I Now Know What the Meaning of Life Is
By Jinqu, South Korea
My Struggle: Exhausted Mentally and Physically
Because I came from a poor family, I was ridiculed and belittled by friends and relatives when I was small, and so I secretly made a resolution: After I grew up, I would make a lot of money, be top dog in life and make those people sit up and take notice of me. After I grew up, in order to look for ways to make money, I often paid for dinners, and I made many friends who knew how to make money. One time, my friends drank too much and fought with some other people. When I tried to stop the fight, my eye was injured and, as a result, I was admitted to the hospital. At that point, however, my friends all gave me a wide berth. This made me very disappointed. Because the treatment cost a lot of money, my family became heavily in debt, and this put a lot of pressure on me. Therefore, I often couldn’t fall asleep at night, and sometimes I would get up in the dead of the night and go to the riverside to cry. The cruelty of reality made me feel even more that, within this money-obsessed society, the amount of money someone had was the standard by which their social status was measured. So, I made up my mind once again: I will certainly make lots of money and change my lowly position in life.
Later, I heard that if I went abroad to work I would make a lot of money, but the risks were great. In that moment, all I could think about was making money, and so I decided to go abroad. One time, when I was signing a contract with a foreign fishing company, I saw a clause in the contract stipulating that, if one lost his life while he was fishing, the company would pay 50,000 yuan in compensation. As I read this clause, my heart sank. I thought: “I’m only 29 years old. If I don’t make it back, who will look after my wife and child?” But then I thought: “If I don’t go abroad to work, when will I clear my debts and live the life that I want? I’m going to take the risk! If I really don’t make it back, I will leave 50,000 yuan to my wife and child and then it will be worth it.” Therefore, after setting my house in order, I went abroad.
One day in December of 2000, I went to Argentina and Uruguay to fish on a fishing vessel. We sailed on seas that were so rough, it felt as if we could be swallowed up by the waves at any moment. I felt very stressed and I dared not slack off even a bit. At that time, a fellow crewman’s foot got entangled in a fishing net and, simultaneously, a wave immediately rose up and engulfed him. In an instant, he disappeared from right in front of me. Seeing this, I was totally stunned and was so fearful that I broke out in a cold sweat. I thought to myself: “This really is selling my life for money. I’m really worried that such an accident could happen to me someday. But I have no other choice. No matter how dangerous, I have to do the work. Only when I have money will I be able to stand up for myself and win others’ admiration and praise.” And so, I ended up feeling that I was fortunate to have this opportunity. I bit the bullet, did this job for four years and ended up earning a great deal of money. On the day I returned home safely, I was extremely excited and felt that I could finally hold my head up high. After returning, I first refurbished my house inside and out, and then I bought a variety of household appliances. My relatives, neighbors, and former friends all looked at me in a new light and complimented me, and they would even come to my house and offer help without being asked. I was proud of myself and felt even more so that having money was indeed a good thing and that money was everything. However, I was still not content and I wanted to earn still more money.
In March 2008, I worked in a rubber factory in South Korea on my uncle’s recommendation. The odor of rubber was very heavy and quite harmful to my health, but I didn’t care at all so long as I made more money. Sometimes I would put in twenty four hours’ work a day, and even if my nose started bleeding, I was still unwilling to stop working. Seeing this, my aunt said to me: “My nephew, you shouldn’t work so hard. Your health is more important. You cannot make money if you do not have your health.” What she said was right, and I did want to take a rest from my work. But if I took a day off, I would earn a lot less money. So I dismissed the idea of taking a rest, and I thought: “I should make money while I’m still young and strong. When I return home, things will be even better and my family will have a better life than all the other villagers.”
In 2011, my wife and child joined me in South Korea. I then quit my job in the rubber factory and started to work in a factory that made excavator shells together with my wife. The factory paid good and stable wages and there was lots of work. My wife and I worked from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day. In addition, we worked overtime and we did not even rest on weekends. After working for a month, we received over 7,000,000 won. Looking down at the money in my hands, I was very happy and felt it had all been worth it, no matter how arduous or tiring the job was. At that time, my blood sugar level was low and, as a result, I was unable to feel angry, tired, or even hungry. However, since I was so focused on making money, I paid no attention to my health. When I was working, I took some candies with me. The moment I felt the symptoms of hypoglycemia, I ate candies to relieve them.
