17. How to approach sickness and pain

Words of Almighty God of the Last Days

First of all, people must understand where the pain of birth, old age, illness and death throughout their lives comes from and why man suffers these things. Did they exist when man was first created? Where did these pains come from? These pains came about after man was tempted by Satan and after man fell following Satan’s corruption. The pain of man’s flesh, the troubles, and emptiness, and all of the wretched things in the world of man—they all appeared after Satan corrupted man. After man was corrupted by Satan, Satan began to torment man, and so man fell ever further, his sickness became ever more profound, his pain ever greater, and he had an increasing sense that the world is empty and miserable, that it is impossible to survive in this world, and that living in this world is increasingly hopeless. So this pain was all brought upon man by Satan and the fall that resulted from Satan’s corruption of man.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Significance of God’s Tasting of Worldly Suffering

Some people often fall ill, but no matter how much they pray to God, they still don’t get better. No matter how much they want to rid themselves of their illness, they cannot. Sometimes, they may even face life-threatening conditions and are forced to confront them head-on. In fact, if one really has faith in God in their heart, they first of all must know that a person’s lifespan is in God’s hands. The timing of one’s birth and death is predestined by God. When God gives people illness, there is a reason behind it—it has meaning. It feels like sickness to them, but, in actual fact, what they have been given is grace, not illness. People must first of all recognize and be sure about this fact, and take it seriously. When people are suffering from illness, they can come often before God, and make sure to do what they should, with prudence and caution, and treat their duty with greater care and diligence than others. As far as people are concerned, this is a protection, not shackles. It is the negative way of handling things. In addition, everyone’s lifespan has been predetermined by God. An illness may appear to be terminal from a medical standpoint, but from God’s point of view, if your life must still go on and your time has yet to come, then you couldn’t die even if you wanted to. If God has given you a commission, and your mission is not over, then you will not even die from an illness that is supposed to be fatal—God will not take you yet. Even if you do not pray and seek the truth, or do not attend to treating your illness, or even if you put off your treatment, you will not die. This is particularly true for those who have received a commission from God: When their mission has yet to be completed, no matter what illness befalls them, they must not die straight away; they must live until the final moment of the mission’s completion. Do you have this faith? If you do not, you will only offer some superficial prayers to God, saying, “God! I have to complete the commission You gave me. I want to spend my final days in utter devotion to You, so that I will leave no regrets behind. You must protect me!” Although you pray like this, if you don’t take the initiative to seek the truth, then you will not have the will and the strength to exercise loyalty. As you are not willing to pay the real price, you often use this kind of excuse and this method to pray to God and bargain with Him—is this a person who pursues the truth? If your illness were to be cured, would you really be able to perform your duty well? Not necessarily. The fact is that no matter whether your bargaining is meant to get your illness cured and keep you from dying, or whether you have some other intent or goal in it, from God’s point of view, if you can fulfill your duty and are still of use, if God has decided that you are to be used, then you will not die. You will not be able to die even if you want to. But if you make trouble, and commit all manner of wicked deeds, and aggravate God’s disposition, you will die swiftly; your life will be cut short. Everyone’s lifespan was determined by God before the creation of the world. If they can obey the arrangements and orchestrations of God, then regardless of whether they suffer illness or not, and whether they are in good or poor health, they will live the number of years predetermined by God. Do you have this faith? If you only acknowledge this based on doctrine, then you do not have true faith, and it is useless to say nice-sounding words; if you confirm from the bottom of your heart that God will do this, your approach and way of practice will naturally change. Of course, people must have some common sense about maintaining their health during their life regardless of whether they become sick or not. This is the instinct that God has given to man. It is the reason and common sense that one should possess within the free will that God has given them. Once you are sick, you should understand some common sense regarding health care and treatment for dealing with this illness—this is what you should do. However, treating your illness in this way is not meant to challenge the lifespan set for you by God, nor is it to guarantee that you can live out the lifespan that He has set for you. What does this mean? It can be put this way: In a passive regard, if you do not take your illness seriously, if you fulfill your duty however you should, and get a bit more rest than others, if you have not delayed your duty, your illness will not get worse, and it will not kill you. Everything depends on what God does. In other words, if, in God’s view, your predestined lifespan has not yet run its course, then, even if you get sick, He will not allow you to die. If your illness is not terminal, but your time has come, then God will take you away whenever He wants. Is this not completely at the mercy of God’s thought? It is at the mercy of His predetermination! This is how you should look at this matter. You might do your part and go to the doctor, take some medicine, look after your health, and get exercise, but you need to understand deep down that a person’s life is in God’s hands, a person’s lifespan is predetermined by God, and no one can transcend what God has predetermined. If you do not possess even this small measure of understanding, then you do not truly have faith, and do not actually believe in God.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three

Almighty God, the Head of all things, wields His kingly power from His throne. He rules over the universe and all things, and He is in the act of guiding us on the whole earth. We shall at every moment be close to Him, and come before Him in quietness, never missing a single moment, and with lessons for us to learn at all times. Everything, from the surrounding environment to people, affairs, and things, all exist by permission of His throne. Do not on any account let grievances arise in your heart, or God will not bestow His grace upon you. When sickness befalls, this is God’s love, and surely His kind intentions are harbored within. Though your body may undergo a bit of suffering, entertain no ideas from Satan. Praise God in the midst of illness and enjoy God in the midst of your praise. Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking again and again and do not give up, and God will illuminate you with His light. How was Job’s faith? Almighty God is an all-powerful physician! To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well. So long as you still have one breath, God will not let you die.

