48. Returning to Life From the Brink of Death
By Yang Mei, China
In 2007 I suddenly fell ill with chronic renal failure. When they heard the news, my Christian mother and sister-in-law, and some Catholic friends all came to preach the gospel to me. They told me that as long as I turned to the Lord, my illness would be cured. But I didn’t believe in God at all. I thought that illness could only be cured through scientific medical treatment, and that any disease that couldn’t be cured by science was incurable. After all, was there any power on earth greater than the power of science? Faith in God was just a kind of psychological crutch, and I was a dignified state school teacher, a person who was well-educated and cultured, so there was no way I’d start believing in God. As such, I turned them down and began looking around for medical treatment. Within a few years I’d been to virtually every large hospital in my home county and throughout the province, but my condition still hadn’t improved. In fact, it was getting worse, but I stubbornly clung to my own way of looking at the situation and insisted that science could change anything, that curing illness was a process that takes time.
In 2010 a sister from The Church of Almighty God came to preach the gospel of God’s kingdom to me. She said that the Lord Jesus had returned to the mundane world to perform new work, which involved issuing truths to judge and cleanse people. This was a stage of God’s work designed to thoroughly save mankind, and was also mankind’s last chance to be saved by God. I still wasn’t willing to accept all this, but because of all the failures and frustration that I’d encountered over the previous few years seeking medical treatment, my attitude wasn’t as unyielding as it had once been and I allowed myself to be persuaded to take a book of God’s words from the sister. But, at the time, I certainly didn’t believe that the words in that book were truths expressed by God. I still maintained that only science could change my fate, and thus continued to believe that only drugs could improve my condition. Eventually, I was ingesting more drugs every day than I was eating food, and yet my condition didn’t show even the slightest sign of improvement. I lost count of the number of times the sister came to my home, but I still refused to believe in God. This went on for about a year.
Then one day, out of the blue, my vision in both eyes went blurry and both of my legs became so numb that I couldn’t walk. The doctors said that my symptoms were the result of drug poisoning from taking large quantities of medicine over several years. I first spent a week in the county hospital and was then transferred to a military hospital in Beijing where I was treated for a month. I was then transferred to a well-known traditional Chinese medicine hospital in Beijing to receive TCM treatment. But these 2 months of treatments did nothing to improve my condition. My primary doctor even asked the retired former head of the hospital’s neurology department to come and take a look at me, but there wasn’t the slightest improvement in my condition. Then I heard my future daughter-in-law mention a doctor in Yunnan who was famous for being able to treat difficult and complicated conditions like mine. After various twists and turns, I managed to be taken there in a wheelchair. But after being treated for nearly a month, not only did my condition fail to improve, but the drugs I was taking for my eyes and legs actually exacerbated my kidney disease. Feeling beyond help, and in great discomfort, I decided to go home. After that, I gave up all treatments and drugs for my eyes and legs in order to protect my kidneys.
During that period, I felt that there was absolutely no hope for me. I often thought about how I’d put all of my faith in science but science had proven to be utterly ineffectual in the treatment of my disease. After any hope I had that science could cure me was destroyed, I felt extremely depressed and had a complete breakdown. I had no idea how I was going to go on with life. In the fog of pain and suffering, my thoughts often ran wild: “Why have I suffered from so many illnesses and why can’t they be treated with drugs? I believed in science and trusted in science, and did my best to seek out the best treatment, and yet nothing worked. In fact, my condition just got worse. Could it be that science really can’t save me? Could it be that there really is a God in this world? Is the fate of every person really in God’s hands?” No matter how much I thought about these issues, I couldn’t come up with any answers. During that period, I lived in great pain and suffering every day, and every time I thought about my being a useless invalid I would secretly break down in tears. I felt that I was involving my family too much and I didn’t want to be a burden to them anymore. On more than one occasion I wanted to end my own life but I was afraid of death. So I just took each day as it came and waited for death to come to me …
One day, my husband saw the book that the sister from The Church of Almighty God had left for me and opened it. He saw the following heading, “Did You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men,” which immediately grabbed his attention. So he read out the following passage for me: “The work of God is something that you cannot comprehend. If you can neither fully grasp whether your choice is correct, nor can you know whether the work of God can succeed, then why not try your luck and see whether this ordinary man may be of great help to you, and whether God has indeed done great work?” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). This short passage was like a jolt to my heart! The phrase “then why not try your luck,” in particular, kept reappearing in my mind. It was like a shaft of light shining down upon my desolate heart, and it seemed that I could see a glimmer of hope of staying alive. I urgently made my husband read out another 2 passages of God’s words, which contained truths about God using His word to judge and cleanse people and transform their life dispositions. All this was completely new to me, and even though I didn’t really understand the full significance of what was being said, I could feel in my heart that these teachings were different from the gospel of the Lord Jesus that I’d heard from other people. They had mostly told me about how to gain grace, and that all I needed to do was believe in God and my illness would be cured, which I didn’t believe. But the words of Almighty God seemed much more practical, and the more I heard the more I wanted to hear.
