Awakening From the Pursuit of Blessings

April 4, 2024

By Anjing, China

In 1994, my mother believed in the Lord Jesus. Within three months, her coronary heart disease was cured, which showed me God’s almightiness and His blessing. I thought that as long as I believed in God earnestly, He would protect our family and keep us safe from illness and calamity. It was in this way that I followed my mother in believing in the Lord. From then on, I actively participated in gatherings, and I also saw the Lord’s blessings when doing business; I was extremely grateful.

On June 1, 2002, I heard the gospel of the Lord Jesus’ arrival, and found out that God returned to flesh to do the work of saving people one last time. I thought that I was so blessed, and that I must seize this final opportunity and diligently do my duty. That November, I abandoned my lumber business and invested all my time into doing my duty. I thought to myself, “As long as I believe in God sincerely, and as long as I rush about and expend myself for Him, He will bless me and make sure that everything goes well.” Therefore, I busied myself from dawn till dusk in the church, always enjoying it and never tiring. In 2012, I brought my son to God’s house. After that, my son did his duty together with me in the church. I thought to myself: During those years, my son and I forsook everything and put all our time into expending ourselves for God; we would certainly gain God’s protection and blessings. But just when I eagerly expended myself to receive greater blessings, a sudden incident shattered my dream of gaining blessings.

A little after 6 p.m. on October 17, 2020, I got a call from my son. He said in a downcast voice, “Mom, I’ve fallen ill, come quickly!” At the time, I didn’t quite believe it, and I said, “When I saw you at noon you looked fine; that was only a few hours ago, so how could you suddenly be ill?” My son said impatiently, “Mom, this illness is very serious! Come right away!” I hurried and took a taxi to where my son was. As soon as I entered the room, my son said, “Mom, I can’t stand up. I have no feeling in my lower body.” I saw my son, who was unable to move, and my mind went blank. The young brother who was next to him hurriedly said, “We have to get him to the hospital right away!” I then came back to my senses, and the young brother and I propped up my son and were about to go downstairs, but my son’s legs were as soft as noodles, and he couldn’t move a step. There was nothing we could do, so we called 911 and had him taken to the hospital. The doctor said, “These symptoms suggest Guillain-Barré syndrome, but this is not an easy illness to cure. Not long ago, a nurse from our hospital was diagnosed with this same illness. She spent 60 or 70 thousand yuan and it still wasn’t cured; she still died.” It was a total shock, and all at once, my legs became weak. I was extremely nervous, thinking, “How could my son suddenly come down with such a terrible illness? My son and I left home and came here to do our duties; how could something like this happen? Why didn’t God protect us?” I didn’t dare believe this fact. The doctor told us to go at once to a provincial hospital, since there would be a greater chance of curing the illness there. A ray of hope lit up my heart. But after I returned to my son’s hospital room and saw him lying there, my heart clenched. Now, all I had was 20 thousand yuan; it wasn’t enough to cure him! I couldn’t help but to put some blame on God: I had been doing my duty away from home for so many years. I never said “No” to any duty that the church arranged for me. I expended myself like this; how could God let this happen to my son? I lay in bed, tossing and turning, unable to sleep. In my mind, I was thinking nonstop, “God won’t let my son die, will He? Maybe this is a trial from God, and He is testing our faith? Or perhaps my son will be fine when the sun comes up?” I stayed up all night with my mind racing like this until the next day, when I quickly handed over my duty and took my son to the provincial hospital. After the doctor on duty examined my son’s condition, he said to me, “On the surface, the symptoms look like Guillain-Barré syndrome, but we have to wait until after we diagnose it next day to fight the illness with medication. You have to pay close attention tonight; it’s easy for him to pass away if his breath gets stuck.” Hearing this, I was stunned. Would my son really be unable to escape death? I was truly afraid that my son wouldn’t make it through the night. The more I thought, the more scared I was, and I hurriedly prayed to God in silence, “God! Please save my son. You are almighty, and if You lend a hand, he won’t have to die. God, I won’t ask anything else of You; all I ask is that You protect my son and let him live….” After praying, my heart was slightly calmer. That night, I prayed to God nonstop, and I didn’t take my eyes off my son. Whenever I heard him panting heavily, I woke him up right away. I feared that he would suffocate. On the third morning, my son was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis. The head doctor said, “If he doesn’t die, he could easily become a paraplegic or go into a vegetative state.” Hearing the doctor’s words, I was on the verge of a breakdown. I thought to myself, “If he becomes a paraplegic or a vegetable, wouldn’t the rest of his life be as good as over?” Then, the assigned doctor told me that using hormonal drugs would be very risky, and he had me sign an informed consent form. At the time, it felt like my hand was shaking. If I signed it, I feared that there would be after-effects from the medicine, and the remainder of my son’s life would be over. But if I didn’t sign it, that was tantamount to giving up on curing the illness and waiting for him to die. At the time, I was somewhat hesitant, and I thought in my mind, “God is almighty, and all matters are in His hands, including my son’s illness. I should calm down and entrust all of this to God.” And so I signed the form. After my son was given the hormonal drugs, a bit of feeling returned to his legs and feet on the second day, and on the third day, he could move a little bit. I was extremely emotional, and I repeatedly thanked God in my heart. But what I hadn’t expected was that on the morning of the fourth day, I was passing my phone to my son, when his hand suddenly lost all strength and the phone fell onto the bed with a “thud.” Seeing this happen, I froze: What was going on? Why had it suddenly become more serious? I hurriedly called the doctor over, and the doctor said, “This virus will paralyze whichever part of the body it invades. Now, it has invaded the upper limbs, and if it moves a little further upward, it will invade the brain. If things go on like this, he very well may go into a vegetative state. You have to be prepared for this.” Hearing these words, it was like a bomb went off in my head. I thought to myself, “If he becomes a vegetable, isn’t he as good as dead?” I was terrified, and I hastened to pray to God in silence, “God, my son is still so young. For these few years, he has been doing his duty in the church all the time. Please protect him. I hand my son over to You; You decide whether he lives or dies.”

