provide a concrete way of dealing with this? Who will take responsibility for this? Who will be answerable? People with poor health and who are physically unfit feel distressed, anxious, and worried about such things. People with an illness will often think, ‘Oh, I’m determined to perform my duty well, but I’ve got this illness. I ask God to keep me from harm, and with God’s protection I need not be afraid. But if I get exhausted when performing my duties, will my condition flare up? What will I do if my condition really flares up? If I need to be admitted to hospital to undergo an operation, I have no money to pay for it, so if I don’t borrow the money to pay for my treatment, will my condition get even worse? And if it gets really bad, will I die? Could such a death be considered a normal death? If I really do die, will God remember the duties I’ve performed? Will I be considered to have done good deeds? Will I attain salvation?’ There are also some who know they are sick, that is, they know they have some real illness or other, for example stomach diseases, lower back and leg pain, arthritis, rheumatism, as well as skin diseases, gynecological diseases, liver disease, hypertension, heart disease, and so on. They think, ‘If I keep performing my duty, will God’s house pay for treatment for my illness? If my illness gets worse and it affects the performance of my duty, will God heal me? Other people have been cured after believing in God, so will I be cured too? Will God cure me, just as He shows kindness to others? If I loyally perform my duty, God should heal me, but if only I wish God to heal me and He doesn’t, then what am I going to do?’ Whenever they think of these things, they get a profound feeling of anxiety rising up in their hearts. Even though they never stop performing their duty and they always do what they’re supposed to, they think constantly about their illness, their health, their future, and about their life and death. Finally, they reach the conclusion of wishfully thinking, ‘God will heal me, God will keep me safe. God won’t abandon me, and God won’t stand by and do nothing if He sees me getting sick.’ There is no basis at all for such thoughts, and they can even be said to be a kind of notion. People will never be able to resolve their practical difficulties with such notions and imaginings as these, and in their innermost hearts, they feel vaguely distressed, anxious, and worried about their health and their illnesses; they have no idea who will take responsibility for these things, or whether anyone will take responsibility for them at all(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (3)). Without God saying this, I’d still not know that constantly worrying about my illnesses was a negative emotion, and I would think it was justified. Now I finally realized that I was deeply entrenched in this negative emotion. Since I had the underlying conditions of high blood pressure and angina, I had symptoms flaring up pretty frequently. When I suffered more in my duty and I got a little more fatigued, I was worried that my condition would get more and more serious. If I lost my life, how would I be able to do my duty? Therefore, I was afraid I’d lose my chance at salvation. When my health wasn’t that bad, I could keep on doing my duty. I felt like I was paying a price and that God would protect me, but as soon as my symptoms emerged, I was flooded with all these emotions of distress. I constantly worried about my future, and I couldn’t do my duty freely. The more I thought about the flesh, the more I feared death and the difficulty and pain brought on by poor health. And when I thought back on my dad lying in bed, riddled with horrible pain every day, helplessly staring at a white wall, without any hope in life, I was terrified of becoming like him. That’s why I was always thinking of my flesh while doing my duty. I was cowering, afraid to put my all in. I didn’t want to work hard to learn the details of the gospel work, which meant that work never progressed well. And after I came down with Covid and my condition got worse, my worries got more serious. I didn’t want to do my duty anymore, and I just gave up and ran home. I saw how much that negative emotion had impacted me. Living within that anxiety, I just rebelled against God more and more, and life became more and more depressing and painful. Really, I knew that birth, aging, illness, and death are all in God’s hands, out of my control, and that there’s no way for me to avoid illness. I should face it properly and submit to God’s arrangements. No matter how much I worry, I can’t change anything. But since I was always thinking about my prospects and a way out, I couldn’t help but live in a state of anxiety. I was causing myself a lot of unnecessary strain and pain. I was so foolish! Realizing this, I didn’t want to live in that negative state anymore.

