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How to Keep Faith in God When Mother Got Terminal Lung Cancer
By Ding Lu
I Complained in My Heart When My Mother Suddenly Got Cancer
In June 2016, my mother called me, saying that there was a hard lump in her neck; she felt her neck was tightly strapped by something and she could hardly breathe. Undoubtedly, this worsened her plight, for she was suffering from asthma.
Then, my brother and his wife took our mother to have an examination in the municipal hospital. When the result came out, the doctor said to my brother, “Your mother has terminal lung cancer. The cancer cells have spread. The lump in her neck is just a tumor. At present, we can only help her illness go into remission by giving her chemo. She only has three or four months left.” That night, my brother called all of our sisters to his home, and told us our mother’s illness. The news came as a bombshell to us. We all felt sorrow and distress. My brother-in-law tried to comfort us, “Though the medical science is highly advanced now, the doctor still said mom was in the last stage of cancer and that it would never be cured. So it’s no use crying. We cannot do anything but help mom’s illness go into remission, and we can show our filial obedience to her, cooking whatever she likes, and trying our best to do whatever she needs.” My brother also said, “Right, since the cancer cells have spread, it’s no use having an operation. Don’t tell mother her true condition, lest she become anxious. We shall do as our brother-in-law said.” Hearing their conversation, I was grief-stricken. I thought to myself: The doctor has said her condition very clearly, and so my mom won’t be in this world much longer. … Once one gets cancer, he is sentenced to death. Then I wouldn’t be able to have heart-to-hearts talks with my mother, and wouldn’t hear her concerns…. The previous great care and concern of my mother recurring to me, I couldn’t help shedding tears. Just then, a thought suddenly came to my mind: Don’t my mother and I believe in God? Especially my mother insisted on her belief in God while enduring the persecution from my brother and sisters. Such great faith does she has, why did she get cancer? When I thought of these, I didn’t understand God’s will, and so I became a little negative.
God’s Words Corrected My Wrong View of Belief in God
When I arrived home at night, my husband began to attack me, “Don’t you believe in God? Why did mother get cancer?” I had been in a negative way, and his words made me even weaker in spirit that I didn’t want to read God’s words and had little enthusiasm for prayer. I had made an appointment with sisters to have a meeting the next day, but then I didn’t want to go. In agony, I came before God to pray, “God! As the cancer befell my mother, I misunderstood You in my heart, thinking that my mother truly believes in You, so she shouldn’t have gotten cancer. But I know there must be Your earnest intentions behind it. God! May You enlighten me, allowing me to understand Your will. May You protect me from living in negativity and complaints.”
After the prayer, my heart calmed down a lot. I saw God’s words say, “Most people believe in God for the sake of peace and other benefits. Unless it is to your benefit, you don’t believe in God, and if you can’t receive God’s graces, you fall into a sulk. How could this be your true stature? When it comes to inevitable family incidents (children falling ill, husbands going into hospital, poor crop yields, persecution of family members, and so on), you can’t even make it through these things that often happen in day-to-day life. When such things happen, you’re thrown into a panic, you don’t know what to do—and most of the time, you complain about God. You complain that God’s words tricked you, that God’s work has messed you around. Do you not have such thoughts? Do you think such things happen among you only rarely? You spend every day living amid such events. You don’t give the slightest thought to the success of your, and how to satisfy God’s will. Your true stature is too small, even smaller than a little chick’s. … Your belly is stuffed full of complaints, and you sometimes don’t go to assemblies or eat and drink the words of God because of this, you likely become negative for a great length of time.”
