When Sudden Eye Disease Struck

June 7, 2024

By Mengnuan, China

In early 2002, I accepted God’s work of the last days. Before long, I started spreading the gospel and watering newcomers, full of faith in God and consistently doing my duties day after day. Regardless of rain or shine, wind or snow, nothing could stop me from doing my duties. I remember one time while I was spreading the gospel, the potential gospel recipient not only rejected me but also pointed at me, scolding me and threatening to call the police. I felt deeply humiliated and negative at that moment, but then I thought to myself, “If I can endure ridicule and insults for spreading the gospel, surely God will bless me.” With this thought, I felt better and continued my duties. Years passed by, and during this time of doing my duties, although my flesh suffered and my self-esteem was hurt, I also enjoyed many blessings and grace from God. Over these years of believing in God, my family experienced peace and was spared from disasters or hardships. I thought to myself, “Surely my faith in God is sincere.” Just when I was feeling happy, something unexpected happened.

It was June 2008, and my eyes suddenly began to be somewhat blurry, as if covered by something. I thought that I might just have an eye irritation, so I didn’t pay much attention, continuing to do my duties as usual. I believed that since I believed in God, God would protect me, and even if I was sick, I shouldn’t stop doing my duties. Perhaps my eyes would get better on their own. But unexpectedly, my condition worsened instead of improving. My vision became increasingly blurred, and looking into the distance caused my eyes to lose focus and made me dizzy. At this point, I started feeling afraid. If I didn’t seek treatment promptly, what if I missed the best time for treatment and my eyes went blind? I rushed to the county hospital for an examination. The doctor said there wasn’t a major issue and that a few days of injections would fix it. I felt relieved after this. But after a few days of injections without improvement, my worries returned: What if my eyes went blind? However, I thought again, “Over the years of believing in God, I have been spreading the gospel and watering newcomers. God will surely protect me, considering that I have forsaken things and expended myself. My eyes won’t go blind; I shouldn’t scare myself. Moreover, with the advanced medical technology today, my eye disease will surely be curable.”

Later, my husband took me to the city hospital to see an eye specialist and undergo an eye CT scan. The doctor diagnosed me with retinal edema. Initially, a few days of fluid therapy showed slight improvement, but it didn’t last. Instead, my condition worsened with more fluid therapy, and because the doctor prescribed hormonal medication, my whole body started swelling up. My vision deteriorated, and my eyesight became so blurry that I could hardly recognize anyone. I went to the city hospital five times, and each time my eye condition worsened. The doctor felt powerless and said to me very seriously, “Your eye disease is difficult to cure. It could recur several times a year, and frequent recurrences may lead to blindness in both eyes. Moreover, you may lose all your hair and suffer from deafness. Additionally, long-term use of hormonal drugs can weaken your bones. If you fall, your bones could fracture throughout your body.” The doctor’s words hit me like a bolt from the blue. I felt weak all over, and I could hardly believe that what the doctor said was true. I asked the doctor again, and it was indeed the case. At that moment, my whole body began to tremble uncontrollably. This was it! My disease was incurable! When I returned home, I felt very depressed and restless. I started to think that God wasn’t protecting me, and I didn’t want to pray to God. My eyes continued to blur, making it difficult to see clearly. One time, my cousin came to visit me. If she didn’t speak, I wouldn’t have known who she was; I only saw a dark shadow in front of me. I thought to myself, “I’m still so young. If my eyes really go blind, won’t I become useless? How will I live my life from now on?” Gradually, I became withdrawn, locking myself at home and avoiding people. I often cried, and each day felt like an eternity. My husband, busy with work both in the fields and at home, started to show impatience. He said to me several times, “You can’t even see or do any work. What use are you? Maybe I should just abandon you!” This made me feel even more distressed and bitter. In my pain and helplessness, I prayed to God, “God, why did I get this disease? Now that I can’t see, how can I continue to believe in You and do my duties? If my eyes really go blind, I won’t be able to take care of myself, let alone do any work. If I rely on my husband for everything, he’ll surely give me the cold shoulder. I’ve always had high self-esteem and never wanted others to look down on me. How will I live from now on? God, even if my arms or legs become useless, it’s better than not being able to see! God, I’m in so much pain. Please remove this illness. If I recover, I’ll do whatever duty You ask me to.” Eventually, after praying to God for a while without improvement, I lost faith and stopped praying. I believed that since God wouldn’t protect or save me, and my husband didn’t want me, what was the point of living? I started to think about death. But then I thought, “If I die, what will happen to my young son?” Later, I heard about another hospital that was renowned for treating eye diseases, so my husband and I quickly took a car there. We stayed in the hospital for over ten days for treatment, but ultimately, it wasn’t cured. Six months passed, and we had spent all our savings. My eye condition didn’t improve; in fact, it worsened. I completely lost hope of curing my eye disease.

