By Xiaoye, Japan
I was born into a poor family. Since I was a child, my parents told my younger brother and me that we should study hard, and that only if we entered into a good college would we have a bright future and good living conditions. In order to live a happy life in the future, I studied as hard as I could and frequently stayed up late at night. But I never expected that I failed the college entrance examination. Then I could not but go to a common junior college. Because we were required to work overseas as interns for one year by our college, in September of 2016, I came to Japan as an intern. Since my university dream had been dashed, my parents and I pinned all our hopes on my younger brother. To provide with him better living conditions, my parents worked outside our hometown.
Late one night, when I got home from work, WeChat reminded me my mother wanted to have a video chat with me. After we were online, my mother anxiously said: “It is about your brother. He is negligent of his study and his academic scores went down sharply. I suspect he is playing with his phone in secret.” In fact, I knew clearly in my heart that my brother must be hooked on his phone for I often chatted with him on WeChat after work. Nevertheless, I still comforted my mother: “Don’t worry! He must be under a lot of stress at studies! It’s okay for him to relieve stress properly.” My mother did not listen to my advice, but instead she urged my father to go back home to accompany my brother while he studied. Only in this way could she put her mind at rest.
During the time when my father was my brother’s study-companion, he found that my brother got fond of a girl from a love letter written by my brother. And then he sent this love letter to my mother. After my mother saw it, she instantly became extremely weak and hardly knew what to do, so she phoned me up again. When hearing this news, I was trembling all over with anger, thinking: My brother is more intelligent than I am. Everyone believes he can get into a university in the future. Now he has entered a key high school, which means that he already has one foot in the university. But now he abandons himself to falling in love. This indeed strikes a chill in my heart. Moreover, how can he find a good job without entering into a good university; without a good job, can he have a happy life?
At that time, I was anxious about this matter every day. Afterward, I told this to a sister, and she sent me two passages of God’s words: “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?” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination”). “Some people choose a good major in college and end up finding a satisfactory job after graduation, making a triumphant first stride in the journey of their lives. Some people learn and master many different skills and yet never find a job that suits them or find their position, much less have a career; at the outset of their life journey they find themselves thwarted at every turn, beset by troubles, their prospects dismal and their lives uncertain. Some people apply themselves diligently to their studies, yet narrowly miss all their chances to receive a higher education, and seem fated never to achieve success…. Regardless of differences in ability, IQ, and willpower, people are all equal before fate, which makes no distinction between the great and the small, the high and the low, the exalted and the mean. What occupation one pursues, what one does for a living, and how much wealth one amasses in life are not decided by one’s parents, one’s talents, one’s efforts or one’s ambitions, but are predetermined by the Creator” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
I always thought that only by getting into a good college could we get a good job and lead a happy life. But God’s words told me that what occupation one takes up and how many wealth one possesses do not depend on his efforts or ambitions, but have long been destined by the Creator. Compared to God’s words, I remembered there was a college student in my village who was still doing farm work now. There are many other similar things in real life. Some people possess high academic qualifications, but after suffering much frustration they still cannot find a satisfactory job. There are other people who never go to college, but they have a successful business. Indeed, whether we can find a good job does not depend on our educational background, efforts or ambitions, but is all decided by God’s sovereignty and predestination. Our fate is in the hands of God. No matter how we rush around for ourselves, none of us can transcend His sovereignty. Retrospectively, for the purpose of getting into a good college I had paid a great price, but eventually I failed. Similarly, whether my brother can go to a good college and whether he could get a good job are all in God’s hands. It would be fine as long as he had tried his utmost. I should face it calmly. After understanding all these, I felt much more released in my heart.
However, a few days later, owing to my younger brother’s affairs, my mother went home as well. Later, she told me that my brother not only fell in love but also got addicted to playing games, and that once they forced him not to play games, he would become irritable … While hearing my mother pouring out her exasperation at his failure to live up to her expectations, I thought of that recently my brother did not show the initiative to chat with me but every day posted various messages about his depressed feeling on Qzone. Faced with such situation, I had no idea what to do. Two days later, my mother told me: When talking about my brother’s affairs, my parents couldn’t help shedding tears. Unexpectedly, my brother saw this scene by accident, and he suddenly flew into a temper, asking why they pushed him. He said he was studying hard all along and even had spent less time playing games, and that he did not know what more on earth they wanted. He even hurried my mother to get out of there. When hearing such words, I thought my brother was so immature. All that my parents did was for the sake of him. I really could not bear it anymore and then called my brother to accuse him. Upon hearing what I said, he said with emotion: “That’s right! In your eyes, I am good-for-nothing. I am a bad boy! You mean I should keep studying desperately until I die from it, don’t you? Never come to see me even if you come back from abroad! You’re not welcome here!”
