By Zheng Xue, Switzerland
I used to think that, after going to college and getting a good diploma, I would then be able to find a good job and live a good life, and that this would also mean that I would have a good destiny…. But things didn’t quite turn out this way …
I finally graduated in July 2010 and, looking at the certificate of graduation and the diploma I held in my hands, I inwardly felt admiration for myself, and thought: “Now I am an academic achiever. With the knowledge I’ve mastered and this good diploma, as long as I work hard then I’ll surely find my ideal job and create a good future for myself.” I then began to sketch out in my mind a good plan for my future: Once I’d found a decent job, I would sit in a comfortable office every day. Come wind or rain, nothing would bother me, the job wouldn’t be too exhausting, and I would have a stable salary. The people around me would look up to me and admire me, my parents would be proud of me, and I would feel proud of myself…. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became, and I felt as though a good job was just around the corner.
Later, I began uploading my resume onto recruitment websites and, brimming with confidence, I began my job search. But when I attended several interviews, the recruitment teams either complained that I didn’t have enough experience, or they would tell me to wait and that they would contact me if they needed me. I had thought that I would certainly be able to find a good job, being highly educated as I was. But I never thought that finding a job would be this hard, or that the competition would be so fierce. Setback after setback gradually wore away my enthusiasm for finding a job and I began to worry about my prospects. I also became afraid of bumping into my neighbors or my close friends whenever I went out, fearing that they would ask me, “Found a job yet?” or “What job did you get?” or “Have you started work yet?” or some such thing. Whenever that happened, I would feel really ashamed and I wouldn’t know how to respond. All I could do was be evasive in my shame, and say things like, “I’m applying for jobs and going to interviews,” and “I have an interview on such-and-such a day.” I became mired in anxiety and I felt melancholy and oppressed every day. But I still felt that I had knowledge and a diploma and that I wasn’t any worse than anyone else—if other people could find a good job, then so could I. But the opposite happened. No matter how much effort I put into it, I couldn’t find a job I wanted and, after failing over and over, I became very depressed. I thought of all the awards I’d won while I was a student, such as the many “Three Good Student” awards, “Excellent Cadre” awards, and “Excellent Youth” awards, as well as an Encouragement Scholarship and a National Scholarship. I also had a certificate proving that I was qualified to be a teacher, as well as my college diploma. Hadn’t I worked hard to get these certificates of honor so that I could find a good job, earn a good living and live a good life? So with these certificates and diplomas, why wasn’t I able then to find the perfect job, but instead was running up against walls all the time? The more I thought about it, the more upset I felt, to the point where I lost all confidence in my job search; I had no great hopes for the future, and I felt incredibly low.
One day, a close friend told me that one can only get by in the world today if one has both power and money. He said that the only realistic way to find a job was to spend money to make connections. At first, I didn’t agree with what he was saying, believing that I possessed real ability and learning. Why should I demean myself by making connections and asking people for favors? I thought that was disgraceful. I therefore kept going to big career fairs, but it was still taking such a long time to find a job, and as my friend kept egging me on, I finally felt I had no choice, and I agreed to make connections to find a job. Very soon after, my friend helped me to make a good connection and, after I visited this connection and brought them a gift, they promised to arrange a job for me in a government work unit. I was so happy when I heard this, and I felt that my life was finally turning a corner. I thought to myself: “If I have a formal job and a stable income, then my classmates and close friends will all hold me in high regard and my family will be happy. Later, I’ll have a happy, fulfilling marriage. That will be so wonderful!” Just as I was immersing myself in endless visions and reveries about having a good job, something unforeseen happened: The official who was going to arrange the job for me died after a failed operation. My hopes for getting a good job were dashed. This news came like a bolt out of the blue that instantly smashed my beautiful vision into pieces. I felt so pained and unhappy, and once again I lived in a state of anxiety and deep distress. I used to think that, with my diploma and my abilities, I should be living a good life. Never had I imagined that looking for a job would be so full of ups and downs, like a tragic or farcical opera. At that time, I had no strength left, and I had completely lost all hope for my future. I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping, and I would shut myself in my room all day long. Besides surfing the internet and watching soap operas and other boring programs on the TV, I didn’t know what else to do. I would cry silently every night, feeling like my heart had been hollowed out, and feeling utterly bewildered and helpless. My mom and my aunt saw how dispirited I was feeling, and they became very worried, afraid that if I couldn’t snap out of it then I’d fall into despair and my health would take a downturn. They were even more worried that I would become clinically depressed. They often did their best to advise me, but I simply didn’t listen.
