By Ouyang Mo,China
Time really flies. Hong’er grew from a naive little girl into a graceful young woman, and her budding interest in love awakened. She wasn’t interested in wealth or status, but just wanted a relationship in which, no matter what storms they weather, there is intimacy and love, they help each other in times of need, and grow old together. She was quietly awaiting the arrival of a certain moment …
He burst into her world, making her heart flutter with his handsome face and crystal-clear eyes, and he also really had feelings for her. Starting then, her placid, bland days were bursting with sunshine. Over time they came together, and his tenderness and considerateness inspired love in Hong’er even more than his good looks. She knew that he was the one she wanted to entrust her life with and grow old with. He also vowed to give her lifelong happiness. However, her parents complained that he came from a poor family and wanted her to leave him. Hong’er didn’t care at all about that, only that they truly loved each other and they could remain resolutely together for a lifetime. In spite of her parents’ objections, she moved far away with him.
Before long they had an adorable, plump little son, and they worked tirelessly to provide him with a comfortable life. Even though it was difficult and tiring for Hong’er, working hard alongside her love nurturing their home together was a very sweet joy for her. Particularly on her birthday he spent his half-month’s salary to get a love song—Rain or Shine—played on the radio for her. As soon as it started she was so moved that she cried; in that song, she heard the voices of their hearts united. What could be more precious than two people in love who are forever bonded, committed to each other? She wasn’t looking for great wealth, just this kind of marital harmony and love. Such a harmonious home was enough for her.
The years passed like days, and in the blink of an eye it had already been 20 years. Their son was all grown up and they were working hard side-by-side to set up a considerable-sized family business. But at some point she realized that he was coming home less and less, and giving more and more excuses that he had to entertain others. What had once been a warm, happy home was feeling cooler and cooler. Hong’er was concerned: When they were just preparing for the company’s construction there were a lot of things that he had to handle himself, and although he was really busy during that time he would always come home as soon as he possibly could. Now all aspects of the company’s operation were on track and he wasn’t as busy as before, so why would he be coming home less? She felt ill at ease. She had a natural understanding of their customers’ style: One-stop service of all sorts of entertainment like foot massages, saunas, karaoke, and nightclubs had become unspoken rules of the industry, and it had become a trend for many men to go to all sorts of entertainment venues to have one-night stands or affairs. With her husband entertaining guests day after day, going in and out of those sorts of entertainment venues that were rife with temptation, could it be that…? No, there was no way! She and her husband had walked hand-in-hand through every storm over the past two decades, and every little thing during that time had been a testimony to their love. How could such a strong foundation of love crumble before a little temptation? She was confident that their love could withstand any test. Hong’er used that to comfort herself, but faced with the reality of it, she still wasn’t entirely at ease.
But reality did not bend to Hong’er’s self-soothing as she would have wished. Her husband had one large, unexplained expenditure after another, he failed to come home more and more frequently, and he was very slippery in his excuses. All of these things were blows for her; the worries in her heart weighed on her ever more. Although she felt, based on her husband’s unusual behavior, that he had probably been unfaithful to her, she wasn’t willing to accept or acknowledge that reality. She didn’t dare believe that the man who had vowed to give her a lifetime of happiness and who had weathered two decades of storms alongside her could suddenly betray her. Could the vow of “till death do us part” have been nothing but an easy lie?
Reality no longer allowed Hong’er to continue deceiving herself; she started following him. One day, she followed him to a very wealthy community and discovered there was a home there he had built with another woman. The moment she saw that woman cradling a small child in her arms was an absolute shock. She didn’t dare believe her own eyes. It had occurred to her many times that her husband might be in and out of hotels with other women, that it was nothing more than being intimate with them, but she never could have imagined that he would establish another family and have a child with another woman. At that moment the last shred of comfort she had for herself shattered, collapsed in the face of the harsh truth. In the flash of an eye, their vows, and every single part of their over two decades of mutual support came crashing way, way down. How could he be so heartless? Could he really have forgotten his promise to give her a lifetime of happiness? Had he forgotten the feelings he expressed through the song “Rain or Shine”? Had he forgotten that she had given up everything for him, and everything they had been through together? How could he forget? Why would he do that to her? How could twenty years of love fail to withstand the temptation of a stranger? At that moment the anger and grief roiled in Hong’er; her heart was quivering and tears involuntarily poured down her face. She shouted at him hoarsely, “Are you sure you want to cast me and your son aside and choose this woman?” She hoped to see a look of guilt on her husband’s face, to tell her that he had been wrong, to say that he still held their family in his heart, but her husband was completely silent in the face of her tears and her questioning. Seeing his attitude, Hong’er completely broke down. She had absolutely no idea why he would so heartlessly betray her. She slapped him hard, unable to contain the resentment in her heart.
