By Baorong, US
I was born in the 80s. Our generation caught up with the peak of birth rate, the peak of job assignment for graduate and the peak of employment. Everyone wanted to get a good job after graduation. I got hired by a state-owned enterprise through my relative. I knew I had neither social nor work experience, so I tended to work harder than others. And I thought if I could get a bachelor’s degree, there would be even greater space for my personal development, so I used my spare time to go to the evening college. Later on, I found some of the people who joined the company at the same time as me were promoted to be group leaders in a short time. I wondered: Everyone comes to work at the same time and has no special performance. How can they get promoted? A colleague who had a good relationship with me told me privately afterward: “My fella, when can you succeed with your hard working? You don’t send gifts, will the leaders promote you?” His words made me understand one thing: The society is too realistic. If I want to stay in this industry, my only choice is to follow the social trends.
Since then, I often treated my superiors to dinner. At first I would not drink. Whenever I drank I got a blush on face, and began to vomit if I kept drinking; sometimes I got severe stomachache. But there was no choice for me. In order to please the superiors and build up good personal relationships, I had to continue drinking no matter how uncomfortable I was. Repeating like this over and over again, I couldn’t feel any worse. After a period of “hard work,” I was promoted to the group leader. As my work experience and social experience became more and more abundant, I was again promoted to the department manager. With the rise of status, I also became the object of the invitation of those new employees. My subordinates would also give me gifts. As the saying goes, “Receiving the money to ward off the disaster,” so I had to work for them since I took their money. Naturally, I would give them some help on business, which was often said as the “unspoken rules.” In order to gain a firm foothold in the company, I really bent on seeking compromises, and even lost my dignity.
In such an environment, my spirit had become increasingly sluggish. Every day I ate and drank late after work. I had no mind to work during the day. Even when I was working, I just went through the formalities. All in my mind were how to take care of these relationships, how to fawn on the superiors, how to deal with the things the lower-level staff asked me to do and so on. I was thinking of these things even during my sleep at night. My heart was so tired and I was in the low state of health. With every day’s excessive drinking coupled with irregular diet, it’s inevitable that I got hypertension, hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia eventually. At that time, though I was superficially well-off, the bitterness inside of my heart was only known to myself. This feeling exactly corresponded to the idiom: “Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.”
Later on, I met my wife. She is a Christian. When our child was over 1 year old, my wife told me that the environment in China was not good and she wanted to settle abroad for the sake of our child’s growth. But I was a little hesitant, thinking: If I go with them, it means I have to give up my current job and start everything from scratch. I am reluctant to give up such a huge income, as well as all my assets in the country. But before the choice of family and career, I chose my family at last. At that time I did not know, in fact, the hands ofhad quietly come to me …
When I came to the United States, I found a job as a restaurant apprentice. I worked 12 hours a day, cooking, cleaning, carrying goods. I had never done so much physical labor in my country and I felt overcharged. During that time when I got up in the morning, my hands were so swollen that I could not clench my fists. When I was at work, my colleague saw that I was only trying to do the superficial job and only meeting the speed by sacrificing the quality. He said bluntly, “Young man, you are too impatient to do work. Things cannot be done in a hurry. You must be down-to-earth.” As soon as I heard these words with a tone of aggressiveness, I felt that he looked down upon me. I said disapprovingly, “What’s wrong with that?” The colleague said to me, “You don’t want to listen to me now but it is good for you.” Although I did not make excuses for myself, I did not listen to him a bit either. I thought he was intentionally trying to make it hard for me. I thought: I come here to work, not to listen to your complaint. When I was back to home at night, lying in bed, I recalled the old days when I was working in China. All I had to do was commanding, then all the dirty and hard work would be done by the subordinates. When the superiors came, I would stand out and take the credits. But now the current situation has totally changed. I not only have to do all the dirty work but also have to take the blame when the work is not done well. These days are really … Alas! Thinking of this, my tears ran down involuntarily. My wife noticed my blue mood and asked me if I had any difficulties in my work. Then I poured out my bitterness to her. To my surprise, she did not comfort me but said, “If we didn’t do well at work and got complaints, we should accept first, then think about how to improve.” Hearing this, I couldn’t get angrier and thought: Are you the family of my colleague’s or mine? Why don’t you understand my difficulties at all and stand on the other side!
One day I came back from work, my wife sat down and talked with me for a while. Then she read me a paragraph of God’s words, “Where you will go every day, what you will do, who or what you will encounter, what you will say, what will happen to you——can any of this be predicted? People cannot foresee all these occurrences, much less control how these situations develop. In life, these unforeseeable events happen all the time; they are an everyday occurrence. These daily vicissitudes and the ways they unfold, or the patterns they follow, are constant reminders to humanity that nothing happens at random, that the process of each event’s occurrence, each event’s ineluctable nature, cannot be shifted by human will. Every occurrence conveys an admonition from the Creator to mankind, and it also sends the message that human beings cannot control their own fates. Every event is a rebuttal to humanity’s wild, futile ambition and desire to take its fate into its own hands.” Then she read a paragraph of sermons, “What are the will of God on the things that we encounter every day? God reminds us through these things: He hopes we can understand some truth, seek the truth and grasp the will of God, and finally we will learn how to face these things and how to deal with them. He also wants us to have a sense of responsibility, being capable to deal with things, and finally manage to face all things according to His words and the truth. Doesn’t God perfect us through these things? God perfects man through the truth so that we can gain the truth.”