After that, I read a passage of God’s words: “When sickness comes calling, what path should people follow? How should they choose? People should not sink into distress, anxiety, and worry, and contemplate their own future prospects and paths. Rather, the more people find themselves in times like these and in such special situations and contexts, and the more they find themselves in such immediate difficulties, the more they should seek the truth and pursue the truth. Only by doing this will the sermons you have heard in the past and the truths you have understood not be in vain and will take effect. The more you find yourself in such difficulties as these, the more you should relinquish your own desires and submit to God’s orchestrations. God’s purpose in setting up this kind of situation and arranging these conditions for you is not to make you sink into the emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry, and it is not so that you can test God to see if He will cure you when sickness befalls, or sound out the truth of the matter; God sets up these special situations and conditions for you so that you can learn the practical lessons in such situations and conditions, to attain deeper entry into the truth and into submission to God, and so that you know more clearly and accurately how God orchestrates all people, events, and things. The fates of man are in God’s hands and, whether people can sense it or not, whether they are truly aware of it or not, they should obey and not resist, not reject, and certainly not test God. You may die in any case, and if you resist, reject, and test God, then it goes without saying what your end will be. Conversely, if in the same situations and conditions you are able to seek how a created being ought to submit to the Creator’s orchestrations, seek what lessons you are to learn and what corrupt dispositions you are to know in the situations God brings about for you, and understand God’s will in such situations, and bear your testimony well to meet God’s demands, then this is what you should do. When God arranges for someone to get an illness, whether major or minor, His purpose in doing so is not to make you appreciate the ins and outs of being sick, the harm the illness does to you, the hardships and difficulties the illness causes you, and all the myriad feelings the illness causes you to feel—His purpose is not for you to appreciate sickness through being sick. Rather, His purpose is for you to learn the lessons from sickness, to learn how to feel for God’s will, to know the corrupt dispositions you reveal and the wrong attitudes you adopt toward God when you’re sick, and to learn how to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, so that you can achieve true obedience to God and be able to stand firm in your testimony—this is absolutely key. God wishes to save you and cleanse you through sickness. What about you does He wish to cleanse? He wishes to cleanse all your extravagant desires and demands toward God, and even cleanse the various plans, judgments, and schemes you make at all costs to survive and live. God does not ask you to make plans, He does not ask you to judge, and He does not allow you to have any extravagant desires toward Him; He requires only that you submit to Him and, in your practice of experiencing and submitting, to know your own attitude toward sickness, and to know your attitude toward these bodily conditions He gives to you, as well as your own personal wishes. When you come to know these things, you can then appreciate how beneficial it is for you that God has arranged the circumstances of the illness for you or that He has given you these bodily conditions; and you can appreciate just how helpful they are to changing your disposition, to you attaining salvation, and to your life entry. That is why, when illness comes calling, you must not always be wondering how you can escape it or flee from it or reject it(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (3)). I understood God’s will after I read His words. When illness strikes, I shouldn’t get stuck in a negative emotion of anxiety, and I shouldn’t test if God will cure me. Instead, I should learn to submit to God’s arrangements in the environment He sets up. Getting sick doesn’t mean God is intentionally making things hard for me. He wants me to seek the truth and understand what lessons I should learn. Thinking back on when I became ill and experienced some physical pain, I was worried about the road ahead for me and my future, afraid I would die and be unable to attain salvation. I felt like God had set up that situation to cast me out. That was my greatest misunderstanding of God. But really, that was not God’s will at all. He set up that situation to give me a practical experience of illness, to expose my internal corruption and deficiencies, and to show me that although I claimed to believe in God, in my heart, I didn’t believe that He rules everything. It also allowed me to see that when I got sick, my own flesh was my only consideration. I knew someone was urgently needed for church work, but I still refused my duty. Though later I reluctantly accepted it, I wasn’t wholeheartedly paying a price for it. When I got Covid and my condition worsened, I argued with God and resisted Him. In the end I abandoned my duty and betrayed God, causing losses to the work of the church. I saw that as a believer all this time, I hadn’t had a shred of fear of God, and that I had a very casual attitude toward my duty. I finally realized that even if I were physically healthy, without resolving all those corrupt dispositions in me, I would keep resisting and betraying God, and I wouldn’t gain His approval. God permitted my illness to purify the adulterations in my faith and to transform my satanic disposition. But I never gave thought to God’s earnest intentions. I was always immersed in anxiety and concern about my illnesses, and was resistant to God setting up this situation, always thinking of my own plans and arrangements. I even thought that God wanted to cast me out. I really truly was rebellious and lacking in humanity and reason. I couldn’t keep approaching my illnesses with that kind of attitude. I needed to correct my attitude, reflect on and recognize my corrupt dispositions, and pursue the truth during these illnesses. That was what I should have done.

