After My Cancer Diagnosis
By Qin Lin, China
One day in October 2018, I was on my electric bike on the way to a gathering when a car dragging a steel pipe came up behind me really suddenly, and knocked me and my bike over, down onto the ground. I passed out right there on the ground. When I came to, there was a pain in my left chest and I was having a hard time breathing. The driver at fault took me to the hospital for a checkup, and the doctor told me that my sixth left rib was fractured, but he said to me, smiling, “This accident seems like a bad thing, but actually it’s very lucky.” He went on, “There’s a tumor in your left lung. It wouldn’t have been found if it hadn’t been for the accident. I suggest you go for surgery at a major hospital right away. If you wait, the cancer will spread and it will be too late.” I was shocked to hear this. I just went limp in the chair, totally devoid of strength. The doctor was really comforting, saying, “You’ll be fine. It might be a benign tumor. We have advanced medicine to treat this kind of thing now.” I thought, “Sure, it won’t be malignant. I’ve been doing my duty over all these years of faith. God will watch over me.” I felt a little calmer at this thought. Then my husband consoled me, too: “Don’t be nervous. That hospital didn’t have the best equipment, so it was probably a misdiagnosis. Let’s go to the big hospital to have it checked. Maybe it’s nothing. Besides, don’t you believe in God? God will take care of you if you do have something.” At the time, I thought the doctor was probably mistaken, that God wouldn’t let me get cancer.
Two days later, my little brother and sister drove me to the big hospital, but I was shocked to find out that the tests confirmed it was a malignant tumor, and it was already at mid-stage. The doctor suggested I stay in the hospital for surgery and then chemotherapy. He said that if I waited and it became late stage, there would be nothing they could do. At the time I simply couldn’t accept that fact. I’d been doing my duty over all my years of faith, and I’d never allowed anything to delay my duty, no matter how much I suffered. I was always ready to help with any of the brothers’ and sisters’ difficulties. I’d been wholeheartedly expending myself for God, so how could I get such a serious illness? Why wasn’t God protecting me? I made myself increasingly miserable as I thought about it. Then I overheard a fellow patient say, “My surgery was over a year ago, but the incision wound still hurts so much. It’s not only expensive, but it’s miserable for me.” He also said there was an elderly person in his ward who was out of bed walking around three days after surgery, suddenly collapsed, and couldn’t be saved. Hearing him say that was really disheartening and I felt like my last shred of hope had been shattered. If my surgery wasn’t successful, I died, and all our money was spent, how would my family get by? I came before God in prayer in my misery, asking Him to guide me to understand His will. Then I thought of something from: “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” (“Chapter 6” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in ). It’s true. Life and death are in God’s hands, so no matter what the outcome of the surgery was, I had to have faith in God and face it by leaning on Him. I was admitted to the hospital for surgery, which took four hours to complete. When I came to, the nurse told me happily, “Your surgery was very successful.” I knew without a doubt that this was God protecting me, and I silently thanked Him. I was discharged after 20 or so days.
After getting home I was surprised to find that I had a hard time breathing after getting off of the oxygen so quickly. I felt like I could only exhale, not inhale, and the incision started oozing yellow liquid. I was in a lot of pain. If I coughed from eating or drinking, I had to get someone at home to help me cover the incision. If I lay down flat to sleep I couldn’t get a breath, so I had to sleep sitting up. Every day really crawled by. I was wondering how long those days of misery would go on, and why God wasn’t protecting me, why I was suffering so much. And I was thinking that if I had to get chemotherapy it would probably be even worse. I weakened so much that I lost some faith in God. When I read His words, I couldn’t quiet myself before Him, and I didn’t have anything to say to Him in prayer.
