Don’t Lose Heart! Setback Is Cornerstone of Spiritual Growth

By Xiaoya, Canada

“Ring …” The phone rang, and it was one of my friends. She invited me to dine together at her home and I agreed readily. Then I packed up and went out by bicycle. I rode along the path which I often passed through, for it was the shortest way to her home. From afar I saw there were some barriers on the path in front of me. When I slowly came nearer, I found that in fact, a constructional force was mending the path. Then I looked to the right and saw there was a wall and no path to walk on; I looked to the left and saw there was a lawn, on which the construction workers were setting some construction objects, and it was hard for me to cross the lawn. I thought to myself: The path is under construction. What shall I do? Shall I go forward or go back? Just when I was wavering, one of the workers greeted me and motioned to me to walk through the open space of the lawn. I nodded, and then pushing my bicycle, I detoured the barriers and rode forward. However, before I rode much further, I had seen someone walking in front of me. The path was not wide, so in order not to knock him, I stopped to push my bicycle and walked forward. After passing him, I rode my bicycle to go forward again. But before I rode further, I had found there was a piece of wood blocking my way forward. I had no choice but to stop and remove the wood, and then carried forward. At last, I arrived at my friend’s home at the agreed time.

Thinking of the things which happened on the path, I couldn’t help but sigh: During such a short journey from my home to my friend’s, I should meet with these setbacks. Similarly, is the path of life not bumpy like this? Many of us want to walk along a smooth path, and hope that we will live peaceful and smooth lives and that there will be no hindrance or obstacle in our studies, careers, future prospects and family lives. However, who can control all of this? Many events are often beyond our expectations, and also make us feel that we cannot control all these occurrences and ramifications at all. It’s just like I couldn’t imagine that the path, which had been always smooth, would be under construction and that there would be some barriers blocking my way forward on this path. However, when we meet these difficulties, many of us will hesitate, not knowing whether to advance or go back, and there are also many times when we don’t know how to face these things. For example, students all want to succeed academically and be famous and successful. However, when falling to pass the examination unexpectedly, they will hesitate over whether to continue to study in the school or not. Many of them will even become dispirited and mired in defeat after failing the college entrance examination. For another example, those who undertake a career all want to realize their ambitions and enjoy the happiness from fame and fortune. However, when unexpectedly running up against a wall in their careers, they will also hesitate over whether to give up or continue their struggle. In the meantime, some of them will become frustrated and hang a leg for they can’t undergo failure. And still for another example, some people only wish to have conjugal affection and a happy family. However, what they wish often can’t be fulfilled because of some unforeseen things. … It’s just as a hymn of God’s word says, “In their lifetime, no person knows what kind of setbacks they’re going to encounter, nor do they know what kind of refinement they will be subject to. For some it’s in their work, for some it’s in their future prospects, for some it’s in their family of origin, and for some it’s in their marriage.