I reflected on myself after that. What was the root of my constant anxiety after I got sick? I read this in God’s words: “So many believe in Me only that I might heal them. So many believe in Me only that I might use My powers to drive unclean spirits out from their bodies, and so many believe in Me simply that they might receive peace and joy from Me. … 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, I paid him no heed and felt abhorrence toward him; man departed from Me to instead seek the way of evil medicine and sorcery. When I took away all that man had demanded from Me, everyone disappeared without a trace. Thus, I say that man has faith in Me because I give too much grace, and there is far too much to gain(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. What Do You Know of Faith?). God exposed my state. Wasn’t my view on faith exactly what He described? My faith was just for blessings, and I was trying to make a deal with God. When I didn’t have any major health problems in my duties, I thought I’d gained God’s care and protection, and had a chance at salvation, so I was willing to suffer and pay a price for my duty. When I became ill and didn’t see my symptoms easing up, I couldn’t throw myself into my duty, and I didn’t put my heart into the gospel work, either. I only thought of my future and fate. I was worried about whether I’d die, and whether I could be blessed. When I was seriously ill with Covid and was unwell for two weeks, I complained that God wasn’t protecting me, and I didn’t even want to do my duty anymore. When I saw that my hopes for blessings were dashed, my true nature was exposed. I turned my back on God, abandoning my duty and betraying Him. I went completely against God, rebelling against Him and resisting Him. Arguing with God, being negative and resistant—where was my sense of humanity and reason? Thinking about it, I was truly grateful to God for setting up that situation for me. Although I suffered a bit in the flesh, I gained some understanding of the adulterations in my faith and my satanic disposition of going against God. I felt in my heart that everything God does in me is for salvation, and it’s all love.

I read more of God’s words later and gained more insight into the matter of death. God’s words say: “Whether you encounter a major illness or a minor one, the moment your illness gets serious or you’re facing death, just remember one thing: Do not fear death. Even if you’re in the final stages of cancer, even if the death rate for your particular illness is very high, do not fear death. Regardless of how great your suffering is, if you fear death then you will not submit. … If your illness gets so serious that you may die, and the death rate for it is high regardless of how old the person is who contracts the illness, and the time from when people contract the illness to when they die is very short, what should you think in your heart? ‘I must not fear death, everyone dies in the end. Submitting to God, however, is something most people can’t do, and I can use this illness to practice submitting to God. I should have the thinking and the attitude of submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and I must not fear death.’ Dying is easy, much easier than living. You can be in extreme pain and you won’t be aware of it, and as soon as your eyes close, your breath ceases, your soul leaves the body, and your life ends. This is how death goes; it is this simple. Not fearing death is one attitude to adopt. Besides this, you mustn’t worry about whether your illness will get worse or not, or whether you will die if you cannot be cured, or how long it will be until you die, or what pain you will be in when it comes time to die. You mustn’t worry about these things; these are not things you should be worrying about. This is because the day must come, and it must come in some year, some month, and on some particular day. You cannot hide from it and you cannot escape it—it is your fate. Your so-called fate has been predestined by God and already arranged by Him. The span of your years and the age and time at which you die are already set by God, so what are you worried about? You can worry about it but that won’t change anything; you can worry about it, but you cannot prevent it from happening; you can worry about it, but you cannot stop that day from arriving. Therefore, your worry is superfluous, and all it does is make the burden of your illness even heavier(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (3)). After reading God’s words, it was clear to me that everyone’s deaths are ordained by God, and no amount of worrying is of any use. Whenever I experienced symptoms or felt uncomfortable, I was worried that if those symptoms got worse, I might lose my life. I didn’t understand that everyone’s time of death has long since been determined by God, and that it’s not caused by being worn out from our duties. I thought of how when my aunt was young, she was weak and riddled with illness, always in and out of the hospital. We all thought she wasn’t long for this world. But surprisingly, now that she’s older, her health has gotten better and better. She’s over 80 and still able to take care of herself. But her husband, who was always healthy and hardly ever got sick, unexpectedly developed liver cancer and passed away. These real-life examples showed me that our life and death are within God’s rule and arrangements. I had quite a few illnesses. Whether my condition would get worse, whether I’d die—this couldn’t be solved by worrying over it. It’s all up to God’s rule. Whether we die has nothing to do with being exhausted by our duties. Some people don’t do a duty and look after their health, but their death will still come. I was a believer who didn’t believe in God’s rule, always living within the anxiety of the fear of death. I didn’t have genuine faith in God. The truth is, everyone dies. It’s a law of nature. Death isn’t something to fear. Our life and death are preordained by God, and I should submit to what God arranges. No matter when death comes for me, I should face it calmly. I have to be devoted to my duty and put my all into it, and strive to leave no regrets at the time of my death, which is the only way to be content and at peace. If I’m constantly living in a negative emotion of anxiety, always making plans for my flesh, not genuinely putting my all into my duty, I’ll be left with regrets and guilt, and I’ll be holding up the church’s work, and no matter how good my health is, my life will be meaningless, and I’ll inevitably end up punished by God. Once I understood all that, I felt a lot freer.