After reading God’s words, I felt ashamed and guilty. God revealed my wrong views on the belief in God: I just desired to demand blessings and grace from God and ask God to keep my family safe and healthy. Driven by the desire, I couldn’t understand why my mother got cancer. When I heard the news, I thought that since my mother believed in God, God should protect her so that she could be free from illness and disaster. However, things didn’t actually turn out how I wanted: my mother got cancer. Therefore, I misunderstood and complained about God, and was unwilling to read God’s words or go to meetings. All my manifestations were exactly the same as what God’s words revealed. My belief in God was merely for the sake of blessings, not for loving God, satisfying God, or repaying God’s love. Just then, I suddenly thought of Job. During his trails, when his possessions and children were taken away, and his whole body became covered in boils, he didn’t complain about God, but instead praised God. His faith in God was true, and so God called him righteous. By comparison, I knew that I was not a true believer, because I had too many requirements of God, and lacked conscience and rationality. Having realized this, I prayed to God to repent: “God! I am willing to turn around my wrong views of belief in You, and to imitate Job to be a true believer through walking the way of fearing You and shunning evil. No matter what You do, I would like to worship You and not to complain about or misunderstand You.”
Afterward, I thought of God’s words, “Jehovah God not only holds the status of the God who created light, and air, and all things and living beings, of the God who holds sovereignty over all things and living beings, but also of the God who commands mankind, and commands Hades, the God who controls the life and death of all living things.” God rules over man’s fate, and controls the life and death of each person. Whether my mother will die of cancer is up to God and predestination. I’d like to put aside my misunderstanding of God, and not be negative and weak or complain about Him any longer, and entrust my mother to His hands. Whether my mother’s illness will get better or not, I am willing to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement. Having known this, I’d like to go to the meeting with sisters.
I Fellowshiped With My Mother: We Should Submit to God’s Sovereignty and Arrangement
The next day, I went to my mother’s home and read God’s words for her, “Almighty God, the Head of all things, wields His kingly power from His throne. He rules over the universe and all things and He is guiding us on the whole earth. We shall often be close to Him, and come before Him in quietness; never shall we miss a single moment, and there are things to learn at all times. The environment around us as well as the people, matters and objects, all are permitted by His throne. Do not have a complaining heart, or God will not bestow His grace upon you. When sickness happens it is due to God’s love and His good intentions are surely behind it. Even when your body endures suffering, take 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 and never give up, and God shall shine His light to you. How faithful was Job? 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.”
“The life of the resurrected Christ is within us. We really lack faith in the presence of God, and may God put true faith within us. The word of God is sweet indeed! God’s word is potent medicine! Put to shame the devils and Satan! If we grasp God’s word we will have support and His word will quickly save our hearts! It dispels all things and sets all in peace.”
Then, I fellowshiped with my mother, “Mom, our life and death are in God’s hand. There must be His good intentions behind your illness. We should imitate Job’s faith in God, simply accept and obey this environment, and never complain, and I believe God will protect us. When I heard that you got sick, I didn’t understand why God didn’t protect us since we believe in Him. Then I lived in negativity and weakness, and complained about God. Later on, through reading God’s words, I realized that I believe in God only for grace and blessings, which is wrong and not true faith in God. Especially after I read the testimony of Job, that when he encountered the big trials, he didn’t complain about God, but instead praised, so I felt ashamed in my heart, finding that I have no humanity, and I’m unworthy of being called a believer in God. After realizing these, I’m willing to turn around my wrong view of belief in God and submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Mom, you shouldn’t live in the illness and lose your faith in God, lest you fall into Satan’s cunning scheme.” Just as I finished speaking, my mother joyfully said, “After listening to your fellowship, I don’t feel worried about my illness. Whether I live or die is all in God’s hands. Even if I die now, I feel satisfied. Although I haven’t believed in God for very long, I’ve gained too much from Him. Through reading God’s words I feel peace and joy in my heart. I’ve known a lot of mysteries, which resolved many of my confusions about life. God selected me and is so gracious to me, so I must stand witness for Him, not complaining about or misunderstanding Him.” After I heard such words, my heart was very calm and released, and the previous worries and pressure disappeared. I knew it was God’s words that were leading us, and that the results were all achieved by God’s work. I really thanked God!
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