By Dan Chun, Indonesia
“You’re really overestimating yourself if you think you can send your kid to college when you have no money!”
“Exactly. That’s just trying to go beyond your means for vanity’s sake. If you’ve got no money, then you should make your kid go out and find a job. Forget about college!”
When I asked my relatives and close friends if I could borrow money to cover college fees for my child, their cutting remarks felt like a knife stabbing into my heart again and again. I felt upset and helpless, and I couldn’t help but sigh: “This is reality: Without money, I can only be at the very bottom of the pile, and even friends and relatives look down on me!”
To Avoid Being Ridiculed, I Begin to Work Hard to Earn Money
After my husband died, my life where all the basic necessities had been provided without any undue worry was gone. There was little money left in the bank and my son was still in elementary school. There were many things to pay for after that: My daughter was studying at university and the costs were high, and the burden of maintaining a family of three generations fell squarely onto my shoulders. I didn’t want to be poor, much less have to endure the disparaging looks and contemptuous glances of others, so all I could do was to clench my fists and tell myself: “In this society where money rules supreme, everyone is looking to make money and only people with money can get things done. As long as I’m willing to work hard then I will certainly make a lot of money, live a good life and not be looked down on by other people anymore!” So I began my life of desperately trying to make money.
I had been a dressmaker before, so I found a job making clothes. Because I hadn’t done it in so long, however, I was very rusty, and I couldn’t even finish two sets of clothes in one week. Despite this, the boss still gave me some clothes to make that had a complicated style and which came in various patterns, and which no one else was willing to make. This meant that it took me even longer to make just one item of clothing and, what’s more, I was getting paid per item. It was really unfair for the boss to allocate the work in this way and I wasn’t happy about it. But in order to make money, all I could do was stay quiet and swallow this unfair treatment. Because the money I was making wasn’t enough to cover basic expenses, I had no choice but to sell the things in our home that were worth anything in order to subsidize the housekeeping money. I didn’t become downhearted, however, but instead became determined to work hard and earn money to change this predicament. Gradually over time, I became able to make one set of clothes per day, and I began to earn a little more. But I disliked making clothes for a boss who didn’t pay enough, so I found another boss to make clothes for. So I could make more clothes, I got up just after five each morning and, once I’d taken my son to school, I went to work and would work until one or two o’clock the next morning. Sometimes, when there was a lot to do, I would work until three or four the next morning. During that period, I was often so busy working that I neglected to eat meals, and when I got hungry, I would just drink some water to fill me up. As I was not eating regular meals and was not getting enough sleep over a long period of time, I developed stomach pains and headaches. Sometimes my stomach would hurt so much that I wasn’t able to straighten my body, and my head would hurt so much that I just wanted to bash my head against the wall to ease the pain. Despite all this, I still wasn’t willing to take a rest. When the pain got too much, I would take a couple of painkillers and just carry on working. As time went on, I developed a tolerance to the painkillers so that they no longer had any effect. My stomach would still frequently throb with pain, and sometimes when my illness got very bad, it would hurt so much that I would just lie wrapped up in my quilt and cry. But I still silently gave myself comfort and encouragement, saying to myself: “This pain won’t last. I’ll definitely keep going. Only by making lots of money will people not look down on me anymore!”
Busying Myself for Money, I Develop a Sudden Eye Condition That Almost Costs Me My Sight
After a year, I’d managed to make some money, so I decided to renovate our home and I bought all new household appliances. My relatives, friends and neighbors then no longer kept their distance when they saw me, but instead they began to call out greetings to me and visit my home, and they spoke highly of me and flattered me. It felt wonderful to hear them say these things, and I really came to appreciate the fact that things are different when one has money! Afterward, in order to make more money, I became like a wind-up clock and just worked all the time.
For several years, I had been somewhat short sighted, and my eyesight had been a little blurry. Sometimes I would feel a stabbing pain in my eyes, and at night the pain would be almost unbearable. I wanted to go to hospital to get my eyes checked over, but I felt that not only would it cost me money, but it would also be a waste of time, and so I gritted my teeth and carried on working. One day, my elder brother saw that my eyes were all red, and he rebuked me, saying, “If you go blind then you won’t be able to do anything at all, and then any money you’ve saved will be useless. Go and see a doctor as soon as you can!” I was afraid, too, that I really would go blind and then I’d have no way to earn money, so I went to Singapore to seek medical advice. After examining my eyes, the doctor told me that they were severely inflamed and enjoined me not to do my job anymore, otherwise I would go blind in both eyes. This news came like black clouds covering the sun, and it frightened me so much that my legs felt wobbly. I couldn’t help but worry and feel anxious, and I thought: “It’s been such a struggle to better the lives of my family, how could I have gotten this illness so suddenly? If I really do go blind, who will look after my family? And if I can’t then earn any money, won’t people look down on me even more?” Thinking this, I decided that the only thing I could do was to take a break from work and go for treatment.