We have within us the resurrected life of Christ. Undeniably, we lack faith in the presence of God: Would that God would put true faith within us. Sweet indeed is the word of God! God’s word is potent medicine! It puts to shame the devils and Satan! Grasping God’s word gives us support. His word acts fast to save our hearts! It dispels all things and sets all at peace. Faith is like a single log bridge: Those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over, sure of foot and worry-free. If man harbors timid and fearful thoughts, it is because Satan has fooled them, afraid that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God. Satan is trying in every way possible to send us its thoughts. We should at every moment pray for God to illuminate us with His light, at every moment rely on God to purge Satan’s poison from within us, practice within our spirit at every moment how to come close to God, and let God have dominion over our whole being.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 6

How should you experience sickness when it comes? You should come before God and pray, seek and grope for God’s intention; you should examine yourself to find what it is you have done that went against the truth, and what corruption in you has not been resolved. Your corrupt disposition cannot be resolved without undergoing suffering. Only in being tempered by suffering can people not be dissolute, and able to live before God at all times. When someone suffers, they are always at prayer. They have no thought for the pleasures of food, dress, and other enjoyments; they pray constantly in their hearts, examining themselves to see whether they have done anything wrong or where they may have gone against the truth. Normally, when you face a serious illness or strange malady that makes you suffer very badly, this does not happen by chance. Whether you are ill or in good health, God’s will is there in that. When the Holy Spirit works and you are physically well, you can usually seek God, but you stop seeking God when you get sick and suffer, nor do you know how to seek Him. You live in sickness, always pondering what treatment will make you better faster. You envy those who are not sick at times like these, and you want to get rid of your sickness and pain as soon as you can. These are negative and resistant feelings. When people get sick, they sometimes think, “Did I bring about this sickness through my own ignorance, or is it God’s will?” They just cannot figure it out. In fact, some illnesses are normal, things such as chills, inflammation, or the flu. When you are afflicted with a major illness that suddenly knocks you down, that you would rather die than suffer, such an illness does not happen by chance. Do you pray to God and seek from Him when sickness and suffering come your way? How does the work of the Holy Spirit guide you and lead you? Does He only enlighten and illuminate you? That is not His only method; He will also test you and refine you. How does God test people? Does He not test people by making them suffer? Suffering goes hand in hand with being tested. Why would man suffer if it were not a test? How can people change without suffering? Suffering goes hand in hand with being tested—that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes God gives people some suffering because they would otherwise not know their place in the universe, and become insolent. A corrupt disposition cannot be completely resolved through fellowship on the truth alone. Others may point out your issues, and you may know about them yourself, but you cannot change them. No matter how much you rely on your willpower to restrain yourself, even slapping your own face, hitting yourself on the head, banging yourself against the wall, and harming your own flesh will not resolve your issues. Because there is a satanic disposition inside you that constantly torments you, disturbs you, and gives you all kinds of thoughts and ideas, your corrupt disposition will pour forth. So, what do you do if you cannot resolve it? You must be refined through ailment. Some suffer so much in this refinement that they cannot take it, and they begin to pray and seek. When you are not sick, you are so dissolute and wildly arrogant. When you get sick, you come to heel—can you still be wildly arrogant then? When you barely have enough energy to speak, can you lecture others or be arrogant? At times like those, you make no demands; you wish only to be rid of your suffering, without a thought for any food, clothing, or enjoyment. Most of you have not experienced that feeling, but you will understand when you do. There are some now who fight for position, for the pleasures of the flesh, and for their own interests. This is all because their ease is too great, their suffering is too slight, and they are demeaned. These people have hardship and refinement ahead of them!

Sometimes God will arrange some situations for you, dealing with you through the people around you and causing you to suffer, making you learn the lessons and allowing you to understand the truth and see things for what they are. God is doing this work right now, in having your flesh accompanied by suffering, so that you can learn your lesson, resolve your corrupt disposition and fulfill your duty well. Paul often said he had a thorn in his flesh. What was this thorn? It was an illness, and he could not escape it. He knew all too well what that illness was, that it was directed at his disposition and his nature. If he had not been stuck with this thorn, if he had not been followed with this illness, he might, at any place and time, establish his own kingdom, but with his sickness he did not have the energy. Therefore, much of the time sickness is a kind of “protective umbrella” for people. If you are not ill, but are bounding with energy, you may well do evil of some sort and bring about some kind of trouble. People can easily lose their senses when they are wildly arrogant and dissolute. They will regret it when they have done evil, but by then they will be unable to help themselves. That is why having a little illness is a good thing, a protection for people. You may be able to solve all of other people’s problems and you can fix all the problems in your own thinking, but there is nothing you can do when you are not recovered from an illness. Falling ill is really beyond your control. If you get sick and there is no way to cure it, then that is the suffering you should endure. Do not try to be rid of it; you must first obey, pray to God, and seek God’s intentions. Say: “Oh God, I know I am corrupt and my nature is bad. I’m capable of doing things that are rebellious and resistant against You, things that hurt You and cause You pain. How wonderful that You have given me this illness. I should submit to it. Please enlighten me, allow me to understand what Your will is, and what in me You wish to change and make perfect. I ask only that You guide me, so that I may understand the truth and set off on the right path of life.” You must seek and pray. You cannot be in a muddle, believing that there is nothing to being sick, that it could not be the discipline you face for offending God. Do not make hasty judgments. If you are truly someone with God in their heart, then whatever you encounter, do not let it pass you by. You should pray and seek, feel for God’s will in every matter, and learn to obey God. When God sees that you can submit and that you have a God-obeying heart, He will ease your suffering. God achieves such effects by means of suffering and refinement.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Believing in God, Gaining the Truth Is Most Crucial

