A common saying goes, “The college entrance examination decides one’s whole life.” This exam is the key point which determines a student’s fate. My son had the exam the next day, but he did not take the time to review his lessons, but engaged himself in playing computer games in high spirits, and even bursted into laughter for joy, as if he had nothing to do the next day. Seeing that, I was laden with anxiety and worriment, like an ant on a hot pan. I thought: Are you like a student who is going to take the college entrance examination? It is all right for you to play at ordinary times. But you’ve got the college entrance examination coming up tomorrow. It’s really a major issue related to your future and fate. Whether you are rich or poor, noble or mean in the future will depend on the examination result of tomorrow. Don’t you know that? At this moment, every minute taken by him meant great torments and suffering to me, for what he was wasting was not only time but maybe a good future. Anxiously, I paced back and forth in the room, thinking in my mind: How do I persuade him? Should I shout at him, or reason with him tenderly? What if he is disobedient when I speak to him in a gentle way? Before, I always failed to persuade him by this mean; he equivocated and said he would play for another ten or twenty minutes at all times. But, what if he gets angry when I shout at him? This circumstance has never occurred before. If I disturb his mood, it will affect his performance in the examination tomorrow. In a dilemma, I had to go back to my bedroom silently. I lay in the bed and replayed in my mind the past fifteen years, from his going to kindergarten to his senior year in high school. Every day he shuttled between school and home from morning till night in all weathers, and also he had to deal with the vast amount of homework every night and weekend. The hardest time was the three years in high school. To finish his heavy homework, most of the time he went to bed after the midnight and got up at about 5 a.m. Thinking of these things, I had gusts of ache in my heart, feeling sorry for my son. But then I thought: What can I do? Now, competition goes much too fierce. Students who take the entrance examination for high school are ranked in the whole county, and sometimes there will be more than ten students who get the same score. As for the college entrance examination, students are ranked in the whole province; many students will get the equivalent score. Therefore, even one point appears to be extremely important. Gaining one more point, a student will possibly be admitted to a good university. Conversely, losing one mark, he has to study in a common university. No! As they say, “A last-minute sharpening can help enhance the keenness of a knife.” On thinking of this, I sat up quickly from the bed and intended to go to my son’s room.
Just then, the doorbell rang suddenly. I opened the door and saw my elder sister. After she came in and sat down, I poured out all my annoyance to her. I had thought she would help me talk to my son. Beyond my expectation, she said in all sincerity, “Sister, you need not think too much! He has grown up, and has his own thought. Everyone has their own fate. With regard to what kind of future and fate he will have in the future, it doesn’t rest with tomorrow’s exam. And all these are not controlled by your hands, much less can they be changed by you. Just as you have been dreaming of finding a job in a big city since you were little. However, does it come true now? You still had to come to this small county, right? Was it because you didn’t make efforts or struggle that you failed to realize your wish?” I shook my head hesitantly. I did have this dream and tried to fight for it, but it didn’t pay off at last. It made me feel that an unseen Master orchestrates all things, and that nothing is decided by me.
My sister took out a book from her handbag, and read a passage of words for me, “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 never 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 every chance to receive a higher education; they seem fated never to achieve success, their very first aspiration in the journey of their lives having dissolved into thin air. Not knowing whether the road ahead is smooth or rocky, they feel for the first time how full of variables human destiny is, and so regard life with expectation and dread. Some people, despite not being very well educated, write books and achieve a measure of fame; some, though almost totally illiterate, make money in business and are thereby able to support themselves…. What occupation one chooses, how one makes a living: do people have any control over whether they make a good choice or a bad choice in these things? Do these things accord with people’s desires and decisions? Most people have the following wishes: to work less and earn more, not to toil in the sun and rain, to dress well, to glow and shine everywhere, to tower above others, and to bring honor to their ancestors. People hope for perfection, but when they take their first steps in the journey of their lives, they gradually come to realize how imperfect human destiny is, and for the first time they truly grasp the fact that, though one can make bold plans for one’s future and though one may harbor audacious fantasies, no one has the ability or the power to realize their own dreams, and no one is in a position to control their own future. 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. Regardless of differences in ability, intelligence, and willpower, people are all equal before fate, which does not distinguish 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”).