I was shocked to discover, however, that just two short weeks of treatment cost me the equivalent of six months’ savings. Moreover, my eye illness could not be totally cured, but instead I had to continually take imported medicine to alleviate the symptoms. Faced with this predicament, I couldn’t endure it any longer. Sitting in front of my sewing machine, the past rushed through my mind like a tide: My husband’s death, the disparaging looks and ridicule of the people around me, working day and night for years to earn money, and the distress caused by my headaches, my stomach pains and the pain in my eyes…. In an instant, I felt an incomparable sense of desolation and helplessness, and I couldn’t help but think: “What have I actually gained from working myself to the bone all these years? I haven’t even earned that much, and I’ve developed so many illnesses. How am I supposed to live like this…?”
Distressed and Bewildered, God’s Salvation Comes to Me
One day, I met a Christian on Facebook. She was sincere and was very concerned about me. She often talked to me about matters of faith in God, and when she did so I felt warm inside. Through chatting with this sister, I found out that all things in heaven and on earth, including mankind, were created by God, that before mankind was corrupted by Satan, they listened to God and obeyed Him, and that under God’s care and protection they lived a life free from any worry or anxiety, and free from the pain of old age, sickness and death. After mankind was seduced and corrupted by Satan, however, they no longer listened to God and became estranged further and further from God. They lost God’s care and protection, sicknesses and troubles afflicted them more and more, and their lives became ever more painful. So as to enable mankind to be free of Satan’s harm, God is constantly performing His work to save mankind. Firstly, God proclaimed the law and led nascent mankind in their lives on earth, and He allowed them to know what sin is; after that, God Himself became flesh and was crucified for mankind’s sake, thus redeeming mankind from the clutches of Satan, and allowing them to confess and repent their sins; in the last days, God has once again become flesh and has come into the world to express the truth and perform the work of judging and purifying mankind, so as to allow man to be free of the shackles of sin once and for all, to attain God’s salvation, and to restore mankind to the original, wonderful life they enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. Now, only by accepting God’s salvation in the last days, by reading God’s words and understanding the truth more, by seeing clearly the means and methods by which Satan corrupts mankind, and by pursuing the correct goals, can we be free of the harm caused by Satan and live a life of peace and freedom. From the sister’s fellowship, I came to understand that the root cause of pain in our lives is the corruption of Satan. I also came to understand a little about God’s work to save mankind and about God’s will, and I joyfully accepted God’s work of the last days. Afterward, I began to attend meetings and, together with the brothers and sisters, we read God’s words, fellowshiped about our experiences and understanding of God’s words, and sang hymns in praise of God. I began to enjoy the peace and joy brought by the work of the Holy Spirit, and I no longer felt so distressed.
Our Fates Are Actually in God’s Hands
One day, I told the sister about my painful experiences over the previous few years of working flat out. The sister listened to me and then showed me a passage of God’s words: “The fate of man is controlled by the hands of God. You are incapable of controlling yourself: Despite always rushing and busying about for himself, man remains incapable of controlling himself. If you could know your own prospects, if you could control your own fate, would you still be a creature?” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination”).
The sister then gave fellowship, saying: “God is the Creator, and God rules and controls all things. Whatever our fate may be and how wealthy we will be in life are also controlled in God’s hands, and they are not decided by our own plans or hard work. There are some sayings that go ‘Man’s destiny is determined by God,’ ‘Man proposes, God disposes,’ and ‘Heaven’s plans supersede our own,’ which precisely illustrate this point. But because we have been corrupted by Satan and have been educated and influenced by Satan, we take such heretical fallacies of Satan as ‘There is no God at all,’ ‘There has never been any Savior,’ ‘One’s destiny is in his own hand,’ and ‘You must win your own happiness’ to be true sayings, and we begin to deny God’s existence and deny God’s sovereignty, hoping in vain to plan out our own lives by means of our hard work, and build happy lives for ourselves. In order to realize our ideals, we strive to work hard and we struggle, expending all of our time and energy, even at the expense of our own health. But what is the outcome of all this? Do we obtain the happy lives we want? Many people rely on the strength of their own two hands and on their hard work to hustle for money for years and years. Ultimately, however, not only are they unable to change their fate, but on the contrary their struggle against their own fate causes them a great deal of physical and mental suffering. We can see from these facts that God rules and arranges the fate of all mankind. We are just tiny created beings who are simply incapable of controlling our own fates. What’s more, by living by the heretical fallacies of Satan, we just grow further and further from God, and we end up falling into an abyss of pain, to be toyed with and harmed by Satan. Only by coming before God and worshiping God, accepting and submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, as well as by reading more of God’s words, understanding the truth and having the correct goals to pursue, can we rid ourselves of our painful lives and live in peace and happiness.”