Some people are beset by great sickness and unbearable suffering, some even face death. How should they approach this kind of situation? In many cases, the trials of God are burdens He gives to people. However great the burden bestowed upon you by God, that is the weight of burden you should undertake, for God understands you, and knows you will be able to bear it. The burden given to you by God will not exceed your stature or the limits of your endurance, so there is no question that you will be able to bear it. No matter what manner of burden God gives you, what kind of trial, remember one thing: Whether or not you understand God’s will and whether or not you are enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit after you pray, whether or not this trial is God disciplining you or warning you, it does not matter if you do not understand. As long as you do not delay in performing your duty and can faithfully abide by your duty, God will be satisfied, and you will stand firm in your testimony. Seeing that they are suffering from a serious illness and are going to die, some people think to themselves: “It was to avoid death that I started believing in God—but it turns out that even after all these years of performing my duty, He’s going to let me die. I should get on with my own business, do the things I have always wanted to do, and enjoy the things I have not enjoyed in this life. I can put off my duty.” What attitude is this? You have been performing your duty for all these years, you have listened to all these sermons, and still you have not understood the truth. One trial topples you, brings you to your knees, and lays you bare. Is such a person worthy of being cared for by God? (They are unworthy.) They are totally without loyalty. So what is the duty they have spent all these years performing known as? It is known as “doing service,” and they have just been exerting themselves. If, in your faith in God and pursuit of the truth, you are able to say, “Whatever sickness or disagreeable event God allows to befall me—no matter what God does—I must obey, and stay in my place as a created being. Before all else, I must put this aspect of the truth—obedience—into practice, I must implement it, and live out the reality of obedience to God. Moreover, I must not cast aside what God has commissioned to me and the duty I should perform. Even on my last breath, I must abide by my duty,” is this not bearing testimony? When you have this kind of resolve and this kind of state, are you still able to complain about God? No, you are not. At such a time, you will think to yourself, “God gives me this breath, He has provided for and protected me all these years, He has taken much pain from me, given me much grace, and many truths. I have understood truths and mysteries that people have not understood for generations. I have gained so much from God, so I must repay God! Before, my stature was too small, I understood nothing, and everything I did was hurtful to God. I may not have another chance to repay God in the future. No matter how much time I have left to live, I must offer the little strength I have and do what I can for God, so that God can see that all these years of providing for me have not been in vain, but have borne fruit. Let me bring comfort to God, and no longer hurt or disappoint Him.” How about thinking this way? Do not think about how to save yourself or escape, thinking, “When will this illness be cured? When it is, I shall do my best to perform my duty and be devoted. How can I be devoted when I’m ill? How can I perform the duty of a created being?” As long as you have a single breath, are you not capable of performing your duty? As long as you have a single breath, are you capable of not bringing shame upon God? As long as you have a single breath, as long as your mind is lucid, are you capable of not complaining about God? (Yes.) It is easy to say “Yes” now, but it will not be so easy when this really happens to you. And so, you must pursue the truth, often work hard on the truth, and spend more time thinking, “How can I satisfy God’s will? How can I repay God’s love? How can I perform the duty of a created being?” What is a created being? Is the responsibility of a created being merely to listen to the words of God? No—it is to live out the words of God. God has given you so much truth, so much of the way, and so much life, so that you may live out these things, and bear testimony to Him. This is what ought to be done by a created being, and it is your responsibility and obligation. You must contemplate these things frequently; if you always contemplate them, you will go deeper into all aspects of the truth.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only in the Frequent Reading of God’s Words and Contemplation of the Truth Is There a Way Ahead

