Christian Reflection: I Struggle Against My Fate and Fail, but in My Failure, I Make a Discovery …
By Pan Yun
Amidst this turbulent sea of humanity, I was just the same as many others, cherishing dreams of starting off on the journey of my life. I believed my fate could be determined by my own hands, and that I would be able to, through my own efforts, live the high life that would make others envy and respect me. I therefore struggled and fought desperately, but all I got for my efforts was one failure after another. I couldn’t help but wonder: “Is our fate really in our own hands? What are we supposed to pursue in life that has any meaning?” After some seeking, I gained a new insight through personal experience …
- My First Struggle Against Fate Ends in Failure
- I Struggle for My Own Future Once Again and I End Up Feeling Battered and Bruised
- In Whose Hands Rests the Course of My Fate?
- The Battle Against Fate Is Waged for Fame and Gain
- Pursuing the Truth and Performing One’s Duty Well Is the True Life
My First Struggle Against Fate Ends in Failure
When I was 21, I became a doctor at a hospital affiliated with a large-scale distribution business, which was where my husband worked. We lived a stable life and we always had enough to get by, but I still wasn’t satisfied. When I saw the contractors (those who were contracted to various departments at the hospital) wearing fashion labels and driving cars and eliciting the envy and respect of many of my colleagues, I knew that that was the life for me and that it was the only meaningful way to live. At that time, the popular song “Hard Work Leads to Success” became my inspiration, and I believed that, through my own efforts, I would be able to change my fate and live the high life that would make others envy and respect me.
I saw later that there were quite a few contractors and that they did a lot of entertaining, dining, and whiling away the time, so I thought that if I opened a restaurant for the distribution business, then I would be bound to make more money than I was just working my normal job. I therefore resolutely quit my job and took out a loan to open a restaurant and karaoke bar. At first, my business took off, and I was able to pay back the loan in just a month. I was thrilled, and I thought that if my business carried on that way, I’d easily be able to buy a car and a house. Two months later, however, my well-known and well-paid chef quit, and I had no other option but to step in and do the cooking myself. From then on, every day I was spinning around like a top, busy all the time. Sometimes, I had to cook for eight or nine tables in an evening and became so tired that I couldn’t even stand up straight. Although I felt exhausted both in body and mind, when I counted up the cash, I felt like it had been worth getting a little tired for. A year later, because my husband’s job was relocated, I had to close the restaurant and the karaoke bar. I took stock and found that I had made almost two hundred thousand yuan over the year. I was overjoyed, and I came to believe even more strongly in the saying, “Change your fate with your own two hands.” When I went back to my hometown with all this money, my family and friends ate the dishes I made and saw the new home I’d bought, and they all looked at me with eyes filled with admiration and praise. I was intoxicated with it, and it was a feeling that was sweet beyond compare.
I never could have imagined, however, that my closest friend would ask to borrow money and then take off with my entire savings, and it was like all my money had suddenly evaporated from the world. I went crazy and asked everywhere for information about where she might have gone to, but I couldn’t find her no matter what I tried. During that period, I felt so anxious that I couldn’t eat or sleep, and I became incredibly thin. Faced with this blow from an unexpected quarter, I was absolutely devastated and, holding my hair with both hands, I exclaimed to God: “O God! How could all that money I worked so hard to earn be gone? I just don’t want to go on….”
I Struggle for My Own Future Once Again and I End Up Feeling Battered and Bruised
After feeling downhearted for a time, I began to encourage myself again, telling myself, “As the saying goes ‘Where there is life, there is hope.’ I’m still young, and though my money’s now all gone, I can just earn more!” And so, I mustered my energy and looked everywhere for a way to make money. Over the years that followed, I sold medicines and clothes, I opened a tea shop and engaged in direct selling, but every venture ended in failure, and I ultimately had to rely on the few hundred yuan my husband sent home every month to cover my basic living costs. I didn’t want to be poor, and I racked my brains every day, trying to think of a way to make money. Because I fretted so much, my hair began to turn grey despite the fact that I was still in my thirties, my head often felt like it was going to explode, and I suffered from constant insomnia, but I paid no heed to any of this. I continually tried to figure out the reasons for my failures and consoled myself with the idea that everyone failed in business sooner or later. As the saying goes, “Failure is the mother of success,” therefore a failure lays the foundation for success in the next venture, and “Every life will have its ups and downs,” so as long as I had faith and was willing to work hard and struggle for it, I believed that I would surely be successful one day!
