After Mom Is Diagnosed With Cancer

March 10, 2024

By Yang Chen, China

In June 2023, I was supposed to leave home to do my duty due to the needs of the gospel work. Because I knew I wouldn’t be able to come back for a while, I thought I’d go home, let my parents know and pick up some clothes in the process. When I arrived, I saw my mom sitting there hooked up to an IV and looking quite pallid. I asked her what was wrong with her, she said it was nothing big and would get better with a small surgery. But it seemed like something more serious, so I asked to see her medical records. The records noted she had three kinds of malignant tumors. I was shocked, my mother had cancer! These were malignant tumors—could she really recover? What if the treatment didn’t work? My father said to me, “Your mother is undergoing chemotherapy now and the success of her treatment will depend on how the chemotherapy goes.” I knew, however, that this was all with God’s permission and I couldn’t complain, so I prayed to God to protect my heart. My dad then proceeded to tell me how when my mother was sick in the hospital, my little brother had been there to care for her and had even taken on another job to make money for my mom’s medical bills. I was quite upset after hearing that. I was the eldest child in the family, and I should have been the one handling all this, but instead I was unable to offer any help at all. Would my parents think I lacked conscience, was unfilial and that they had raised me for nothing? My mother comforted me, saying, “Don’t you worry and don’t be afraid. How long we live is all up to God. You just keep doing your duty and don’t worry about me.” Hearing my mom say that, I really wanted to stay behind and take care of her, but there was so much work to do in the church and I knew I couldn’t stay at home. Seeing my mom like that, I just couldn’t get myself to say I planned to go do my duty away from home, so I ultimately just left in a rush without saying anything.

On the road, all I could think about was my mom sick at the hospital with no one to take care of her and my little brother working hard to pay for my mom’s medical bills. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. I felt that as her daughter, I should be there to take care of her when she was sick, but not only would I not be able to take care of her, I wouldn’t be able to help at all. If other people heard about this, what would they say about me? Would they say I lacked a conscience and was ungrateful? Would my little brother complain about me? The more I thought, the worse I felt, and I totally lost the drive to leave home and do my duty. In my heart, I said to God, “Oh God, I cannot leave home to do my duty. My mother has cancer, and if I leave now, I might never get to see her again! I’ll just do my duty here, that way I can go see my mom when I have free time.” After that, I still did my duty, but I couldn’t quiet my mind and focus. I kept thinking, “How is my mom doing now?” I wanted to find time to go home and see her. I knew my state was off, so I looked for words of God to read. I found this passage: “In every period and at every stage, some particular things happen in the church that are at odds with people’s notions. For example, some people get sick, leaders and workers get replaced, some people are exposed and cast out, some face the test of life and death, some churches even have wicked people and antichrists who cause disturbances, and so on. These things happen from time to time, but they are by no means accidental. All of these things are the result of God’s sovereignty and arrangements. A very peaceful period may suddenly be interrupted by several incidents or unusual events, which happen either around you, or to you personally, and the occurrence of these things breaks the normal order and normality of people’s lives. From the outside, these things don’t conform to people’s notions and imaginings, they are things that people don’t want to happen to them or to witness. So does the occurrence of these things benefit people? … Nothing happens by chance, everything is ruled over by God. Although people can understand and accept this in theory, how should people treat God’s sovereignty? This is the truth that people should pursue and understand, and they should specifically practice it. If people only acknowledge the sovereignty of God in theory, but do not have a real understanding of it, and their own notions and imaginings have not been resolved, then no matter for how many years they believe in God and how many things they experience, they will still not be able to gain the truth in the end(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. What It Means to Pursue the Truth (11)). Through God’s words I realized that people will face difficult circumstances at different phases of their life. People might not want to face such circumstances, but God’s will is within them. If we do not seek the truth, live within our notions and imagination and misunderstand and complain about God, it will be difficult to learn from these situations. There were things I could learn from my mom falling ill. I had to seek the truth and reflect on myself. I reflected on how when I heard my mom got cancer, I was worried that the treatment wouldn’t work. I also worried that if I didn’t care for her while she was receiving chemo at the hospital, she would be upset. Would she think she had raised me in vain? Due to this worry, I immediately lost all motivation to leave to do my duty. I even defended myself to God. I felt that I had to stay back and care for my mom now that she was ill and couldn’t leave home to do my duty. My emotional attachments ran too deep, and I had to seek the truth to resolve them.