Later on, I read a passage of God’s words that really touched me. Almighty God says: “What is the value of a person’s life? Is it merely for the sake of indulging in fleshly pleasures such as eating, drinking, and being entertained? (No, it is not.) Then what is it? Please share your thoughts. (To fulfill the duty of a created being, this at least is what a person should achieve in their life.) That is correct. … During your lifetime, you must fulfill your mission; this is the most important. We’re not talking about completing a great mission, duty, or responsibility; but at the very least, you should accomplish something. For instance, in the church, some people put all their efforts into the work of spreading the gospel, dedicating the energy of their entire lives, paying a great price, and gaining many people. Because of this, they feel that their lives have not been lived in vain, and that they hold value and comfort. When facing illness or death, when summing up their entire lives and thinking back on everything they ever did, on the path they walked, they find solace in their hearts. They experience no accusations or regrets. Some people spare no effort while leading in the church or being responsible for a certain aspect of work. They unleash their maximum potential, giving all of their strength, expending all their energy and paying the price for the work they do. Through their watering, leadership, help, and support, they help many people in the midst of their own weaknesses and negativity to become strong and stand firm, not to withdraw themselves, but instead to return to the presence of God and even finally bear witness to Him. Furthermore, during the period of their leadership, they accomplish many significant tasks, clearing out more than a few evil people, protecting many of God’s chosen people, and recovering a number of significant losses. All of these achievements take place during their leadership. Looking back at the path they walked, recalling the work they did and the price they paid over the years, they feel no regrets or accusations. They believe that they did nothing to merit remorse, and they live with a sense of value, and steadiness and comfort in their hearts. How wonderful is that! Isn’t this the result? (Yes.) This sense of steadiness and comfort, this lack of regrets, they are the result and the reward of pursuing positive things and the truth. Let’s not set high standards for people. Let’s consider a situation where a person is faced with a task they should do or want to do in their lifetime. After finding their place, they stand firmly in their position, holding their position, taking great pains, paying the price, and devoting all their energy to accomplish and finish what they should work on and complete. When they finally stand before God to give an account, they feel relatively satisfied, without accusations or regrets in their heart. They have a sense of comfort and of reward, that they have lived a valuable life. Isn’t this a significant goal? Regardless of its scale, tell Me, is it practical? (It is practical.) Is it specific? It’s specific enough, practical enough, and realistic enough. So, in order to live a valuable life and ultimately achieve this kind of reward, do you think it’s worth it for a person’s physical body to suffer a bit and pay a bit of a price, even if they experience exhaustion and physical illness? (It is worth it.) When a person comes into this world, it isn’t just for the enjoyment of the flesh, nor is it solely for eating, drinking, and having fun. One shouldn’t live just for those things; that is not the value of human life, nor is it the right path. The value of human life and the right path to follow involve accomplishing something valuable and completing one or multiple jobs of value. This is not called a career; it is called the right path, it is also called the proper task. Tell Me, is it worth it for a person to pay the price in order to complete some work of value, live a meaningful and valuable life, and pursue and attain the truth? If you truly desire to pursue and understand the truth, to embark on the right path in life, to fulfill your duty well, and to live a valuable and meaningful life, then you should not hesitate to give all of your energy, pay the price, and give all of your time and the extent of your days. If you experience a bit of illness during this period it will not matter, it will not crush you. Isn’t this far superior to a lifetime of ease and idleness, nurturing the physical body to the point that it is well-fed and healthy, and ultimately achieving longevity? (Yes.) Which one of these two options is more conducive to a valuable life? Which one can bring comfort and no regrets to people when they face death