Hong’er had no memory of leaving that place—it felt like everything had been sucked out of her. She stood on the shore as the twilight deepened, with no company but the fading light and last vestige of the setting sun. Wave after wave of pain welled up in her heart. Scene after scene of their decades together appeared before her eyes one after another. She had disregarded her family’s objections for him and had resolutely moved far away from home with him. She had worked her heart out alongside him and none of their financial constraints had dampened their feelings one bit. They had come this far hand-in-hand throughout all the bitter and the sweet, the wind and the rain. They had become well-off and their child had grown up, but he was actually capable of throwing out a happy family to build a nest with another woman. She hated his inconstancy, and hated his heartlessness. But as soon as she thought of this happy family that she had worked so hard for just disappearing, she felt she couldn’t bear to part with it and wanted to do all she could to get it back. As long as he came back she could forgive his past transgressions because she had staked all of her happiness with him.
After returning home Hong’er started making plans to save her marriage. A friend told her: “When a man goes out and works to make a living, he gets more than enough of cold expressions out there. When he comes home he needs to feel the warmth of home; that way he’ll feel happy. Just like they say, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’” Hong’er knew that her husband liked dumplings, so every day she carefully made several different types of dumplings by hand and thought of every other means to discreetly inquire about him. She used their son to come up with all sorts of reasons for him to come home, but no matter how she wheedled him he was always lukewarm. Hong’er thought maybe he wasn’t interested because she was aging and losing her looks so she started to put lots of energy into making herself up to appear younger. She thought of many ways to recapture her husband’s heart, but it was all to no avail. That period of time was really difficult and tiring for her, and she felt really helpless. Every day, she washed her face with tears and couldn’t get a good night’s sleep. She didn’t know how many things she had tried to repair their broken home. Left with no other choice, she could only wait in her pain, wait for her husband to come around.
Hong’er waited that way for three years, and over those long days she asked herself more than once: “How could feelings from over twenty years disappear just like that? Why couldn’t I get a happy, complete family back from everything I put in?” She asked over and over, but no one could give her an answer. She waited day after day, but nothing ever came. It was without a doubt a “death sentence” for her and her husband’s marriage. Heartbroken, Hong’er no longer had the strength to withstand that kind of blow. She had had enough and no longer had the courage or the energy to keep on going. She downed forty diazepam in one gulp …
She woke up the next day to find herself in the hospital and saw both her son and her husband were there. Aggrieved tears flooded nonstop down her face—she cried herself dizzy, her heart in tatters. The family coming together under these circumstances was so ironic, but there was nothing she could do about it. She gazed up toward the sky and sighed: “Who can tell me why a husband and wife can make it through adversity together, but can’t make it through wealth? How could a love of more than two decades be so fragile?”
Not long after that, her son’s mother-in-law shared God’s gospel of the last days with Hong’er and told her that only God can save her and take care of all of her suffering. This is because man was created by God; in the beginning, mankind lived under God’s care and protection and lived very happily, but became distant from God because they were corrupted by Satan. They began to deny God’s existence and live within Satan’s harm; their frustration and pain grew and grew. God Himself became flesh to express the truth and save mankind in order to wrest mankind back from Satan’s grasp. If someone comes before God, reads His words and understands the truth through them, only then can they see through the root of evil in society, stay far from Satan’s harm, and live under God’s care and protection. Her son’s mother-in-law read a passage of God’s words: “The Almighty has mercy on these people who suffer deeply. At the same time, He is fed up with these people who have no consciousness, because He has to wait too long for the answer from humans. He desires to seek, seek your heart and your spirit. He wants to bring you food and water and to awaken you, so you are no longer thirsty, no longer hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel the desolation of this world, do not be perplexed, do not cry., the Watcher, will embrace your arrival any time. He is watching by your side, waiting for you to turn back. He is waiting for the day your memory suddenly recovers: becoming conscious of the fact that you came from God, somehow and somewhere once lost, falling unconscious on the roadside, and then, unknowingly having a father. You further realize that the Almighty has been watching there, awaiting your return all along” (“The Sighing of the Almighty” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After listening to these words she had never heard the like of before, Hong’er was extremely moved, just like a warm current was welling up in her heart and warming her, body and heart. For those last few years no one had understood the deep sadness in her heart, and no one could share the burden of her pain. In particular, no one had been able to understand or comfort her. She had spent countless lonely, sleepless nights, silently weeping till dawn by herself. The wound followed her like a shadow that she could never really forget or shake off. She thought she had no choice but to continue on like that, lonely and in pain, for the rest of her years. But that day, that passage knocked on the door of her heart. She realized that when she was in pain, enduring suffering, and weeping, God knew and He was always by her side waiting for her to turn around. Hearing God’s nurturing words, Hong’er couldn’t help but well up with tears; she felt that God was with her and she truly was not alone. Although she hadn’t heard about God before and knew nothing of Him, He had always been watching by her side. Not only did He save her in time and preserve her life when she decided to die, but when she had utterly lost hope in life, He allowed her to hear His voice through her son’s mother-in-law. He used His words to move and give warmth to her heart, bringing hope and a turn for the better to her life of despair and pain. In that moment, Hong’er felt God’s love and salvation and her wounded heart was comforted. She had something to lean on.