I later saw that the market price of pork was skyrocketing, and I also heard some of my old classmates say that everyone raising pigs was making a lot of money. I became excited and thought that this must be my chance to rise again from the ashes. I therefore sold my new house and poured all the money into opening a pig farm. Watching the piglets grow fatter by the day, I figured excitedly, “Before the month is up, I’ll easily be able to sell these pigs for 180 or 190 thousand yuan. And within five years, I’ll achieve my dream of living in my own garden villa.” Just as I was dreaming of making it rich, however, the little piglets began to die one by one. In pain and distress, I borrowed money from a friend to keep the pig farm going. So as to save money, I stopped hiring people even to clean out the pig pens, and instead I did all the work of the farm myself. I worked all day from dawn till dusk and became so exhausted that I couldn’t even stand up straight. My headaches became worse and worse, and my attacks of insomnia became ever more frequent. I’d thought that my hard work and efforts could bring about a rich return. Unexpectedly, however, the price of pork dropped, while the price of pig feed went up, and outbreaks of various kinds of swine flu were a common occurrence. I toiled for three years, and all the money I made in that time just went to pay back the money I’d borrowed. Utterly exhausted, I’d lost my lofty ambitions that I’d had in the beginning; I just felt very tired and all I wanted to do was rest. In the end, I was simply unable to keep the pig farm going, and all I could do was sell it to a friend for a very low price. It was as though I had been dreaming a tumultuous dream on the stage of life, and now I had woken and returned to cruel reality.
The succession of setbacks and failures beat me down, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what had gone wrong. I had invested all my time and energy into every venture, so why hadn’t I made any money? I even envied people who worked normal jobs, as at least they got a set wage every month and couldn’t lose their money on a business. I, on the other hand, had worked and busied myself for years, and not only had I made no money, but had kept making losses. Besides the fact that I’d lost my house, my body had also become wracked with illness. I wondered whether it might not have been better if I hadn’t spent these last years in such turmoil but had just kept working at my work unit in the hospital. I felt very down during that time, and just killed time by playing mahjong every day. I had lost all faith in my life and in my future, and I didn’t have the courage to struggle anymore….
One day, a friend told me she had made a lot of money in over a month of direct selling, and she said to me in all sincerity and seriousness, “I used my store front as collateral to get a loan, and then bought four places to open market stores. Let’s do this business together. You don’t have to invest a cent. Just help me by expanding our market, and we can share the profits.” My friend’s words brought hope to my deadened heart, and I thought that this was my chance to turn my life around. I therefore threw myself unhesitatingly into the direct selling business. I spared no effort, I used all kinds of means to make contacts and expand our market, and I worked hard to promote sales of our products to people. In less than a month, I made the remarkable achievement of making our first 110 thousand yuan, but it was only just enough to repay the capital my friend had invested and to cover operational costs. Our other market stores also performed exceedingly well, however, and each made 110 thousand yuan. As soon as we made this money, I would get my share. Every day, I used my fingers to calculate how much I was earning; one market store alone could make 110 thousand yuan and I now had eight market stores, so I would soon make almost half a million yuan. In that case, I would soon be realizing my dream to live in a garden villa and drive a luxury car, and my friends and family would envy me and respect me. I was so excited at that time that I often couldn’t sleep, and even when I did fall asleep, I would wake myself up by laughing. What I could never have foreseen, however, was that the company would suddenly be restructured, and the original mode of operation would be abolished. This meant that we could no longer take the whole 110 thousand yuan from every store. This news darkened my world like clouds shrouding the sun, and it struck me a fatal blow. I felt as though I had fallen into a freezing, subterranean cave, my spirits were lower than they’d ever been, and I succumbed to despair.
