I’ve Learned to Rely on God in the Face of Difficulties
After I got married, my husband was always dissatisfied with me. He often said to me, “See! You are useless.” His criticisms made me very sad and defiant. From then on, I thought I had to work hard by myself and not let others look down upon me. Because my husband worked in another place, the heavy burden of managing the household completely rested on me. Even if I was often tired out, I wouldn’t complain to my husband at all. I just clenched my teeth and held on. I lived like this for more than ten years …
Eventually, my children grew up, but then some misfortunes happened one after another: first my daughter’s disease and then my husband’s death. These events left me, who was already weary in body and mind, supporting my family alone. Afterward, I came to America to work. The money I earned was almost all spent on treating my daughter and looking after my parents. Even if there was some spare money, I had to save it for my son’s wedding. The people around me saw I was very tired and advised me to marry again. But regardless of their advice, I still believed it would be better to rely on myself than others. In fact, although I appeared strong on the outside, I often shed tears alone in secret at night and didn’t know who I could tell about my pain. The only thing that delighted me was that my son got married in July last year, so I felt more relaxed for a while. However, another thing then began to worry me: After my son married, it was inconvenient for me to continue living with him and his wife. Thinking that I was old, yet now had to find a place to live, I could not but feel desolate and sad. Later, in order to stand on my own two feet, I pinned all my hopes on the U.S. citizenship test. If I could pass the test and become a naturalized citizen of the United States, my life would be more secure. Thus, every day, I busied myself having the classes, learning English and reciting historical facts. I practically devoted my heart and soul to this test.
Once I happened to meet a Christian, Sister Shanshan, in a supermarket. We had a good chat, just like two old friends meeting again. She had had the same misfortune as I in that her husband had also died, of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Talking of these sad events made us cry. Later, she told me that since she started believing in God, she hadn’t felt any more pain over these things. Through reading God’s words, she knew that the heavens and earth and all things were created by God, and that people’s fates were also part of God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Accordingly, she was gradually able to let go of the past and now had something to truly rely on in her life; she now felt her life was more substantial. She also fellowshiped this with me, “The reason that we had so much pain and trouble in our lives is because we humans were corrupted by Satan. Originally, mankind enjoyed God’s love in the Garden of Eden and lived a happy life with God’s presence and blessings. After we humans listened to Satan’s words, betrayed God and left the Garden of Eden, we could no longer see God nor hear God’s voice. It was as if we had fallen into darkness. From then on, we have had to suffer the pain of labor, and sweat to provide for our families. However, God has done three stages of work so as to save humans from Satan’s affliction. In the Age of Law, God did the first stage of work and issued the laws and commandments to lead people to live on the earth. Then, because people were corrupted by Satan more and more deeply, they all faced the danger of being put to death for breaking the laws. Therefore, God incarnated and did a stage of redemptive work to save mankind from sin. Through the Lord Jesus’ redemption, our sins have been forgiven, but the root of sin was not taken away. So we still live a life of sinning and confessing, and are fooled and afflicted by Satan. Thus, in the last days God has taken on human flesh again to express the truth and perform the work of judging and chastising mankind in order to help us utterly break free from the shackles of Satan and return before God.” When I listened to what she said, my numb heart regained a bit of feeling and I seemed to see some light and a glimmer of hope. Although I didn’t understand many truths yet, I was very interested in God’s work. I was willing to learn more about God’s work, and so promised to attend a meeting.
Unexpectedly, after I attended the meetings twice, one of my friends introduced a nursing job to me. I had to work seven days a week and was provided with food and accommodation by the householder. This job suited me very well, as I not only could earn money but could live there too. However, on the seventh day, the householder started getting picky over little things and then lost her temper with me. To keep the job, I stayed calm and explained things to her patiently, but she said that I was being argumentative. Nothing I said could stop her from criticizing me all the time. Later, she got angrier and angrier, so I apologized to her. But the next morning, when I had just cleaned the house, her daughter called to ask me to pack my things and leave. Having no choice, I came back to my rented house. After that, I was very dispirited, as if I were suffering from a bad illness. Several days later, Sister Shanshan gave me a call and asked me to attend the next meeting.
In that meeting, I read the following passage of God’s word, “The fate of man is controlled by the hands of God. You are incapable of controlling yourself: Despite man always rushing and busying himself on his own behalf, he remains incapable of controlling himself. If you could know your own prospects, if you could control your own fate, would you still be a created being?”