After that Hong’er started going to, reading God’s words, fellowshiping on the truth, and singing hymns in praise of God with her brothers and sisters. She saw that they were all kind and treated others with sincerity. They were able to simply and honestly open up about the corruption they revealed, then dissect that corruption according to God’s words and seek to be honest people who God likes. No one ridiculed anyone else, but helped each other and gave each other sustenance. Every face was brimming with happy smiles. Hong’er found the sincere, joyful atmosphere infectious and she gained a kind of relaxation and freedom within that large family that she had never had before. She rediscovered a warmth she hadn’t felt for a long time and the feeling of coming home. Her distress abated day by day, and gradually smiles appeared on her face. Within God’s words she found answers to things that had long confused her and came to know the root of her own suffering. She saw the following in God’s words: “In truth, out of the myriad things in God’s creation, man is the lowest. Though he is the master of all things, man is the only one among them that is subject to Satan’s trickery, the only one that falls prey in endless ways to its corruption. Man has never had sovereignty over himself. Most people live in the foul place of Satan, and suffer its derision; it teases them this way and that till they are half alive, enduring every vicissitude, every hardship in the human world. After toying with them, Satan puts an end to their destiny” (“Work and Entry (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, causing them to continually lose conscience, humanity and reason, and that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “All of you are familiar with the word ‘betrayal’ because most people have done something to betray others before, such as a husband betraying his wife, a wife betraying her husband, a son betraying his father, a daughter betraying her mother, a slave betraying his master, friends betraying each other, relatives betraying each other, sellers betraying buyers, and so forth. All of these examples contain the essence of betrayal” (“A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Man’s nature is their life, it is a principle that they rely on in order to survive, and they are unable to change it. Just like the nature of betrayal—if you can do something to betray a relative or friend, this proves that it is part of your life and the nature that you were born with. This is something nobody can deny” (“A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Through God’s words, Hong’er understood that all human suffering originates with Satan’s corruption, and that all people live within a great vat, saturated in evil. We’re bombarded with Satan’s evil messages such as: “Keep the homestead going strong, and have your fun on the side”; “Life is short. Enjoy it while you can”; “Seize the day for pleasure, for life is short”; “Nine of ten men fool around, the tenth of them is just a fool.” These purport that a man seeing another woman, having a mistress is tolerable and is a marker of status. Plus, entertainment venues that are teeming with temptations are everywhere, from major streets to little alleyways, making it very convenient for people to indulge in evil carnal pleasures. Many people brazenly engage in one-night stands and affairs. They’re so evil and corrupt, so depraved that they lack any human likeness. When people don’t understand the truth they don’t possess any discernment between good and evil, beauty and ugliness, or any ability to differentiate between positive and negative things. Their perspectives on things are twisted and they take evil things as just and honorable. They renounce their vows and betray their marriages just to satisfy their carnal desires, losing hold of the humanity, reason, morality, and dignity that humans should possess. They live under Satan’s domain and fully indulge in the flesh, pursue gratification, and satisfy their own untoward desires. Hong’er gave some thought to this evil society. Husbands betraying wives and wives betraying husbands are common occurrences; under the corrosion of evil trends, people who lack the truth have no resistance to these things. They are subject to the impact of this evil thinking in spite of themselves, and they disregard responsibilities, morality and justice, and their consciences just to satisfy a fleeting fleshly desire. They cast aside their spouse, causing incredible emotional damage to their family, maybe even a lifetime of suffering. She saw that her husband was also a victim of these evil satanic trends. Hong’er thought back to how her husband used to be so caring and loving toward her, and that they never sought material wealth for themselves—just mutual love and affection, and happiness and harmony. But once they became well-off he started frequently entertaining customers and flitting from one entertainment venue to another. He could not resist the lure of those evil trends and began to lead a life of debauchery. He had an affair and was living by his untoward desires, only thinking of satisfying his own carnal lust. He gave no consideration whatsoever to her feelings, much less their family. This led to their home breaking and their estrangement. The love they had shared for over twenty years seemed so fragile in the face of those evil trends; it couldn’t withstand the slightest blow. Wasn’t all of that the result of Satan’s corruption of man?