One day, my aunt came to our house and advised me, saying, “Seeing you in such pain, your mom and I feel it too. We all want a good job and to pursue professional success and stand out from the crowd. But it’s not up to us whether we get a good job or not! We have lived a long time and have worked hard and struggled for the sake of a good job or to have a good life. But no matter what we do, reality never lives up to what we want it to be, and we exhaust ourselves to unbearable levels, and end up in such pain. After I believed in God, only through reading God’s words did I come to understand this: Everyone’s fate is controlled by the hands of God; we are unable to be in charge of our own destiny. …” Hearing my aunt say this, I became deep in thought, and I kept asking myself: “Could it be that we really cannot control our own destiny? Could it be that having a good diploma doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll find a good job?” My aunt then said to me in earnest: “I’ve often said to you before that we human beings were created by God, and that God created the world and everything in it so that we could live, and He provided it all for us freely. But our ancestors Adam and Eve didn’t listen to God’s words and they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and were thus corrupted by Satan. We then lost God’s care and protection and began to live under the domain of Satan, struggling in pain. God doesn’t wish to see us live in pain, so He has once again incarnated to express His words and save us from being harmed by Satan. Let me read you two passages of God’s words.” I nodded as I listened to my aunt, and she read, “All I wish is for man to understand that without the care, keeping, and provision of God, man cannot receive all that he was meant to receive, no matter how great the effort or struggle. Without the supply of life from God, man loses the sense of value in living and loses the sense of purpose in life. … Then again, do not forget that God is the source of your life” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”). “The Almighty has mercy on these people who suffer deeply. At the same time, He is fed up with these people who have no consciousness, because He has to wait too long for the answer from humans. He desires to seek, seek your heart and your spirit. He wants to bring you food and water and to awaken you, so you are no longer thirsty, no longer hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel the desolation of this world, do not be perplexed, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival any time” (“The Sighing of the Almighty”). As my aunt read, my heart was moved by God’s words and I began to sob. These words went straight to my heart, like a kindly mother calling her children to hurry back to her embrace and come under her protection. A little light seeped into my heart. Only through the fellowships which my aunt went on to give me, did I come to realize that God rules the fate of mankind—what jobs each of us will have in our lives and how much money we will have—in none of this do we have any say, and it all rests with the sovereignty and predestination of God. I thought about how I had been so full of zeal after graduating, wanting to make a big splash and thinking that, with the knowledge I’d learned and the certificates I’d gotten, plus working hard and struggling, I would certainly get a good job and have good prospects for the future. Never had I imagined that I would suffer setbacks and failures again and again, that I wouldn’t be able to find a good job and that, even after spending money and giving gifts, I would run up against another wall. None of this had been up to me, and I had not been in control of any of it. Ever since I was small, the fallacy that “Knowledge can change your fate,” had become deeply rooted in my heart, controlling my thoughts and becoming my life’s motto. And so I had studied hard and strived to pursue knowledge in order to obtain a good diploma. But only after I’d obtained this diploma did I discover that being highly educated had no power to change my destiny in the slightest. On the contrary, because I had no knowledge of God’s sovereignty and predestination and I always wanted to change my own destiny with my good diploma, I ended up going through intense struggle, and yet was still unable to change it, and I suffered the pain of resisting my own destiny. Just then, I awakened to the truth. As it happened, the view that “Knowledge can change your fate” that I’d always clung to had turned out to be false; God was the wellspring of all human life, and whether or not we have a good destiny does not rest with how much knowledge we’ve learned or how good a diploma we have, but rather it rests with God’s sovereignty and predestination. At that moment, I felt like a vagrant child who had found his home at last. Returning to God’s embrace felt so warm, and I felt so intimate with God, so close to Him. Afterward, I often read God’s words and attended gatherings with my mom and aunt. Over time, I came to understand God’s will to save mankind, I found the courage to live, and I found the faith and strength to face setbacks and failures—I had left my black mood behind.