Just when I was in pain and despair, I happened to meet a sister by chance. She reminded me, saying, “You can’t keep living in your sickness. You need to seek God’s intention, reflect on yourself, and learn lessons from this illness.” With that sentence she woke me up, and I thought, “Indeed. Since I became sick, I haven’t reflected on myself at all, and God has no place in my heart. I’ve been solely focused on seeking doctors, thinking that only doctors and advanced medical technology could cure my eyes. How could I have forgotten about God?” But, I wanted to read God’s words, and no matter how hard I strained my eyes, I couldn’t see them, which made me feel anxious. I had to pray to God and ask Him to guide me. Later, I remembered these words of God: “When sickness befalls, this is God’s love, and surely His goodwill is harbored within. Though your body may undergo a bit of suffering, entertain no ideas from Satan. Praise God in the midst of illness and enjoy God in the midst of your praise. Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking again and again and do not give up, and God will illuminate and enlighten you. How was Job’s faith? Almighty God is an all-powerful physician! To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well. So long as you still have one breath, God will not let you die(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 6). Yes, Almighty God is an all-powerful physician. During this time, I was living in sickness and lost faith in God. I didn’t seek God’s intention in my sickness, nor did I reflect on myself and learn lessons from my illness. I was truly numb! My illness was in God’s hands, and I could not lose faith in Him. Although I still didn’t understand God’s intention, I was willing to pray more to God and ask Him to enlighten me and guide me to thoroughly reflect and know myself. During this period, I could only listen to some readings of God’s words. Sometimes, when I heard some of God’s words about how to pray to Him in sickness, I practiced prayer according to the path of practice in God’s words. I prayed, “God, my previous prayers lacked reason. I even asked You to let me lose the use of my arms or legs rather than lose my eyesight. I also asked You to take away this illness and promised to do any duty if I recovered. God, my previous prayers were truly unreasonable!”

Later, I heard a passage of God’s words: “Consider Jesus’ prayers. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, ‘If it be possible….’ That is, ‘If it can be done.’ This was said as part of a discussion. He did not say, ‘I implore You.’ With a submissive heart and in a submissive state, He prayed, ‘If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I desire, but as You desire.’ He continued to pray like this the second time, and the third time He prayed, ‘May Your will be done.’ Having grasped the desire of God the Father, He said, ‘May Your will be done.’ He was able to completely submit, without any personal choice at all. … However, people simply do not pray like that. In their prayers, people always say, ‘God, I ask You to do this and that, and I ask You to guide me in this and that, and I ask You to make ready conditions for me….’ Perhaps God will not prepare suitable conditions for you. Perhaps God will make you suffer hardship as a means to teach a lesson. If you are always praying like this—’God, I ask You to make preparations for me and give me strength’—it is extremely unreasonable! When you pray to God, you must be reasonable, and you should pray to Him with a heart of submission. Don’t try to determine what you will do. If you try to determine what to do before you pray, this is not submission to God. In prayer, your heart must be submissive, and you must first seek with God. In this way, your heart will naturally be brightened during prayer, and you will know what is appropriate to do. Going from your plan before prayer to the change produced in your heart after prayer is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit. If you have already made your own decision and have determined what to do, and then you pray to ask God for permission or to ask God to do what you want, this kind of prayer is unreasonable. Many times, people’s prayers are not answered by God precisely because they have already decided what to do, and just ask God for permission. God says, ‘Since you have decided what to do, why ask Me?’ This kind of prayer feels a bit like cheating God, and thus, their prayers dry up(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Significance of Prayer and Its Practice). From God’s words, I realized that my prayers to God were solely focused on asking Him to remove my illness. I lacked reason! How could I, a mere created being, be qualified to demand that God heal me? I even wanted God to fulfill my personal interests according to my own will. I truly lacked a God-fearing heart! I then thought about the prayer of the Lord Jesus. He knew that being nailed to the cross would be exceedingly painful, yet His prayer did not try to make demands of God. He was willing to submit to the Father’s will, even if it meant suffering. I should seek God’s intention and submit to Him in my sickness. Then, I prayed to God, “God, I’m willing to pray with a heart of submission and seek Your intention. This illness didn’t happen by chance, but I still don’t understand Your intention. I don’t know what lessons I should learn from this sickness. God, please enlighten and guide me.” So I continued to pray to God this way for some time, and unexpectedly, my eyes gradually began to improve. When I revisited God’s words, I could see things more clearly.