Later on, I looked for relevant passages of God’s words to read. Almighty God says: “There is a saying in the world of unbelievers: ‘Crows repay their mothers by feeding them, and lambs kneel to receive milk from their mothers.’ There’s also this saying: ‘An unfilial person is lower than a beast.’ How grandiose these sayings sound! Actually, the phenomena that the first saying mentions, crows repaying their mothers by feeding them, and lambs kneeling to receive milk from their mothers, really do exist, these are facts. However, they are simply phenomena within the animal world. They are merely a kind of law that God has established for various living creatures, and by which all kinds of living creatures, including humans, abide. … Why do people say such things? Because in society and within groups of people, there are various incorrect ideas and consensuses. After people have been influenced, corroded, and rotted by these things, different ways of interpreting and dealing with the parent-child relationship arise within them, and they ultimately treat their parents as their creditors—creditors that they will never be able to repay their whole lives. There are even some people who feel guilty for their whole lives after their parents die, and think themselves unworthy of their parents’ kindness, because of one thing they did that didn’t make their parents happy or didn’t go the way their parents wanted it to. Tell Me, is this not excessive? People live amid their feelings, so they can only be encroached upon and disturbed by various ideas stemming from these feelings. People live in an environment that is colored by the ideology of corrupt mankind, so they are encroached upon and disturbed by various erroneous ideas, which makes their lives exhausting and less simple than those of other living creatures. However, right now, because God is working, and because He is expressing the truth to tell people the true nature of all these facts, and to enable them to understand the truth, after you come to understand the truth, these erroneous ideas and views will no longer burden you, and they will no longer serve as a guide for how you handle your relationship with your parents. At this point, your life will become more relaxed. Living a relaxed life does not mean that you will not know what your responsibilities and obligations are—you will still know these things. It just depends on which perspective and methods you choose to approach your responsibilities and obligations with. One path is to take the route of feelings, and to deal with these things based on emotional means, and the methods, ideas, and views that Satan guides man toward. The other path is to deal with these things based on the words that God has taught man. When people handle these matters according to Satan’s erroneous ideas and views, they can only live within the entanglements of their feelings, and they are never able to distinguish right from wrong. Under these circumstances, they have no choice but to live in a snare, always tangled up with matters such as, ‘You’re right, I’m wrong. You’ve given me more; I’ve given you less. You’re ungrateful. You’ve done too much for me.’ Consequently, there is never a time when they speak clearly. However, after people understand the truth, and when they escape from the web of erroneous ideas, views, and feelings, these matters become simple to them. If you abide by a truth principle, idea, or view that is correct and comes from God, your life will become very relaxed. Neither public opinion, nor the awareness of your conscience, nor the burden of your feelings will impede how you handle your relationship with your parents anymore; by contrast, these things will enable you to face this relationship in a correct and rational way. If you act according to the truth principles that God has given man, even if people criticize you behind your back, you will still feel peace and calm in the depths of your heart, and it will have no effect on you. At the very least, you will not berate yourself for being an uncaring ingrate or feel the accusation of your conscience anymore in the depths of your heart. This is because you will know that all of your actions are carried out in accordance with the methods that God has taught you, and that you are listening to and obeying God’s words, and following His way. Listening to God’s words and following His way is the sense of conscience that people ought to possess most of all. You will only be a true person when you can do these things. If you have not accomplished these things, then you are an uncaring ingrate. Isn’t that the case? (It is.)” (The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (17)). Through God’s words, I realized that the reason I was so miserable was because fallacious views like “Filial piety is a virtue to be held above all else” and “An unfilial person is lower than a beast,” with which Satan had inculcated me, had become deeply rooted. I felt that if I couldn’t be filial to my parents, that meant I was an ungrateful, unfilial daughter. I felt that it must have been difficult to raise me, especially given that I was born in an age where boys and men were deemed superior, which meant my mom suffered a lot of humiliation and scorn, but she loved me more than my little brother. She also was especially supportive of my faith and duty. She knew I had deep emotional attachments, so if something happened at home, she wouldn’t tell me for fear of distracting me and influencing my duty. Be it from an emotional or financial perspective, my mom gave me a lot of support and would often encourage me to do my duty well. Thinking of all this and how I couldn’t be at her side to care for her when she was sick, I felt really upset. I always thought that as their daughter, if I didn’t honor them or didn’t care for them when they were sick, this was unfilial, ungrateful behavior. So I’d feel guilty and feel ashamed to face them. I had been deeply influenced by satanic poisons! If I continued to view this through the lens of emotional attachment and traditional views, I would have to shoulder this ideological burden, thinking that I was unfilial for not taking care of my mom. This would be a very tiring and miserable way to live. I had to actively forsake all this and learn to view people and things according to the truth in God’s words, only then could I rid myself of this suffering.