Later on, the danger to my son’s life dissipated, and the virus was also prevented from invading his brain. I saw hope and tearfully offered my gratitude to God in prayer. After things went on like this for half a month, the doctor suggested that we transfer to a rehabilitation center to recover his bodily functions. When we arrived at the rehabilitation center, the doctor said, “The best time for recovery from this illness is within the first three months. With the severity of your son’s illness, the probability of him standing again is low. If he isn’t able to stand within the next three months, he won’t ever stand again.” One day, I accompanied my son in his rehab training, and when I saw him lying paralyzed on the bed with an anxious look on his face, I felt even worse inside. I thought to myself, “I have believed in God with so much joy, and my only hope has been that He can keep my son and me safe. I never thought that my son would suddenly collapse and be unable to move, and now it’s even uncertain whether he will be able to stand again. When will all this come to an end?” I thought of something that a sister had reminded me: “It is not by accident that your son suddenly suffered such a serious illness. Sometimes, God uses a certain circumstance to cleanse the corrupt disposition inside us.” I thought about what exactly God’s intention might be, and I picked up my phone and read a passage of God’s words: “So many believe in Me only that I might heal them. So many believe in Me only that I might use My powers to drive unclean spirits out from their bodies, and so many believe in Me simply that they might receive peace and joy from Me. So many believe in Me only to demand from Me greater material wealth. So many believe in Me just to spend this life in peace and to be safe and sound in the world to come. So many believe in Me to avoid the suffering of hell and to receive the blessings of heaven. So many believe in Me only for temporary comfort, yet do not seek to gain anything in the world to come. When I brought down My fury upon man and seized all the joy and peace he once possessed, man became doubtful. When I gave unto man the suffering of hell and reclaimed the blessings of heaven, man’s shame turned into anger. When man asked Me to heal him, I paid him no heed and felt abhorrence toward him; man departed from Me to instead seek the way of evil medicine and sorcery. When I took away all that man had demanded from Me, everyone disappeared without a trace. Thus, I say that man has faith in Me because I give too much grace, and there is far too much to gain(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. What Do You Know of Faith?). Every word of God reverberated throughout my heart. He exposed that people’s views in their belief in God are incorrect, that they all harbor their own intentions and aims. They make demands and requests of God in order to gain grace and benefits from Him. I was precisely that kind of person. At the outset, I saw that after my mother began believing in the Lord, her serious coronary heart disease was cured. Only after I saw God’s blessings with my own eyes did I begin to believe in God and forsake and expend myself for Him. I also wanted God to protect me, keep me safe, and make sure everything went well. Regardless of whether it was an illness, a calamity, or any difficulty that I encountered, I always cried out for God’s help. I had treated God as a shelter. After accepting God’s work of the last days, I was even more willing to rush about and expend myself for Him, thinking that if I pursued like this, I would certainly receive greater blessings from God. But when my son came down with a serious illness and faced paralysis or even death, I couldn’t accept it, and I complained about God, reasoned with Him, and kept score with Him. I calculated how much I had expended myself in the past, and used this as capital to demand that God cure my son’s illness, taking it for granted that He would do it. I was just like those religious people who regarded themselves as babies in God’s hands; I regarded God as a God who responded to people’s every plea and only bestowed grace and blessings upon people. As long as I demanded something of Him, He was supposed to satisfy me. Even though I followed Almighty God, was my way of believing not the same as those religious people? It’s like in the Age of Grace, when the Lord Jesus fed those five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. These people only wanted to receive benefits from God. They did not know God, and were never interested in the truths He expressed or the work He did. God paid no heed to these people, only satisfying their fleshly needs and not doing any salvation work on them. What God does in the last days is not the work of healing the sick and casting out demons, but rather of expressing truths to judge and purify people, getting them to cast off their corruption and attain God’s salvation. But I had been believing in God for all these years just to receive blessings and benefits. This kind of pursuit ran counter to God’s work, so how could I be saved? At this time, I understood that my son’s illness was permitted by God, that it was meant to help me seek and enter the truth. However, I didn’t understand God’s work, and I didn’t seek God’s intention to gain the truth, only wanting Him to protect and bless my son to cure his illness as soon as possible. I was the same as those religious people who sought bread to satisfy hunger; my essence was that of a nonbeliever! I could not unreasonably make demands of God any longer. No matter the extent to which my son’s condition developed, I was willing to submit and experience God’s work.

