Even the Elderly Should Strive to Pursue the Truth

April 15, 2024

By Li Jing, China

The year that I turned 46, I accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days. From God’s words I learned that this is the last stage of God’s work to save people, that in the end, God will take those whom He saved into a new era. I felt especially excited, and I forsook and expended myself and performed my duty with a hundred times more faith. At that time, I was pretty young, I had a lot of energy, and when I did my duty with young brothers and sisters, I didn’t consider myself old at all. I sang and danced, full of life, and sometimes I would ride my bicycle about sixty miles to spread the gospel, without getting tired. I felt that expending myself for God and doing my duty like this would definitely lead to my being saved when God’s work had ended. When I was 65, I got tinnitus in one of my ears, and there was often a humming in that ear. When it first started out, I didn’t much care, and I thought that after a while it would get better. But later, it grew more and more serious; sometimes I couldn’t hear clearly what other people were saying, and when it got serious I became dizzy. When I went to the hospital to get it looked at, the doctor said my ear was already useless, and there was no way to treat it. At that time, I felt especially negative, thinking, “I’m done for. This ear is deaf and I can’t hear other people clearly, which will affect the performance of my duty. Of what use will I be in God’s house then? If I can’t do my duty, will I have any hope of attaining salvation? Will a deaf and farsighted person like me still be wanted in the kingdom?” The more I thought about it, the more negative I became. I prayed to God and asked Him to bring me out of my negative state.

One day, I read this in God’s words: “All those who are willing to be made perfect have the chance to be made perfect, so everyone must relax: In the future you will all enter the destination. But if you are unwilling to be made perfect, and are unwilling to enter the wonderful realm, then that is your own problem. … Every person has the chance to be made perfect: Provided that you are willing, provided that you pursue, in the end you will be able to achieve this result, and not one of you will be forsaken. If you are of poor caliber, My requirements of you will be in accordance with your poor caliber; if you are of high caliber, My requirements of you will be in accordance with your high caliber; if you are ignorant and illiterate, My requirements of you will be in accordance with your illiteracy; if you are literate, My requirements of you will be in accordance with the fact that you are literate; if you are elderly, My requirements of you will be in accordance with your age; if you are capable of providing hospitality, My requirements of you will be in accordance with this capability; if you say you cannot offer hospitality, and can only perform a certain function, whether it be spreading the gospel, or taking care of the church, or attending to other general affairs, My perfection of you will be in accordance with the function that you perform. Being loyal, submitting to the very end, and seeking to have supreme love for God—this is what you must accomplish, and there are no better practices than these three things. Ultimately, man is required to achieve these three things, and if he can achieve them, then he will be made perfect. But, above all, you must truly pursue, you must actively press onward and upward, and not be passive in that regard(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination). From within God’s words I saw God’s righteousness. God gives everyone the opportunity to attain salvation and be made perfect. He doesn’t save people based on their age, nor does He perfect people based on how many duties they fulfill; instead, He requires people to perform duties based on their abilities, to pursue the truth and achieve loyalty and submission to Him, and to have a God-loving heart—this is what wins God’s approval. No matter one’s age or what duty they do, God wants their loyalty and submission. I didn’t understand God’s will, and believed that because I was old and half deaf, and I couldn’t do any duty, I would lose the hope of attaining salvation—these were my notions and imaginings. God says that elderly people should be in accordance with the requirements for the elderly. Although I am old and half deaf, I still have one ear that is able to listen to God’s words; if I can’t do a big duty, then I can do a little duty that I am capable of. Later, I spread the gospel together with the brothers and sisters of the church, and I felt pretty happy.