Later on, during devotionals, I came across this passage of God’s words. It gave me more clarity about how to think of my relationship with my parents. God’s words say: “As a child, you should understand that your parents are not your creditors. There are many things that you must do in this life, and these are all things that a created being ought to do, that have been entrusted to you by the Lord of creation, and they have nothing to do with you repaying your parents’ kindness. Showing filial piety to your parents, repaying them, returning their kindness—these things have nothing to do with your mission in life. It can also be said that it is not necessary for you to show filial piety to your parents, to repay them, or to fulfill any of your responsibilities to them. To put it plainly, you can do a bit of this and fulfill a bit of your responsibilities when your circumstances allow; when they do not, you do not need to insist upon doing so. If you cannot fulfill your responsibility to show filial piety to your parents, this is not a terrible thing, it just goes against your conscience, human morality, and human notions a little. But at the very least, it does not go against the truth, and God will not condemn you for it. When you understand the truth, your conscience will not feel rebuked on account of this. Do your hearts not feel steady now that you have understood this aspect of the truth? (Yes.) Some people say: ‘Though God won’t condemn me, in my conscience, I still can’t get past this, and I feel unsteady.’ If this is the case for you, then your stature is too small, and you have not understood or seen through to the essence of this matter. You do not understand man’s destiny, you do not understand God’s sovereignty, and you are not willing to accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements. You always possess human will and your own feelings, and these things are driving and dominating you; they have become your life. If you choose human will and your feelings, then you have not chosen the truth, and you are not practicing the truth or submitting to it. If you choose human will and your feelings, then you are betraying the truth. Your circumstances and environment clearly do not permit you to show filial piety to your parents, but you always think: ‘I owe a debt to my parents. I haven’t shown them filial piety. They haven’t seen me for so many years. They raised me for nothing.’ In the depths of your heart, you are never able to let go of these things. This proves one thing: You do not accept the truth. In terms of doctrine, you acknowledge that God’s words are correct, but you do not accept them as the truth, or take them as the principles of your actions. So, at the very least, when it comes to the matter of how you treat your parents, you are not a person who pursues the truth. This is because, in this matter, you do not act based on the truth, you do not practice according to God’s words, instead you just satisfy your emotional needs, and the needs of your conscience, wanting to show filial piety to your parents and repay their kindness. Although God does not condemn you for making this choice, and it is your choice, in the end the one who will lose out, particularly in terms of the life, is you(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (17)). After reading God’s words I gained much more clarity. I saw that the way my parents had raised me was all due to God’s sovereignty and arrangements. My mom’s kind treatment was really God’s grace. After entering the faith, my mom’s efforts to hold down the house so that I could do my duty in peace might have outwardly seemed like my mom’s kindness, but in actuality, it was because God knew my stature and made arrangements accordingly. It was my mom’s duty and responsibility to hold down the house and support me in my faith. God says that our parents are not our debtors, being filial to our parents is just a responsibility, not our mission as people. If the conditions are right, we can care for them and show filial piety to them, but if not and we can’t show filial piety to them, this is not a disgrace, because there are many things we must do in this life. We have duties that we should do as created beings, and we cannot live just to show filial piety to our parents. There are also many unbelievers that spend lots of time away from their parents due to their careers and family and are unable to care for their parents, but people understand and don’t condemn or mock them. As for me, I became mired in my thankfulness to my parents, and would often feel upset and guilty about not being able to be with them to care for them and would even opt not to leave home to do my duty. My emotional attachments were just too strong! We are in a moment where the gospel is greatly expanding, and as a church leader I ought to have been even more heedful of God’s will. I should lead my brothers and sisters to bear witness to God’s last days’ gospel and allow even more people to hear God’s voice and receive His salvation in the last days. This was my duty and my responsibility. But instead, I believed that caring for and honoring my parents was the most important thing I could do. I had been a believer for years and ate and drank so much of God’s words, but when faced with an actual predicament, I was unable to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements and fulfill my duty, and didn’t handle that situation using the truth principles. I was betraying and failing to accept the truth! I realized that if I continued to live by these traditional views and didn’t repent to God and fulfill my duty, I would ultimately be exposed and cast out. I prayed to God in my heart, “Oh God! My mom’s illness has thoroughly exposed my unbelieving viewpoints. I see now that my stature is quite small and I lack the truth reality. I now understand that showing filial piety to my parents is not my mission. Fulfilling my duty as a created being is my true mission and responsibility. I am willing to forsake my mistaken views and put my mom’s illness in Your hands. No matter what happens, I will stand strong in my duty and not become Satan’s laughing stock.” After prayer, I felt much more at ease and was willing to rely upon God to fulfill my given duty.