My wife said, “Though we believe there is a God, our ancestors also said, ‘There is a spirit above us’ and ‘Heaven is watching while man is doing.’ If God does not reveal the mystery, none of us knows the fate of man is in the hands of God. Think about this: Could we imagine a few years ago that we will be living in the United States now? Or imagine what kind of environment we are going to face? Neither can we. Just as God’s words said, when and where we are, what we will do, who we will meet, what we will say are all under God’s arrangements, and God has His will in it. We must first have an obedient attitude to look at what God’s will is in this environment, and what lessons we need to learn. Evasion is not a right solution to the problem. If you don’t learn lessons in this environment, you may face the same problem next time. In fact, it is good for us to go through this environment now. God wants to save us by these things, leading us to learn to be human. Looking back to your previous work in mainland China, although you didn’t need to suffer a lot, what had you gained in the end? Nothing but emptiness and suffering in spirit. In that environment, the interpersonal relationships were full of life philosophies, disguise and deceit. You were envied by people, but it was a life corrupted by Satan and did not please God, and there was no God’s care and protection. Even if we gained the material enjoyment, fame and status, we had no real happiness and peace. We lived miserably everyday, and jeopardized our own body for socializing. Don’t you agree?”
Hearing my wife’s words, my heart gradually calmed down, no longer complaining about her as before. I felt that these words made sense. Indeed, I have never imaged that I will come to the United States starting a new life; how can we imagine what will happen here, what people we will meet? Aren’t all of these out of God’s arrangements? Later, at work, I always thought those words my wife read to me from time to time. But what I did not understand was that how to obey God’s arrangements. If God wants me to obey first in different circumstances, what should I do? What lesson does God ask me to learn?
A few days later, I saw brothers and sisters in my house when I came back from work. Seeing they were very sincere and kind, I sat down and talked about my current situation with them. I did not expect that brothers and sisters shared with me some of their experiences at work after they came to the United States. From the beginning, they also encountered some difficulties like me, but when they learned to rely on and obey God in these difficulties, they saw God’s deeds. They not only solved the problems but also learned a lot of lessons. When I heard this, I also felt that God’s deeds were wonderful and their sharing were helpful to me. However, I still did not know what to do with my own situation. So I asked, “I feel good about what you shared with me. I also believe in God, but I have never seen what God has done on me.”
Brothers and sisters then read me a paragraph of, “Job had not seen the face of God, or heard the words spoken by God, much less had he personally experienced the work of God, but his fear of God and testimony during his trials are witnessed by all, and they are loved, delighted in, and commended by God, and people envy and admire them, and, moreover, sing their praises. There was nothing great or extraordinary about his life: Just like any ordinary person, he lived an unremarkable life, going out to work at sunrise and returning home to rest at sunset. The difference is that during these several unremarkable decades, he gained an insight into the way of God, and realized and understood the great power and sovereignty of God, as no other person ever had. He was no cleverer than any ordinary person, his life was not especially tenacious, nor, moreover, did he have invisible special skills. What he did possess, though, was a personality that was honest, kind-hearted, upright, a personality which loved fairness and righteousness, and which loved positive things—none of which are possessed by most ordinary people. He differentiated between love and hate, had a sense of justice, was unyielding and persistent, and was diligent in his thoughts, and thus during his unremarkable time on earth he saw all the extraordinary things that God had done, and saw the greatness, holiness, and righteousness of God, he saw God’s concern, graciousness, and protection for man, and saw the honorableness and authority of the supreme God.”
After finishing reading, they shared: “Job had never seen God, nor had he heard God’s word, but he was able to see God’s wonderful deeds in his ordinary life, and had a real experience and understanding of the sovereignty of God, because Job regulated his principle of life under the precondition of seeking obedience to God; he pursued to be an honest and upright person and a man who fears God and shuns evil. At the same time, he was not affected by outsiders and the environment. He did not follow the evil trends of the world but upheld the principle of being a human being. He revered God only. Therefore, he realized that God had always been around man, caring, keeping and leading man, not absent for even one moment. In fact, God’s deeds are open to everyone. Then why can we not see them? Because in the past, we had never come before God to listen to His words. We lived under the domain of Satan, obeying Satan’s law of survival, philosophy of life, such as ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ ‘Officials do not make things difficult for those who bear gifts,’ ‘Nothing can be achieved without flattery.’ We lived for our position and interests, thus we departed from God and went our own way, not obedient to God’s sovereignty and arrangements. We were corrupted by Satan more and more deeply, and became more and more degenerate, how could we see God’s deeds?”