In March of 2014, my health deteriorated. The entire right side of my body was constantly bathed in sweat. After my wife looked up related information on the Internet, she said that this symptom was the precursor to cerebral thrombosis and urged me to have an examination at the hospital. I did not pay much attention to this. I didn’t consider it to be something that would get in the way of me doing my job, and it took money to go to the hospital for treatment. One morning when I got up, I suddenly felt my legs were a little numb. My wife advised me not to work but to go to the hospital for treatment. But I thought to myself: “It is Sunday and I will be paid double wages if I work today.” So, I didn’t listen to her advice and went to work as usual. Who would have known that while I was working that day, my hands and feet would feel more and more numb. Only then did I panic, and I hurriedly asked the director for leave to go to hospital. After I rushed to the hospital, I could not feel anything in my legs and feet. A doctor told me to sit in a wheelchair, but at that time I couldn’t move to it without help. After giving me a CT scan, the doctor said: “The result shows there is a blockage in your artery and a loss of 20% of the cells in the entire right side of your body. If we don’t treat your disease right away, you will have to be in a wheelchair and will probably lose the ability to speak and write in the future.” His words hit me like thunder from a clear sky, and I instantly felt my body go limp …
During the period of my hospitalization, I lay in my bed and looked around the ward and saw the other patients there who were suffering, and I suddenly felt very miserable. I kept asking myself: “I’m still young and only 44 years old. How did I end up in this situation? I’ve spent half my life working incredibly hard, thinking that if I made money then other people would admire me and praise me, and that my life would just get happier and happier. I never expected to end up with half my body paralyzed and only able to lie in bed. Could it be that I’ll spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair? How can I go on?” The more I thought about it, the more awful I felt. I really regretted ruining my body just for the sake of money and so I could stand out from the crowd. What was more disappointing was that, during the period of my hospitalization, my aunt and cousin, who also worked in South Korea, came to visit me but then hurried away after saying a few comforting words and leaving a little money. And even my eldest sister, who was the family member I felt closest to, said she couldn’t look after me on the pretext of being busy with work. I couldn’t help but sigh at my relatives’ indifference and I thought: “It’s sad that money can make people so ruthless that they would not even care about their own family members!”
Several days later, my health began to gradually improve. The doctor told me that I could leave the hospital and recuperate at home and that I couldn’t do any heavy work. While I was recuperating at home, I felt as though I’d lost my life’s purpose all at once and I didn’t know what to do with myself every day. During that time, I asked myself over and over: “I have money, anyone who knows me looks at me in a new light and my wife and child are by my side. So why do I feel empty, with no longer any purpose in life? What on earth do people live for? Could it be that making money is my only purpose in life? Could it be that I will spend the rest of my life like this, muddling along without any aim whatsoever?” I had countless questions in my heart, but no one could give me the answers. After some time, my condition improved a little. I felt so bored at home that I dragged my body, which was still recovering, to work.
God’s Love: The Hard Times Were Over and the Good Times Were Just Beginning
In October 2016, my second eldest sister brought a sister from her church named Yang to my home, and they bore witness to Almighty God’s work of the last days for my wife and me. Through their fellowship, I understood that God is the Ruler of all things and He created everything, that our fates are all in His hands and that, ever since God created mankind, He has been leading and supplying us and also watching over and protecting us all along. But there was something I still didn’t understand: God dictates and controls our fates, looking after and protecting us, and we ought to be happy and joyful—so why do we still suffer illness and pain? Where does this suffering come from? Therefore, I spoke to them about my confusion. Sister Yang showed me this passage from God’s words: “What is the source of the lifelong suffering from birth, death, illness, and old age that humans endure? What caused people to have these things? Humans did not have them when they were first created, did they? Where, then, did these things come from? They came into being after humans were tempted by Satan and their flesh became degenerate. The pain of human flesh, its afflictions, and its emptiness, as well as the extremely miserable affairs of the human world, only came once Satan had corrupted mankind. After humans were corrupted by Satan, it began to torment them. As a result, they became more and more degenerate. The diseases of humanity grew more and more acute, and their suffering became more and more severe. Increasingly, people sensed the emptiness and tragedy of the human world, as well as their inability to go on living there, and they felt less and less hope for the world. Thus, this suffering was brought down upon humans by Satan” (“The Significance of God’s Tasting of Worldly Suffering” in Records of Christ’s Talks).