After a while, I consulted with a Chinese medical doctor about my mom and asked him to treat her. The doctor said, “The cancer has already metastasized all over her body and cannot be cured. All I can do is prescribe her half a month of herbs and see how it goes.” When I saw the conclusion he’d reached, my heart just dropped. I thought about how before when I came home and saw my mom coughing, I never took her to the hospital and just got her some Chinese herbs and left it at that. If I had taken her to the hospital sooner and gotten her treatment more quickly, would things have turned out this way? The more I thought, the more upset and guilty I felt, and I became very depressed. So, I prayed to God asking Him to guide me out of that state. Later on, I saw this passage of God’s words: “So, what is going on when your parents encounter these significant matters? It can only be said that God has orchestrated this kind of matter in their lives. It has been orchestrated by God’s hand—you cannot focus on objective reasons and causes—your parents were supposed to encounter this matter when they reached this age, they were supposed to be struck with this illness. Could they have avoided it if you had been there? If God had not arranged for them to fall ill as part of their fates, then nothing would have happened to them, even if you hadn’t been with them. If they were destined to encounter this kind of great misfortune in their lives, what effect could you have had if you’d been by their side? They still wouldn’t have been able to avoid it, right? (Right.) Think about those people who don’t believe in God—aren’t their families all together, year after year? When those parents encounter great misfortune, the members of their extended family and their children are all with them, right? When parents fall ill, or when their illnesses worsen, is it because their children left them? That’s not the case, it is fated to happen. It’s just that, as their child, because you have this blood tie with your parents, you will feel upset when you hear that they are sick, while other people won’t feel anything. This is very normal. However, your parents encountering this kind of great misfortune doesn’t mean that you need to analyze and investigate, or ponder on how to get rid of it or resolve it. Your parents are adults; they have encountered this more than a few times in society. If God arranges an environment to rid them of this matter, then, sooner or later, it will vanish completely. If this matter is a life hurdle for them, and they must experience it, then it is up to God how long they must experience it for. It is something that they must experience, and they cannot avoid it. If you wish to single-handedly resolve this matter, to analyze and investigate the source, causes, and consequences of this matter, that is a foolish thought. It is of no use, and it is superfluous. You should not act in this way, analyzing, investigating, and contacting your classmates and friends for help, contacting the hospital for your parents, contacting the best doctors, arranging for the best hospital bed for them—you do not need to rack your brain doing all of these things. If you really do have some excess energy, then you should do a good job at the duty you’re supposed to perform now. Your parents have their own fates. No one can escape the age at which they are supposed to die. Your parents are not the masters of your fate, and in the same way, you are not the master of your parents’ fates. If something is fated to happen to them, what can you do about it? What effect can you being anxious and looking for solutions achieve? It cannot achieve anything; it depends on God’s will. If God wants to take them away, and enable you to perform your duty undisturbed, can you interfere with this? Can you discuss conditions with God? What should you do at this time? Racking your brain coming up with solutions, investigating, analyzing, putting the blame on yourself, and feeling ashamed to face your