Listening to their fellowship, I suddenly understood: In the past my wife also had said behind the circumstances were God’s good intentions. Now I realize that leaving from my previous work was indeed God’s. Looking back, in order to maintain my privileges and personal interests, I was trapped in dealing with complicated relationships, always wanting to use some methods such as flattering to achieve my goals. Although my purpose had been achieved finally, I lived in anxiety every day. There were no peace or relaxation and my heart was particularly bitter and exhausted. If what I sought was really what God approved, I wouldn’t have to live so painfully. So I decided to restart my life in the future, learn to obey God’s arrangements and adapt to the environment as soon as possible.
Later on, I read a passage of God’s word, “One aspect is to do your duties; another is that young people must have a program for their lives. What do I mean by ‘program’? It means to know what you are doing during any time period in your life, to do what you’re supposed to be doing, to do things according to time, according to your plan, to be disciplined, to have rules and not to live free and easy, not to be dissipated. As soon as someone lives free and easy and is dissipated, doing whatever makes them happy, with no rules and no restrictions, then it’s over for them, and that kind of person is not able to accomplish anything. You believe in God, and it is not that God’s family has strict requirements of you. If you were in a company, or a work unit and you acted free and easy, and were always slovenly, taking two hours to do something that should take 10 minutes, going to have a drink of water while you’re supposed to be doing something, or going to the bathroom or going for a stroll, or having a chat with someone, then no one will want to hire you wherever you go, and no one will like you. Isn’t that right? What kind of person do people like normally? (People who work efficiently.) People who are efficient, credible and reliable in their actions, who are willing to pay the price, who get on with the job, who do things carefully, who can be trusted and who can take on responsibility—they are good people, good people who are up to the mark.” Thegave me the goal of being a human being. God wants me to be honest and act honestly, not to play tricks. He wants me to do things with regularity and plans; do what a real man should do practically; be responsible to my work so that people can trust me. A real good man is like this. Comparing with the word of God, I thought the suggestions my colleague gave me were right. I did not do my work well. If I could be serious and responsible in my work, why would others still blame me? In the past, I just enjoyed the benefit of status and did nothing practical in my work. Now that I have come to the United States and started all over again, I have to give up my former law of survival and be an honest man as God requires. I will do my daily work earnestly and take responsibilities for what I need to do, obey the people, events and things that God arranges for me. Although I cannot fully understand God’s will now, I believe what God does is good and I will just experience by relying on Him!
One day my boss went to purchase goods. It was a holiday, so there were more goods to be stored than usual. When the goods arrived, they needed to be unloaded from the truck, and then moved to the warehouse in the basement. Moving back and forth like this several times, I began to complain in my heart: Why don’t you buy them earlier or later but just when I am on duty. And there are so many goods, after finishing moving these goods I will use up my strength. How am I supposed to continue to work? If only someone asks me to cook at this time, so that I will not have to do this. Thinking of this, I immediately realized that my intentions were wrong. I wanted to be lazy and slipped away again. I said to myself in my heart: Don’t I say I will obey the environment that God gives me? Haven’t I determined to change my principles of doing things? I’m not practicing them at all. So I prayed to God in my heart, “God, I cannot even obey such a small circumstance, but I still keep saying that I will change. I am deceiving You. God, please help me betray my own negative thoughts, so that I am able to obey You and act according to Your words.” After praying, it was wonderful that my heart no longer seemed to be so disobedient. I quickly unloaded the goods into the warehouse.
In this way, I began to learn how to experience in daily environment relying on God. When my colleagues gave me some suggestions, I still had some resistance in my heart. However, I thought that this circumstance was God’s arrangement for me. I must first accept and obey it, and then think over their suggestions. Afterward, I did see what others said was really where I need to be corrected. I also tried to do things in a serious and responsible manner, unlike my old superficial ways of dealing with things. As I changed my attitude toward things, I did everything in the restaurant more and more smoothly. What I did first and what next were very regular each day. I also gradually became half-experienced then an expert from an apprentice. Things were getting done faster with quality. Seeing my changes, my boss showed approval of my being responsible and reassuring. He promoted me to manage all the work in the kitchen. I knew these were God’s deeds. God had been leading me to learn how to be a man and how to do things all the way along. I felt God was by my side. It’s so nice to live this way. Thank God!
Some time ago, after contacting my former colleagues in mainland China, I learned that after my departure, the personnel of the company made another major adjustment. Some of the employees got promoted, some were demoted, others just resigned. In a word, everyone of them was exhausted. I suddenly felt that bringing me out of that environment was really God’s protection for me, otherwise, I would still be trapped in those complicated interpersonal relationships, engaging in the philosophy of life and doing things by deception, and did not know how to live. At that time, though everything looked good from appearance, I was far from God’s keeping and living in Satan’s trickery and affliction. Though I have to work hard nowadays, I can live according to the word of God. I feel extremely relaxed and relieved in my heart. God’s deeds are so fantastic! I have found a different sky when obeying God’s sovereignty and relying on Him! Thanks be to Almighty God!