Farewell to Those Days of Wrestling With Fate (Audio Essay)
A rustic village fallen behind, my parents exhausted from their work, a life in financial straits … these gloomy memories were branded on to my young mind, they were my first impression of “fate.” After I started attending school, the first time I heard my teacher say that “You control your fate in your own hands,” I kept these words firmly in my mind. I believed that although I could not change the fact that I was born into poverty, I could still change my own fate through hard work. As a result, I exerted my full strength to wrestle with my “fate,” and gain a slice of heaven to call my own.
A Setback in My Studies
Just like generation after generation of countless students, my determination to study and get into college was the first step in changing my fate. To this end, I studied hard. When in class I listened attentively, when outside of class while other students were all out playing, I was still studying, often immersed in my books deep into the night. Due to my rigorous studying, my grades were always among the best. Every time that my teachers or classmates would cast gazes of admiration upon me it would reinforce my conviction that “I need to rely on my own two hands to carve out a place in the world for myself.” But the ways of the world are unpredictable. As I was striving for these beautiful ideals, my father suddenly fell ill. After his being examined we found that he had cirrhosis, and that it had already progressed into the middle stages. My father grew swollen all over his body due to the illness, and not only was he not able to work, he also had to spend a lot of money on doctor visits. For a period of time all house work, as well as farm work on over 3 acres of land, fell on to my mother, and at the same time my mother also came down with a serious gynecological disease. One day my father told me, with a face laden with grief: “Daughter, right now our entire family is relying on just your mother for support. Her burden is very heavy. It costs a lot of money to send four kids to school to study for a year. We really don’t have any way to provide all of you with schooling. You are the oldest, so you should consider your brothers and sisters. Why don’t you stop going to school so that we can set aside this opportunity for your brothers and sisters?” After listening to my father’s words, I felt an overwhelming pain in my heart: I had always hoped to study hard and become an outstanding person, but if I acquiesced to my father’s wish that I give up on my studies, then wouldn’t all of my prospects and hopes just all of a sudden completely vanish?! My eyes were full of teardrops, and I felt a fit of sadness in my heart. I knew that my father had thought it over for a long time before saying these words, and looking at my sick mother, I could not bear to lay such a heavy burden down upon her. Confronted with my family’s impoverished financial situation, I had no choice but to compromise with the current situation and fight back the tears as I acquiesced to my father’s wishes.
A Narrow Escape From Calamity
Without having finished junior high school, I was young but I was full of ambition. Although I wasn’t able to finish my studies, I quickly set my sights on getting a temporary job to make money. I believed that through hard work I could still absolutely change my fate. Before too long, through a relative’s introduction, I went to the city to work at a textile factory. In order to make more money I worked as hard as I could. Where other people watched after two machines I watched after four, and when others took breaks I would go on working. The boss saw that I was reliable and capable, and within five months of working he increased my wages to as much as what workers who had been there for a long time working. My workmates all cast looks of envy upon me.
That year as I was feeling proud of my success and wanting to keep working hard, mother spread theof in to me. Mother told me that God rules over and arranges all things, and that everyone’s fate is administered in God’s hands, but in my proud and arrogant mind there was only the belief that “You control your fate in your own hands,” and I simply did not listen to my mother’s words. In this instance, in my brief encounter with God’s , I did not receive the gospel spread by my mother, rather I continued struggling and fighting in the world.
I went on in this way for several years, and my life started to stabilize. Not only did I have a little savings for myself, I was also frequently able to give a little to my family. I felt that so long as I continued working hard then I would certainly have bright and boundless prospects. As I was lost in the tide of pursuing wealth and the pleasures of the flesh, an unexpected car accident smashed my entire life plan. I lay unconscious in a hospital bed for three days and three nights, and after I awoke I couldn’t say anything. I was just like a mute. It was only after the doctor let me get out of bed to move around a little that I realized that due to the seriousness of my injury I could not move the entire left side of my body. There was no way that I could accept this reality, I was only twenty years old! If from now on I was to always be paralyzed in bed like this, then wouldn’t my splendid youth be ruined? My beautiful life had not even started, and could it really be coming to an end? I was grieved and heart-broken, I wanted to cry but shed no tears, and I did not know how to face the future. … At this time, my mother came to my side to console me. She told me, “Daughter, it was because God protects you that you were able to wake up! Don’t you know? The doctor said that even if you were able to wake up you would be a vegetable. As soon as your father and I heard this our hearts grew cold. For the past several days I’ve been constantly praying to God, delivering you into God’s hands, willing to submit to God’s sovereignty. Thank God! Look at you, now you have awoken. This is God taking pity on you. It is God’s gracious will that this car accident fell upon you! Although we have suffered some pain in the flesh, isn’t it through facing this kind of situation that we are able to turn away from the world and turn toward God? Daughter, you must start believing in God with me right away!” As I saw mother hold back tears while she spread the gospel to me, my heart finally felt stirred. Mother said that while I was unconscious she was constantly praying to God. Regardless of whether or not it was possible for me to wake up, in either case she was willing to submit to God’s orchestration and arrangement. She didn’t actually expect that I would wake up. As I was listening to all of this, I felt that God really was great! Although I had refused His salvation, He had not given up on me. When calamity fell upon me, His protections were by my side all along. He took pity on me and protected me, and He saved me from death. I could not help but start to feel some appreciation toward God. Because of God’s care and protection my body recovered extremely fast, and I was discharged from the hospital one month ahead of schedule.