Some people do everything possible, using various methods to treat their illnesses, but no matter what treatment is used, they cannot be cured. The more they are treated, the more serious the illness becomes. Instead of praying to God to find out exactly what is going on with the illness, and looking for the root cause, they take matters into their own hands. They end up employing a lot of methods and spending quite a bit of money, but their disease still does not get cured. Then, once they’ve given up on treatment, the illness unexpectedly heals on its own after some time, and they do not know how it happened. Some people develop an unremarkable disease and are not really concerned about it, but one day their condition worsens and they die suddenly. What’s going on with that? People are unable to fathom that; actually, from God’s point of view, this is because that person’s mission in this world was completed, so He took them away. People often say, “People don’t die if they aren’t sick.” Is this really the case? There have been people who, after being examined at the hospital, were found to have no illness. They were extremely healthy but ended up dying within a few days. This is called dying without sickness. There are many such people. This means that a person has reached the end of their life, and they have been taken back to the spiritual world. Some people have survived cancer and tuberculosis and still lived into their seventies or eighties. There are quite a few such people. All this hinges on God’s ordinations. Having this understanding is true faith in God. If you are physically sick and you need to take some medicine to manage your condition, then you should take the medicine or get exercise regularly, relaxing and handling it calmly. What kind of attitude is this? This is an attitude of genuine faith in God. Suppose you do not take your medicine, do not get shots, do not exercise, do not take care of your health, and then you’re still worried to death, praying all the time: “Oh, God, I have to perform my duties properly, my mission hasn’t been completed, I’m not ready to die. I want to fulfill my duties and complete Your commission. If I die, I will not be able to complete Your commission. I don’t want to leave behind any regrets. God, please listen to my prayers; let me live on so I can fulfill my duties and complete Your commission. I wish to praise You forever and to see Your day of glory as soon as possible.” By all outward appearances, you do not take medicine or get any shots, and you seem very strong and full of faith in God. In actuality, your faith is smaller than a mustard seed. You are scared to death, and you have no faith in God. How is it that you have no faith? How did this happen? Human beings simply do not understand the Creator’s attitude, principles, and ways of dealing with His created beings, so they use their own limited perspective, notions, and imaginings to guess what God will do. They want to gamble with God to see whether God will heal them and let them live a long life. Isn’t this foolish? If God allows you to live, you will not die no matter how sick you get. If God does not allow you to live, then even if you are not sick, you will still die if that is what must be. The span of your life is predetermined by God. To know this is true knowledge and true faith. So, does God make people fall sick at random? It is not random; it is a way to refine their faith. It is suffering that people must endure. If He makes you fall sick, do not try to escape it; if He does not, then do not request it. All is in the Creator’s hands, and people must learn to let nature take its course. What is nature? Nothing in nature is random; it all comes from God. This is true. Among sufferers of the same disease, some die and others live; all of this was predetermined by God. If you can live, it proves that you have not yet completed the mission God gave you. You should work hard at completing it, and cherish this time; do not waste it. This is what it is. If you are sick, do not try to escape it, and, if you are not sick, do not request it. In any matter, you cannot get what you want merely by requesting it, nor can you escape anything just because you want to. No one can change that which God has decided to do.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three

