By Liang Xin
The cafe resounded with a piece of sweet classical music. In a compartment Ming’en was having a little gathering with three long-lost classmates. Looking at her well-dressed and imposing classmates, Ming’en admired them so much. She used to pursue to be successful and to live a rich and happy life like them, but her dreams were all shattered, so she was sad about her bad fate.
After a small talk, they began to tell about their lives respectively. Shujun, a doctor, said to another classmate with concern, “Linyu, please don’t do anything stupid anymore. You took a handful of sleeping pills that night and were sent to our hospital. I was just on duty at that time. I was very surprised at seeing you. We hadn’t seen each other for a long time, but I had never expected that we would meet like that….” Hearing this, the others all looked at Linyu in surprise and with care. In a low voice, Linyu said, “Alas! Maybe you think I’m rich and externally respectable now, but who could know the bitterness behind it? When I married my husband, we were very poor. We frequently quarreled for money. I naively assumed that we could live a happy life if we had money. So we started from scratch by the sweat of our brow, and after several years, we indeed earned some money, but he divorced me in the end. I really couldn’t withstand such a blow so I did that.” She finished speaking with a lump in her throat and the others spoke a few comforting words. Shujun sighed with feeling and said, “Life is full of disappointments. I achieve academic success, have a stable job. I am well-off materially, but I have problems in educating my child. I want him to study hard to have a good future, but no matter what I do, he just doesn’t listen. What’s more, he becomes very rebellious and regards me as his enemy. Thus, I often worry about his future …” Xinyun, who was extroverted, responded, “You don’t need to worry about money and material life, but have other troubles and pains, while I am busy with repaying the housing loan. People around me all bought big houses and I was envious of them. Thus, I also bought one with a bank loan. However, from then on I became a real mortgage slave. To repay the loan, I run a small supermarket. I work from morning to night without any day off just to be able to live hand to mouth. If I had known this, I wouldn’t have bought the house.”
As Ming’en listened to them complaining of their respective difficulties, all sorts of feelings welled up in her mind. Thinking of her own misfortunes, Ming’en said, “At first, I wanted to change my destiny through knowledge so as to lead a happy life. After the senior high school entrance examination in that year, I waited for the letter of acceptance at home, but when I got it, I had missed the registration time. As a result, I missed the senior high school, so I had to turn to my well-off aunt who promised to send me to a self-pay school. At her home I worked as a housemaid, shopping, doing laundry, cooking meals, and taking my little cousin to and from school every day. I worked hard for a year, but she didn’t fulfill her promise. With the dissatisfaction with my aunt, I went to another city to work, wishing to lead a happy life through my own efforts. After years of hard work, I ran a small shop. I thought I was closer to my dream, but my shop shut down just one year later because of poor management. After getting married, I thought my dream would come true with my husband’s assistance, but unexpectedly, we quarreled for trifles every day, which brought me more stress, instead of a happy life.” …
Ming’en chatted with her classmates very late that night. Afterward, thinking of their miserable lives, she wondered: Everybody wants his own happy life and makes efforts for it, but why is the reality so cruel that the happy life is always far from us, and much more, what we have are pain and helplessness?
Ming’en had been looking for the answer for some time before she believed in God and read God’s words saying: “Because people do not recognize God’s orchestrations and God’s sovereignty, they always face fate defiantly, with a rebellious attitude, and 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; they are thwarted at every turn. This struggle, which takes place deep in one’s soul, is painful; the pain is unforgettable; and all the while one is frittering away one’s life. 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 because of the paths people take, the ways people choose to live their lives” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). From God’s words, Ming’en suddenly understood: The root of man’s miserable life is that he doesn’t recognize God’s sovereignty, always seeking to change his destiny through his efforts. Ming’en recalled the talk with her classmates: Linyu wasn’t satisfied with living an ordinary life with her husband, planning to earn more money and lead a happy life through their own efforts. Though she indeed earned much money, her family was broken, and she was living in pain. Although Shujun’s family and work were going smoothly, she always wanted to change her child’s fate by herself, using every means to push her child to study. As a result, her child became more and more rebellious, but she could do nothing about it. Thus, she also lived in pain. In order to live in an expensive new house, Xinyun took out a loan. With the heavy burden of repaying it, she had to work hard every day, and now she was filled with complaints. Then Ming’en thought of herself: I wanted to fulfill my wish of distinguishing myself by studying, but I had to discontinue my studies; then I wanted to change my fate with the help of my rich relative, but I failed again; later, I wanted to hew out a career by relying on my own capabilities to realize the goal of becoming outstanding, but unexpectedly, my shop shut down because of bad management; finally, I transferred my hope to my husband, planning to change the existing conditions with our joint efforts. As a result, not only did my dream not come true, but we were incompatible and complaining about each other. The reason we mankind lived so miserably was not that we were born unlucky, but that we always wanted to cast off God’s authority and to live the life we like by our own efforts. When our wishes didn’t come true, our hearts were filled with complaints and sorrow, which made us live in pain. From the experiential facts, Ming’en more and more confirmed that though everyone was able to plan his future, one couldn’t control or change his fate. Because God says: “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 …” (“The Seventy-fourth Utterance”). Actually, before we came into the world, the Creator has already arranged everything for each person, such as what kind of family one is born in, how much wealth one will have, what one will experience throughout his life, and how one will leave this world. If we want to live happily, the only way is to obey His sovereignty and arrangements. Understanding this, Ming’en was released in her heart and was willing to obey God’s orchestration and arrangements.
Afterward, she saw another passage: “Inare the words ‘Rejoice ever more. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks’ (1Ts 5:16-18). Rejoicing ever more, is this easy to achieve? This must be put into practice, you must make it into reality. Praying without ceasing—this is a source of, and path to, rejoicing ever more, and in this you will be able to give thanks in every thing. When you have joy and know thankfulness, when you know that all God does is good, and know how much grace you have gained from God, and how many blessings you have gained from Him, then you will know to be thankful to God. Only when you have a heart such as this, and knowledge such as this, will you be able to truly obey God, have love for God in your heart, be satisfied, and know to obey all of the environments arranged by God” (“Only With the Truth as Their Life Can People Live a Life of Value”). Ming’en realized: Joy comes from a thankful heart. We should give thanks in each thing, for when we have a thankful heart, we will be satisfied and will obey God. And we will know all God arranged for us is good and won’t complain anymore. Ming’en recalled Job, who obeyed God’s sovereignty and arrangements throughout his life. No matter God stripped him or blessed him, he didn’t complain at all but absolutely obeyed God. Thus, he died full of days. Ming’en took Job as an example, and she would like to experience the words in her real life. When she practiced keeping a peace and thankful heart, she found she complained less and had smile on her face, because she understood that all God does is good.
Once, Ming’en had something to do and she passed by a clothing factory ran by her friend. Seeing the factory become larger and larger, she was envious: If only I had such a factory. Immediately, she realized this idea came from her dissatisfaction with God’s arrangements, and she remembered the words she read before: “Rejoice ever more. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks.” Gradually, she calmed down. Whether my friend’s business is good or not, and how much wealth she has are ordained by God. Though I am not well-off materially, I am enjoying the rich supply of God too: breathing the air God bestowed, enjoying the sunlight, the rain and dew. What’s more, I am enjoying the truth and life bestowed by God, and am enjoying the chance to experience God’s words, work and know the Creator. Ming’en knows this is the happiest life, which is more valuable and meaningful than having any wealth in the world.
You may be interested in this article: True Happiness Is Not About Enjoying Good Material Life
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