After this news broke, I spent every night awake, often unable to keep myself from crying, I was so upset. I kept asking myself, “I am capable, I can expand the market, and I can lead a team of several hundred people. I can work hard and I can even do such dirty, exhausting work as running a pig farm. So why do I always fail just when I’m about to succeed? I’ve been working hard and expending all my blood, sweat and tears for years now, but I’ve still ended up emptyhanded. Why don’t I ever get anything in return for all my hard work and effort? Why don’t my plans ever turn out the way I want them to? Why have I not only failed to change my fate with my own two hands, but instead ended up battered and bruised from my experiences? Could it be that what I’m pursuing is wrong? …” These questions went around and around in my head, but I still couldn’t find any answers.
In Whose Hands Rests the Course of My Fate?
It was only when I accepted God’s work of the last days and read God’s words that I finally found the answers. I read these words of God: “There will always be some distance between one’s dreams and the realities that one must confront; things are never as one would like them to be, and faced with such realities, people can never achieve satisfaction or contentment. Some people will go to any length imaginable, will put forth great efforts and make great sacrifices for the sake of their livelihoods and future, in an attempt to change their own fate. But in the end, even if they can realize their dreams and desires by means of their own hard work, they can never change their fates, and no matter how doggedly they try, they can never exceed what destiny has allotted them. … Because people do not recognize God’s orchestrations and God’s sovereignty, they always face fate defiantly and with a rebellious attitude, and they always want to cast off God’s authority and sovereignty and the things fate has in store, hoping in vain to change their current circumstances and alter their fate. But they can never succeed and are thwarted at every turn. This struggle, which takes place deep in one’s soul, brings profound pain of the sort that carves itself into one’s bones, as one fritters away their life all the while. What is the cause of this pain? Is it because of God’s sovereignty, or because a person was born unlucky? Obviously, neither is true. At bottom, it is caused by the paths people take, the ways they choose to live their lives” (“, the Unique III”).
God’s words revealed the root cause of why we feel so lost and live in pain. We human beings do not recognize God’s sovereignty, and we are unaware that our fates are held in God’s hands. Instead, we live by the heretical fallacies Satan indoctrinates us with, such as “One’s destiny is in his own hand” and “You must win your own happiness,” and we keep trying to rely on our own ideas to oppose and contest our fate. By doing this, we end up squandering all our energy and expending all our blood, sweat and tears and we still can’t change our fate. On the contrary, we end up battered and bruised, and we live in pain and torment, with no way out. Thinking back over the past few years, I had always believed that “One’s destiny is in his own hand,” and had hoped in vain to achieve a life envied by everyone else through my own efforts. To this end, I had not hesitated to give up a stable job and had opened a restaurant, then I’d run a pig farm, then I’d engaged in direct selling, and all had ended in failure. All the way along, I had constantly wanted to change my fate with my own two hands, but after many years of ups and downs, I found myself back where I’d started. Nothing had happened the way I’d planned, and my fate had remained unchanged despite all my efforts. And yet I had stubbornly opposed and contested my fate time and time again, but not only had I failed to achieve a life envied by others, but I had also sacrificed my health; I was exhausted in both body and mind, and I was living in unspeakable suffering. Only then did I arrive at the insight that such sayings as “One’s destiny is in his own hand” and “You must win your own happiness” are the fallacious lies of Satan and are completely untenable! Only God is the Ruler of our fate, and God long ago arranged what our fate in life would be and how wealthy we would be. No matter how we may plan or strive, we cannot change what God has ruled and preordained. God woke me from my dreams and solved a problem that had long beset me. I felt so much more relaxed and I understood just how precious the truth is. Thereafter, I came to enjoy reading God’s words and I began to live the church life, and I felt a sense of enrichment every day.