Upon hearing what he said, I was stunned … I didn’t know why he became like this. Subsequently, on my brother’s Qzone, I saw such words “I don’t want to live”. Just at that time, my mother called me and asked me to scold my brother more strictly, but I refused. Because I had a sense that once I did so, he would probably do anything to hurt himself. And then, I reflected: Why do all of us expect my brother to go to university? Actually, the ultimate goal is nothing but for him to live a wealthy and happy life in the future. However, even if he entered a university, had a good future and fate, and was rich in material, would he really be happy? The words of God are as follows: “From when man first had social sciences, the mind of man was occupied by science and knowledge. Then science and knowledge became tools for the ruling of mankind, and there was no longer sufficient room for man to worship God, and no more favorable conditions for the worship of God. The position of God sunk ever lower in the heart of man. A world in man’s heart with no place for God is dark, empty without hope. … Mankind does not just require a fair society in which everyone is well-fed and is equal and free, but the salvation of God and His provision of life to them. Only when man receives the salvation of God and His provision of life to them can the needs, yearning to explore, and spiritual emptiness of man be resolved” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). From the words of God, I understood: What we need was not knowledge, status or material enjoyment, but the truth and life from God, as well as His salvation. We were created by God, so only He can satisfy our spiritual needs. If we left God, no matter how many material things we enjoyed, we would still feel empty in our heart. I recalled such a report I had seen on the Internet: A millionaire’s grandson, who lived extremely comfortably but felt empty in his heart, went to a drag race for kicks , but he lost his life in the end. There are also many famous people. They all have got everything they want, but they still cannon extricate themselves from the feeling of emptiness, and then they choose junk. Indeed, when we are wealthy, we won’t lack in material things and will still have the enjoyment of the flesh, yet nobody can resolve the emptiness of our heart. Hence, many people go hankering after excitement, but as a result, their lives are ruined. In real life, similar events are not uncommon. From all these, it is obvious that material satisfaction can bring us anything but true happiness.
Thinking about myself: in the past, for my university dream, I studied diligently and garnered lots of knowledge, but I felt inexpressibly distressed and empty in spirit. What have I obtained after so many years of struggle? It was nothing but only pain. Now, I have believed in God; through reading God’s words every day and having gatherings with brothers and sisters, I gain some knowledge of God’s sovereignty and the meaning of life, and feel very fulfilled in my heart. All of these cannot be bought with money. When thinking of this, I finally understood: Standing out from others and winning fame and fortune cannot bring us happiness; only when one comes before God, receives the supply of His words and worships Him can he feel true happiness in spirit. After understanding these, I resolved to spread the gospel to my brother and bring him before God later on.
Subsequently, I decided to tell my brother my innermost thoughts. Although he was offline, I still plucked up my courage to make an apology to him, and told him that from now on I would never force him to study hard and that if he had any difficulties he could have a chat with me. After I sent the message, I was quite nervous, worrying he wouldn’t answer me. To my surprise, the next day, I received his reply, in which he said he did not take it to heart. I read these few words over and over again, and felt so happy beyond expression.
Afterward, my aunt called me and told me that after she returned to China she would pay more attention to get after my brother about his study, so that he could go to a good college and have a bright future. Upon hearing this, I smiled and told her that my brother’s academic record did not have much bearing on his prospects, much less his future happiness; He should follow his own course, and we just let everything take its course. When my aunt heard this, she was quite surprised but she told me she approved of my viewpoint. Now, my brother gradually became cheerful and will chat with me of his own accord. One time, on his Qzone, I saw such comment he left: Show our bad side to our family and leave patience to strangers. When I was reading these words, a ripple of moving feeling welled up in my heart. Thank God! But for the guidance of His words, I would still, like my parents, force my brother to study, and eventually he would break down under our double pressure. I felt so grateful to God that I was able to truly let go of it. It was the guidance of His words that allowed me to make the right choice.
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