Some people are always worrying about their illness, saying, “Will I be able to endure it if my illness gets worse? If my condition deteriorates, will it take my life? Will I need to have an operation? And if I have an operation, will I die on the operating table? I have submitted. Will God take my life because of this illness?” What’s the point in thinking these things? If you can’t help but think these things, then you should pray to God. It’s no good relying on yourself, you will certainly be unable to endure it. No one wants to have to endure sickness, and no one beams with smiles, feels overjoyed and celebrates when they get sick. There is no one like this because that is not normal humanity. When normal people get sick, they will always suffer and feel down, and they have a limit to what they can endure. There’s one thing to note, however: If people always thought to depend on their own strength when sick to rid themselves of their sickness and escape it, what would the end result be? As well as their sickness, wouldn’t they suffer and feel down even more? That’s why the more people find themselves enveloped in sickness, the more they should seek the truth, and the more they should seek the way to practice to be in accordance with God’s will. The more people are enveloped in sickness, the more they should come before God and know their own corruption and the unreasonable demands they make of God. The more enveloped in sickness you are, the more your true obedience is tested. Therefore, when you are sick, your ability to continue to submit to God’s orchestrations and forsake your own complaints and unreasonable demands shows that you are someone who truly pursues the truth and truly obeys God, that you bear testimony, that your loyalty and obedience to God are real and can pass the test, and that your loyalty and obedience to God are not just slogans and doctrine. This is what people ought to practice when they get sick. When you get sick, it is to reveal all your unreasonable demands and your unrealistic imaginings and notions about God, and it is also to test your faith in God and obedience to Him. If you pass the test with these things, then you have true testimony and real evidence of your faith in God, your loyalty to God, and your obedience to Him. This is what God wants, and it is what a created being should possess and live out. Are these things not all positive? (They are.) These are all things which people should pursue. Moreover, if God allows you to get sick, can He not also take your sickness from you at any time and place? (He can.) God can take your sickness from you at any time and place, so can He not also cause your sickness to persist in you and never leave you? (He can.) And if God causes this same sickness to never leave you, can you still perform your duty? Can you keep your faith in God? Is this not a test? (It is.) If you get sick and then recover after several months, then your faith in God, and your loyalty and obedience to Him are not tested, and you have no testimony. It’s easy to endure sickness for a few months, but if your sickness persists for two or three years, and your faith and your wish to be obedient and loyal to God do not change, but instead grow more real, does this not show that you have grown in life? Do you not reap this harvest? (Yes.) So, while someone who truly pursues the truth is sick, they undergo and personally experience the myriad benefits brought by their sickness. They do not anxiously try to escape their sickness or worry what the outcome will be if their sickness drags on, what problems it will cause, whether it will get worse, or whether they will die—they don’t worry about such things. As well as not worrying about such things, they are able to enter positively, and to have true faith in God, and be truly obedient and loyal to Him. By practicing in this way, they come to have testimony, and this also greatly benefits their life entry and dispositional change, and it builds a solid foundation for their attainment of salvation. How wonderful that is! Furthermore, sickness can be major or it can be minor, but whether major or minor it always refines people. Having undergone some illness, people do not lose their faith in God, they are obedient and do not complain, their behavior is basically acceptable, and they then reap some harvest after the sickness is gone and feel very pleased—this is what happens when people encounter an ordinary illness. They are not sick for long and are able to endure it, and the sickness basically falls within the scope of that which they can endure. There are some illnesses, however, which, despite getting better after receiving treatment for a while, come back again and get worse. This happens time after time, until finally the illness reaches such a degree that it can no longer be treated, and all the means available to modern medicine are of no avail. What degree does the illness reach? It reaches the degree whereby the afflicted person can die anywhere and at any moment. What does this signify? It signifies that that person’s life is limited. It’s not a time when they are not sick and death is distant and there is no sense of it, but rather the person senses that the day of their death is nigh, and they are facing death. Facing death heralds the arrival of the hardest, most crucial time in a person’s life. So what do you do? … Death is the most painful thing of all, and when they think of it, it feels like a knife twisting in their heart and all the bones throughout their entire body turn to jelly. When they think of death, they feel grieved and want to cry, they want to weep, and they do cry, they do weep, and they feel hurt that they are about to face death. They think, “Why do I not want to die? Why do I fear death so much? Before, when I wasn’t seriously ill, I didn’t think death was scary. Who won’t face death? Who doesn’t die? Let me die then! Thinking about it now, that isn’t such an easy thing to say, and when death really does come, it’s not such an easy thing to solve. Why do I feel so sad?” Do you feel sad when you think of death? Whenever you think of death you feel sad and pained, and this thing which causes you the most anxiety and worry finally arrives. Therefore, the more you think like this, the more afraid you feel, the more helpless you feel, and the more you suffer. Your heart is without comfort, and you don’t want to die. Who can solve this matter of death? No one can, and you certainly can’t solve it yourself. You don’t want to die, so what can you do? You must still die, and no one can escape death. Death hems people in; in their hearts, they don’t want to die, but all they ever think about is death, and isn’t this a case of dying before they’re even dead? Can they really die? Who dares say for sure when they will die or in what year they will die? Who can know these things? Some people say, “I’ve had my fortune read and I know the year, the month, and the day of my death, and what my death will be like.” Do you dare say this for sure? (No.) You cannot know this for sure. You don’t know when you will die—this is secondary. The crucial matter is what attitude you will adopt when your sickness really does bring you close to death. This is a question you should ponder and think about. Will you face death with an attitude of submission, or will you approach death with an attitude of resistance, rejection, or unwillingness? What attitude should you have? (An attitude of submission.) This submission is not achievable and practicable by just saying it. How can you achieve this submission? What understanding do you need to have before you can achieve willing submission? This isn’t simple, is it? (No, it isn’t.) So, say what is in your hearts. (If I got seriously ill, I would think that, even if I really did die, it would all be under the sovereignty of God and arranged by Him. Man is corrupted so deeply that if I were to die, it would be by God’s righteousness. It’s not that I absolutely must live; man is not qualified to make such a demand of God. Besides this, I think that now that I believe in God, no matter what happens, I have seen the right path in life and understood so many truths that, even if I was to die soon, it would all be worth it.) Is this the right way to think? Does this constitute a certain supporting theory? (It does.) Who else will speak? (God, if one day I really encounter an illness and may perhaps die, then there’s no way to avoid death anyway. This is God’s predestination and sovereignty, and no matter how much I fret or worry, it’s no use. I should spend the little time I have left focusing on how I can perform my duty well. Even if I really do die, then I will have no regrets. To be able to submit to God and to God’s arrangements at the very end is much better than living in fear and terror.) What do you think of this understanding? Isn’t this a little better? (Yes.) That’s right, this is how you should regard the matter of death. Everyone must face death in this life, that is, death is what everyone must face at the end of their journey. However, there are many different attributes to death. One of these is, at the time predestined by God, you have completed your mission and God draws a line under your fleshly life, and your fleshly life comes to an end, though this doesn’t mean that your life is over. When a person is without flesh, their life is over—is that the case? (No.) The form in which your life exists after death depends on how you treated God’s work and words while you were alive—this is very important. The form in which you exist after death, or whether you will exist or not, will depend upon your attitude toward God and toward the truth while you are alive. If while you are alive, when you face death and all manner of illnesses, your attitude toward the truth is one of rebelliousness, opposition, and feeling sick of the truth, then when it comes time for your fleshly life to be over, in what way will you exist after death? You will certainly exist in some other way, and your life will certainly not continue. Conversely, if while you are alive, when you have awareness in the flesh, your attitude toward the truth and toward God is one of obedience and loyalty and you have true faith, then even though your fleshly life comes to an end, your life will go on to exist in a different form in another world. This is one explanation of death. There is something else to note, and that is that the matter of death has the same nature as other matters. It is not up to people to choose for themselves, much less can it be changed by the will of man. Death is the same as any other important event in life: It is entirely under the predestination and sovereignty of the Creator. If someone were to beg for death, they may not necessarily die; if they were to beg to live, they may not necessarily live. All this is under the sovereignty and predestination of God, and it is changed and decided by the authority of God, by God’s righteous disposition, and by God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Therefore, say you contract a serious illness, a potentially fatal serious illness, you will not necessarily die—who decides whether you will die or not? (God.) God decides. And since God decides and people cannot decide such a thing, what are people feeling anxious and distressed about? It’s like who your parents are, and when and where you are born—these things cannot be chosen by you, either. The wisest choice in these matters is to let things take their natural course, to submit, and not to choose, not to expend any thought or energy on this matter, and not to feel distressed, anxious, or worried about it. Since people are not able to choose for themselves, expending so much energy and thought on this matter is foolish and unwise.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (4)

Some people pray all the time when they first fall ill, but later, when they see their prayers have not cured them, they sink into their sickness, complain all the time, and say in their hearts, “Believing in God hasn’t done me any good. I’m sick, and God won’t heal me!” This is not true faith. There is no obedience at all in it, and what comes of it is their death, once they are done complaining. This is God’s revocation of their flesh and sending them to hell; it is the end of everything for them. They have no chance to gain salvation in this life, and their soul must go to hell. This is the last stage of God’s work of saving humanity, and if someone is cast out, they will never have another chance! If you die while God is doing His work of salvation, this death is a punishment, not a normal death. Those who die as punishment have no chance to be saved. Is Paul not being constantly punished in Hades? It has been two thousand years, and he is still there, being punished! It is even worse when you knowingly do something wrong, and the punishment will be even more severe!