One day, a church leader came to visit me and read a passage of God’s words for me. It’s in the last paragraph in “Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Possess True Love,” “For all people, refinement is excruciating, and very difficult to accept—yet it is during refinement that God makes plain His righteous disposition to man, and makes public His requirements for man, and provides more enlightenment, and more actual pruning and dealing; through the comparison between the facts and the truth, He gives man a greater knowledge of himself and the truth, and gives man a greater understanding of God’s will, thus allowing man to have a truer and purer love of God. Such are God’s aims in carrying out refinement. All the work that God does in man has its own aims and significance; God does not do meaningless work, and nor does He do work that is without benefit to man. Refinement does not mean removing people from before God, and nor does it mean destroying them in hell. Rather, it means changing man’s disposition during refinement, changing his intentions, his old views, changing his love for God, and changing his whole life. Refinement is a real test of man, and a form of real training, and only during refinement can his love serve its inherent function” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). The leader shared this fellowship: “When we face a serious illness, it’s something that God allows. He wants to cleanse and change our corrupt dispositions and our mistaken motives and adulterations. When we feel well physically as believers, we’re enthusiastic in our duty. But when we become ill and we’re suffering, we misunderstand and blame God. Isn’t that a transactional attitude toward God? How is that submission to Him?” I felt really ashamed when I heard God’s words and the leader’s fellowship. I wasn’t going through this illness because God wanted me to suffer, but it was to cleanse and transform me. I wasn’t learning a lesson or reflecting on myself, but instead blaming God for not protecting me. I saw I was really unreasonable.
I read this in God’s words later on: “God viewed them as family members, yet they treated Him as a stranger. However, after a period of God’s work, humans came to understand what He was trying to achieve, and they knew that He was the true God; they also came to know what they could obtain from God. How did people regard God at this time? They saw Him as a lifeline, and hoped to be granted His grace, blessings, and promises. At this time, how did God regard humans? He saw them as targets for His conquest. God wanted to use words to judge them, to test them, and to put them through trials. However, as far as people were concerned back then, God was just an object they could use to achieve their own goals. People saw that the truth issued by God could conquer and save them, that they had an opportunity to obtain the things they wanted from Him, as well as attain the destinations that they wanted. Because of this, a tiny bit of sincerity formed in their hearts, and they became willing to follow this God. … With regard to the present state of humans, what is God’s attitude toward them? He wishes only to bestow these truths upon them and instill them with His way, and then arrange various circumstances in order to try them in different ways. His goal is to take these words, these truths, and His work, and bring about an outcome whereby humans are capable of fearing Him and shunning evil. Most people I have seen merely take God’s words and regard them as doctrines, mere letters on paper, regulations to be observed. In their actions and speech, or while facing trials, they do not regard God’s way as the one that they should abide by. This is especially true when people are faced with major trials; I have not seen any such person practicing in the direction of fearing God and shunning evil. Therefore, God’s attitude toward humans is full of extreme loathing and aversion!” (“How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words revealed my state precisely. I wasn’t a believer to pursue the truth or achieve fear and obedience of God, but it was to gain His grace and blessings in exchange for my suffering and hard work. Thinking back, ever since becoming a believer, I’d been treating God like some sort of magic charm, thinking that as long as I expended myself for God, He would protect and bless me. When I was healthy and my family was doing well, I was ready to accept whatever duty the church arranged for me. I could endure anything and I was overflowing with faith. But when I found out I had lung cancer, I was plunged into negativity, and I blamed and misunderstood God, thinking that He should protect me because of how hard I’d worked, that I shouldn’t get a serious illness. I saw I was using my sacrifices as capital to bargain with God, to fight against Him. How was that any kind of reverence? God took me into His family, made me an object of His salvation, but I treated Him like my life raft, just wanting to benefit from Him. What kind of believer was I? That was nothing but doing deals with God, using Him and cheating Him. I was so selfish and despicable! Over all those years of faith, I’d received so much peace and so many blessings from Him, and I’d enjoyed the watering and sustenance of His words. He had bestowed so much upon me. Not only was I not repaying His love, but I was demanding things from Him at every turn. When I didn’t get what I wanted, I misunderstood Him and complained. I really was lacking conscience and reason. I realized then that I got sick so God could correct my wrong perspective on pursuing blessings in my faith and I’d become able to pursue the truth, and cast off these corruptions and impurities. This was God’s love! I felt really guilty, and didn’t want to let down God’s painstaking efforts anymore. I felt ready to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Once I understood all this, I felt much more at peace and I could quiet my heart to read God’s words. And gradually, I wasn’t in as much pain anymore.