Later, I read a passage of God’s words and gained a better understanding of the state I was in. God says: “For all people, refinement is excruciating, and very difficult to accept—yet it is during refinement that God makes plain His righteous disposition to man, and makes public His requirements for man, and provides more enlightenment and more actual pruning; through the comparison between the facts and the truth, He gives man a greater knowledge of himself and the truth, and gives man a greater understanding of God’s intentions, thus allowing man to have a truer and purer love of God. Such are God’s aims in carrying out refinement. All the work that God does in man has its own aims and significance; God does not do meaningless work, and nor does He do work that is without benefit to man. Refinement does not mean removing people from before God, and nor does it mean destroying them in hell. Rather, it means changing man’s disposition during refinement, changing his intentions, his old views, changing his love for God, and changing his whole life. Refinement is a real test of man, and a form of real training, and only during refinement can his love serve its inherent function(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Possess True Love). From God’s words, I understood that God used this illness to reveal the motives and impurities regarding my faith in Him, mainly to cleanse and transform me. This was God’s intention. During these years of faith in God, I always thought that as long as I endured suffering and paid the price, I would be remembered by God and receive His blessings. I even believed that our peaceful family life without any disasters or hardships over these years was surely because of my good faith, which earned God’s protection. Then suddenly, my eyes couldn’t see clearly anymore, and I prayed to God for healing. When God didn’t act according to my demand, I lost faith in Him and began to rely on doctors, believing that advanced medical technology could cure my eyes. But when even the doctors were powerless, I plummeted into despair and thought about death. During this time, I never sought God’s intention, let alone reflected on myself. Now, I saw that when I thought I was believing in God and doing my duty, my motives were adulterated. I was using God, tricking Him, and trying to make deals with Him! Thank God! If it weren’t for the revelation through this illness, I wouldn’t have recognized these things about myself.

Later, I read a few more passages of God’s words and gained a clearer understanding of my issues. Almighty God says: “What you pursue is to be able to gain peace after believing in God, for your children to be free from illness, for your husband to have a good job, for your son to find a good wife, for your daughter to find a decent husband, for your oxen and horses to plow the land well, for a year of good weather for your crops. This is what you seek. Your pursuit is only to live in comfort, for no accidents to befall your family, for the winds to pass you by, for your face to be untouched by grit, for your family’s crops to not be flooded, for you to be unaffected by any disaster, to live in God’s embrace, to live in a cozy nest. A coward such as you, who always pursues the flesh—do you have a heart, do you have a spirit? Are you not a beast? I give you the true way without asking for anything in return, yet you do not pursue. Are you one of those who believe in God? I bestow real human life upon you, yet you do not pursue. Are you no different from a pig or a dog? Pigs do not pursue the life of man, they do not pursue being cleansed, and they do not understand what life is. Each day, after eating their fill, they simply sleep. I have given you the true way, yet you have not gained it: You are empty-handed. Are you willing to continue in this life, the life of a pig? What is the significance of such people being alive? Your life is contemptible and ignoble, you live amid filth and licentiousness, and you do not pursue any goals; is your life not the most ignoble of all? Do you have the gall to look upon God? If you continue to experience in this way, will you not acquire nothing? The true way has been given to you, but whether or not you can ultimately gain it depends on your own personal pursuit(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment). “All corrupt humans live for themselves. Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost—this is the summation of human nature. People believe in God for their own sake; when they forsake things and expend themselves for God, it is in order to be blessed, and when they are loyal to Him, it is in order to be rewarded. In sum, it is all done for the purpose of being blessed, rewarded, and entering the kingdom of heaven. In society, people work for their own benefit, and in the house of God, they perform a duty in order to be blessed. It is for the sake of gaining blessings that people forsake everything and can withstand much suffering: There is no better evidence of man’s satanic nature(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). Everything God reveals is factual. My faith in God was merely pursuing peace and safety for my family, believing that this was what it meant to believe in God. I lived by the satanic poisons of “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” and “Never lift a finger without a reward.” So, I believed in God only to seek blessings and peace for myself, and I performed my duties, forsook things, and expended myself to earn rewards in the heavenly kingdom, doing everything for my own benefit. When I believed in God and saw His blessings and my family’s peace, I was able to forsake things and expend myself for God, thinking that I was loyal to God and genuinely believed in Him, someone who loved the truth. However, when I fell ill and my prayers for healing were not answered, I distanced myself from God and stopped praying or relying on Him. Even though I couldn’t see with my eyes, I could still listen to readings of God’s words. But, even while napping in idleness, I didn’t want to hear God’s words. My heart was completely closed to God, and I didn’t want to draw near to Him. What difference was there between my faith in God and that of those in religion who seek only a full stomach? They believe in God only to seek material benefits and peace, wishing for good weather and health for their families throughout the year. When they don’t get what they want, and they sometimes meet with disaster, they distance themselves from God and betray Him. I realized that I was the same as them, selfish and vile, lacking any conscience or reason! God had expressed so much truth, yet I didn’t pursue it, nor did I pursue purification or transformation. Then what difference was there between me and animals like pigs and dogs?