road

So, when these unexpected things happen, with what kind of attitude will it be correct for us to face these things? God’s words say: “These daily vicissitudes and the ways they unfold, or the patterns by which they play out, are constant reminders to humanity that nothing happens at random, that these things’ ramifications, and their inevitability, cannot be shifted by human will. … From these daily vicissitudes to the fates of entire human lives, there is nothing that does not reveal the Creator’s plans and His sovereignty; there is nothing that does not send the message that ‘the Creator’s authority cannot be exceeded,’ that does not convey the eternal truth that ‘the Creator’s authority is supreme.’” “When confronting real-life problems, how should you know and understand God’s authority and His sovereignty? When you do not know how to understand, handle, and experience these problems, what attitude should you adopt to show your intention, your desire, and your reality of submitting to God’s sovereigntyand arrangements? First you must learn to wait; then you must learn to seek; then you must learn to submit. ‘Waiting’ means waiting for the time of God, awaiting the people, events, and things that He has arranged for you, waiting for His will to gradually reveal itself to you. ‘Seeking’ means observing and understanding God’s thoughtful intentions for you through the people, events, and things that He has laid out, understanding the truth through them, understanding what humans must accomplish and the ways they must keep, understanding what results God means to achieve in humans and what accomplishments He means to attain in them. ‘Submitting,’ of course, refers to accepting the people, events, and things that God has orchestrated, accepting His sovereignty and, through it, coming to know how the Creator dictates man’s fate, how He supplies man with His life, how He works the truth into man. All things under God’s arrangements and sovereignty obey natural laws, and if you resolve to let God arrange and dictate everything for you, you should learn to wait, you should learn to seek, you should learn to submit. This is the attitude that every person who wants to submit to God’s authority must take, the basic quality that every person who wants to accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements must possess.” I thought: In all unforeseen things, what we should learn the most is to wait, to seek and to submit, just like the saying “Let’s play it by ear” that we often speak of. Because besides God, none of us can control any happening or its law of development. Only by choosing to obey God can we calmly face the ups and downs, and the disappointments and frustrations in life.

In fact, not only will we be faced with difficulties and setbacks in the pursuit of our studies and careers, we will also encounter different kinds of difficulties and temptations on the path of belief in God. Sometimes we will be mocked and reviled by others in the gospel, sometimes we will encounter obstruction and persecution from our unbelieving families, and even sometimes we will have to choose from job, money and God. Because of these, we ever hesitated, lost courage, and hoped that God could quickly move these adversities away. But when things backfired on us, we would still become negative and regress, not knowing how to go forward. Actually, at such times we can find the ways of practice from God’s word, that is, we should first learn to wait, and then learn to seek and obey. During the time of seeking and obeying, we will reap more gains that can’t be reaped in a comfortable environment. I recalled my father, who started believing in God a few years earlier than me. In order to bring more good people that were willing to believe in God before God and let them get the chance to be saved by God, my father confidently went to preach the gospel to my uncles. However, they repaid him with insults and cold-shoulder. Faced with the misunderstandings from them, he was very weak and negative. Yet under the guidance of God’s word as well as with the brothers and sisters’ fellowship and help, he understood God’s urgency to save man and knew that God wanted to perfect his faith and perseverance in practical difficulties. Therefore, he saw through Satan’s scheme and no longer shrank back because of the difficulties in front of him. Meanwhile, he regained the faith and continued to cooperate with God and preach the gospel to more people. After suffering the derision and persecution, he had a closer relationship with God and a greater resolution to satisfy God. In fact, on the path of believing in God, there still will be lots of trials, refinements and sufferings accompanying us. But since we recognize God to be the truth and recognize this way to be the true way, we should believe in and follow God to the end. Although there will be hardships and frustrations on the path, we don’t lose heart, for every time after we experience one hardship, our entry into life will reach a new level. The hardship and frustration will increase our confidence and build our willpower. Finally, after suffering these, we will become the ones who have a new life and the ones who are perfected and gained by God.

The Bible says, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zechariah 13:9). Almighty God says, “Since you are certain that this way is true, you must follow it until the end; you must maintain your devotion to God. Since you have seen that God Himself has come to the earth to perfect you, you should give your heart entirely to Him. No matter what He does, even if He determines an unfavorable outcome for you at the very end, you can still follow Him. This is maintaining your purity in front of God. Offering a holy spiritual body and a pure virgin to God means keeping a heart of sincerity in front of God. For mankind, sincerity is purity, and being able to be sincere toward God is maintaining purity.

I am willing to entrust my life’s journey to God’s hands. Similarly, on the path to believing in God, I am willing to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Though I may encounter lots of hardships and setbacks, I won’t be afraid with God accompanying me all the way. With the guidance of God’s words, I will surely live under God’s blessing and protection. Thank God! All the glory be to God!

Maybe you also like to read: 3 Aspects of Knowledge of God to Be God-fearing Person

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