Some people say, “I’ve always been sick, always suffering and in pain. There have always been some circumstances around me, but I never felt the work of the Holy Spirit.” This is right. This is how the Holy Spirit works most of the time—you cannot sense it. This is refinement. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will enlighten you and allow you to understand some truth through fellowship. Sometimes He will have you realize something through your environment, and test you, temper you, and train you in that environment, making you grow—this is how the Holy Spirit works. You had no knowledge when you went through things before because you did not focus on seeking the truth in your heart. When a person does not understand the truth, they cannot see anything for what it is and are always skewed in their apprehension. It is just as when someone gets sick and believes it is God disciplining them, when in fact some illnesses are man-made, caused by a lack of understanding of the rules for living. When you eat with abandon and do not understand healthy living, then you get sick in all kinds of ways. Yet you say it is God’s discipline, when in fact it has come about due to your own ignorance. But then again, whether an illness has a human cause or it is bestowed by the Holy Spirit, it is a special kindness from God; it is meant to have you learn a lesson, and you must thank God and not complain. Each complaint you make leaves a stain, and that is a sin that cannot be washed away! When you make a complaint, how long will it take to turn your state around? If you are a little negative, you may come around after a month. When you give a complaint and you give voice to some negative feelings, you may not come around even after a year, and the Holy Spirit will not work on you. It will be terrible for you if you always complain, and it will be even harder for you to gain the work of the Holy Spirit. One has to make a great deal of effort in prayer to set their mindset aright and receive some of the Holy Spirit’s work. It is no easy thing to turn a mindset around completely. This can only be done by seeking the truth and gaining the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Believing in God, Gaining the Truth Is Most Crucial

When it comes to this old flesh of man’s, it doesn’t matter what sickness people get, whether they can get better, or to what degree they suffer, none of it is up to them—it is all in God’s hands. If, when you get sick, you submit to God’s orchestrations, and you’re willing to endure and accept this fact, then you will still have this illness; if you don’t accept this fact, you still won’t be able to get rid of this sickness—this is a fact. You can face your sickness positively for a day, or face it negatively for a day. That is, regardless of your attitude, you cannot change the fact that you are sick. What choice do intelligent people make? … When people who pursue the truth encounter sickness, will they become mired in feelings of distress, anxiety, and worry? (No.) What approach will they take toward sickness? (First, they are able to submit, and then, while they are sick, they seek to understand God’s will and reflect on what corrupt dispositions they have.) Can these few words resolve the problem? If all they do is reflect, will they not still need to treat their sickness? (They will also seek treatment.) Yes, if it’s a sickness that should be treated, a major illness, or an illness that could get worse if you don’t seek treatment for it, then it must be treated—this is what intelligent people do. When foolish people are not sick, they always worry, “Oh, could I be sick? And if I am sick, will it get worse? Will I get that sickness? And if I do get that sickness, will I die a premature death? Will it be very painful when I die? Will I live a happy life? If I get that sickness, then should I make arrangements for my death and enjoy life as soon as possible?” Foolish people will often feel distressed, anxious, and worried about things like this. They never seek the truth or seek the truths they should understand in this matter. Intelligent people, however, have some understanding of and insight into this matter either when someone else gets sick or when they themselves are not yet sick. So, what understanding and insight should they have? First of all, will sickness pass someone by because they feel distressed, anxious, and worried? (No.) Tell Me, is it not already fated when someone will get sick with some illness, what their health will be like at a certain age, and whether they will contract some major or serious illness? It is, and that’s for certain, let Me tell you. We won’t discuss now how God predestines things for you; people’s appearance, facial features, body shape and their date of birth are clearly known to all. Those unbelieving diviners, astrologers, and those who can read the stars and people’s palms, can tell from people’s palms, faces, and birth dates when they will have a disaster, and when they will encounter some misfortune—these things have already been determined. So, when someone gets sick, it may seem as though it has been caused by exhaustion, feelings of anger, or because they live poorly and lack nutrition—it may seem like this on the surface. This situation applies to everyone, so why do some people in the same age group get this illness, while others don’t? Is it fated to be like this? (Yes.) In layman’s terms, it is fated. How do we say it in words that accord with the truth? All this comes under the sovereignty and arrangements of God. Therefore, irrespective of what your food, drink, accommodation, and living environment are like, they have nothing to do with when you will get sick or what sickness will afflict you. People who don’t believe in God always look for reasons from an objective standpoint and always emphasize the causes of the sickness, saying, “You have to exercise more, and eat more vegetables and less meat.” Is that truly the case? People who never eat any meat can still get high blood pressure and diabetes just the same, and vegetarians can still have high cholesterol. Medical science has not provided an accurate or reasonable explanation for these things. Let Me tell you, all the different foods God has created for man are foods which man is supposed to eat; just don’t eat them to excess, but instead eat them in moderation. It is necessary to learn how to take care of your health, but always wanting to study how to prevent illness is wrong. As we just said, what someone’s health will be like at a certain age and whether they will contract a major illness is all arranged by God. Unbelievers don’t believe in God and they go looking for someone to see these things in palms, in birth dates, and in faces, and they believe these things. You believe in God and often listen to sermons and fellowships on the truth, so if you don’t believe this, then you are nothing but a nonbeliever. If you truly believe that everything is in God’s hands, then you should believe that these things—serious illnesses, major illnesses, minor illnesses, and health—all fall under the sovereignty and arrangements of God. The emergence of a serious illness and what someone’s health will be like at a certain age are not things that happen by accident, and to understand this is to have a positive and accurate understanding. Does this accord with the truth? (Yes.) It accords with the truth, it is the truth, you should accept this, and your attitude and views on this matter should be transformed. And what is resolved once these things are transformed? Are your feelings of distress, anxiety, and worry not resolved? At the very least, your negative emotions of distress, anxiety, and worry about sickness are resolved in theory. Because your understanding has transformed your thoughts and views, it therefore resolves your negative emotions. This is one aspect: Whether or not someone will get sick, what serious illness they will get, and what their health will be like at each stage of life cannot be changed by the will of man, but rather are all predestined by God. Some people say, “So is it okay if I don’t want to get sick? Is it okay if I want to ask God to take sickness from me? Is it okay if I want to ask God to steer me clear of this disaster and misfortune?” What do you think? Are these things okay? (No.) You say this with such certainty, but no one is able to understand these things clearly. Perhaps someone is faithfully performing their duty and has the determination to pursue the truth, and they are so very important for some work in God’s house, and God perhaps takes this serious illness that affects their duty, their work, and their physical energy and strength away from them, as God will take responsibility for His work. But is there such a person as this? Who is like this? You don’t know, do you? There are perhaps people like this. If there really were people like this, then wouldn’t God be able to take away their illness or misfortune with just one word? Wouldn’t God be able to do it with just a thought? God’s thought would be: “This person will encounter an illness in a particular month at this age. They are now so busy with their work, so they will not get this sickness. They do not need to experience this sickness. Let it pass them by.” There is no reason why this shouldn’t happen, and it would require only a word from God, right? But who could receive such a blessing? Whosoever truly possesses such determination and loyalty and can truly serve this function in God’s work, that is for whom it is possible to receive such a blessing. This isn’t the topic we need to talk about, so we won’t talk about it right now. We’re talking about sickness; this is something most people will experience during their lifetime. Therefore, the kind of sickness that will afflict people’s bodies at what time or at what age and what their health will be like are all things arranged by God and people cannot decide these things for themselves; just like the time when someone is born, they are not able to decide it for themselves. So, is it not foolish to feel distressed, anxious, and worried about things you cannot decide for yourself? (Yes.) People should set about resolving the things they can resolve themselves, and for those things they cannot do themselves, they should wait for God; people should obey silently and ask God to protect them—this is the mindset people should have. When illness really does strike and death really is near, then people should submit and not complain or rebel against God or say things that blaspheme against God or things that attack Him. Instead, people should stand as created beings and experience and appreciate all that comes from God—they should not try to choose things for themselves. This should be a special experience that enriches your life, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, right? Therefore, when it comes to illness, people should first resolve their wrong thoughts and views concerning the origin of the illness, and then they will no longer worry about this; moreover, people have no right to control known or unknown things, nor are they capable of controlling them, as all these things are under the sovereignty of God. The attitude and principle of practice people should have are to wait and submit. From understanding to practice, all should be done in line with the truth principles—this is to pursue the truth.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (4)

