The Calling of Life

Xie Wen

It seemed that I were a seed which moved along the wind. Over these years, I often got sick and my treatment cost lots of money, which involved my family in a severe economic crisis. Though my family didn’t blame me, I felt so indebted to them. So, every time when I just got over my sickness, I would try my best to recover the money that I had lost. I believed that a beautiful life would be built with my own hands, and that everything would be readily solved as long as I had money. Regardless of whether it was wind, frost, rain or snow, or whether it was a sultry day, I made every effort to work so as to make my family live a good life again. As long as I hadn’t fallen ill, I would stick my work as if I were a machine which kept running day and night. Of course I was exhausted. But when it came to money, I had the motivation for struggling. In order to earn more money and give my family a better life, I devoted myself to work.

A man sitting inside a BMW

After several years of struggling, I lived the desired life and my family became prosperous; I bought a house and a new car. Nevertheless, I was not happy at all. Every day I had to face complex human relationships and see people around me plotting amongst and guarding against each other. Living in a deluded and cold world, I felt confused and helpless. I was exhausted physically and mentally and became bad-tempered, which hurt both me and my family. I didn’t want that either, but I couldn’t control myself. Many times I called out in my heart, “Who can save me?”

One day, my cousin came to my house and preached God’s kingdom gospel to my family and me. Through a period of time of being patiently watered by the sisters in the church, I knew Almighty God is the one true God who created the heavens and the earth and all that lies in between; He provides all things necessary for our survival; He arranges for us to be born into suitable families; He also guides our growth and plans out every phase of our journey. For the first time in decades, I knew that there is a God in the heavens and earth, and that it is God who created me and supplies me; I felt God’s grandeur and was willing to believe in Him. However, due to the social engagements, the temptation of fame and wealth, and domestic trivialities, I had no time to read God’s words. I rushed about for the sake of money, and was ever more distant from God …

One night near dusk, when having dinner at my relative’s house, I suffered a sudden cerebral hemorrhage and was taken by ambulance to hospital. When I awoke, I found myself lying in the hospital. Looking around, I found that all the people here were terminal patients and that my body was wired up to a cardiograph. When I saw the curves on the monitor waving continuously, my heart fluttered with fear, and I had no idea what would happen next second. One day, my breathing suddenly became quick and shallow, and the cardiograph was beeping abnormally, which broke the silence of the ICU. Frightened by this, I looked at the monitor and found the curves were undulating irregularly. I thought, “Maybe they will become straight next second. Am I dying? What should I do? Doctor, please help me! As long as you can save me, I don’t mind how much I have to spend.” However, I had no strength to call out, and could only look outside the door. At this moment, the doctor rushed to check on me. It turned out that one of the wires was loosened; it was a false alarm. Though the curves on the monitor were back to normal, the panic inside me not only didn’t vanish but increased with each passing day. I felt death was closing in on me, but I couldn’t escape from it; I could do nothing but wait for its coming helplessly.

Empty ward

Several days later, some patients were wheeled out of the ICU by doctors, and then there came pathetic cries outside the door. At that moment, I kept thinking, “Will I be the next one? Could I see my relatives again? …” The more I thought, the more horrified I became. At this point, I couldn’t help but reflect on myself: In the past, I spent my life struggling for money and believed money could solve any problem; however, when death was drawing near, I found that money and fame cannot resist the coming of death, and that man’s life is so fragile in front of death. I looked out of the window at the yellow leaves and thought, “Perhaps these leaves will fall from the tree with a gust of wind, and then what awaits them?” In darkness and helplessness, I remembered a passage of God’s word I once read: “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. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival any time.

From these words, I felt God’s mercy and pity toward us humans are so kind and true, as if God were beside me and consoling me. My numb heart felt warm and gained the vitality of life. I thought of the days when I had struggled for money: Countless times I had failed and fallen; on countless occasions, I had played with life and lived in ease; on countless occasions, I had followed the evil trends of the world; countless time I had disobeyed God and shut the door on God’s salvation, and been subjected to Satan’s affliction and trickery; as a result, I suddenly got the disease and faced the coming of death. Nevertheless, God had not forsaken me. In my pain and helplessness, God’s words enlightened and guided me so that I didn’t fear death any longer, which cannot be bought with money. When my wife came to see me, she recited a passage of God’s words to me: “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. If you have but one breath, God will not let you die.” God’s words with authority gave me the confidence and courage to face the torture of illness.

In the following days, I pondered God’s words in my heart while receiving treatment, and I took a turn for the better. The doctor said my recovery was a miracle. Looking at the astonished looks on their faces, I was full of gratitude and praise to God. Who can perform such a miracle except God? If not for God’s care and protection, maybe I would have long died. From this, I felt the transcendence of God’s life power.

After returning home, I had mixed emotions. I felt the value of life and treasured the second life given by God even more. Afterward, my sisters and brothers came to see me and I resumed my church life. I read God’s word saying: “People spend their lives chasing after money and fame; they clutch at these straws, thinking they are their only means of support, as if by having them they could keep on living, could exempt themselves from death. But only when they are close to dying do they realize how distant these things are from them, how weak they are in the face of death, how easily they shatter, how lonely and helpless they are, with nowhere to turn. They realize that life cannot be bought with money or fame, that no matter how wealthy a person is, no matter how lofty his or her position is, all people are equally poor and inconsequential in the face of death. They realize that money cannot buy life, that fame cannot erase death, that neither money nor fame can lengthen a person’s life by a single minute, a single second. The more people feel this way, the more they yearn to keep on living; the more people feel this way, the more they dread the approach of death.

After reading these words, I finally came to my senses and realized that I had always held the wrong views on pursuit. I regarded money and fame as my only means of support as well as my life goal, rushing around for them, so that I grew further and further apart from God. In this acquisitive world, I advocated money and pursued to be an outstanding person. Finally I earned much money and lived a better life, but when death came to me, doctors couldn’t save my life, and my relatives and friends couldn’t snatch me back from the hands of Satan, nor could money change anything. During my illness, though my flesh suffered, I appreciated God’s earnest intentions. If not for the disease, I would never have felt the preciousness of life, much less understood that pursuing money and fame is empty. It was truly God’s salvation and protection for me!

Later, I saw more of God’s words: “Man, after all, is man. The position and life of God cannot be replaced by any man. Mankind does not just require a fair society in which everyone is well-fed and is equal and free, but the salvation of God and His provision of life to them. Only when man receives the salvation of God and His provision of life to them can the needs, yearning to explore, and spiritual emptiness of man be resolved.” From God’s words I understood that money and fame cannot provide me with life, and that no matter how wealthy I am, how high my position is, and what enjoyments of the flesh I have, in the end I will feel nothing but emptiness and sorrow. That’s because what we humans require is God’s salvation and the supply of God’s words. At the time of my illness, it was God’s words that gave me faith and supported me to survive. Without the guidance and supply of God’s words, I would have no path to take but to wait for death in fear.

Holding the book of God’s words firmly, I looked out of the window and a lively scene came into my sight. Only then did I realize that a new spring was coming. I felt as if I were a weather-beaten seed, surviving among all things, and praising God for bestowing on me a new life.

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