Going forward, my son had to do six types of rehab training every day. Each time he finished one, he would be sweating profusely. After around half a month, some feeling returned to both his arms and legs. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and every day I was hoping for a miracle to occur, hoping that one day my son could stand again. But things didn’t turn out how I imagined.

One day, I was accompanying my son during his training, and he defecated in his pants. Back then, seeing such a scene was extremely upsetting. Although my son’s life was no longer in danger, he still wore a urinary pouch and diaper every day. Living like this was too painful! My son was only just over 30, still so young; how could he carry on like this in the future? I felt some dejection in my heart, and so I went before God and silently prayed to Him, “God! If my son can’t take care of himself, how will he get by in the future? God, I believe in Your power. If my son can stand again, I will absolutely work harder and do my duty diligently.” I realized that such prayer didn’t conform to God’s will. So I self-reflected. I had said that I was willing to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, so why had I made a demand to God yet again? At this time, I remembered God’s words: “You long for God to delight in you, yet you are far from God. What is the matter here? You accept only His words, but not His pruning, much less are you able to accept His every arrangement, to have complete faith in Him. What, then, is the matter here? In the final analysis, your faith is an empty eggshell, one that could never produce a chick. For your faith has not brought you the truth or given you the life, but has instead given you an illusory sense of sustenance and hope. It is this sense of sustenance and hope that is your aim in believing in God, not the truth and the life. Thus do I say that the course of your faith in God has been none other than trying to curry the favor of God through servility and shamelessness, and can in no way be deemed true faith. How could a chick be born of faith such as this? In other words, what can faith such as this accomplish? The purpose of your faith in God is to use Him to achieve your own aims. Is this not further a fact of your offense against the disposition of God?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How to Know the God on Earth). After reading God’s words, I felt my cheeks burning. These words made me feel like God was judging me face-to-face. When the doctor said that my son’s illness was unlikely to be cured, I had placed all my hope in God, speaking pleasant-sounding words to curry favor with and fawn on Him. When God protected my son and brought him back from death’s edge, I thanked Him joyously. My son had held onto life, but then he was faced with paralysis or entering a vegetative state, and again, I demanded that God prevent my son from becoming a vegetable, even greedily requesting to God that if He enabled my son to take care of himself, I would certainly do my duty diligently and repay His love. I saw that my shameless currying favor with God was all for the sake of achieving my own goals. I was truly so despicable! I thought of God in the same way I thought of corrupt mankind, thinking He liked words of flattery. I thought that as long as I spoke some nice words, God would be happy and then give me benefits, and my son’s illness would be cured. God is holy and faithful, and what He wants is for people to use their hearts and their honesty to worship Him, to regard Him with a sincere heart, yet I had flattered and curried favor with God for the sake of my personal goals. This was something that God detests. This time, I had experienced God’s thoughtfulness firsthand. If He hadn’t arranged such circumstances, I never would have seen that my belief for all these years was just to gain safety and blessings. Even if I believed in God like this for a lifetime, I would never gain the truth and life. For me, these circumstances were a tremendous salvation and showing of mercy. Recognizing this, I shed tears of indebtedness and self-reproach. I regretted that I had so greatly rebelled against, curried favor with, and used God; I hadn’t treated Him as God. However, God did not treat me according to what I did, and used His words to guide me to understand His intention. At this time, I was even more ashamed to have received God’s love and salvation. I prayed silently to God, “God, regardless of whether my son can take care of himself in the future, I am willing to submit, to seek the truth and experience Your words and work, and to learn a lesson from these circumstances.”