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. Some people say, “These things You say are not very considerate. I’m sick and it’s hard for me to bear!” When it’s hard for you, you can take a rest, and you can take care of yourself and receive treatment. If you still wish to perform your duty, you can reduce your workload and perform some suitable duty, one that doesn’t impact your recovery. This will prove that you have not abandoned your duty in your heart, that your heart has not strayed from God, that you have not denied God’s name in your heart, and that you have not abandoned the desire to be a proper created being in your heart. Some people say, “I’ve done all of that, so will God take this sickness from me?” Will He? (Not necessarily.) Whether God takes that sickness from you or not, whether God cures you or not, what you do is what a created being ought to do. Whether you are physically capable of performing your duty or not, whether you can take on any work or not, whether your health permits you to perform your duty or not, your heart must not stray from God, and you must not abandon your duty in your heart. In this way, you will fulfill your responsibilities, your obligations, and your duty—this is the faithfulness you should hold to. Just because you cannot do things with your hands or you’re not able to speak anymore, or your eyes no longer see, or you cannot move your body anymore, you must not think that God ought to heal you, and if He doesn’t heal you then you want to deny Him in your innermost heart, abandon your duty, and leave God behind. What is the nature of such an act? (It is a betrayal of God.) It is a betrayal! When they’re not sick, some people will often come before God to pray, and when they’re sick and they hope that God will heal them, placing all their hopes on God, they will still come before God and not abandon Him. However, after some time has passed and God has still not cured them, they become disappointed in God, they abandon God deep in their hearts and they abandon their duties. When their illness isn’t so bad and God does not cure them, some people do not abandon God; when their illness becomes serious, however, and they are facing death, they know then for certain that God really hasn’t cured them, that they have waited all this time only to have waited for death, and so they abandon and deny God in their hearts. They believe that if God hasn’t cured them, then God must not exist; that if God hasn’t cured them, then God must not be God at all, and is not worth believing in. Because God hasn’t cured them, they regret ever having believed in God, and they stop believing in Him. Is this not a betrayal of God? This is a serious betrayal of God. Therefore, you absolutely must not go that way—only those who obey God until death have true faith.