After that, I had my husband read some of God’s words to me every day. In the book it said that religious people believe in God but don’t know God and even resist God, and that they often commit sins in the daytime and confess them at night. This was even more convincing to me because my mother, and two sisters-in-law were all Christians and the way they lived was just like God’s words described. They really did commit sins and then confess them and then commit them again. That’s when I had a spiritual awakening: Is this really God’s voice? If it’s not God, then how is it that the author understands the religious world so well? Unbelievers don’t understand, the great and famous haven’t a clue, and even religious people themselves don’t realize that they believe in God but also resist God. The more I thought about it the more I felt that the words in the book were not things that people could express, and that they probably were the utterances of the incarnation of God in the mundane world.
Only a few days later, the sister who had originally preached the gospel of Almighty God’s kingdom to me heard that I was back at home after being in the hospital and came over to my house, accompanied by another sister, to preach the gospel to me again. This time I was aware of the voice of my conscience telling me: “I’ve become an invalid but the sisters haven’t abandoned me in disgust and have even come to preach the gospel to me again and again. This is something that ordinary people wouldn’t be able to do. Anyone else would have forgotten about me long ago.” In my mind it was very clear that this kind of love must have come from God, as it can never be found in the mundane world. As the saying goes, “A friend in need is a friend indeed,” and that day I experienced this profoundly. That my family stayed by my side was something that they couldn’t avoid, but for these people, who were totally unrelated to me and who had no ulterior motives or conditions, to come regularly for over a year to preach the gospel to me and put themselves out for an invalid like me, showed how amazing their faith, love and patience really was! I was truly moved by God’s love, and from then on had no reason to refuse God’s gospel anymore. As a result, my husband and I both accepted God’s work of the last days.
In June of 2011, my husband and I formally began our church life in The Church of Almighty God. Because my eyesight wasn’t good enough to allow me to read on my own, my husband usually read out God’s words to me, and during church meetings the brothers and sisters also read God’s words to me. Sometimes when I was by myself I’d also listen to hymns. Later, I found the reason for my illness and suffering in God’s words: “What is the source of the lifelong suffering from birth, death, illness, and old age that humans endure? What caused people to have these things? Humans did not have them when they were first created, did they? Where, then, did these things come from? They came into being after humans were tempted by Satan and their flesh became degenerate. The pain of human flesh, its afflictions, and its emptiness, as well as the extremely miserable affairs of the human world, only came once Satan had corrupted mankind. After humans were corrupted by Satan, it began to torment them. As a result, they became more and more degenerate. The diseases of humanity grew more and more acute, and their suffering became more and more severe. Increasingly, people sensed the emptiness and tragedy of the human world, as well as their inability to go on living there, and they felt less and less hope for the world. Thus, this suffering was brought down upon humans by Satan. … This is why you fall ill and become troubled, and it is possible for you to commit suicide, and at times you also feel that the world is desolate or that life has no meaning. In other words, these human sufferings are still under Satan’s command; they comprise one of man’s fatal weaknesses” (“The Significance of God’s Tasting of Worldly Suffering” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words were spot on in describing how the suffering brought on by the pain of illness was so great that I had lost all the will to live and wanted to end my life. But God’s words said that all that pain of illness and suffering was due to Satan’s harmful ways. At first, I didn’t really understand why God said these things, but after reading more of God’s words I gradually came to understand these truths.
