What’s True Peace and Joy?
Dear Li Rui,
How’ve you been? I remember that I once asked you a question: In today’s society, there is so much pressure to compete and everyone feels that life is so exhausting and hard, so how are we supposed to live happily? You said to join you in your faith in God, and you said that, once you believe in God, you can then have the guidance of God’s words, you can obtain peace and joy from God, and you can be free from all worries and concerns. But back then I was so busy working to earn money that I didn’t have time to believe in God, and I turned your suggestion down again and again. For all these years I have been seeking to live life at the top and all along have wanted to rely on my own struggling and striving to become someone to be reckoned with in my company. But I’m busy from dawn till dusk, and still I encounter setback after setback, defeat after defeat. I see my colleagues getting promoted and getting pay rises, and yet I’m still exactly where I started. I feel lost and my life feels oppressive and painful. Sister, you seem so much happier since you started to believe in God and your life is so relaxed and free, as though you have no worries and feel no suffering at all. I envy you, and I’d like to ask you: Can faith in God really allow me to be free of suffering and be happy? Looking forward to your reply …
Lots of love,
March 30, 2018
I got your email, and I feel sad to hear that your life now is so hard and exhausting. Apart from praying for you, there’s nothing else I can do to help you. The only One who can help you to remove your suffering is God. The Lord Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). God is our eternal support and He is our help at need. No matter how we may suffer or worry, so long as we believe in God and accept His salvation, pray often to God, read God’s words and understand the truth, then we will be able to have some understanding of the root cause of our suffering. If we are able to accept the truth and put God’s words into practice, then we will be able to be free of suffering, we will live unperturbed and at ease, and we will obtain peace and joy from God.
Xiaonan, if we wish to live happily and at ease, we first have to understand exactly what the root cause of our suffering is. There are two passages of God’s words that say: “So, Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts, until all people can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for the sake of fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds people with invisible shackles, and they have neither the strength nor the courage to throw them off. They unknowingly bear these shackles and trudge ever onward with great difficulty. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind shuns God and betrays Him and becomes increasingly wicked. In this way, therefore, one generation after another is destroyed in the midst of Satan’s fame and gain” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”). “Because people do not recognize God’s orchestrations and God’s sovereignty, they always face fate defiantly and with a rebellious attitude, and they always want to cast off God’s authority and sovereignty and the things fate has in store, hoping in vain to change their current circumstances and alter their fate. But they can never succeed and are thwarted at every turn. This struggle, which takes place deep in one’s soul, brings profound pain of the sort that carves itself into one’s bones, as one fritters away their life all the while. What is the cause of this pain? Is it because of God’s sovereignty, or because a person was born unlucky? Obviously, neither is true. At bottom, it is caused by the paths people take, the ways they choose to live their lives” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
God’s words reveal to us the root cause of humankind’s life of suffering. Did you know that, in the beginning, God made Adam and Eve and they obeyed God and heeded His words? They were watched over and protected by God, they lived happily in the Garden of Eden, and they knew no suffering and no sorrow. But when Adam and Eve were seduced and deceived by Satan, and they went against God’s words and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they then lost God’s blessing and were cast out of the Garden of Eden. Thereafter, humankind fell under the domain of Satan and has ever since lived in suffering. For several thousand years, Satan has used such heretical fallacies as atheism, materialism and evolutionism to deceive and corrupt humankind, and mankind has become more and more corrupted by Satan. Our satanic corrupt dispositions, such as being arrogant and self-important, crooked and deceitful, selfish and contemptible, have deeply rooted within us. We deny God’s existence, deny that God created the heavens and earth and all things, we no longer worship God and we grow further and further apart from Him. What’s more, Satan also uses those demon kings, those great and those famous people to instill in us such axioms of logic and heretical fallacies as “Distinguishing oneself and bringing honor to his ancestors,” “Men should always strive to be better than their contemporaries,” and “One’s destiny is in his own hand.” Under the influence of these axioms and fallacies, we come to believe that only by having money and status can we win the esteem of others and have a life worth living. We also come to believe that to live a mundane life is good for nothing and it is to be without aspirations, that we will only be looked down upon and belittled by others, and our lives will be pathetic. For this reason, many people seek to live life at the top and to live a rich life, and so they struggle and strive every day, they work overtime, they get all kinds of illnesses while they’re still young, and some even lose their lives in this pursuit. There are some people who use unscrupulous means and scheme against their colleagues, who will stop at nothing to trample on others to get to the top, who use people, cheat people, and who live in unbearable pain, just for the sake of having a successful career. There are also many people who, after expending all their effort and finding that they are still unable to stand out from the crowd, begin to feel depressed and downhearted, to feel that everything in their lives has gone wrong. They feel this to such an extent that they become pessimistic and despairing which gives rise to a feeling of world-weariness, and they choose to kill themselves to bring their lives to an end. In fact, our suffering is actually caused by our having been corrupted by Satan, because we have accepted Satan’s wrong views and because we live by Satan’s philosophies and axioms.