Hong’er recognized that she had been so deeply harmed by Satan, always seeking the love of marital harmony, growing old together, and “till death do us part.” She thought that having that kind of marriage was the only happiness in life. After her husband strayed she tried everything to salvage their love that had been destroyed, and when her wish wasn’t fulfilled she lived within a haze of pain and could not extricate herself, even trying to find relief in death. Wasn’t all of that just the erroneous thoughts and perspectives Satan has steeped mankind in toying with her and harming her? Only by reading God’s words did Hong’er understand that all humans are selfish and do all things for their own benefit and according to their own principles. There’s no true love between two people; romantic love simply doesn’t exist. But Satan uses all sorts of absurd concepts to corrupt and seduce people so that they revere evil and pursue romantic love above all else, living entirely within its illusion. They become more and more corrupt and depraved, and grow farther and farther from God. It was then that Hong’er truly experienced that without the truth, people have no discernment between good and evil, beauty and ugliness, and no discernment on positive things. They will only be toyed with and harmed by Satan, and will ultimately be swallowed whole by it. Thanks to God’s salvation, Hong’er saw the truth of Satan’s corruption of mankind and discovered the root of suffering. God’s words brightened her heart a great deal; she felt much more at ease.
Hong’er then read this passage of God’s words: “Because the essence of God is holy, that means that only through God can you walk the bright, right road through life; only through God can you know the meaning of life, only through God can you live out a real life, possess the truth, know the truth, and only through God can you obtain life from the truth. Only God Himself can help you shun evil and deliver you from the harm and control of Satan. Besides God, no one and nothing can save you from the sea of suffering so that you suffer no longer: This is determined by the essence of God. Only God Himself saves you so selflessly, only God is ultimately responsible for your future, for your destiny and for your life, and He arranges all things for you. This is something that nothing created or non-created can achieve. Because nothing created or non-created possesses an essence of God such as this, no person or thing has the ability to save you or to lead you. This is the importance of God’s essence to man” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Hong’er understood from God’s words that only God can save man from Satan’s corruption, and people can only gain discernment on Satan’s tactics and methods of corrupting mankind by understanding the truth through God’s words. That’s the only way to gain insight into Satan’s trickery, escape its harm, and live freely. She sighed, lamenting that for so many years she had been ruled by the erroneous ideas and that seeking happiness through marriage was nothing more than an illusion. She thought of the fact that her husband was also a person corrupted by Satan, and all he sought were negative, evil things. So he could only bring her suffering and injury; he couldn’t bring her any happiness whatsoever. Only God’s love for people is selfless, and only God wholeheartedly wants to save people from Satan’s reign. God has expressed all sorts of truths and arranges all kinds of environments in order to purify and transform mankind, and it’s all to lead people to escape Satan’s harm and bring them happy lives. But for corrupt humanity, as soon as something touches upon their own personal interest they will betray; only God can be by people’s side at all times, at all places, and help them get through every adversity. Only God can be truly relied upon, and the house of God is the only real harbor for a person’s soul. In the past, Hong’er had no understanding of the evil trends that arise from Satan and had just lived in resentment of her husband without any happiness or joy. She spent every day in misery, bound and harmed by Satan—the pain was unspeakable. Now that she had found the root of her suffering she no longer hated her husband. It was like a great weight lifted off of her shoulders, and she felt a kind of peace, ease, and freedom in her soul that she never had before! She truly gained the experience of having discernment on all sorts of people, events, and things through understanding the truth and was finally free of the torture of suffering and the harm from Satan.
Now that she had the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words, Hong’er was no longer in such low spirits as before. She also completely let go of and came/come to peace with her husband betraying their marriage. She finally bid farewell to those days of that haze looming over her and everyone who knew her said that she had changed as a person, that she had become more clear-headed and carefree. She was full of gratitude for God because all of these changes were achieved in her through God’s words.
Several years have passed. Hong’er reads God’s words often, lives a life of the church, has fellowship on God’s words with her brothers and sisters, and puts everything into fulfilling the duty of one of creation. Her days are very fulfilling. She has understood some truths and has clearly seen that a person’s life on earth isn’t just lived for the sake of their spouse or children, but it is to fulfill a creature’s proper duty, and that only by living that way can one bring joy to God. She has finally found the right path in life, which is to follow God, accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, undergo God’s work, and seek to understand and gain the truth. It is to fear God and shun evil, and become someone who obeys and worships God. Only all of this is the most meaningful and happy kind of life. Hong’er’s wish is to take this kind of path in life under God’s guidance and leadership, to gain truth and life, to fully free herself from Satan’s harm, and to live out a life with meaning—to live out the reality of the truth and bring glory to God!