One afternoon my husband was reading God’s words to me as usual, and I heard these words of God: “Since mankind’s contrivance of the social sciences, the mind of man has become occupied by science and knowledge. Science and knowledge then have become tools for the ruling of mankind, and there is no longer sufficient room for man to worship God, and no more favorable conditions for the worship of God. The position of God has sunk ever lower in the heart of man. Without God in his heart, man’s inner world is dark, hopeless and empty. … Science, knowledge, freedom, democracy, leisure, comfort: these bring man only a temporary consolation. Even with these things, man will inevitably sin and bemoan the injustices of society. These things cannot restrain man’s craving and desire to explore. This is because man was made by God and the senseless sacrifices and explorations of man can only lead to more distress and can only cause man to exist in a constant state of fear, not knowing how to face the future of mankind or how to face the path that lies ahead. Man will even come to fear science and knowledge, and fear even more the feeling of emptiness” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). It was when I heard these words that I finally understood why God said that all of mankind’s illnesses and suffering originate with Satan: Satan uses knowledge and science to corrupt us. Satan fills us up with its absurd ideas, such as “Humans evolved from apes,” “There has never been any Savior,” “Knowledge can change people’s fates,” “Your fate is in your own hands,” “Science saves people,” and “Man can conquer nature.” Satan has brainwashed mankind with these philosophies, rules, ideas and notions. They have occupied people’s hearts and souls, and force people to have blind faith in knowledge and to worship science. People have the delusion that they can change their fates with knowledge or employ science to solve every difficult problem. People have taken Satan’s absurd ideas to form the basis of their lives, and have thus been taken prisoner, bound, and controlled by Satan. People have started to deny all that comes from God, to distance themselves from God’s care and protection. Satan manipulates them like a puppeteer playing with his puppets, and I was just one of the many millions being harmed in this way. When I was ill, I relied on science to treat me; I blindly believed in and worshiped science. I really thought that the specialists in the famous hospitals, with their advanced techniques and modern medical facilities, would be able to cure my illness. But not only did my condition fail to improve, I actually ended up on the verge of death. The only things science brought me were dream-like hope and irredeemable pain. Science caused me to not believe in God, and so time and time again I rebelled against God, resisted Him, and refused His salvation. But despite my rebelliousness, God never gave up on my salvation, and has since used His words to guide me. Little by little, He has awakened my spirit, which had once been so smothered by knowledge and science. I, who had once been close to death, now came before God and gained God’s salvation.
My husband continued to read God’s words to me every day, and one day I heard these words of God: “God created this world, He created this mankind and, moreover, He was the architect of ancient Greek culture and human civilization. Only God consoles this mankind, and only God cares for this mankind night and day. Human development and progress are inseparable from the sovereignty of God, and the history and future of mankind are inextricable from the designs of God. … If mankind wishes to have a good fate, if a country wishes to have a good fate, then man must bow down to God in worship, repent and confess before God, or else the fate and destination of man will be an unavoidable catastrophe” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). This passage helped me realize that the fate of all people is in God’s hands and that God is the source of human life. Only by coming before God, following God, and worshiping God can people have good destinies. When people move away from God, resist and abandon God and instead rely on Satan, they are handing themselves over to Satan. As a result, they will be harmed and trampled on by Satan, and will be subject to endless disasters and limitless suffering. This is how people harm themselves and bring about their own demise. At that moment, I realized just how foolish, blind, and pitiful I’d been. I saw that my views on knowledge and science were all just poison, just tools Satan used to corrupt me. All these years I was being poisoned by the devil, and now I regretted it immensely. From the bottom of my heart, I experienced a true longing for God. I was willing to act like the people of Nineveh recorded in the Bible, to throw myself on the ground in front of God and confess and repent. I wanted to leave behind all my evil ways and accept the guidance and sustenance that God provided. I wanted to follow God and worship Him, and so I actively requested to be assigned hosting duties by the church. In my interactions with the brothers and sisters nobody looked down on me or disparaged me because of my illness. In fact, they gave me a huge amount of help and support and I always felt that I was surrounded by their sincere love.
After some time had passed, my illness still wasn’t improving and so I began to make demands of God, asking God to help me get better. But the sisters fellowshiped the following with me: “God is the Creator of all things and we are the created, so no matter how God treats us we have to accept His orchestrations and arrangements. If we request things from God, we are just showing our unreasonableness. Curing illnesses, exorcizing demons, and performing miracles were part of the work of God during the Age of Grace, but now we are in the Age of Kingdom, and God’s main work now is to accomplish everything through His words, to use words to cleanse and transform people’s corrupt dispositions. God wants to turn us into people who obey Him, are loyal to Him, know Him, and love Him so that He can take a group of such people into the next era. What God wants is the love and obedience that people display naturally once they have come to know God. He does not want people to follow Him out of a sense of gratitude for healing their illnesses. As God’s words say: ‘People believe that when God saves man, He does so by moving them with His blessings and grace, so that they can give their hearts to God. That is to say, His touching man is His saving them. This sort of salvation is done by striking a deal. Only when God grants them a hundredfold will man come to submit before God’s name and strive to do well for Him and bring Him glory. This is not what God intends for mankind. God has come to work on earth in order to save corrupt mankind; there is no falsehood in this. If there were, He would certainly not have come to do His work in person. In the past, His means of salvation involved showing the utmost love and compassion, such that He gave His all to Satan in exchange for the whole of mankind. The present is nothing like the past: The salvation bestowed upon you today occurs at the time of the last days, during the classification of each according to kind; the means of your salvation is not love or compassion, but chastisement and judgment, in order that man may be more thoroughly saved’ (“You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will to Bring Salvation to Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). So we should analyze and understand how we are motivated by a desire for blessings and how our relationship with God is transactional. We should also read more of God’s words and implement them in our lives, accept the judgment and chastisement in God’s words, accept the dealing, pruning, trials, and refinements, and seek to attain purification and transformation in our corrupt dispositions. Whether your illness will get better is in God’s hands, and we should submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements.”