Xiaonan, God knows we are being harmed by Satan and that we live in suffering, and so He expresses His words to expose the means by which Satan corrupts us so that we might develop discernment of them. He also shows us the path by which we may live happily. God’s words say, “Regardless of differences in ability, intelligence, and willpower, people are all equal before fate, which does not distinguish between the great and the small, the high and the low, the exalted and the mean. What occupation one pursues, what one does for a living, and how much wealth one amasses in life are not decided by one’s parents, one’s talents, one’s efforts or one’s ambitions, but are predetermined by the Creator” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). “When one does not comprehend fate, when one does not understand God’s sovereignty, when one gropes their way forward willfully, staggering and tottering through the fog, the journey is too difficult, too heartbreaking. So when people recognize God’s sovereignty over human fate, the clever ones choose to know it and accept it, to bid farewell to the painful days when they tried to build a good life with their own two hands, and to stop struggling against fate and pursuing their so-called ‘life goals’ in their own way. When one does not have God, when one cannot see Him, when one cannot clearly recognize God’s sovereignty, every day is meaningless, worthless, miserable. Wherever one is, whatever one’s job is, one’s means of living and the pursuit of one’s goals bring one nothing but endless heartbreak and suffering without relief, such that one cannot bear to look back on one’s past. Only when one accepts the Creator’s sovereignty, submits to His orchestrations and arrangements, and seeks true human life will one gradually begin to break free from all heartbreak and suffering, and to be rid of all the emptiness of life” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
God’s words explain it very clearly. The fate of each and every one of us is ruled over and arranged by God, and God long ago preordained what family we would be born into, what skills we would have, what career we would have, and how wealthy we would be. As created beings, we should not live by such satanic axioms and fallacies as “Distinguishing oneself and bringing honor to his ancestors,” and “One’s destiny is in his own hand,” blindly struggling along relying on the strength of our own two hands. Instead, we should submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, accept what the Creator has preordained for us, be earnest and down-to-earth, do our best and obey God’s will in all things, for only by doing this will our spirits have peace and joy, and we will be able to live unperturbed and at ease. Take Job, for example, whose story is recorded in the Bible. He focused on appreciating, experiencing and recognizing God’s sovereignty in his life, and he sought to follow the path of fearing God and shunning evil. God therefore named him a righteous man and blessed him so that he would be great amongst the people of the east. Satan was unconvinced, however, and it leveled accusations against Job. So as to test Job’s faith in Him, God permitted Satan to tempt Job, and so Satan sent robbers to steal away all of Job’s livestock, caused him to lose his children, and made Job’s whole body break out in painful boils. During this trial, although Job did not understand God’s will, he still didn’t ask God for anything for his own sake, or for his children or for his property, but instead he submitted to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and he fell to the ground in praise of God and said: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). Job defeated Satan with his obedience to God and reverence for God, he stood firm and bore resounding testimony for God, and he became doubly blessed by God. What Job pursued in his life was not any prestigious position or grand estate, much less did he rely on his own two hands to make a bright future for himself, but instead he sought to know God, to obey God, and to fear God and shun evil. Therefore, not only did Job obtain spiritual peace and joy in his life but, even more importantly, he received God’s praise and he lived out a life of worth and meaning.