My first chemo treatment came in no time. The other patients on my ward were all nauseous and were throwing up, but even though I felt a bit of nausea, I wasn’t as miserable as they were. They were all envious and said I was lucky. I knew in my heart that God was watching over me. But after three chemo treatments, I was getting weaker and weaker, and I couldn’t even walk straight. I didn’t have any appetite, and eating made me vomit. The fourth time, right after the infusion started, I started to feel sore and weak all over, my stomach was churning, and I was retching bile nonstop. My vision went blurry and I was seeing with double vision. It felt like the world was spinning. I can’t even describe how miserable it was. Lying down didn’t feel right, sitting didn’t feel right. Woozy, I somehow managed to get the syringe out of me. The head nurse came over and yelled at my husband, “This medication can’t be contaminated. If it is, everything we’ve already done was in vain and it could even cost a life. Who’s taking responsibility for that?” Hearing her say that messing it up could ruin the whole thing, I thought, “Well, we’ve spent the money and I’m not better yet. My family has to take care of me every single day—I’ve become a burden for them, and I don’t even know if this treatment will work. Living this way is miserable.” I was really in despair at that time, even thinking it would be better to die and be done with it. I snuck out of the ward when my husband wasn’t looking and sat by a 12th floor window, thinking, “It would be better to jump and put an end to this than keep suffering this way.” I started crying and crying at that thought. Just then, my husband suddenly appeared, took me in his arms, and pulled me down from the window. He soothed me quietly, “Why believe in what some person says? Shouldn’t you trust the God you have faith in?” His words left me feeling ashamed. It’s true—as a believer, why didn’t I know to lean on God? I remembered this from God’s words: “Everyone’s lifespan has been predetermined by God. If an illness appears on its surface to be terminal, but, from God’s point of view, 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” (“Only by Seeking the Truth Can One Know God’s Deeds” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God’s words are very clear. God had long ago determined how long I would live and when I would die. In spite of having cancer, if God’s mission for me hadn’t been fulfilled, He wouldn’t let me die. If His mission for me was done, then even without an illness, I’d die when I was supposed to. That was God’s predestination. But I didn’t understand God’s rule and predestination, so I wasn’t obedient at all when I was faced with illness. I was even afraid of wasting money on treatment that didn’t work, and wanted to escape that situation with death. I was so rebellious! I felt much better when I realized this and thought, “No matter what, I’m ready to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements.” Then after a few chemo treatments, I recovered really well, and when I was discharged the doctor said, “Come for a checkup in three months, and if everything looks fine, you won’t need radiotherapy.” Back at home, I was feeling better by the day and I got to take on a duty again. At my first checkup, the doctor told me that I was recovering well and everything looked fine. I cried out of happiness and thanked God in my heart. I knew I had to do my duty well to repay God’s love, and maybe He would take my cancer away and I’d be freed from that misery. I felt really energized in my duty after that and my faith grew, too.