parents—are these the thoughts and actions that a person ought to have? These are all manifestations of a lack of submission to God and the truth; they are irrational, unwise, and rebellious toward God. People should not have these manifestations. Do you understand? (Yes.)” (The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (17)). Through God’s words I realized that God dictates and orchestrates what hardships people will face and how much suffering they undergo based on their needs and stature. As for when people will face certain situations and how long they must endure them, this is all presided over and arranged by God. None of this can be decided by mankind, much less should these things be analyzed from a mere human perspective. People must learn to accept from God and submit to God’s arrangements and orchestrations. Take my mom’s illness, superficially, it might have seemed like her condition worsened because she wasn’t taken to the hospital soon enough, but actually this was just her fate. Man’s mortality is all in God’s hands. If God does not permit it, even large-scale catastrophes will bring no harm to people. For instance, my dad got in a bad car accident and all other passengers were badly injured but he came away with light injuries and recovered the fastest. In our lives, we are carrying out our missions. If someone has completed their mission in life, they will depart from this world according to God’s plans. If they haven’t completed their mission, then no matter what hardship they face, they will make it through safely. My mother’s illness was quite advanced and the doctor said she was beyond recovery, but how long she would live was not for any mere person to determine, it would be decided and arranged by God. The reason I was so miserable was because I had unreasonable demands of God and always wanted my mom to recover. As soon as things didn’t go my way, I became depressed and miserable. This was all because I didn’t know God’s sovereignty and couldn’t submit to God. After understanding God’s will, I prayed to Him, “Oh God! It is not for me to decide how my mom’s recovery will fare or how long she will live. I should put aside my own demands and be willing to submit no matter what.” After prayer, I felt calm and tranquil. I then saw this passage of Lord Jesus’ words: “If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple(Luke 14:26). Almighty God says: “If your love for your parents exceeds your love for God, then you are unworthy of following God, and you are not one of His followers. If you are not one of His followers, then it can be said that you are not an overcomer, and God does not want you(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (17)). God said that those who love their parents more than Him are not fit to be His followers. I had to stop living by these mistaken views Satan had instilled in me. I had to start living differently, view people and things, and comport myself and act according to God’s words and the truth principles. Now I’ve gradually started applying myself to my duty. I still sometimes worry about my mom, but then I think that in her life, the situations she encounters and the suffering she must go through are all predetermined by God. It is all up to God how long my mom will live and how she will depart, it is not for me to determine. As I’ve realized this, I’ve become more at ease. Recently, I learned that my mom’s condition is now stable and that she has learned some things through this illness. Hearing this news, I felt so deeply moved and also felt ashamed for my lack of faith in God. I recently proactively applied to do duties away from home.

Through this experience, I have a new understanding of my weak spots and have gained discernment of the fallacious views I’ve always held. I won’t live by these mistaken views anymore and will have a proper attitude toward my relationship with my parents. This is all due to God’s guidance.

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