The Battle Against Fate Is Waged for Fame and Gain
Later, I read these words of God: “In fact, no matter how lofty man’s ideals are, no matter how realistic man’s desires are or how proper they may be, all that man wants to achieve, all that man seeks for, is inextricably linked to two words. These two words are vitally important to the life of every person, and they are things Satan intends to instill in man. What are these two words? They are ‘fame’ and ‘gain.’ Satan uses a very subtle kind of method, a method very much in concert with people’s notions, which is not at all radical, through which it causes people to unknowingly accept its way of living, its rules to live by, and to establish life goals and their direction in life, and in doing so they also unknowingly come to have ambitions in life. No matter how grand these life ambitions may seem, they are inextricably linked to ‘fame’ and ‘gain.’ Everything that any great or famous person—all people, in fact—follow in life relates only to these two words: ‘fame’ and ‘gain.’ People think that once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on those things to enjoy high status and great wealth, and to enjoy life. They think fame and gain are a kind of capital that they can use to obtain a life of pleasure-seeking and wanton enjoyment of the flesh. For the sake of this fame and gain which mankind so covets, people willingly, albeit unknowingly, hand over their bodies, minds, all that they have, their futures and their destinies, to Satan. They do so without even a moment’s hesitation, ever ignorant of the need to recover all that they have handed over. Can people retain any control over themselves once they have taken refuge in Satan in this way and become loyal to it? Certainly not. They are completely and utterly controlled by Satan. They have completely and utterly sunk into a quagmire, and are unable to free themselves” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”).
I finally understood from the revelations of God’s words that the main impetus behind my continuing to battle against my fate with my own two hands despite repeated failures, was that I was at the beck and call of fame and gain. From the time I started school, I’d accepted such satanic axioms of logic and worldly philosophies as “Distinguishing oneself and bringing honor to his ancestors,” “No pain, no gain,” and “Man struggles upwards; water flows downwards.” I had always believed in my heart that the only life worth living, the only life that had any meaning, was to live life at the top, to enjoy the high life, and to win the esteem and admiration of others. Furthermore, I saw wealthy people around me enjoying a superior lifestyle and the esteem of everyone around them, and I became even more sure that to pursue this kind of life was correct. In order to obtain fame and gain and to realize my dream of living life at the top, time and time again I relied on my own striving and struggling, and I was willing to keep going even at the expense of my health and of everything else. I was hardly aware that, when I lived by the wrong life views instilled in me by Satan and I regarded fame and gain as the only things worth pursuing, I had already involuntarily embarked upon the wrong path of opposition to God’s sovereignty. My mind had been entirely occupied by thoughts of fame and gain and I had never looked to find a meaningful life. On the contrary, when I did obtain fame and gain, I became intoxicated by them, and when I lost them, I became dejected and distressed, so much so that I lost all hope for life, and I became degenerate and decadent. If I had carried on that way, then my entire life would have been spent in vain without any value or meaning whatsoever, and I would ultimately have wound up dying in pain.
I couldn’t help, just then, thinking of a married couple I’d used to be friends with. They were teachers originally, earning a stable salary, and respected by all. They were unhappy with their stable life, however, and were always thinking about getting into big business, making lots of money and making a name for themselves. And so, they decided to quit their jobs and launch themselves into the sea of the business world. They ended up failing again and again, until finally, because they owed so much money and were afraid of retaliation, they abandoned their home and their business and fled. Such a happy family ended in ruin, and surely this was the consequence of pursuing fame and gain and being harmed by Satan. This means, by which Satan uses fame and gain to deceive and hurt people, is so wicked and despicable! Were it not for the revelations of God’s words, I would still be getting duped and harmed by Satan. Only then did I realize that my every failure and setback was actually God reminding me and forcing me to reflect and reconsider. God was forcing me to see that fame and gain are the chains Satan uses to control people, that the path in pursuit of fame and gain is wrong, and that the more people pursue them, the more pain they will find. Contemplating these things, I perceived God’s good intentions and His love for me. In gratitude to God, I resolved to say farewell to my past wrong pursuit.
