By Tang Wei
Speaking of cactus, I cannot help but think of the environment where it grows. After experiencing the attack of the sweltering summer heat and the sandstorms, it can still stand straight in dry deserts; even when desperately short of water, it can still grow upward unaffectedly. Its firm and tenacious spirit wins my deep admiration. On second thought, it reminds me that in the past, I used to be fragile and incapable, always complaining about and even wanting to flinch from the hardship and suffering I encountered. But eventually, through the environment God arranged for me and the guidance of God’s words, I overcame the difficulty. Only after that did I have the resolve and perseverance to brave difficulties by relying on God, and the true experience of the word in, “I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offense: and whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 9:33).
It was Friday at noon, the president of Student Union phoned me for an appointment. After we met, she said to me, “Drop the work at hand and revise this design plan first.” When I heard her words, I was completely muddled, thinking: At ordinary times, I’m just in charge of carrying out some small projects of the design plans; I’m a gofer at most. But today, you want me to do the paperwork which I have never engaged in. Can I be competent at this work? No. No. I cannot make it. As I thought about this, I was about to duck out of it. But before I could speak to her, she encouraged me with some words, and hurried off to attend to something else. I braced myself to accept the task, feeling anxious as if my heart were on fire. I scratched my head and thought to myself, “Although this task has been assigned to me, I really do not have the absolute confidence to handle it. What should I do? …”
In the following period of time, outwardly I read over the plan and searched for information, but inwardly I was full of misgivings: Normally, it’s my seniors who revise plans. I just have seen them doing that, but I have never done it by myself. So how can I make it without any experience and caliber? What if I cannot finish the task on time? As I pondered this, I stared at the plan, but I still didn’t know how to revise it. I became as restless as a cat on a hot tin roof and wanted to quit: Shall I advise the president to give this plan to a senior? Each and every one of them is more experienced than me. Since they have revised such plans many times, they can certainly revise it better than I do. I’m really incapable of finishing it. Just when I was thinking about giving up, I suddenly realized: I’m a Christian; with this matter coming upon me, there must bein it. God is almighty. I should rely on Him and believe that He will guide and help me. Therefore, I told God the difficulty which I encountered, “Oh, God! Today the president gives me this task but I have never handled one like this before. As soon as I meet with such thing, I just want to escape and draw back, rather than brave them. Oh, God! I know I’m too cowardly. But I’m willing to put my difficulty in Your hands. May You give me faith and be my staunch support. I’m willing to rely on You and look to You for guidance.”
After praying, my heart became much calm, and I thought of God’s words saying, “In any given minor matter, if God does not enlighten you, you will never have any inspiration, and without it, you will never be able to break through in this regard. If people simply rely on their human brains, intelligence, and calibers, there will be many things that humanity will be unable to break through in several hundred or even a thousand years. Why can’t they break through? It’s because until the time determined by God, and until God has commenced His work, it is useless, no matter how capable humans might be. You must see through this, right?” Yeah, we humans are so insignificant before God and there are many things that we are completely unable to do by relying on ourselves. For some things that we think we have learned and we can do, they will be easier for us to deal with. But for those things that we think we have never learned and we are incapable of or not good at, we are rather apt to escape dealing with them. This shows that the capacity of us humans is limited. God alone is the source of wisdom, and our wisdom and intelligence is from God. Under God’s enlightenment and guidance, all difficulties will be solved easily. But back to this matter, I have never revised such plans before. There are many seniors with caliber. If they revise it, they must do it better than I do. But the president has just chosen me to accomplish this task. Now that God knows there are some things we have never learned and are incapable of doing, why does He still have us deal with them? So what is God’s will in it?
Later on, I saw these words from God: “You must have faith that everything is in God’s hands, and that humans are merely coordinating with Him. If you are sincere, God will see it and He will open up all paths for you, making difficulties no longer difficult. You must be confident in this. Therefore, you needn’t worry about anything. As long as you use all your strength and use all your heart, God will not make things difficult for you or force you to do what you’re not capable of. What is fearful is that you say what you do not mean, saying something when you don’t feel it or intend to do it in your heart. If you do this, you will be finished.” God’s words, like a flash of light, lighted up my heart and I finally understood why God let me encounter such a difficulty. God knew that I was too fragile, had no perseverance or desire to improve myself, so that once some difficult things happened to me, I would draw back. Though I believed in God, I did not have God in my heart at all, so when I encountered difficulties, I always used lacking caliber or strength as excuses, still wanted to be dependent upon others, and admired those who were more qualified and highly cultivated. And mywas too small. If these problems were not solved early, then I would always be an infant in swaddling clothes or a flower in a greenhouse which could not stand to be battered by the wind and rain. In order to let me soon become mature, God elaborately arranged these difficulties, so that I could learn to rely on God and look to God in my adversity, and depend on His words and wisdom to overcome every difficulty in my daily life. The more difficulties I surmounted, the more mature and steady I would be, the less flinch and irritability I would have, and the greater my capability of handling and managing matters would be. Then I would no longer be easily overwhelmed by difficulties. After I understood God’s will, my heart was greatly illuminated.