Persisting to Go About Things the Wrong Way
Although I had enjoyed God’s love and mercy, I still did not understand the true significance of believing in God, so I did not treat having faith in God as a serious matter. It wasn’t until after my body had recovered some that mother suggested that I find a job close to home to eke out a living, and that she hoped that I would spend more of my spare time on practicing my faith in God. But I was not willing to live this kind of life. I waited until my leg injury healed completely and then left home without hesitation to work a temporary job. During this job I had a relationship with a boy, and after courting each other for a period of time, he asked me to marry him, promising me that he would love me for the rest of our lives. I thought about how my studies had been obstructed over the years, how part way through I also suffered a car accident, and how after these efforts I still wasn’t able to change my fate. So this time I placed my hope of changing my fate onto this marriage. If I married a man who was willing to promise to love me for my whole life, then the latter part of my life would certainly be happy and blissful. I carried this vision of a beautiful life with me into the marriage hall. But unexpectedly, once I was married, it completely wasn’t how I imagined it would be. My husband would often quarrel with me because of trifling matters, and my mother-in-law was also tepid toward me, and would even instigate my husband to quarrel with me. … I lived in suffering with no one to console me. What’s more, the family I was married off to lived far away, so there was nobody around me that I could find to open up to. Under this feeling of helplessness, all I could do was go off again and look for a temporary job. Due to my husband and I living in two different locations, it wasn’t long until we felt like strangers. After five years of marriage my husband brought up getting a divorce, telling me that he had already met another woman that he liked more. When I heard him say this, my mind felt completely empty, and I thought to myself, “What do I do? Everyone says that divorce to a woman is the same as being half alive, so how should I live the latter part of my life?” As I signed my divorce certificate, I was by myself carrying luggage onto a train to head back home, and I started to cry uncontrollably. I had a deep sense of the pain people experience while living in this world, and I had an even greater sense of the unprecedented solitude that faced me. It was such a big world but there was no place where I could stay. I felt quite desolate. I really wanted to kill myself to end it all. But then I thought about my parents who were growing older with each passing day, and I felt a sense of hesitation: If I died, what would my parents’ grief do to them! It was out of the question. I could not die in that way. I must wipe my tears dry, bite the bullet and continue living.
The Return of a Prodigal Son
When I returned home, mother once again fellowshiped the word of God to me. I took the book that was in mother’s hands and read God’s words: “From the moment you come crying into this world, you begin to perform your duty. You assume your role in the plan of God and in the ordination of God. You begin the journey of life. Whatever your background and whatever the journey ahead of you, none can escape the orchestration and arrangement that Heaven has in store, and none are in control of their destiny, for only He who rules over all things is capable of such work” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “You and the evil one walk through thousands of years of tempest and storm. Together with him, you counter God, who was the source of your life. You do not repent, let alone know that you have come to the point of perishment. You forget that the evil one has tempted you, afflicted you; you forget your origin. Just like that, the evil one has been damaging you step by step, even to now. Your heart and your spirit are desensitized and decayed. You no longer complain about the distress of the world, no longer believe the world is unjust. You don’t even care about the existence of the Almighty. This is because you have deemed the evil one as your true father, and you no longer can be apart from him. This is the secret in your heart” (“The Sighing of the Almighty” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After reading God’s words, I understood. God is the Creator and Ruler of the heavens and earth and all things, and even more so He is the source of life for mankind. Everyone’s fate is ruled over and controlled by the hands of God. But I did not truly, and I did not have true knowledge of God’s sovereignty. I still relied on the seed of Satan planted deep within me to live, telling me that “You control your fate in your own hands.” I still attempted in vain to rely on myself and wander the world looking for a piece of heaven, throwing off God’s sovereignty and arrangements. I thought back on the past decade, how in order to change my fate I had studied hard and struggled to make money. Later on, after getting into a car accident, God protected me and helped me escape from calamity, allowing my body to miraculously recover quickly. But I still had not come to see in spite of mother’s attempts to convince me. I did not receive the gospel and come before God, rather I relied on ambition and desire to make my plans, to figure out what road my life was going to take in the future. Then once again I placed happiness in my own life onto a marriage. I thought