Not long after, I attended an examination for a special teacher’s position, and my written examination was ranked second in the county. I was thrilled. But when I attended the interview, I began to worry: Firstly, I didn’t have enough experience of actual teaching and, secondly, I had heard that there were many people who made connections and tried to get in through the back door with this kind of formal examination. I was afraid that I would not pass the interview, and so I silently spoke my worries in prayer to God, asking Him to guide me to obey His sovereignty and to keep me living by His words. After I’d prayed and sought, I read these words of God: “Since the creation of the world I have begun to predestine and select this group of people, namely, you today. Your temperament, caliber, appearance, stature, family in which you were born, your job and your marriage, the entirety of you, even the color of your hair and your skin, and the time of your birth were all arranged by My hands. Even the things you do and the people you meet every single day are arranged by My hands, not to mention the fact that bringing you into My presence today is actually My arrangement. Do not throw yourself into disorder; you should proceed calmly”. God’s words told me that my job, my marriage—everything in my life—was all in His hands. Even all the things that happened around me and everyone I met every day were all arranged by God, so wouldn’t this interview I had to attend even more so be in God’s hands? The sense of reason I should possess as a created being is that, whether or not I succeed at this interview, I should obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements. When I understood these things, I felt much calmer, and I became willing to face what would come without misgivings. Just then, a friend who had accompanied me to the examination said to me, “I have my fingers crossed for you. There are so many who have made connections to get the examiners to look after them.” I felt self-possessed when my friend said this, and I felt no anxiety or worries about the outcome of the interview, for I knew that whether or not I passed this exam was ruled by God. I had to adopt an obedient heart to face it, leave everything to God and allow Him to orchestrate and arrange things. As it turned out, my interview and written examination grades were ranked tenth. Unexpectedly, I had passed the examination for the special teacher’s post and I became a grade school teacher. Through this experience, I became even more sure in my heart that whether or not we can get a good job is not up to us, and neither does it depend on whether or not we’ve made connections or can get in through the backdoor. Rather it rests entirely with the sovereignty and predestination of God.
Looking back to my experience, I can’t help but think of some of God’s words that say: “When one leaves one’s parents and becomes independent, the social conditions one faces, and the kind of work and career available to one are both decreed by fate and have nothing to do with one’s parents. 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, their very first aspiration in the journey of their lives dissolving into thin air. Not knowing[d] 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 hope 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? Do they accord with their desires and decisions? Most people wish they could work less and earn more, not to toil in the sun and rain, dress well, glow and shine everywhere, tower above others, and bring honor to their ancestors. People’s desires are so perfect, but when people 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, though one may harbor audacious fantasies, no one has the ability or the power to realize his or her own dreams, no one is in a position to control his or her 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 even go to any length imaginable, will put forth great efforts and make great sacrifices for the sake of their livelihoods and future, in 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, 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”). Every word God says is a fact. After we leave our parents and strike out on our own, the place we have in life, what job we can do and how much money we will have do not depend on whether we have a good diploma or not, but rather they are determined by God’s predestination and sovereignty. In real life, some people graduate with a postgraduate diploma, but they don’t have what it takes to achieve their dreams and yet are unwilling to accept less, and so they can’t do any job, and they just have to stay at home; some people leave school after only getting a middle school education and yet they become managers of their own companies; some people leave grade school and later they actually become directors of corporations. Whereas I graduated from college with a good diploma and yet I came up against walls all the time when looking for a job. And afterward, even though I did try to make connections, my desires still came to nothing in the end. Not only did I lose the courage to live, but I also lived every day in a state of pain and emptiness. These facts led me to see clearly that mankind’s destiny is in God’s hands and that only by coming before God and accepting and submitting to the sovereignty of the Creator can we escape the strife and pain deep in our souls brought about by relying on our own hard work and striving, and we can then obtain God’s blessing and live free, joyfully, peacefully and at ease!
Thank God! All honor and glory be unto God!
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