At almost 5 p.m. on a Tuesday in December, some workers and I took our boss’ car back from the construction site. Arriving at the restaurant not far away from my home, I got out of the car. In the dim light of streetlights, snow was flying in the northwester. It was so cold that I couldn’t help but raise my collar and draw my head. I was anxious to go home because I was going to attend a meeting at night.
“Hey, buddy, where are you going?” my boss shouted to me.
“Ah, go home.” I answered.
“On such a cold day, why do you rush home? Let’s go to the restaurant and have a drink.” As saying, he came to catch my arm and pulled me to the restaurant.
“Sir, I have something to do, so I … I have to go home.” I faltered.
“What can you do if you go home now? I have booked a table for dinner by phone. At least think about your follower’s men if not yourself.” I turned my head back to look at those workers who got out of the car and each of them looked at me miserably. I knew if I didn’t go in, they wouldn’t, either.
I looked up to the direction of my home which was about five hundred meters away. But in the dark night, I could see nothing clearly.
“Maybe the elderly brother won’t come on such a cold day.” I thought in my heart.
Then I looked at those workers before me, saying helplessly, “All right, let’s go in.”
Seeing the workers filed in, I shook my head, and with a bitter laugh, I followed them into the restaurant.
We were familiar with the owner. He personally led us to a room and turned on the air conditioning, and the room became warm in a little while.
The service here was impeccable, and for a moment, dinner was served and the table groaned with food and drinks. Every worker with a glass of wine gave a toast to my boss and me conventionally, and I symbolically raised my glass. Before, this transparent liquid with aroma was inviting, but now I lost my appetite. I took a sip, but it was so hot that it choked me.
After a few drinks, those workers devoured the food ravenously and acted like a fool, as if they were starving ghosts reborn. As to my boss, his eyes travelled around the beautiful waitresses lustfully. Looking at all this, I frowned and felt very uncomfortable in my heart, with a suffocating feeling. At that time, I couldn’t help thinking of the brothers and sisters who attended the meetings with me. Each of them was dignified and upright, as well as elegant and graceful. When I got along with them, we were simple and open, and were honest with each other; if we met problems, we would fellowship God’s words to solve them. We helped and supported each other; besides, we sang and danced together to praise God and felt very happy. I felt that I finally had found the life that I wanted to live.
The northwester blew on the windows, which creaked slightly, and the windows had steamed up that I couldn’t see clear the outside. We were eating and drinking in the warm room where the air conditioner showed 25 degrees Celsius; by contrast, it blew a freezing cold wind outside.
Then, I thought of the brother: Has he come yet? Maybe not. His home is 7.5 km away from here. He had to travel long distances on such a cold day, maybe he won’t come. With this, I comforted myself, trying to relieve my sense of guilt. But I thought: In the past, he came to meet with me continuously no matter how fierce the weather was. If he has come on such a cold day, where can he go? If only he could come in my home to get warm. Then I thought about my family: What a family! My daughter works in Japan, and my wife lives an extravagant and dissipated life, goes to the card party and the nightclub every night, and won’t come back home until 10 o’clock at night. Alas! When I was poor, I expected to live a good life. However, after being rich, it seems we live better, but there is no common language among us three.
Only those who believe in God are a real family. They have the guidance of God’s words, can live out the likeness of a true human, and bear witness to God. Despite nasty weather, they perform their duties without hesitation. These brothers and sisters who pursue the truth can do so because they have God and have love in their heart. The brother is one of them.
“He must have come! He must have come!” I felt a hasty voice in my heart was rushing me. A hymn ofoccurred to me, “In the course of real experience, people who are able to stand witness, who are able to stay the course and stand on God’s side, who never retreat, who are able to have normal relationships with those that love God, who obey God completely when faced with problems and even obey unto death, have the truth” (“Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs”). I felt indebted and upset. I should have attended the meeting and worshiped God tonight, but I was eating and drinking here, and couldn’t stand witness to God. What I lived out was all the image of Satan. Suddenly, I felt a strong sense of guilt and indebtedness. Feeling pain in my heart, I couldn’t stay here anymore. Then I took my leave of my boss and those workers in a hurry. In their shocked sight, I went out the room, and left the restaurant that kept me from rest. I rushed home.
It was very cold outside. The northwester roared and the snow got into my clothes. I subconsciously drew my head and raised my collar. I breathed on my hands, and put them into my pockets, and then walked toward home stumblingly.
While walking, I thought: Has the brother come? On such a cold night, he’d better not come, and thus I can feel some relieved in my heart; if he does come, my conscience will feel uneasy.
Afar off, I made out a figure moving in front of my home. Walking nearer, I saw a man with a slight stoop stamping his feet and rubbing his hands. Wasn’t he the brother? In a moment, I couldn’t tell my feeling, bursting into tears of excitement and indebtedness. After a short pause, I picked up the pace immediately, running to him.
At that moment, a passage of God’s word rang in my ears, “Man walked through the ages with God, yet man knows not that God rules the fate of all things and living beings or how God orchestrates and directs all things. This is something that has eluded man since time immemorial to the present day. As for the reason why, it is not because the ways of God are too elusive, or because the plan of God has yet to be realized, but because the heart and spirit of man are too distant from God. Therefore, even as man follows God, he unknowingly remains in the service of Satan” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”).
Thinking about myself, I toiled every day, because I had always believed these most famous phrases of Satan, “One’s destiny is in his own hand” and “building a beautiful homeland with your own two hands.” As a result, although believing in God, I was still bound by the toxins of Satan. I ran myself into the ground for the sake of money, fame and gain, and wearily attended all kinds of feasts and social events every day, being sucked more deeply in Satan’s tricks. I felt my heart was too distant from God. However, His love moved me silently all the time, which made me feel very warm and also greatly guilty on the cold snowy night. I experienced God’s profound love and salvation; He couldn’t bear to abandon me and was responsible for my life. Besides, God’s love also moved the brother so that he came to support and water me on a cold night. I couldn’t fail to live up to God’s good intentions anymore. I should be like those brothers and sisters to repay God’s love. I secretly prayed to God to offer up my loyalty to His work.
The stooped figure in the snow at that night often occurred to me. What the brother brought to me was a spiritual baptism in my road of believing in God.
That day was a milestone in my life. Since then, I have joined the ranks of preachingand fulfilled my duty as a creature.