Sister Shanshan fellowshiped this with me, “The fate of each of us is in the hands of God, and no one is capable of controlling his or her fate or future prospects. Even if we have made a lot of effort, the result isn’t controlled by us, and lots of things will not be accomplished in accordance with our expectations. This is because everything is in the hands of the Creator; only God knows what we need and He will arrange everything for us. Although when things come upon us we cannot see them clearly, all that God does is for the sake of saving us. As long as we treat all the people, matters and things we encounter with a heart of obedience to God we can feel God’s good intentions and salvation. Thus we must believe that God’s good intention is there in everything, and we should look up to and rely on God more and not depend on ourselves.” Hearing her fellowshiping, I realized that my being dismissed from the job was due to God’s designs and arrangements. If the job had gone smoothly, I wouldn’t have come to attend the meeting nor read God’s words and I would have become farther and farther from God. Although I didn’t understand God’s will completely, yet God’s good intention was present in all things. Pondering God’s words, I was a little enlightened, and gained some practical experience of God’s sovereignty and His intention of saving mankind.
From then on, I started to attend meetings and read God’s words. Yet I still had to face some difficulties in real life. In the house I rented, my roommates always smoked and drank and chatted loudly, which caused me not to be able to quiet my heart to read God’s words. And I was in danger of not being able to afford the rent and my living costs. I didn’t know how to resolve these problems, so I had to pray to God for help, “O God! I want to believe in You seriously, but when I face these difficulties, I don’t know what to do. I can only hand them to You.” A week later, an agency suddenly called me, “There is a nursing job in other state, but it takes about twenty hours to get there by bus.” Thinking that the job was too far away, and how the U.S. citizenship test was approaching, I refused the job. But the boss of the agency kept asking me to go work there, so I finally agreed. I got there, started work, and the boss was satisfied with me and I was satisfied with the job. I looked after a child in the day and read God’s words in the evening. On Saturdays I attended meetings online. My life was very regular. However, I was still somewhat worried: What if, after I had only worked for several days, I was notified to go back to have my fingerprints taken? Would I still get my salary? For that reason, I prayed to God and entrusted all this to God. Later, after working for 17 days, I received a call from the nursing agency telling me to go back for fingerprinting on September. 5. I calculated how much time was left before that date, and happily found that I would have worked for exactly 24 days, and thus would be able to make enough money to cover my rent and living expenses and to also get my nursing certificate. Besides, after I finished that job I could also go on attending meetings. Everything was arranged perfectly. Later, when I returned home, I got another temporary job as a caregiver. As one of my friends was going back to China to stay for a month, she asked me to fill in for her during her absence. I needed to work for seventeen hours every week. It seemed that everything had been arranged for me just right. I knew all this was God’s deeds. When I entrusted everything to God, I felt much lighter and life was so much more relaxed.
Soon, the day of the citizenship test came. Although I prayed to God to tell Him that I was willing to obey His orchestrations and to accept any result, yet when I failed the exam I couldn’t help complaining about God: Others could pass it, so why did I fail? For the sake of the test, I had sacrificed and suffered a lot. The more I thought about it, the more pained I felt. When the sisters heard about it, they gave me a call to comfort me and read this passage of God’s words, “Job did not talk of trades with God, and made no requests or demands of God. His praising of God’s name was because of the great power and authority of God in ruling all things, and it was not dependent on whether he gained blessings or was struck by disaster. He believed that regardless of whether God blesses people or brings disaster upon them, God’s power and authority will not change, and thus, regardless of a person’s circumstances, God’s name should be praised. That man is blessed by God is because of God’s sovereignty, and when disaster befalls man, so, too, it is because of God’s sovereignty. God’s power and authority rule over and arrange everything about man; the vagaries of man’s fortune are the manifestation of God’s power and authority, and regardless of one’s viewpoint, God’s name should be praised. This is what Job experienced and came to know during the years of his life. … Job made no demands of God. What he demanded of himself was to wait for, accept, face, and obey all of the arrangements that came from God; Job believed this to be his duty, and it was precisely what was wanted by God.” Pondering God’s words, I felt ashamed. When Job was robbed of his property, he bowed his head, worshiped God and did not complain in the slightest. Because he realized that what he possessed was all from God, he said the classic verse, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.” These words represented Job’s real submission to and reverence for God. As for me, although I didn’t vocally ask God to help me pass the exam, I had personal desires and requirements of God in my heart. Therefore, once God didn’t satisfy my demands, I began to disobediently blame God in my heart. But now I know that though I haven’t encountered a trial like Job’s yet, I should stand testimony in this circumstance and wait for God’s arrangements with a heart of obedience.