After listening to God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, I thought back over my rough experiences over the past few years and realized that I had indeed been dominated by the heretical fallacies of Satan; I had not recognized God’s sovereignty, much less been aware that our fates are held in God’s hands. I had given my all, trying to change my fate and live a life that would cause others to look highly upon me through my hard work and struggle, but in the end not only did I not fulfill my desires, but my body had become wracked with illness, and my life had become one of suffering. God’s words allowed me to understand that our fates are in His hands and that we absolutely have no control over them ourselves! Once I’d understood these things, I wanted to believe in God in earnest and give up the life of desperate work, and I wanted to understand more truths, so I arranged a set time to meet together with my sister and read God’s words. I then both worked my job and contemplated God’s words, and I learned to sing hymns of God’s words. Living in this way made me more at ease and peaceful than I had ever felt before.
I Fall Into Temptation Again and Find the Root Cause of Why People Work Flat Out for Money
Time flew by, and the annual Eid celebration would soon be taking place in Indonesia. This is the month when demand for clothes is at its highest, and it is also the “golden month” for making money. I used to always get a lot of clothes from my boss, and if I worked overtime for a month, I could earn the equivalent of two months’ wages. But this time, I felt a little torn: If I accepted this work then it would certainly interfere with attending church meetings, and there was no way my eyes would be able to cope working all night long again. But then I thought that this opportunity only comes around once a year and that business would decrease a lot once this month was over. I felt eager to get started, thinking that I would lose out on too much money if I let this opportunity pass me by. I thought it over again and again but I still couldn’t resist the pull of money, so I discussed it with my church sister and asked to forgo one meeting per week, and I promised to do my best to find the time to attend church meetings. But I became busier than I had ever thought I would be; no sooner had I finished one set of clothes than I would start on the next, and I simply couldn’t stop. And so, I often excused myself from church meetings, and sometimes even when I was attending a meeting online, my mind would be as restless as branches whipped by a gale, thinking always about how many clothes were waiting for me to make. Gradually, my heart grew distant from God, and at the end of every day I would not only feel unbearably exhausted in both body and mind, but my heart would feel empty as well, and I always had a sense of unease. Finally, I came before God to pray and seek, and I asked God to guide me.
At a meeting, I told the sister about the state I was in, and she showed me a passage of God’s words: “‘Money makes the world go round’ is the philosophy of Satan and it prevails among the whole of mankind, among every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been instilled into the heart of every single person and is now affixed in their heart. People went from not accepting this saying to growing used to it so that when they came into contact with real life, they gradually gave tacit approval to it, acknowledged its existence and finally, they gave it their own seal of approval. Isn’t this process that of Satan corrupting man? … Regardless of how much experience someone has with this saying, what’s the negative effect that it can have on someone’s heart? Something is revealed through the human disposition of the people in this world, including each and every one of you. How is this interpreted? It’s the worship of money. Is it hard to get this out of someone’s heart? It is very hard! It seems that Satan’s corruption of man is thorough indeed! So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? People’s status is based on how much money they have as is their respectability. 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? Don’t many people see getting money as being worth any cost? … Isn’t Satan sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Isn’t this a malicious trick? As you progress from objecting to this popular saying to finally accepting it as truth, your heart falls completely under Satan’s grasp, and therefore you unwittingly come to live by it. To what degree has this saying affected you? You might know the true way, you might know truth, but you are powerless to pursue it. You might clearly know the, but you are unwilling to pay the price, unwilling to suffer to pay the price. Instead, you would rather sacrifice your own future and destiny to go against God to the very end. No matter what God says, no matter what God does, no matter how much you realize that God’s love for you is deep and great, you would still stubbornly stay the course and pay the price for this saying. That is to say, this saying already controls your behavior and your thoughts, and you would rather have your fate controlled by this saying than give it all up. People do this, they are controlled by this saying and manipulated by it. Isn’t this the effect of Satan corrupting man? Isn’t this the philosophy and corrupt disposition of Satan taking root in your heart? If you do this, hasn’t Satan achieved its goal?” (“God Himself, the Unique V”).