In March of 2023, I was in a car accident and my left leg was broken. While I was recovering at home, I lived in a constant state of anxiety: Now I was already 70 years old, and my health was already poor, my hearing gone, my vision worsening. Now, with my leg broken, what could I do in the future? I originally wanted to spread the gospel and show my loyalty, and I was preparing to do some good deeds. I never thought that my leg would be broken, and who knew when it would heal. If I couldn’t do my duty in the future, would I still have any hope for salvation? The more I thought about it, the sadder I felt, and I started to complain in spite of myself: “Ever since I put my faith in the Lord, I expended myself fervently. After accepting God’s work in the last days, I even closed my restaurant so that I could do my duty. I was almost arrested a few times and couldn’t return to my home. For over 20 years I’ve been hustling and bustling, putting forth so much. I thought that if I kept on like this, I would receive salvation, but I didn’t expect that I wouldn’t even be able to do my duty, with God’s work about to end. Do I still have a hope of salvation? If I were ten or twenty years younger, I could do my duty for a longer time, and I would have some hope for salvation. Why was I born when I was? Now I’m getting older and older every year, and my body doesn’t want to move anymore. What kind of hope will I have in the future?” When I saw the young brothers and sisters singing and dancing in videos, I felt especially envious: “These brothers and sisters were really born in a good decade, they’re young, their strength is flourishing, and they have a good memory, they learn things quickly, and they can do a lot of duties. Now is the crucial time for God to perfect people, and when God’s work is finished these young people will definitely be able to attain salvation and survive. If I was born in the 80s or 90s, I would be in time. Why did I have to be born in the 50s? God’s work is about to finish but I am old and I can’t do my duty. What hope of salvation do I have? I’ll probably pass away any day now.” During that time I felt especially negative, and when I thought about it my heart broke and I shed tears. I watched the unbelievers in my family busying themselves with eating, drinking, and entertainment; they tried to make me happy, but I couldn’t cheer myself up at all. I felt that my life had no hope. Although I read God’s words every day, I was only going through the motions, and my prayer was also ritualistic, so I felt that my heart had grown very far from God. I realized that my own state was incorrect, so I prayed to God, and asked Him to lead me out of this negative state.