After reading, she said, “Our destinies are in God’s hands. The Creator’s sovereignty over and arrangements for everyone’s fate is unable to be changed by anyone. What occupation we take up in our life, and by what means we make a living are not up to ourselves, nor can they be changed by knowledge, status or money. Take what we see in real life for example. Some people are not highly cultured but can write books and are well-known, like Mr. Han, a writer who wins great popularity on the Internet these years. Despite graduating from a senior high school, he has written many novels, prose, and essays. And these writings are very popular with numerous high school students and young people, some of which have even been translated to film. This lies in God’s arrangement for his fate, rather than in the foundation of his diploma. And like our cousin, He dropped out after the second grade. But now he does very well in his business and has been a boss, driving a good car and living in a luxury house. Whereas, some with college diplomas are destined as employees. However high the diplomas are that they have got, that can’t help them change their fates.” I couldn’t not be convinced of her words. I said, “Your words remind me of a hot topic ‘A graduate from Peking University sells pork’ on the Internet some time ago. As an outstanding student from Peking University, I think, he should be a white or gold collar, or someone doing scientific research. How come he embarks on the road of selling pork? And as such, it’s his life, his fate. What way should we walk, what vocation we do and by what means we maintain our livelihood are all not up to ourselves, nor depend on our choices or our education and caliber. It can be seen that man’s fate is indeed ruled by God.” My sister said delightedly, “Right! Our fates are all in the hands of the Creator. What path Qiqi (my son’s name) will take and what occupation he will go in for in the future are also in the hands of the Creator and not controlled by us. These years, in his study, you have pressed on him too much, and you also suffer a lot. Now, it’s time to let him go. Don’t force him to struggle for a good mark in the exam. All you have to do is do your best in everything. God says, ‘Only when one accepts the Creator’s sovereignty, submits to His orchestrations and arrangements, and seeks true human life will one gradually begin to break free from all heartbreak and suffering, and to be rid of all the emptiness of life’ (‘God Himself, the Unique III’). So, we should pray to God, and learn to obey His arrangements. In this way, you can live in relaxation and freedom.” She told me that the words she had just read for me are said by God, and that she didn’t understand these things until she read God’s words. At this time, my anxious and uneasy heart calmed down little by little. I sensed that these words were quite true. Now that our future and fate are ruled and arranged by God, I ought to let go of my son, turn him over to the hands of God, and submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, for my plans, worriment, and anxiety can’t decide my son’s fate.
After my sister left, I went into my son’s bedroom, and saw he had already fallen asleep. Seeing that some beginnings of a beard faintly shadowed his childish face, I felt time really flies! Since he started to go to school, I had been keeping an eye out for his academic records, regarded his achievements as my life, and treated him as a studying machine. Not until today did I become conscious of that I had been too severe on him in the past. At the moment, I said to my son silently in my heart, “Son, I will never force you to study. Just try your best. Today, I know whether we have good or bad fates is not in our own hands, but it depends on the predestination and arrangements of God. Son, no matter how the exam ends, I will wait for you to come home for dinner.”
In the evening, I prayed to God according to what my sister had taught me, committing my son’s fate into God’s hands and allowing it to be controlled by God. I felt as if a heavy load had been lifted from my mind, and I no longer felt pressured in my heart but felt relaxed and released completely. For the first time, I slept easily and peacefully at night during these years.
After the exam and before the result came out, my sister often came to read God’s words for and fellowshiped God’s will with me. With regard to my son’s exam result, I didn’t feel as worried as I was before but felt much more at ease, and was able to face it calmly, whatever the result would be. Unexpectedly, after the score came out, it turned out my son was admitted to a university. Hearing this news, I was much calmer than before. As I knew that my son’s being able to be admitted to a university was because of the predestination and sovereignty of God, instead of human effort. What’s more, I was clear that this result did not mean his good prospect or fate in the future, for everyone’s fate is in God’s command, which is unable to be predicted by anyone, let alone a transcript. By reading God’s words, I now understand that man’s living is not to plan and worry his own or others’ future, but to know, accept, and obey the Creator’s sovereignty and arrangements. In this way, we can attain freedom and liberation, and face life calmly. This is the very value of life!
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