The sister then gave fellowship, saying, “We have already tasted the pain caused by working flat out to earn money, and have understood from God’s words that God rules over the fate of mankind. So why can’t we be free of the temptation of wealth? The words of God we’ve just read reveal the root cause of the issue; it is because we have been deeply influenced by such axioms of logic and heretical fallacies of Satan as ‘Money is first,’ and ‘Money makes the world go round.’ Under their influence, we believe that, in this world where everyone chases after money, only by being rich can we live happily and win the esteem of others, and that if we are not rich, then we will be belittled and disparaged by others, and will have no place in society. Under the domination of these wrong views, we work ourselves to the bone to make more money, without any regard for our own health whatsoever. The outcome is that we get so exhausted that we become sick, and both our bodies and our minds are afflicted with suffering and torment. After we start believing in God, we know perfectly well that the pursuit of wealth is meaningless and without value, that we should read God’s words more and seek to understand the truth, as only by doing that can we be free of Satan’s harm, and yet we are still unable to overcome the pull that wealth has on us. For the sake of making more money, we attend fewer church meetings, excuse ourselves from meetings and pay no attention to our own lives at all. But in the end, we just fall once again into Satan’s snare, and we live with the pain of not having God beside us. Is this not all caused by us being deceived and corrupted by the outright lies of Satan? Sister, we can see that there are many people in this world who spend their lives desperately working to earn money, but the final outcome of all this is that they spend the first half of their lives spending their life to earn money, and then they spend the second half of their lives spending their money to buy life. Then there are some celebrities and some rich and powerful people who, although their wealthy lives may bring them temporary physical comfort, their spirits are totally empty and in pain, and some even choose to kill themselves in order to be free from this pain. This shows us that wealth, fame and gain cannot bring us happiness; all they can do is cause us to suffer and degenerate more and more—the pursuit of wealth, fame and gain is not the right path. Satan uses such heretical fallacies and axioms of logic as ‘Money is first,’ and ‘Money makes the world go round’ in order to lead us onto the path of evil in pursuit of wealth, and to make us fall into the all-consuming maw of wealth, to become the slaves of money, and to finally be killed by Satan. Isn’t Satan so very insidious and vicious? Sister, God expresses the truth in the last days to expose the underhanded means Satan employs to corrupt mankind as well as its malicious intent, in the hope that those who are possessed of both heart and spirit may come before God to receive His words, understand the truth, see through Satan’s cunning schemes, reject all the various heretical fallacies of Satan, walk the path of fearing God and shunning evil, and be free of Satan’s harm for good. For us human beings, this is the absolute greatest good fortune of all!”
After listening to God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, I felt much moved, and I felt every word of God to be a revelation of truth. I thought about how I had been profoundly affected by the shackles of Satan’s heretical fallacies, and about how I had persistently pursued wealth, working like a money-making machine every day, from dawn till dusk, working desperately to make money, and it was only when I almost lost my eyesight that I finally had to stop. After I began to believe in God, I didn’t know to cherish my precious time to read God’s words more and seek to understand the truth. Instead, I just kept on pursuing wealth, even to the point where earning money interfered with attending church meetings and my heart was straying ever further from God. Only then did I see how deeply I’d been corrupted by the wrong ideas and views of Satan; I had regarded money as more important even than my own life, and I had become a slave to money. Just then, I thought about my elder brother who had spent all day every day wondering how he could make more money so that he could live life at the top, and then had begun to suffer from depression when he was still only in his forties. He borrowed a lot of money but still he couldn’t cure his depression, and the whole family suffered for it. Then there was my younger male cousin; in order to be successful, he worked desperately hard to make money, and he did earn a lot, but ultimately he got cancer and died. Through the revelations of God’s words, as well as from the living examples around me, I saw that Satan’s ideas and views were there just to deceive us, to bind us, to fool us and to harm us. Although money can bring us temporary material enjoyment and the admiration and esteem of other people, it cannot cure the grief and suffering we feel, nor can it buy spiritual peace and joy, nor the truth, and much less can it buy life. I finally understood that the pursuit of wealth is indeed not the correct path through life, and to live every day for the sake of money really is too exhausting and painful. I knew then that if I didn’t wake up to the truth, I would only end up following in the footsteps of my elder brother and my cousin, and by that time it would already be too late for regret!