Later, I read a passage of God’s words and gained some understanding of what true faith in God is and the significance of believing in God. Almighty God says: “‘Belief in God’ means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept as regards believing in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means the following: On the basis of the belief that God holds sovereignty over all things, one experiences His words and His work, purges one’s corrupt disposition, satisfies the intentions of God, and comes to know God. Only a journey of this kind may be called ‘faith in God.’ Yet people often see belief in God as a simple and frivolous matter. People who believe in God in this way have lost what it means to believe in God, and though they may continue to believe until the very end, they shall never gain God’s approval, because they tread upon the wrong path. There are still those today who believe in God according to words and in hollow doctrine. They do not know that they lack the essence of belief in God, and they cannot receive God’s approval. Still they pray to God for blessings of safety and sufficient grace. Let us stop, quiet our hearts, and ask ourselves: Can it be that believing in God really is the easiest thing on earth? Can it be that believing in God means nothing more than receiving much grace from God? Are people who believe in God without knowing Him or who believe in God and yet oppose Him really able to satisfy the intentions of God?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Preface). Through reading God’s words, I understood what it truly means to believe in God. I realized that for all these years, I had been believing in God vaguely with notions, thinking that believing in God was solely for gaining a hundredfold in this life and eternal life in the next. My viewpoint on believing in God was erroneous, and I had followed a wrong path. In this way, no matter how long I believed in God, I wouldn’t come to know Him. Someone who truly believes in God experiences God’s words and His work, comes to know God, casts off corrupt dispositions, and becomes compatible with Him, all on the basis of acknowledging that God is the Sovereign over all things. I reflected on Peter’s faith during the Age of Grace: The path of his pursuit was in line with God’s intention. He emphasized the pursuit of the truth and sought to grasp God’s intentions even in the smallest details of daily life. Moreover, Peter stood in the position of a created being and performed his duties. He pursued love for God and submission to Him, ultimately getting crucified upside down for God and bearing a beautiful and resounding testimony. Compared to Peter, I was truly ashamed and embarrassed. I prayed to God in repentance, “God, I am willing to repent before You. For the remaining time I have, I want to earnestly pursue the truth, seek Your intentions in doing my duties, reflect on myself, and focus on my life entry.” It was through this bout of eye disease that I reflected and came to know my viewpoints and the path I had taken in my faith in God. As I learned some lessons, my eyes gradually healed.

More than ten years have passed, and my eye disease has not recurred. Although I almost lost my sight and endured suffering from illness, after going through this, I experienced God’s good intentions and clearly saw the truth of how I’d been corrupted by Satan. I also gained some practical knowledge of God’s work method and thoughtful intentions in saving people. This is what I can never gain from a comfortable environment. Thank God for His salvation!

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