One day, I read a passage in God’s words that moved me tremendously. Almighty God says: “There are also elderly people among brothers and sisters, who are aged from 60 up to around 80 or 90 and who, because of their advanced age, also experience some difficulties. Despite their age, their thinking is not necessarily so correct or rational, and their ideas and views do not necessarily accord with the truth. These elderly people have problems just the same, and they’re always worrying, ‘My health isn’t so good anymore and I’m limited as to what duty I can perform. If I just perform this little duty, will God remember me? Sometimes I get sick, and I need someone to look after me. When there’s no one to look after me, I’m not able to perform my duty, so what can I do? I’m old and I don’t remember God’s words when I read them and it’s hard for me to understand the truth. When fellowshipping on the truth, I speak in a muddled and illogical way, and I haven’t any experiences worth sharing. I’m old and I don’t have enough energy, my eyesight isn’t very good and I’m not strong anymore. Everything is difficult for me. Not only can I not perform my duty, but I easily forget things and get things wrong. Sometimes I get confused and I cause problems for the church and for my brothers and sisters. I want to attain salvation and pursue the truth but it’s very hard. What can I do?’ When they think of these things, they begin to fret, thinking, ‘How come I only started believing in God at this age? How come I’m not like those who are in their 20s and 30s, or even those in their 40s and 50s? How come I only came across God’s work now when I’m so old? It’s not that my fate is bad; at least now I’ve encountered God’s work. My fate is good, and God has been kind to me! There’s just one thing that I’m not happy about, and that is that I’m too old. My memory isn’t very good, and my health isn’t that great, but I have a strong heart. It’s just that my body doesn’t obey me, and I get sleepy after listening for a while at gatherings. Sometimes I close my eyes to pray and fall asleep, and my mind wanders when I read God’s words. After reading for a bit, I get sleepy and doze off, and the words don’t sink in. What can I do? With such practical difficulties, am I still able to pursue and understand the truth? If not, and if I’m not able to practice in line with the truth principles, then won’t all my faith be in vain? Won’t I fail to attain salvation? What can I do? I’m so worried! …’ … They see young people able to eat and drink, to run and jump, and they feel envious. The more they see young people do such things, the more distressed they feel, thinking, ‘I want to do my duty well and pursue and understand the truth, and I want to practice the truth, too, so why is it so hard? I’m so old and useless! Does God not want old people? Are old people really useless? Can we not attain salvation?’ They’re sad and unable to feel happy no matter how they think about it. They don’t want to miss such a wonderful time and such a great opportunity, yet they’re unable to expend themselves and perform their duty with all their heart and soul like young people do. These elderly people fall into deep distress, anxiety, and worry because of their age. Every time they encounter some difficulty, setback, hardship, or obstacle, they blame their age, and even hate themselves and have no liking for themselves. But in any case, it is to no avail, there is no solution, and they have no way forward. Could it be that they really have no way forward? Is there any solution? (Elderly people should also perform their duties as much as they’re able.) It’s acceptable for elderly people to perform their duties as much as they’re able, right? Can elderly people not pursue the truth anymore because of their age? Are they not capable of understanding the truth? (Yes, they are.) Can elderly people understand the truth? They can understand some, and not even young people can understand it all, either. Elderly people always have a misconception, believing that they’re confused, that their memory is bad, and so they can’t understand the truth. Are they right? (No.) Although young people have much more energy than elderly people, and are physically stronger, actually their capacity to understand, comprehend, and know is just the same as that of elderly people. Weren’t elderly people once young as well? They weren’t born old, and young people will all grow old one day, too. Elderly people mustn’t always be thinking that because they’re old, physically weak, unwell, and with bad memories, they’re different from young people. In fact, there is no difference. What do I mean when I say there is no difference? Whether someone is old or young, their corrupt dispositions are the same, their attitudes and views on all manner of things are the same, and their perspectives and standpoints on all manner of things are the same. … So, it is not that elderly people have nothing to do, nor are they unable to perform their duties, much less are they unable to pursue the truth—there are many things for them to do. The various heresies and fallacies that you have accumulated during your lifetime, as well as the various traditional ideas and notions, ignorant and stubborn things, conservative things, irrational things, and distorted things that you have accumulated have all piled up in your heart, and you should spend even more time than young people to dig out, dissect, and recognize these things. It’s not the case that you have nothing to do, or that you should feel distressed, anxious, and worried when you are at a loose end—this is neither your task nor your responsibility. First of all, elderly people should have the correct mindset. Although you may be getting on in years and you are relatively aged physically, still you should have a young mindset. Although you’re getting old, your thinking is slowed and your memory is poor, if you can still know yourself, still understand the words I say, and still understand the truth, then that proves you are not old and that your caliber is not lacking. If someone is in their 70s but is not able to understand the truth, then this shows that their stature is too small and not up to the task. Therefore, age is irrelevant when it comes to the truth(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (3)). God knows that we elderly people will find ourselves in this state, so He expresses these words to show us a path of practice. This shows that God has so much love for us. God scrutinizes the human heart, and these words of God talk about my true state. When I saw how agile the minds of the young brothers and sisters were, how much their strength flourished, able to do every duty in God’s house, I felt envy deep down, and I thought that they were right on time for God to perfect people, while at my age, with my poor vision and poor memory, I couldn’t remember what I read in God’s words. Especially now that my leg was broken, and I couldn’t do my duty, I felt that there was no hope left in my life, and my chances of getting saved were getting lower. Therefore, I often lived in a negative state and felt pessimistic and hopeless. God’s words pointed out a path of practice for me: It’s not that once people grow old and can’t do their duties, they have no path to walk anymore. If they’re old and can’t go out and do their duty, they can still pursue the truth and resolve their corrupt disposition. It’s like when I didn’t submit to old age, but forced myself to keep up with young people—this was my arrogant disposition. I always felt that once I became old I wouldn’t be able to do important duties, so I worried that I wouldn’t be saved. I was always making demands of God and I couldn’t submit to His sovereignty and arrangements—this was also my corrupt disposition. Also, while I was doing my duty, I was constantly pursuing reputation and status, and wanting people to admire me. All of these were my corrupt dispositions, and I needed to reflect on and know them, seeking the truth to resolve them. Besides, after believing in God for so many years, I had some experience and knowledge of God’s words. Although I couldn’t go out and do my duty, I could stay at home and write experiential articles to bear witness to God. Wouldn’t this also be doing some duty? Moreover, although young people have good memories, and their minds, reflexes, and actions are quick, this doesn’t mean that they don’t have any corrupt disposition. Just like elderly people, they need to experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. Though I was now old, I still had a lot of corrupt dispositions which I needed to seek the truth to resolve. This was all something I ought to do.