I had found someone to marry who could stay committed to me and love me for a lifetime, and that I would certainly be happy, but in the end a failed marriage brought me endless suffering. … I held on to the words that “You control your fate in your own hands,” believing that through relying on my own hard work I could change my fate, and that eventually there would be a day where I would certainly become successful. But after so many years, after being scarred and bruised, after crushing defeats, besides pain and suffering there was nothing else that I had obtained. Only by looking back on how I relied on the poison of Satan to live, how this was in competition with my fate, did I see that I did not recognize God’s authority, that by relying on my own capabilities I was throwing off God’s sovereignty. It really was so stupid and foolish! Although I distanced myself from God and refused to listen to the , God still forgave me and endured me, and waited quietly for me, and created my surroundings in order to awaken my heart and my soul. Through mother spreading the gospel to me once again I was brought back before God. In this moment I have endless regrets, but I am full of gratitude and debt in my heart toward God, and I cannot stop the tears from falling down my face.
Returning before God and enjoying being watered by the word of God healed my wounded spirit bit by bit. Later on, a neighboring sister found out about my divorce and wanted to introduce me to a partner. This time I actively sought out mother’s opinion. Mother did not make the decision for me, rather she had me pray to seek out God’s will. I came before God to pray, delivering the matter of my marriage into God’s hands. After praying, I felt very much at peace in my heart, and it made me recall a passage from the word of God: “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? … The destination of man is in the hands of the Creator, so how could man control himself?” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). It’s true. My fate is controlled by the hands of God. Whatever kind of marriage I am to have is dictated and arranged by God. I cannot make the choice on my own, like I did in the past, based on my own demands and standards. Whatever life I am to live in the latter part of my life, whatever kind of husband I am able to find, I believe that this is all predestined and arranged by God. What I need to do now is seek God’s will, follow God’s leadership, and submit to God’s sovereignty.
The day that we met I saw that the man was not very tall, nor was he very good at talking. Based on my previous standards for choosing a spouse, I certainly would have looked for a partner who could talk really well, or who was tall and handsome, but this time I didn’t make such a hasty refusal. Instead, I agreed to us getting to know each other for a while first. In the days that followed I discovered that although he was not charming or romantic, he was honest and considerate toward others, steadfast in his duties, and, most importantly, he supported my faith in God. I felt that he must be the husband that God arranged for me. After getting to know each other for a while we got married. After getting married, my husband’s family was very good to me, and they all supported my faith in God. When brothers and sisters come gather in our home, they all cordially greet our guests. I feel very happy, and my heart feels very content. In my heart I am grateful for God’s grace and blessings. God says: “When you truly come to recognize that God has sovereignty over human fate, when you truly understand that everything God has planned for and decided for you is a great benefit, and is a great protection, then you feel your pain gradually lighten, and the whole of you become relaxed, free, liberated” (“God Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God’s words made me recognize that God alone understands everything that each person needs. He observes all of our plights, and He alone has sovereignty over us and arranges everything for us in the best possible way. Nowadays I have attained God’s salvation and come before Him. I enjoy being watered and supplied by the word of God, and through my experiences in work, family and marriage, I have been able to resolve the satanic rule that dwelt within me and told me that “You control your fate in your own hands.” I’ve come to recognize that these are satanic words that deceive and corrupt men, tricking them into distancing themselves from God. At the same time, I have also come to a clear understanding that the human race was created by God, that our whole lives are ruled over and administered by God, and that nobody can break away from this, nor can they control this. We attempt in vain to rely on ourselves to change our fate, only to become beaten and bruised. This is a manifestation of the authority of the Creator. God has rescued me from being under the domain of Satan. I have returned before God, God has led me to understand the truth, and I am finally walking down the true and correct path of human life. Through the things that I have experienced, I have truly come to realize that all wealth and rank and all material things in this world are empty, that you can only rely on the word of God to live. Only then will your heart be steady and at peace. This is the greatest love and blessing that God has given me. As I continue on my journey, I am moved by only one thing: Ignorant men who resist God live with the most suffering, and only wise men who submit to God’s sovereignty are liberated and happy!