At my second checkup, the doctor told me that it wasn’t looking good, that the cancer had spread to the back of my head. I could hardly believe it was real. I immediately went limp all over and tears started pouring down my face. How could the cancer have spread? I’d already come to know myself through that illness, I’d fixed my perspectives on pursuit, and I was putting everything into my duty. Why hadn’t God taken my cancer away? I felt really guilty when those thoughts occurred to me. Wasn’t that blaming God again? So I quieted my heart and reflected on why I couldn’t help but blame God the moment the doctor said my cancer had come back. What was the root of the problem? One day I saw a video of a reading of some of God’s words.says, “First, when people begin to believe in God, which of them does not have their own aims, motivations, and ambitions? Even though one part of them believes in the existence of God and has seen the existence of God, their belief in God still contains those motivations, and their ultimate aim in believing in God is to receive His blessings and the things they want. … Every person constantly makes such calculations within their heart, and they make demands of God which bear their motivations, ambitions, and a transactional mentality. This is to say, in his heart man is constantly testing God, constantly devising plans about God, constantly arguing the case for his own individual end with God, and trying to extract a statement from God, seeing whether or not God can give him what he wants. At the same time as pursuing God, man does not treat God as God. Man has always tried to make deals with God, ceaselessly making demands of Him, and even pressing Him at every step, trying to take a mile after being given an inch. At the same time as trying to make deals with God, man also argues with Him, and there are even people who, when trials befall them or they find themselves in certain situations, often become weak, passive and slack in their work, and full of complaints about God. From the time when man first began to believe in God, he has considered God to be a cornucopia, a Swiss Army knife, and he has considered himself to be God’s greatest creditor, as if trying to get blessings and promises from God were his inherent right and obligation, while God’s responsibility were to protect and care for man, and to provide for him. Such is the basic understanding of ‘belief in God’ of all those who believe in God, and such is their deepest understanding of the concept of belief in God. From man’s nature and essence to his subjective pursuit, there is nothing that relates to the fear of God. Man’s aim in believing in God could not possibly have anything to do with the worship of God. That is to say, man has never considered nor understood that belief in God requires fearing and worshiping God. In light of such conditions, man’s essence is obvious. What is this essence? It is that man’s heart is malicious, harbors treachery and deceit, does not love fairness and righteousness and that which is positive, and it is contemptible and greedy. Man’s heart could not be more closed to God; he has not given it to God at all. God has never seen man’s true heart, nor has He ever been worshiped by man” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I was just the kind of person God described, always motivated in my faith by getting blessings, calculating how I could be blessed and find peace from God. I’d never thought about how to practice the truth and obey God. My family was graced by God since I became a believer, and I was just happy I’d found something to lean on. I threw myself into my duty, hoping to be even more blessed by God. But I was full of grievances after I got cancer, thinking that I’d given so much in my duty, so God should bless me with good health. When the doctor said that my cancer had migrated, I started making unreasonable demands of God again. I felt that since I kept doing my duty even while I was sick, God had to take my illness away. I realized I wasn’t treating God like God at all, but I was acting like He was indebted to me. I was constantly making demands of Him. I’d worked and made some sacrifices, but I wasn’t genuinely trying to satisfy Him. I was just putting up a false front to fool God, to ingratiate myself with Him so that He’d do what I wanted. Satan’s poisons like “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” and “Never lift a finger without a reward” were my maxims for life. I wanted great blessings for a small contribution. I believed in God but wasn’t really giving Him my heart. I was so inherently selfish and cunning. I was a shameless, greedy and petty person! I thought of how God became flesh to save us, enduring the Communist Party’s pursuit and persecution, and the misunderstandings, complaints, rebellions and resistance of us as believers. He’s suffered incredible humiliation, all while quietly continuing to express truths to purify and save us without asking anything of us. God’s love is so incredibly selfless! I knew that God had been with me all throughout that illness. Whenever I was desperate and in pain, God used His words to guide me, to lead me. God’s essence is so beautiful and good, and His love for me is incredible. Then I felt like I really don’t have any conscience, and that everything I did was so hurtful for God. I also thought about Paul, how he suffered and paid a price to spread the gospel, but he just wanted to be crowned, to be rewarded. He even said that a crown of righteousness had to be reserved for him. What he really meant was that if he wasn’t blessed, it meant God wasn’t righteous. Paul had faith, but never knew himself, and his disposition never changed. He was punished by God in the end. My perspective on pursuit was exactly the same as Paul’s. I thought that it was natural to believe in God for blessings, and when I didn’t get them, I blamed God. I was on a path against God. I knew that I had to correct my pursuit or I’d end up eliminated by God, like Paul. I knelt before God right away and prayed, “Oh God, I was wrong. I’m ready to let go of my wrong perspective on pursuit, and no matter what happens with my cancer, I will submit to Your arrangements.” After that, I read God’s words every day and quieted my heart before Him. My state improved steadily.