I read more of God’s words: “I decide the destination of each person not on the basis of age, seniority, amount of suffering, and least of all, the degree to which they invite pity, but according to whether they possess the truth. There is no other choice but this. You must realize that all those who do not follow the will of God shall also be punished. This is an immutable fact(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination). “In the current stream, all those who truly love God have the opportunity to be perfected by Him. Whether they are young or old, as long as they have a heart that submits to Him and fears Him, they can be perfected by Him. God perfects people according to their different functions. So long as you exert all of your strength, and submit to the work of God, you can be perfected by Him. At present, none of you is perfect. Sometimes you are capable of performing one type of function, and other times you can perform two. Just as long as you do your utmost to expend yourself for God, you will ultimately be perfected by Him(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. On Everyone Performing Their Function). From God’s words, I understood that God does not perfect people based on their age or how much they suffered, but on whether or not they have the truth, and whether their life disposition has changed. In the past, I always believed that the strength of young people flourished, and their minds were quick, they accepted new things quickly, and could do many duties in God’s house—this kind of person could be saved. Especially when I saw a lot of young people being promoted, I thought that elderly people were not useful in God’s house, God didn’t want them, and they had no hope for salvation. I viewed God’s house as a factory for the world of unbelievers, and believed that young people would stay, but the elderly and useless people would not be wanted—this was my misunderstanding of God, and it was blasphemy against Him. In fact, God’s house promotes people because of the needs of the gospel work, and every work needs all kinds of specialized people to collaborate, but that doesn’t mean at all that God doesn’t want people once they grow old, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t have any hope for salvation. In God’s eyes, it doesn’t matter whether one is young or old, they are all equal—it’s just that people’s ages differ, and their physical conditions are not the same, but God requires all people to enter into the truth just the same. I saw that God is righteous, He does not assess people based on their age, but on whether or not they can pursue the truth and gain the truth. If one doesn’t pursue the truth and lacks principles in how they handle matters, even if they are young, possess caliber, and do an important duty, they are still resisting God. Although I am old, and I can’t do any important duty, I can still understand God’s words, and my mind and reason are still normal, so I should pursue the truth and treasure every day that I am alive, so that I can bear fruit.

Later, I came across another passage of God’s words: “Which of you is performing your duty in God’s house right now by accident? Whatever background you came from to perform your duty, none of it was by chance. This duty can’t be performed by just finding a few believers at random; this was something predestined by God before the ages. What does it mean for something to be predestined? What specifically? It means that in His entire management plan, God long ago planned how many times you would be on earth, which lineage and which family you would be born into during the last days, what the circumstances of this family would be, whether you would be male or female, what your strengths would be, what level of education you would have, how articulate you would be, what your caliber would be, and what you would look like. He planned the age that you would come to God’s house and begin performing your duty and what duty you would perform at what time. God predestined each step for you early on. When you weren’t yet born and when you came to earth in your last several lives, God had already arranged for you what duty you would be performing in this final stage of work. This is certainly no joke! The fact that you’re able to hear a sermon here was preordained by God. This is not to be taken lightly!(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). From God’s words, I understood that God had ordained what year I would be born in and when I would come to believe in Him. As for whether I would later be able to do my duty, and what kind of destination and fate I would have, these are all in God’s hands. I always complained that I wasn’t born in a good decade—I wasn’t being submissive at all, and I was being too arrogant and unreasonable. I was born in the 50s, yet the fact that I made it in time for God to appear and do work in the last days, being fortunate enough to hear God’s words and see His appearance, and to accept His watering and shepherding, following God for so many years up to today—this already speaks of God’s great grace and exaltation toward me. As for those unbelievers who were the same age as I was: They lived their whole lives without knowing why they came to this earth or why people must live. Their whole lives they only knew to make money, compete with other people, and enjoy the flesh—they struggled in their sin. But I could come before God and understand some truths, I could know why people live and what kind of life is valuable, and know that people’s fate is under God’s control, and the duty that people should do, and the destination of humanity, etc. I enjoyed such great grace and blessings from God, yet I still wasn’t satisfied, and I even complained why God didn’t allow me to be born in the 80s or 90s. I reasoned and argued with God. I really had no humanity at all! God did so much work in me, He orchestrated people, events, and things for me to experience, and every time I felt negative God had the brothers and sisters fellowship with me, and time after time He enlightened and guided me through His words, and made me understand His intentions and walk out of negativity—isn’t all of this God’s love? When I thought about these things, I felt guilty and I believed that I really didn’t have a conscience. So I prayed to God, saying, “God, I have failed to appreciate Your kindness. You treated me graciously, yet I always misunderstood You. Now that my leg is broken, I have finally reflected; otherwise, I would still have thought that I could receive blessings by running around and spreading the gospel, living in my own notions and resisting You without knowing it. Whatever You do in the future, whatever my outcome may be, that is Your righteousness—I submit to Your sovereignty.” When I understood God’s intentions, my state changed somewhat for the better. Later, I practiced writing articles at home, and quieted my heart before God, practicing self-reflection.

A few months later, my leg gradually improved, I was able to start walking again and take up my duty. While I was doing my duty, I also placed emphasis on seeking the truth and resolving my own corrupt dispositions, nor did I feel constrained or bound by my age anymore. I could treat these things correctly. These few years, I always felt constrained by my age. If it weren’t for the guidance of God’s words, I wouldn’t have come out of it at all. It was God’s words that made the heavy stone in my heart fall out, so that I no longer felt worried or anxious about not being saved or receiving a good outcome because of my old age. My heart found freedom and release.

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