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. … When facing illness, you may actively seek treatment, but you should also approach it with a positive attitude. As to how much your illness can be treated and whether it can be cured, and whatever may happen in the end, you should always submit and not complain. This is the attitude you should adopt, for you are a created being and you have no other option. You cannot say, “If I’m cured of this disease, then I’ll believe it is God’s great power, but if I’m not cured, then I’ll not be happy with God. Why did God give me this disease? Why does He not cure this disease? Why did I get this disease and not someone else? I don’t want it! Why do I have to die so early at such a young age? How come other people get to keep on living? Why?” Don’t ask why, it is God’s orchestration. There is no reason, and you shouldn’t ask why. Asking why is rebellious talk, and this is not a question a created being should ask. Don’t ask why, there is no why. God has arranged things and planned things like this. If you ask why, then it can only be said that you are too rebellious, too intransigent. When something dissatisfies you, or God does not do as you wish or let you have your way, you become unhappy, you’re disgruntled, and you always ask why. So, God asks you, “As a created being, why haven’t you done your duty well? Why haven’t you faithfully performed your duty?” And how will you respond? You say, “There is no why, this is just how I am.” Is that acceptable? (No.) It’s acceptable for God to speak to you that way, but it’s not acceptable for you to speak to God in that way. Your standpoint is wrong, and you are too senseless. No matter what difficulties a created being encounters, it is perfectly natural and justified that you should submit to the arrangements and orchestrations of the Creator. For example, your parents begat you, raised you, and you call them mother and father—this is perfectly natural and justified, and this is how it should be; there is no why. So, God orchestrates all these things for you and, whether you enjoy blessings or suffer hardships, this is also perfectly natural and justified, and you have no choice in the matter. If you can submit until the very end, then you will attain salvation like Peter did. However, if you blame God, abandon God, and betray God because of some temporary illness, then all the relinquishing, the expending, the performing of your duty, and the paying the price you have done before will have been for nothing. This is because all your past hard work will not have laid any foundation for you to perform the duty of a created being well or take your proper place as a created being, and it will not have changed anything about you. This will then cause you to betray God because of your illness, and your end will be as Paul’s, to be punished in the end. The reason for this determination is that everything you have done before was so that you can obtain a crown and for the sake of receiving blessings. If, when you finally face illness and death, you are still able to submit without any complaints, it proves that all you did before was done sincerely and willingly for God. You are obedient to God, and ultimately your obedience will mark a perfect end to your life of faith in God, and this is commended by God. Therefore, an illness can cause you to have a good end, or it can cause you to have a bad end; the kind of end you come to depends on the path you follow and what your attitude toward God is.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (3)

No one goes their whole life without suffering. For some people, it has to do with family, for some, with work, for some, with marriage, and for some, with physical illness. Everyone must suffer. Some say, “Why must people suffer? How great it would be to live our whole lives peacefully and happily. Can’t we not suffer?” No—everyone must suffer. Suffering causes every person to experience the myriad sensations of physical life, whether these sensations be positive, negative, active or passive; suffering gives you different feelings and appreciations, which, for you, are all your experiences in life. That is one aspect, and it is in order to make people more experienced. If you can seek the truth and understand God’s will from this, then you will draw ever closer to the standard God requires of you. Another aspect is that it is the responsibility that God gives to man. What responsibility? This is the suffering you should undergo. If you can take on this suffering and bear it, then this is testimony, and not something shameful. When they get sick, some people are afraid that other people will come to know about it; they think that getting sick is something shameful, when in fact it is nothing to be ashamed about. As a normal person, if, amid illness, you are able to submit to God’s arrangements, endure all kinds of suffering, and are still able to perform your duty normally, are able to complete the commissions that God gives you, then is this a good thing or a bad thing? This is a good thing, this is testimony to your obedience to God, this is testimony to you faithfully performing your duty, and it is testimony which shames and triumphs over Satan. And so, any suffering should be accepted and submitted to by every created being and every one of God’s chosen people. This is how you must understand it, and you must learn this lesson and achieve true obedience to God. This is in line with the will of God, and it is God’s intention. This is what God arranges for every created being. God’s putting you in these situations and conditions is equivalent to giving you a responsibility, obligation, and commission, and so you should accept them. Is this not the truth? (It is.) As long as it comes from God, as long as God makes such a demand of you and has this intention for you, then it is the truth. Why is it said to be the truth? This is because if you accept these words as the truth, then you’ll be able to solve your corrupt disposition, your notions and your rebelliousness, so that when you encounter difficulties again you will not go against the will of God or rebel against God, that is, you will be able to practice the truth and submit to God. In this way, you’ll be able to bear testimony which brings shame upon Satan, and you’ll be able to gain the truth and attain salvation.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God (1)

Related Experiential Testimonies

Freed From Anxiety Over My Illnesses

Related Hymns

The Onset of Illness Is God’s Love

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Preface

Though many people believe in God, few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to conform to God’s will. This is because,...

Question 1: I have studied the Bible for more than 20 years. I can be certain that there is no word of God outside of the Bible. All of God’s word is in the Bible. Anything that violates or goes beyond the Bible is heresy and fallacy!

Almighty God says. “In Jesus’ day, He led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the work of the Holy Spirit in Him. He did not look to the Bible for evidence, but spoke as His work dictated. He did not concern Himself with what the Bible said, did not lead His followers down a path found in the Bible. From the very beginning, He preached the way of repentance, and the word ‘repentance’ was not mentioned at all in all the prophecies in the Old Testament."

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