Later, I read more of God’s words, which say, “No matter how great or small their stature is or what their personal environment is like, something that they cannot be without is looking to God and relying on God in all things; this is the greatest wisdom. … Sometimes, looking to God doesn’t mean speaking clearly when people pray to God for something, or for God to guide them in some way, or for God to protect them; rather it is that, when they encounter some issue, they are able to call on Him sincerely. So, what is God doing there? When someone’s heart stirs, and they have this idea: ‘Oh God, I can’t do this myself, I don’t know how to do it, and I feel weak and negative,’ when these thoughts arise in them, does God not know about it? When these thoughts arise in man, are people’s hearts sincere? When they call on God sincerely in this way, does God assent to help them? Despite the fact that they may not have spoken a word, they show sincerity, and so God assents to help them.” God’s words showed me the way: When I have no idea how to do deal with difficulties, the first thing I should do is have true faith in God, sincerely rely on God and look up to God, speak what is in my heart to God honestly, and pray to God for His guidance and help. God is faithful, so when we genuinely call out to God, He will lead and guide us in accordance with what we need. Think of when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. With the Red Sea in front and the Egyptian Pharaoh’s soldiers behind, they were on the horns of a dilemma. But when Moses genuinely prayed to and relied on God, a miracle happened: The Red Sea opened up and a dry land appeared in it, and then the Israelites got rid of the Egyptian soldiers. Likewise, when Joshua led the people of Israel back to Canaan, along the way, they were stranded outside of Jericho. Conventionally, they were unable to pass through it. However, when they called out to God urgently and followed God’s instruction to walk around the city for seven days, the walls of Jericho fell down. Finally, they conquered Jericho without losing a soldier. All of these facts conveyed an important message to us: God’s almightiness is everywhere, and is not affected by any person, event, thing, or objective factor; as long as we rely on God sincerely, He will be our help at any time. Just as the Bible says, “is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Psalms 18:2). After understanding these things, I felt I had more faith in God, and my resolve to cooperate with God became much greater.
Afterward, I prayed to God, “Oh, God! Confronted with the present difficulty, I’m not willing to be dependent on others anymore; I’m only willing to have faith in You, to sincerely depend on You, actually cooperate with You, and spare no effort to revise this plan. May You lead me!” After that, I picked up the plan again, and repeatedly contemplated it. When I met some questions I did not understand, I silently called on God and look to God in my heart, and then practically cooperated with God to refer to some materials. Gradually, my thoughts were clear and I also had some specific directions to revise the plan. Under God’s guidance, I revised it in just half a day before I knew it. At the moment I finished it, I truly experienced the feeling of joy of relying on God and looking to God. In the future, I will no longer be afraid of hardship and suffering, since I have found the secret of resolving difficulties; it is what God teaches us, “The greatest wisdom is to look to God and rely on God in all things.”
On that Saturday morning, I took the revised plan to the president. After she read it, she approved of me, saying that after my revision, there were highlights in it, and that my work efficiency was higher than my seniors’. Hearing her words, I silently thanked God in my heart. I knew that it was all because of God’s guidance that I could achieve such a result.
This experience caused me to see one fact clearly: If someone only chooses to draw back as long as he encounters difficulties, then such a person is too fragile; if someone takes this attitude of being passive, flinching, and turning away from difficulties, then such a person will accomplish nothing and will lose the testimony of a Christian. If we want to lead a free and liberated life and live confidently in righteousness, then we must magnify God in our heart, and have true faith in Him; and when we encounter matters, we should have a sober and steady heart, focus on relying on God to resolve problems. Meanwhile, I have truly experienced: Humans’ wisdom and inspiration is from God; it does not depend on whether or not we have caliber or a certain kind of aptitude. When we can rely on great faith to overcome the difficulty and do our utmost to cooperate with God, God will absolutely lead us through crisis after crisis.
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