The sister then gave fellowship, saying: “In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve and set them in the Garden of Eden. They listened to God’s words, obeyed and worshiped God and, under God’s care and protection, they lived a carefree and happy life, without illness, anxiety or distress. Later, they listened to Satan’s words and betrayed God when they were enticed and corrupted by Satan. From then on, mankind lost God’s care, protection and blessing, and they began to live under Satan’s influence. Thereupon, Satan began to corrupt and harm man and all kinds of illnesses and pain beset man. Several thousand years later, Satan is using such things as school education, parental indoctrination, the influence of celebrities and great people, and all manner of evil trends to forcibly instill into us such ideas and views as ‘One’s destiny is in his own hand,’ ‘Stand out from the crowd and tower over others,’ ‘I am my own Lord throughout heaven and earth,’ ‘Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ and ‘Man will do anything to get rich.’ We live by these ideas and views, and we all deny the existence of God and the sovereignty of God. Our dispositions are becoming increasingly arrogant and conceited, selfish and contemptible, crooked and crafty, and wicked and greedy. In order to obtain money, reputation, status and enjoyment, and to achieve our own ends, we cheat each other and fight with each other, we shamelessly flatter each other, act as yes-men, scheme against each other and deceive each other, so much so that we even employ despicable means…. In this way, we live focused on gains and losses, guarded and calculating, and we feel physically and mentally exhausted and in unbearable pain. And so there follows all manner of illnesses, pain and feelings of emptiness within our spirits. Over time, we slowly come to feel like we have no direction or purpose in life, we don’t know what the meaning or the value of human life is, and some people begin to indulge their flesh and focus on eating, drinking and having fun. In their pursuit of stimulation, they take drugs, but after a moment of enjoyment, they feel empty again, and some people even choose to take their own lives to put an end to their pain…. This is the consequence of Satan corrupting man so that we deny God and shun God.”
After listening to the sister’s fellowship, I finally understood that the reason why we had illnesses and pain was because we had been corrupted by Satan. If we listened to God’s words and obeyed God like Adam and Eve had done at first, we would live happily under God’s care and protection. God’s words resolved my years of perplexity and I was so grateful to God for choosing me. Afterward, my wife and I gladly accepted the work of Almighty God.
Later, my wife and I joined in the church life and we often read God’s words together. The more I read God’s words, the more light filled my heart, and I came to understand a little about various mysteries of the truth, such as God’s six thousand-year management plan to save mankind, how Satan corrupts mankind, the final end and destination for mankind and what man should pursue in life. Being watered and supplied by God’s words, I came to understand that God created mankind in the hope that we would come before Him and heed His words, and entrust into His hands our futures and our destinies, and submit to His sovereignty and arrangements. Furthermore, the words God expresses in the last days expose all of Satan’s cunning schemes, and by understanding the truth, we are able to see clearly what is wrong with satanic ideas and views. Only in this way can we stop depending on these ideas to live, we can thoroughly free ourselves from the control and bonds of Satan, and we can live liberated and free before God. Gradually over time, as I attended more gatherings, I came to understand some truths, and those feelings of emptiness and vexation in my heart unknowingly disappeared. In the deeps of my heart, I felt an inexpressible joy, and I knew that this was God’s blessing.
In a meeting, I read God’s words: “‘Money makes the world go round’ is a philosophy of Satan, and it prevails among the whole of mankind, in every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been instilled in the heart of every single person. From the very beginning, people did not accept this saying, but then they gave it tacit acceptance when they came into contact with real life, and began to feel that these words were in fact true. Is this not a process of Satan corrupting man? … Do you feel that you could not survive in this world without any money, that even one day without money would be impossible? People’s status is based on how much money they have, as is the respect they command. The backs of the poor are bent in shame, while the rich enjoy their high status. They stand tall and proud, speaking loudly and living arrogantly. What does this saying and trend bring to people? Is it not true that many people make any sacrifice in the pursuit of money? Do many people not lose their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Moreover, do many people not lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Is this not a loss for people? (Yes.) Is Satan not sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Is this not a malicious trick? As you progress from objecting to this popular saying to finally accepting it as truth, your heart falls completely into Satan’s grasp, and therefore you inadvertently come to live by the saying” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique V).