at the very end? (Living a meaningful life.) Living a meaningful life means to feel results and comfort in your heart. What about those who are well-fed, and maintain a rosy complexion until death? They don’t pursue a meaningful life, so how do they feel when they die? (Like they lived in vain.) These three words are incisive—living in vain. What does ‘living in vain’ mean? (To waste one’s life.) Living in vain, wasting one’s life—what is the basis for these two phrases? (At the end of their lives they find that they have gained nothing.) What should a person gain then? (They should gain the truth or accomplish valuable and meaningful things in this life. They should fulfill their duty as a created being. If they fail to do all that and only live for their physical bodies, they will feel that their life was lived in vain and wasted.)” (The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (6)). Reading this in God’s words, I understood the meaning of human life. I thought of how I now have the chance to do the duty of a created being, and that it’s the most righteous thing to do. Unbelievers pursue food, drink, and pleasure, and though they have the pleasures of the flesh and don’t suffer much, when death comes to them, they have no idea what people live their lives for. It’s a life lived in vain. I can be uplifted by God and serve as a leader in my duty during my lifetime, so I should put my all into it and take responsibility for the church’s projects as the Above requires, lead brothers and sisters to pursue the truth and do their duties according to principles, and do my part to expand the kingdom gospel—this is the most meaningful thing. But, if people just live their lives for the flesh, they are wasting their days, and it’s all totally meaningless. Just like before, when I gave up my duty and went home so I wouldn’t collapse, though I was at home and wasn’t physically suffering and I didn’t have to worry so much about church work, I wasn’t shouldering the responsibilities I should have, and I felt empty inside. I was also filled with guilt, and I didn’t have any real peace or joy. I saw that a life lived for the flesh was totally meaningless and that it was empty, no matter how well I took care of my health. Although I was a little tired and suffered a bit doing my duty, I could gain the truth and feel calm and at peace. That’s the only meaningful life. Through this I also gained personal experience of how doing the duty of a created being is the only way for us to live fulfilled, meaningful lives, and for us to have true peace and joy in our hearts. Treasuring the flesh only leads to an empty life, and ruins one’s chance to pursue the truth and be saved. Once I understood these things, I regained my motivation to do my duty. I wasn’t achieving anything in gospel work, so I needed to gain a practical understanding of the situation, seek the principles to resolve problems, do my best to do everything I could, striving to improve the results of the work. That way I’d have no shame or regrets in how I did my duty. When I was engaged in the gospel work and encountered difficulties, sometimes I’d worry about wearing myself out or getting worse from resolving problems, but I felt I couldn’t keep living in a state of anxiety. So I prayed to God, “Oh God, whether my illnesses worsen or not, I don’t want to keep rebelling against You like before. Whether I live or die is entirely in Your hands, and I want to submit to Your orchestrations and arrangements.” I didn’t feel as worried after praying. I fellowshiped with some brothers and sisters to resolve the issues in the gospel work. Everyone sought the principles together, discussed options, and we found a path for our duties. There was progress in the gospel work, and we became clearer on some of the principles.

In March 2023, the church held elections for upper leaders, and in the end, I was elected. I knew that I’d have a greater burden in this duty and I still thought of my health, but I didn’t want to heed the flesh anymore. I wanted to really treasure the opportunity of this duty. Afterward, in doing my duty I could make adjustments for my health as needed, resting a bit when I wasn’t feeling well, and making time to get some exercise. Doing my duty that way, I didn’t get overly tired, and I wasn’t held back by illness. Over time, I didn’t have so much numbness in my head. Now I think that I must treasure the time I have left, and that what’s most important is how to do my duty well. I’m grateful to God for setting up this situation so I could learn a lesson. I’m not constantly worried about getting sick anymore.

Previous: 6. Angel’s Story

Next: 8. Practice the Truth Even If It Offends

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