Through the sisters’ fellowship, I came to understand that just enjoying God’s grace is not enough to change our satanic dispositions. Only by accepting God’s judgment and chastisement of the last days can we rid ourselves of our corrupt dispositions, recover our conscience and reason, and thus attain God’s salvation and become compatible with His will. All those Christians who don’t accept God’s work of the last days might well receive God’s abundant grace, but they still live in a cycle of committing and confessing sins. This is because their corrupt dispositions haven’t been cleansed, and so they travel around and expend themselves with the goal of gaining God’s blessings and grace. In other words, they want to cut a deal with God and, as such, they’ll never gain His approval. After I understood God’s will, I stopped requesting God to cure my illness and instead made the firm commitment to believe in God and worship God no matter how good or bad my condition became. I committed myself to fulfilling my duties as one of the created, to pursuing truths and seeking to know God more earnestly, to ridding myself of my corrupt dispositions, and to living like a true human being in order to satisfy God. Once I started putting all this into practice, I felt great release in my heart and no longer felt bound or restricted by the pain of my illness, and was no longer so afraid of death. All I wished for was to completely hand myself over to God and obey His dictates and arrangements.
After that, I frequently got together with the brothers and sisters to read God’s words, fellowship on truths, and sing hymns of praise to God. I felt that my heart had been greatly enriched, and with this enrichment came a decrease in my suffering. Even more mysterious was that, almost without realizing, the numbness in my legs started to fade and I slowly began to regain the ability to walk, eventually not having to rely on a wheelchair at all. What was even more unexpected was that one day my vision suddenly returned and I was able to see the words printed in the books of God’s words. I could finally see God’s words! I couldn’t believe it, but I truly had experienced a miracle. The joy that I felt in my heart was something indescribable, and so I continually prayed to God, thanking and praising Him. When I excitedly told my husband the good news, he was overcome with emotion. With tears in his eyes, he cried out over and over again, “Thank You God, thank You God!” Yes, it’s true—I submitted to God just a little bit and God bestowed this great blessing on me. I deeply felt how even though God’s work of the last days doesn’t involve performing miracles, the authority of God’s words far surpasses the authority of God’s miracles. God really is the almighty God, the God who loves people!
One day, my husband was in the county hospital and ran into the doctor who had been primarily responsible for treating me. The doctor asked him how the treatment of my kidney illness was progressing and if dialysis was being used. My husband replied: “She didn’t have dialysis but her condition is already improving. She can walk now, and she can see too!” The doctor was very surprised, and said: “Well, that’s a miracle. I thought she had already been on dialysis for a while now.”
Nowadays I live a normal life. My relatives, friends, and neighbors always express their surprise and say things like: “I never thought that your condition would improve so quickly. Physically and mentally you seem like a normal person!” Every time I hear something like this I say a few silent words of gratitude to God: “God, I will never forget, my whole life, the love You have shown me and Your salvation. Although there’s nothing I can do for You, I resolve to follow You, worship You and do my duty as one of Your created beings for the rest of my life to repay Your love.” I’d been deeply corrupted, I originally hadn’t recognized the existence of God, and time after time I’d refused God’s salvation, but not only did God not hold my transgressions against me He even saved me in a truly magnificent way. I have gained an immense amount of God’s mercy, and I know I’m totally unworthy of such grace. These powerful and abiding experiences have shown me that science and knowledge can’t save people, but will only bring people unending suffering, fear, and death. Only the Creator and Ruler of everything in the universe can give humans life and the sustenance that they need. God is the only foundation for the survival of mankind, and is mankind’s only hope and redemption. People’s only hope of having a good destiny is to worship God. I thank God for saving me—a person who was deeply hoodwinked by Satan and was close to death—from Satan’s influence. God brought me back to life and brought me back before Him, the Creator of all things. I now walk the brilliant path of life!