Looking at myself in the light of God’s words, I finally understood that the reason I lived in such pain was because I was being toyed with and harmed by Satan. I had been living by such life axioms as “Money is first,” “Money makes the world go round,” “Man will do anything to get rich,” which had been instilled in me by Satan, believing that by having money I could stand tall and proud and be an upright person, and that I would be held in high esteem by others and live life as top dog. And so, in order to make more money, I had done any job, no matter how dangerous or exhausting. I had ignored my own health and had even worked all night long doing overtime, like some kind of machine, needlessly risking my life to make money. It could be said that I was selling my life for money. And what had the result been? I got money and I got the admiration and praise of others, but my body was ruined. Only when illness befell me did I see that money, reputation and status did nothing to alleviate my pain, much less did they enable me to live a full, happy and joyful life. On the contrary, they made me live in a state of emptiness and confusion, not knowing what to pursue in life or what the meaning of life was; I was like a walking corpse, in agitation and pain every single day. I saw that the path I had so far been following in life had been so grievous and painful, and that it had all been the result of having been corrupted and harmed by Satan. If it hadn’t been for the salvation of God, I’d still be living getting harmed and ravaged by Satan, rushing about and living for the sake of money, being a slave to money and to status, ruining my body at the cost of my own life and being cruelly hurt by Satan until the day I died. “Now,” I thought, “I finally know that money, fame and fortune are ways in which Satan corrupts and harms man, and within these things are hidden Satan’s cunning schemes and its malicious intent to corrupt and devour man.” Just then, I came to have some discernment of the ways in which Satan harms and corrupts man, and I became willing to submit to God’s sovereignty, and wished no longer to continue my desperate pursuit for money, fame and fortune.
Transformation: Living a New Life
From then on, I no longer put all of my thought into making money; rather, whenever I had the time, I would read God’s words, attend gatherings and fellowship about the word of God with my brothers and sisters. However, I was terribly tired from work in the daytime, so I always felt sleepy when I attended gatherings and read God’s words. This made me feel somewhat anxious. Especially when hearing my brothers and sisters in the gatherings sharing the results they had reaped while performing their duties, I felt anxious and envious. I felt that the way I was believing in God was not good enough and would delay my life growth. Once, when I was practicing spiritual devotion, I saw these words of God: “Time waits for no one! You will only gain from your faith in God if you approach it as the greatest thing in your life, more important than even food, clothes, or anything else!” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique X). After I’d read God’s words, I understood that belief in God is not just about verbally acknowledging that there is a God and attending gatherings. Rather it is to focus on making effort to contemplate God’s word, to pursue the truth, to perform one’s duty in the church, to practice and experience God’s word more, to seek to know God as well as oneself, to have more and more understanding of God’s word and to understand God’s will and requirements for man. Only someone who does this is someone who believes in God and follows God. I thought about how I hadn’t believed in God for long, and that I was busy with my job, and that I didn’t have much time to attend gatherings or read God’s words, and so I had even fewer chances to experience God’s work. If I didn’t pursue the truth more vigorously, how on earth would I be able to understand more truths and attain God’s salvation? “This won’t do,” I thought. “I have to pursue the truth diligently and make more time to arm myself with the truth, and to practice and experience God’s word.”
Later on, I discussed the problem with my wife. I planned to find a cushy job so that I could have plenty of spare time. I never imagined for a second that when I told my director that I wanted to quit my job, he would not agree to it. He said, “So long as you don’t leave, I will do my utmost to satisfy whatever requirements you have.” I replied: “I do not want to work overtime and I want to be able to rest on the weekends.” I had never imagined that he would agree to these terms so readily. From then on, I had more time to attend gatherings and read the word of God. One day, I saw these words of God: “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” (The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique III).
As I contemplated God’s words, I couldn’t help but think of all those years I’d spent selling my life for money. Because I hadn’t known God’s sovereignty and had lived by the life axioms of Satan, I had blindly pursued money, reputation and status, and had felt so grieved and pained, and had not found any happiness whatsoever. I also came to truly appreciate that wealth is a material thing outside of ourselves and that, when illness comes calling, no matter how much money we have, it cannot save our lives, nor can it alleviate even the slightest bit of pain. Satan uses money, fame and fortune to seduce us, to clasp onto our greedy hearts, to make us unable to submit to God’s sovereignty and stubbornly oppose God and shun God’s care and protection, and we are controlled, harmed and trampled on by Satan. Now, I no longer wish to fight against my destiny, nor do I wish to continue selling my life for money any longer—that is not a true life. Only by submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, living to satisfy God and performing the duty of a created being to bear witness to God can we truly rid ourselves of our empty, painful lives, and live out a life of value and meaning!
In order to repay God’s love, my wife and I joined the ranks of people spreading the gospel. Nowadays, I spread the gospel and bear witness to God together with my brothers and sisters every day. I live a very enriched life, and I feel very peaceful and joyful in my heart. My whole spirit has taken on a completely new outlook. All of those who know me say that I am looking younger, and I know that this is God’s blessing for me. Thank God for His salvation that has enabled me to genuinely break away from the bondage and harm of Satan and lead a happy life.
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