I Find a Happy Life and I Feel Peaceful and at Ease
I then read another passage of God’s words: “There is a simplest way to free oneself from this state: to bid farewell to one’s former way of living, to say goodbye to one’s previous goals in life, to summarize and analyze one’s previous lifestyle, view of life, pursuits, desires, and ideals, and then to compare them with God’s will and demands for man, and see whether any of them is consistent with God’s will and demands, whether any of them delivers the right values of life, leads one to a greater understanding of the truth, and allows one to live with humanity and human likeness. When you repeatedly investigate and carefully dissect the various goals of life that people pursue and their various different ways of living, you will find that not one of them fits the Creator’s original intention when He created humanity. All of them draw people away from the Creator’s sovereignty and care; they are all pits into which humanity falls, and which lead them to hell. After you recognize this, your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
Thanks be to God that His words showed me the right direction in which to pursue. I thought about how I had worked hard over the last few years to earn money and how my material life had improved somewhat. But the grief and suffering brought about by hustling for money are things which money cannot assuage. I had blindly gone in pursuit of wealth and had been harmed so bitterly by Satan, but now I had been fortunate enough to accept God’s work of the last days. Only following God in earnest, walking the path in pursuit of the truth, submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and performing one’s duty as a created being are the correct goals to be pursued in life, and only these are the things which bring the most happiness to one’s life. I thought about how, although many brothers and sisters in the church are without high status, nor do they live wealthy lives, yet they understand some truths and are able to regard money correctly; they do not covet wealth, they submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements in all things, they focus on pursuing the truth, they perform their duties, they live peaceful, stable lives, and their spirits are free—this is something that no amount of money can buy, and is something which those who do not believe in God are simply incapable of experiencing. I set my resolve to never again be the slave of money, and to be satisfied with enough money for the basic necessities of food and clothing. “I will actively attend meetings,” I resolved to myself, “and read God’s words more so that I can understand more truths. I will submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements and rid myself of this painful life of working flat out for the sake of money.”
Later, I found a job which wasn’t quite as busy, and I agreed with my new boss how many pieces of clothing I would make in a day. I also attended regular meetings with my brothers and sisters in the church, and I would read God’s words and learn hymns whenever I had the time. Over time, I came to understand some truths, and whenever I encountered issues and difficulties in life, I would pray to God and find the path to resolve them within God’s words. Every day of my life had become enriched and happy, and I truly came to appreciate these lines of God’s words: “The truth that man needs to possess is found in the word of God, a truth that is the most beneficial and helpful to mankind. It is the tonic and sustenance that your body needs, something that helps man restore his normal humanity, a truth that man should be equipped with” (“Practice the Truth Once You Understand It”).
Before I knew it, it was almost time for the Eid celebrations of 2018. My new boss asked me to make more clothes than usual, saying, “Don’t miss this chance as it won’t come again. Take advantage of this time now and use your strength to make some money, and then you’ll be able to enjoy life when you’re old.” My boss’s words swayed me a little, but then I thought about how painful and grievous my life had been before when I had worked so hard to make money. I also thought that, without the blessing of God, we human beings cannot obtain the things we want no matter how hard we work for them. Whether I would be poor or rich is in God’s hands. All I had to do was to work regular hours so that my job did not affect my attendance at church meetings or my health, and whether I earned much money or not, I would submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements. I did not want to be harmed by Satan anymore, nor have Satan lead me by the nose any longer. And so, I refused my boss. To my surprise, once Eid was over, there was a constant stream of people every day coming to ask me to cut up fabric for clothes, and in just half an hour I could make the same amount of money as I could by making a whole set of clothes. I really came to appreciate how everything in my life was indeed ruled over and arranged in God’s hands, and how much money I could earn was also something that was predestined by God. Only by practicing in accordance with God’s words and submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements could I live in freedom and peace.
Nowadays, besides working regular hours at my job, I perform my duty in the church to the best of my ability and I spread God’s kingdom gospel alongside my brothers and sisters. I feel this kind of life to be very meaningful and happy. My stomach pains are not as frequent as they once were, and I no longer need to use medicinal eye drops every day. These facts allow me to perceive God’s true love and His wondrous deeds, and I have made a resolution to follow God forever. Thanks be to God!