One day, as I accompanied my son during his training, I unconsciously began to look back on all the memories of my faith in God: When my mother’s severe coronary heart disease was cured, I demanded blessings from the Lord. When I did business, I also hoped that the Lord would make everything go smoothly. After I accepted this stage of God’s work, I forsook and expended a bit, but it was still for the sake of demanding grace and blessings from Him. Then, I remembered a passage of God’s words: “Man’s disposition has become supremely vicious, his sense has grown supremely dull, and his conscience has been completely trampled by the evil one and long ago ceased to be the original conscience of man. Man is not only ungrateful to God incarnate for bestowing so much life and grace upon mankind, but has even become resentful toward God for giving him the truth; it is because man has not the slightest interest in the truth that he has grown resentful toward God. Not only is man unable to lay down his life for God incarnate, but he also tries to extract favors from Him, and claims an interest that is dozens of times greater than what man has given to God. People of such conscience and sense think this is no great matter, and still believe that they have expended so much of themselves for God, and that God has given them too little. There are people who, having given Me a bowl of water, hold out their hands and demand I pay them for two bowls of milk, or, having given Me a room for one night, demand I pay rent for several. With such a humanity and such a conscience, how could you still wish to gain life? What contemptible wretches you are! This sort of humanity in man and this sort of conscience in man are what cause God incarnate to wander across the land, with no place to find shelter. Those who are truly possessed of conscience and humanity should worship and wholeheartedly serve God incarnate not because of how much work He has done, but even if He were to do no work at all. This is what should be done by those who are of sound sense, and it is the duty of man. Most people even speak of conditions in their service to God: They do not care whether He is God or man, and they only talk of their own conditions, and only seek to satisfy their own desires. When you cook for Me, you demand a service fee, when you run for Me, you ask for running fees, when you work for Me you demand work fees, when you wash My clothes you demand laundry fees, when you provide for the church you demand recuperation costs, when you speak you demand speaker’s fees, when you give out books you demand distribution fees, and when you write you demand writing fees. Those I have pruned even demand recompense from Me, while those who have been sent home demand reparations for the damage to their name; those who are unmarried demand a dowry, or compensation for their lost youth; those who kill a chicken demand butcher’s fees, those who fry food demand frying fees, and those who make soup demand payment for that, too…. This is your lofty and mighty humanity, and these are the actions your warm conscience dictates. Where is your sense? Where is your humanity? Let Me tell you! If you carry on like this, I will cease to work among you. I will not work among a pack of beasts in human attire, I will not suffer thus for such a group of people whose fair faces hide feral hearts, I will not endure for such a pack of animals that has not the slightest possibility of salvation. The day I turn My back on you is the day you die, it is the day that darkness comes upon you, and the day that you are forsaken by the light. Let Me tell you! I will never be benevolent to a group such as yours, a group which is beneath even animals! There are limits to My words and actions, and with your humanity and conscience as they are, I will do no more work, for you are too lacking in conscience, you have caused Me too much pain, and your despicable behavior disgusts Me too much. People who are so lacking in humanity and conscience will never have a chance at salvation; I would never save such heartless and ungrateful people(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God). Before, when I read this passage of God’s words, I never held it up to myself for comparison and even looked down on these people. I thought that people who made demands of and settled scores with God must have so little humanity! Reading these words today, my cheeks felt hot. It was as if I had been slapped; it was very humiliating. Was I not this exact kind of person? After I started believing in God, I had believed that God would keep my family safe and free from disaster. I forsook everything to gain greater blessings; whatever duty I did, I did it willingly, and I believed that since I expended myself, God would give me grace and blessings. It was just like buying insurance for myself in the world. If I used my capital to be insured, my personal interests would be safeguarded, and I ought to receive the bonuses that I deserved. In the same way, as long as I expended myself for God, He had to satisfy all of my demands. I turned doing my duty as a created being into capital for making demands of God, and the blessings even had to be dozens of times greater than what I expended. When my son fell ill, I calculated how much I had expended over these years, and believed that God would certainly cure this illness for my son. I also greedily demanded that God produce a miracle to let my son stand again and take care of himself. I thought that as long as I believed in God, He would have to care for me and satisfy all of my demands. Otherwise, God would be unrighteous. It was in this way that I shamelessly coerced God and made demands of Him with bold assuredness. I truly lacked all humanity and reason. I thought of Paul during the Age of Grace, when he endured considerable suffering while spreading the gospel but did not pursue the truth or pursue dispositional change. He turned suffering, paying a price, and working hard into a condition and a kind of capital for entering the kingdom of heaven, demanding a crown of righteousness from God. He said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7–8). Paul believed that if God did not grant him this crown, then God was unrighteous. He was publicly clamoring against God, and as a result, he offended God’s disposition and was punished. Was the path I was following not precisely the same as Paul’s? It was the path of not pursuing the truth or dispositional change and only pursuing gaining grace and blessings from God. I saw that I used my years of forsaking, expending, and working hard, as well as my son abandoning his youth and giving up on marriage after believing in God as capital to coerce God. When God didn’t satisfy my desires, I questioned Him, was hostile to Him, and clamored against Him. I was truly too shameless! The more I reflected, the more I realized that my behavior had offended God’s disposition and triggered His fury. I was scared; If I still did not repent, I would certainly meet God’s punishment as Paul did. I hastily prayed to God and repented, “God, during these years, I have not worshipped You sincerely. I always regarded You as an object to be used and asked You to satisfy my desire for blessings. I am truly so despicable! God! I am willing to repent to You. No matter whether my son lives or dies, or whether he is paralyzed, I will no longer complain about You, and I am willing to submit to all circumstances that You orchestrate and act as a created being with reason and humanity to repay Your love and comfort Your heart!”