Then one day in December 2019, the hospital notified me that I should come in for radiotherapy. The other patients said that radiation was worse, that it burns your flesh and your hair falls out, plus you throw up, get dizzy, and don’t have any appetite. I was so scared to hear this. I didn’t want to go through all that again. I thought that if God took my cancer away, I wouldn’t have to suffer through radiotherapy. Then I realized that I was making demands of God again, so I prayed to God, forsaking my own intentions. Then I read a passage of God’s words, a passage in “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II,” “Job did not talk of trades with God, and made no requests or demands of God. His praising of God’s name was because of the great power and authority of God in ruling all things, and it was not dependent on whether he gained blessings or was struck by disaster. He believed that regardless of whether God blesses people or brings disaster upon them, God’s power and authority will not change, and thus, regardless of a person’s circumstances, God’s name should be praised. That man is blessed by God is because of God’s sovereignty, and when disaster befalls man, so, too, it is because of God’s sovereignty. God’s power and authority rule over and arrange everything about man; the vagaries of man’s fortune are the manifestation of God’s power and authority, and regardless of one’s viewpoint, God’s name should be praised. This is what Job experienced and came to know during the years of his life. All of Job’s thoughts and actions reached the ears of God and arrived before God, and were seen as important by God. God cherished this knowledge of Job, and treasured Job for having such a heart. This heart awaited God’s command always, and in all places, and no matter what the time or place it welcomed whatever befell him. Job made no demands of God. What he demanded of himself was to wait for, accept, face, and obey all of the arrangements that came from God; Job believed this to be his duty, and it was precisely what was wanted by God” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). I was really moved as I pondered God’s words. Job had true reverence for God. Whether he received blessings or disaster from God, he obeyed God’s arrangements without any demands or requirements. It was a test for him—his whole body was covered with boils, he was in horrible pain, but he cursed the day of his birth instead of blaming God, standing witness for God and humiliating Satan. I wanted to follow Job’s example and give testimony to satisfy God. No matter how much I suffered through radiation, whether I got better or worse, I was ready to submit to what God arranged, and I wouldn’t complain even if I had to die.
After the first treatment, I felt a little nauseous, but I was still able to go on with life as usual, eating and walking around. The other patients were all so surprised, and one said, “It’s incredible. We’re all getting the same treatment, so why do you seem so unaffected?” I silently gave thanks to God when I heard this. After 45 days of radiotherapy, my doctor looked at my test results and said, surprised, “It looks like your cancer is entirely gone. Are my eyes fooling me?” He called the department head over to take a look. A few other doctors reviewed it, too, and they were all amazed. There really wasn’t any trace of the cancer or even any swelling. They told me I could be discharged to recover at home the next day. I was so moved, my eyes were filled with tears and I could hardly even see. It was very clear to me that this was a miracle from God. I also saw that my life and death truly are in God’s hands.
I went through all that refinement of illness, suffered a lot, and shed plenty of tears and I had some misunderstandings and complaints of God. But it was through this illness that I came to understand how my pursuit of blessings was tainting my faith and I developed some obedience for God. I also saw God’s wondrous deeds and His salvation for me, and it was through my illness that I experienced God’s love and blessings. I’m so grateful to God! Whether what lies ahead is a blessing or a disaster, I’m ready to put myself in God’s hands and go along with whatever He arranges, to do the duty of a created being to repay God’s love.