Xiaonan, as you know, before I believed in God, I also regarded such axioms and fallacies as “One’s destiny is in his own hand” and “Distinguishing oneself and bringing honor to his ancestors” as true sayings, and I always wanted to make a lot of money through my own efforts, live life at the top and make others look up to me, and I believed that I would have joy and happiness once I had achieved these things. After I got married, my husband and I borrowed money to start a business, but contrary to our expectations, we lost money time and time again. I wasn’t willing to admit defeat, so I began to listen to lectures given by successful people, and I got into direct selling and I sold insurance. I hoped that, by working hard, I would be numbered amongst the successful, but in the end, after many years of ups and downs, it still all ended in failure. When I saw that this was the outcome of all my hard work, I couldn’t bear the blow and I lived in suffering. I lost all hope in life and felt as though my life had ended. What was the point in living if I couldn’t stand out from the crowd? And so, I contemplated suicide as a way to bring it all to an end. Only when I began to believe in God and had read God’s words did I finally become aware that all my suffering was because I was living by the wrong views of Satan, because I was always trying to change my fate through my own efforts, and because I was constantly vying with the sovereignty of God. Actually, when God created humankind, He prepared everything we would need to live, and all we have to do to be able to maintain our lives is to work a normal amount. In this way, we then have more time to believe in and worship God, and so live before God and receive His care and protection. I didn’t comprehend God’s love, however, and I didn’t understand His good intentions. Impelled by my wild ambitions and desires, I always wanted to fight against my fate and seek to live life at the top, but all that brought me was pain. Once I’d understood these things, I finally saw how deeply corrupted by Satan I was and that everything I was pursuing ran completely against God’s intentions when He created man. At the same time, I also came to understand that only by believing in God and by submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements can we human beings rid ourselves of the shackles and harm of Satan, and live relaxed, happy lives.
Later, I often attended gatherings with my brothers and sisters to read God’s words and to fellowship about our own experiences and understanding. I then began to actively preach the gospel, to spread God’s salvation to those still living in suffering, struggling in pain and unable to find their way, so that they, too, might come before God and accept His salvation. Now, although I don’t have much money and I don’t have many material pleasures, because I have been chosen by God to come before Him and I enjoy God’s words every day, because I can search for the truth and seek the path of practice in God’s words whenever I encounter an issue or a difficulty, and many of my issues have been resolved in this way, my spirit feels filled with peace and joy. This sense of peace and stability that comes from the deepest recesses of my spirit cannot be bought by any money. By experiencing God’s work over these last few years, I have come to understand some truths, and I see clearly the emptiness of fame, gain and status. Do those high officials, wealthy people and celebrities who possess prestigious status and are worth millions really live happy and joyful lives? Why do so many high officials, wealthy people and celebrities choose to kill themselves to bring their lives to an end? The facts are clear: No matter how high our status is or how much money we have, these things can only give us temporary physical enjoyment, but they can never fill the void in our spirits. With just these things, our lives will be completely devoid of meaning or worth, and we will be unable to obtain true happiness and joy. God’s words say, “Man, after all, is man, and the position and life of God cannot be replaced by any man. Mankind does not just require a fair society in which everyone is well-fed and is equal and free; what mankind needs is the salvation of God and His provision of life to them” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). Only by believing in God and following God, by understanding the truth and knowing God through His words, by discerning and rejecting wrong views and by submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements can we experience true peace and joy and live happy lives. Ever since I began to believe in God, I feel like I’ve lived an enriched and meaningful life every day, and my heart feels ever more liberated and free!
Xiaonan, if you can also believe in God, come before God and accept the guidance of God’s words, learn to rely on God and obey God, and live under His care and protection, then I believe that you, too, will surely obtain this peace and joy in your spirit. Because true peace and joy come from God, only by coming before God can we enjoy peace and stability in our spirits. My understanding of the truth is still very limited and there are many things I cannot explain. Only by believing in God yourself and learning through your own experiences will you be able to appreciate what true happiness, true joy and true peace are. Finally, I just want to tell you this: Only by believing in God, understanding the truth and knowing God will we be able to find true happiness!
Lots of love,
April 1, 2018