Pursuing the Truth and Performing One’s Duty Well Is the True Life
One day, during my spiritual devotions, I read God’s words that say: “As someone who is normal, and who pursues the, entry into the kingdom to become one of the people of God is your true future, and a life that is of the utmost value and significance; no one is more blessed than you. Why do I say this? Because those who do not live for the flesh, and they live for Satan, but today you live for God, and live to do the will of God. That is why I say your lives are of the utmost significance. Only this group of people, who have been selected by God, are able to live out a life of the utmost significance: No one else on earth is able to live out a life of such value and meaning” (“Know God’s Newest Work and Follow His Footsteps”). After I’d read these words, my heart felt filled with light, and I felt I’d found the right goals to pursue. Before, I hadn’t believed in God, nor had I understood the truth; I hadn’t recognized God’s sovereignty and had lived only for the sake of pursuing fame and gain and for the sake of material enjoyments, and I had ended up living in unspeakable suffering. Now, thanks to God showing me kindness and exalting me, I finally came before God and I had the opportunity to pursue the truth and live out a genuine human life. I knew I should take advantage of this opportunity, perform the duty of a created being and live out a meaningful life. Like Noah in the Old Testament for example: He never paid any mind to his future or made any plans for it, and he was able to magnify God in his heart and live to do . He built the ark according to God’s instructions and, in the end, Noah gladdened God and was blessed, and his family of eight survived the flood. Though I could in no way compare to Noah, I wished to emulate him and be someone who heeds God’s words and obeys God. I wished to commit my entire life into God’s hands, bid farewell to my old life of trying to change my fate with my own two hands and of pursuing fame and gain, and allow God to arrange and be the Master in all things.
Afterward, I read God’s words every day and I performed my duty within the church. Now, I often attend gatherings with my brothers and sisters to fellowship about our experiences and understanding of God’s words, we sing hymns in praise of God, I focus on seeking the truth in the matters I encounter, I search in God’s words for the way to resolve my problems, and my life is filled with light and joy. Moreover, the headaches and back pain which had plagued me for years gradually began to get better without treatment, and my severe insomnia also disappeared. These were things which no amount of money could have bought, and I thank God from the bottom of my heart for saving me and for showing me mercy.
One day, I happened to bump into the friend I had engaged in the direct selling business with and saw that she had bought a sedan car and was wearing fashion labels, but my heart was unmoved and I felt not the least bit envious. This was because I had already thoroughly understood that pursuit of fame and gain was a means by which Satan corrupts and harms people, and I had drunk my fill of the bitter, painful draught which my pursuit of fame and gain had brought to me. I have now returned to God’s family, I walk the right path in life of pursuing the truth, and I now feel a sense of release and joy in my spirit—this is a treasure beyond any price. Thinking back over my experiences and realizations before and after I believed in God, I cherish even more the life I have now with God beside me, and with God guiding me. Having now relinquished the bonds of fame and gain, having distanced myself from the shackles and harm of Satan, and having chosen to believe in God and follow God, I know I will never regret it!
Although I am still surrounded by the various fallacies and philosophies of Satan, the difference now is that I focus on pursuing the truth and knowing God, and I am no longer being deceived or controlled by Satan’s fallacies and axioms. Although I am not now living the high life which makes everyone envious, I have all that I need and, most crucially, I have God’s words to lead me and guide me, my spirit is peaceful and at ease, and I am content with my lot. I feel deeply that different pursuits result in different lives, and the only true life—the greatest happiness I possess—is to pursue the truth, to worship God, to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and to perform the duty of a created being.