Afterward, I read some more of God’s words during my spiritual devotions: “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 tragedy of man is not that he seeks a happy life, not that he pursues fame and fortune or struggles against his own fate through the fog, but that after he has seen the Creator’s existence, after he has learned the fact that the Creator has sovereignty over human fate, he still cannot mend his ways, cannot pull his feet out of the mire, but hardens his heart and persists in his errors. He would rather keep thrashing in the mud, vying obstinately against the Creator’s sovereignty, resisting it until the bitter end, all without the slightest shred of contrition. It is only when he lies broken and bleeding that he at last decides to give up and turn back. This is true human sorrow. So I say, those who choose to submit are wise, and those who choose to struggle and flee are foolish indeed.” Through reading God’s words, I suddenly realized that actually, I had been controlled for many years by Satan’s poisonous ideas, such as, “One’s destiny is in one’s own hands,” and “I should depend on myself rather than rely on others.” I always thought that only I was 100% reliable, so I desperately tired myself by trying to do everything on my own. Even when I was exhausted, I still stubbornly persisted in this, so that I lived in pain all the time and felt extremely tired both physically and mentally. Since believing in God, I had seen God’s deeds in my experiences and knew that God has sovereignty over our fates. Yet my wrong life perspective hadn’t changed: I thought that my life would be more secure as long as I passed the exam. I still tried to grasp my fate firmly in my hands and did not fully believe in God’s sovereignty. Therefore, when my desire wasn’t satisfied, I complained about God’s arrangements and fell into suffering again. Every sentence of God’s words gripped my heart and made me feel ashamed and embarrassed. I decided that I would no longer feel sad because of failing the exam, and that I wouldn’t shun God nor complain to God. Thus, I prayed to God silently in my heart, “O God! I’m willing to commit my life into Your hands and obey Your orchestrations and arrangements. No matter what You do, I will not leave You.”
From then on, my will to believe in God was more resolute. What’s more, by living a church life and communicating about God’s words with my brothers and sisters, I felt that my heart became closer and closer to God. I felt unprecedented relief and freedom.
Meanwhile, I entrusted my difficulties in finding work to God. To my delight, three jobs unexpectedly came my way in three days. However, I had some difficulties in choosing between them. One job was $3,300 a month, the second one was $2,500, and both were easy but were in other states. The third one was only $1,000 or so a month, but it was near my house. This time, I didn’t want to choose a job by myself so I brought all this before God and prayed to Him, “O God! I don’t know which one I should choose. If I choose the nearest one, I can attend meetings but I won’t save as much money. The other two jobs would provide me with food and accommodation, thus reducing my living costs. May You lead me to make a choice in accord with Your will.” At a meeting, when I opened my heart to communicate about my difficulty the brothers and sisters read me a passage of Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “There are no rules about the jobs believers in God can engage in, but there is a difference between perfect jobs and imperfect jobs. The perfect ones do not tire us, bind us, harm our health nor delay our belief in God; the imperfect ones wear us out, waste our energies, harm our health, restrict our spirits and delay our belief in God. … As long as a job benefits the work of God’s family and does not restrain our spirits, we can do it.” From those words, I found the path to practice: Since I believed in God, I should choose a job according to God’s will. I should choose a job which doesn’t hinder my belief in God, because this is in accord with God’s will. So I chose the job which was near my house, which was looking after some old people.
Now, I often live a church life and fellowship about God’s words with the brothers and sisters. What is more important is that God’s words have solved many of my difficulties, and have given me the right goal and direction in my life. I understand that I should pursue obeying God’s orchestrations and arrangements and come before God to worship God. Nowadays, I no longer worry about my life in the future. Instead, I’m willing to give it all to God and I believe that God will arrange everything for me. I always have unspeakable joy and sweetness in my heart. It is God who gives me such a happy life. I thank and praise God from my heart.
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