After this, I said to my son, “Let’s correct our mindsets and take things as they come. We can’t demand that God cure your illness, so let’s learn the lesson of submission. Even if you become paralyzed and can never stand again, we must not complain.” He said, “You’re right. When people are born and when they die is all in God’s hands. He has already determined this; I am willing to submit to Him!” After that, my son and I were no longer in such pain, and no longer did I demand that God make my son get better faster. We experienced things as they came. Unexpectedly, before too long, my son’s illness started improving day by day. One day, my son was going back and forth in his wheelchair in the hallway like he always had. I was a bit sleepy at the time, so I went into the room to rest for a while. I had just lain down when I heard someone shouting loudly from the hallway, saying, “Look at that, that man just stood up!” When I heard this shout, I pushed open the door and looked, and it turned out that it was my son who had stood up. It was like I was dreaming; I couldn’t believe the scene before my eyes. In my heart, I said repeatedly, “God! Thank You, God! I praise You! My son being able to stand is due to Your power; it is Your deed!” Gradually, my son was able to control his urination and defecation, and he could even go to the restroom on his own in a wheelchair. One day, the family member of a patient said enviously to me, “My child and your son have the same illness. We’ve spent over one million yuan, and he still hasn’t stood up!” I thought to myself, “That my son can stand up today is God’s deed, and only God has this kind of power!” Someone also said, “Your child is truly one in a million, being able to recover from this illness to such an extent. You are really lucky!” I smiled and nodded, and repeatedly thanked God in my heart! Several days later, we checked out of the hospital and went back home.

I’ve been following Almighty God for twenty-one years. Thinking back, God brought me through this process step-by-step. It was just that I was too rebellious and attached additional conditions to my faith in God. I made transactions with God in order to gain grace and blessings. If God had not used my son’s illness to expose me and shatter my dream of gaining blessings, I would not recognize this fallacious view in my faith in God. I saw that my purpose in believing in God was so ugly, so despicable! Experiencing this work from God has made me feel that my son’s illness was a tremendous salvation for us. God’s love lies not only in grace and blessings; rather, His true love lies in illness and pain, judgment and chastisement, and trials and refinement, which is all to purify and change me. My son’s illness also allowed me to experience God’s righteous, beautiful, and good essence. Now, my son’s body has recovered quite well. I think of how my son was sentenced to death by the doctor, and now he can not only take care of himself but can also help me do some work. This is something that I hadn’t dared to hope for. I see that God holds sovereignty over and arranges all things, that the authority over man’s life and death rests in His hands, and that He is in charge of everything. All glory be to God!

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