When I was young, my father told me, “Man’s life is like a empty dream and it passes quickly. Life lasts only a few decades, it is fleeting.…” Hearing that, I was contemptuous of it; I believed my life wouldn’t be like an empty dream but would be colorful. In the blink of an eye, dozens of years have elapsed, and now I have turned sixty. However, I have gained nothing but the deep lines on my face; unconsciously, death draws near day by day.
When I again remembered the story “An Empty Dream,” I had much inspiration. In the story, Chun Yufen (the protagonist) went through the ups and downs of life in his dream. In the beginning, he rose quickly to the position of the governor of Nanke, attaining high position and handsome salary and having a good wife and outstanding children. Yet, afterward, he became a private citizen. What’s worse, his good wife was dead and his sons were arrested. Undergoing the ups and downs, he truly realized that whether it is rich or poor, life is but an empty dream and will be gone in the blink of an eye. After that, he saw through the vanity of human life and lived in seclusion.
The story made me realize that the empty dream is also a dream of us all. We all desire to obtain high position and great wealth, for the sake of which, we all unwittingly live under Satan’s domain, and are fooled and harmed by Satan. Look at the modern world that is evil and dark. Each of us puts money above all; all the corrupt officials loot from the people, offer and take bribes, and fill their own pocket. In the business world, to get the greatest benefit, people have lost all conscience and morality, swindle and bluff, and pursue the saying “Doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.” In government circles, it is filled with shameful power-for-money deals and all the officials fight to, harm, entrap, cheat one another and play various tricks to satisfy their own ambitious desires. Nevertheless, after our dreams come true, what do we obtain? We gain nothing but fleshy greed and indulgence, even more innermost dread and unrest. Money, fame and gain are just like intangible ties that people can hardly escape from. When people have gained money, they still wish for the increase of wealth; also, everyone is upwardly mobile, wanting to be on a higher level. When extreme joy turns to sorrow, some people say, “What the considerable family property, high position, and large salary bring to us is unease and an urn that an ordinary person is able to obtain. These words don’t sound dignified but are the truth.
I still remember a successful man who pursued fame and gain in his life and lived by the saying “No pains, no gains.” After years of efforts, he achieved the position of president and gained millions in assets. But during the course, he was physically and mentally exhausted, and was disease-ridden, with the result of dying of a sudden stroke in his forty-sixth year. He took both no money and no position with him, which fulfilled the Lord Jesus’ words, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26), and the Bible verses, “Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit has a man of all his labor which he takes under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3).
I also associate this with myself. Even though I believed in the Lord, I didn’t live out the Lord’s words, had a constant desire to live elevating myself over others, and even dreamed to gain fame and fortune. Through working hard for decades, I have exhausted my effort; however, life is full of hardships and vicissitudes, and finally my life is just like an empty dream. I’ve lived a wealthy life, but lost it instantly, back to square one, which is my sorrows. Then what is eternal?
The Lord Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). The Lord Jesus is our Lord and our God. His words and truth coexist. The Lord once taught us, “And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be you called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:9-12). The Lord Jesus is Christ, but He didn’t come to enjoy high status and great wealth, but personally tasted the sufferings of the world. He redeemed us humans with His own life and acted as our exemplar and guide, allowing us to intimate what He has and is. But having been corrupted by Satan, we blindly pursue to be better than everybody else, seek the fame and gain and status to satisfy our ambitious desires. In doing so, we are running in the opposition direction to the Lord’s requirements. Since we pursue this way, are we not dreaming an empty dream?
In the last days, how can we keep God’s words and live before God? The Lord Jesus told us, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16: 12-13). Through the Lord’s words, we know that God will endow us with more truths when He comes again in the last days. These truths are our guiding light on our life path, which can lead us to be freed of our corrupt dispositions, enable us to be cleansed and to be brought into God’s kingdom finally, and enjoy a heavenly life on earth! So, the Lord’s coming again is our hope of salvation. Only by meeting the Lord’s return can we have the hope to be saved and be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. Now, most of the prophecies of the Lord’s coming again have come to pass, so we should be cautious and prudent, hold a heart of humble seeking, and focus on hearing God’s voice. Only thus can we welcome the Lord’s return. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Are you ready to attend the marriage feast of the Lamb?
By Liu Jing