Gains From A Score of 73
The final examination was coming. I didn’t worry about my other subjects. However, at the thought of organic chemistry, my worst subject, I felt very anxious. I always wondered how to improve my mark in this subject. If obtaining a low mark in chemistry, I was afraid that my overall achievement would slide. If failing my chemistry examination, I would get more troubles. Desperate, it occurred to me that I had believed in God. God is possessed of authority and has power to dominate over all. I believed that I surely would get a good result by relying on God. Hence, I really studied hard while relying on Him. In class, I took notes when listening to my teacher. To have a solid memory for my notes, I prayed to God, asking Him to strengthen my memory and make me commit the knowledge to memory. And I finished up my home assignments from my teacher carefully. Seeing my roommates playing games, I also wanted to do that to relax myself after a day at study. Yet, I thought if I didn’t do that, but read more God’s words, then God certainly would help me get a good mark in this subject when seeing my “cooperation.” For this reason, I spared my time for playing games to see God’s words. When it came time to attend a meeting, I saw my classmates reviewing their lessons. As I was not good at this subject, I might get a dim result in the end if spending less time than others in reviewing lessons. So I didn’t want to attend the meeting. But then I thought: If I attend the meeting, God will certainly accept me. It will be much better that I get God’s blessings in my examination, than that I review by rote here. Consequently, I gave up my review without the slightest hesitation, and decided to first attend the meeting to “satisfy God.”
Before I knew it, the time arrived for the final examination. When thinking of my efforts in this subject and my “cooperation” with God these days, I felt at peace, and believed that this time God would certainly bless me with a good result. On the day I took the examination, I walked toward the examination room with singing a song. I sat calmly in a seat, and prayed to God silently in my heart, “O God! I entrust my examination to You. May You lead me to get a good result. Thank You God.” As time passed one second and one minute at a time, I did my work without difficulty in the previous part, but I was stuck on the last question. In fact, I had seen this question when reviewing lessons. However, I couldn’t remember it at the time. There was shorter and shorter time left before the examination being over. I was even more worried, with my heart thumping violently. Just then, I thought of God, and so I hurried to call out to God silently in my heart, “O, God! Please help me answer this question.” After praying, my heart calmed down little by little. A few moments later, I really remembered a little, and then I wrote it down quickly. I was overjoyed, and repeatedly thanked God for His guidance.
A week later, the result came out. My classmates all searched for their marks on the Internet. When hearing their high or low marks, I still felt somewhat nervous. However, thinking of my “cooperation” with God these days, like persisting in reading God’s words and attending meetings, I was sure that God had blessed me with a good result. In addition, God had led me to answer the last question, so my mark could not be too low. With this in my mind, I confidently went to check my marks on the Internet, but only to find I scored 73. I was stunned, and couldn’t help but exclaim, “73? How come I scored so low?” At that time, I was dumb, and spontaneously doubted in my heart: Why do I get such a low mark? Could it be that my teacher made a mistake? No, it couldn’t be. My teacher usually sets a low standard for this kind of examination. Then I thought: I’ve been drawing close to God frequently these days, but how can I receive such a result? Why didn’t God bless me? I could not help feeling particularly depressed.
After coming back to my dormitory, I heard my classmate playing games every day say, “I got 75. I merely reviewed a little. It’s so easy. Before I feared that I would fail.” At his words, I could no longer restrain my grievances and complaints: Why could he get a higher mark than me without reviewing every day? How could I get such a low mark? Why didn’t God help me? The more I thought of it, the more I felt miserable and distressed. My heart couldn’t quiet down for a long time. I then remembered that at our usual gatherings my brothers and sisters fellowshiped that we should first practice obedience and not complain when encountering unfavorable things, and that God observes everything. Thereupon, I prayed to God silently in my heart, “O God, this time I didn’t do it well in the test. I feel very distressed now. I cannot see clearly what Your will is with regard to this matter. Please enlighten and guide me to understand Your will, so that I won’t complain anymore.”
In a meeting, I told my brothers and sisters this matter. They found a passage of God’s words for me, “What is the problem with people always making demands of God? And what is the problem with them always having conceptions about God? What is contained within people’s nature? I’ve discovered that, regardless of what happens to them, or what they’re dealing with, people always protect their own interests and look out for their own flesh, and they always look for reasons or excuses that serve them. They are without the slightest truth, and everything they do is in order to justify their own flesh and in consideration of their own prospects. They all claim grace from God, trying to gain whatever advantage they can. And why do they make excessive demands of God? This proves that people are naturally greedy. They are not possessed of any sense before God, and in everything they do—whether they are praying or communing or preaching—in what they pursue, and in their inner thoughts and their desires, they make demands of God and claim things from Him, hoping to gain something from Him” (“People Make Too Many Demands of God”). After reading these words, a sister said, “Since we were corrupted by Satan, there has been the selfish and base disposition of Satan within us, and thereby we become more and more selfish, avaricious. No matter what we do, we always have our own purposes, and make plenty of demands of God. We always hope to have God satisfy everything we need. Even when we read God’s words, pray to Him, and have meetings during normal times, we still conduct transactions with Him. And we always want to exchange our own efforts for God’s blessings. Isn’t it that we lack sense in what we do? It’s natural and right for God’s creations to obey the Creator. Because you didn’t do well in your examination this time, you made complaints to God. Isn’t it our disobedience to God? Faced with this matter, we should seek the truth, and reflect on ourselves to examine which of our actions are not in accord with God’s will.”
God’s words and the sister’s fellowship made me feel rebuked in my heart, and also aroused my reflections. I could not but think back to that time. On the surface, I prayed and was close to God every day. While my classmates were playing games, I read God’s words. And when they seized the time to review lessons, I took time out to attend meetings. … It seemed that these outward actions were satisfying God. In fact, there were my own purposes behind them. I did so in order to gain a good result from God, not to worship Him with a true heart. Not only that, because my intentions were wrong, whenever praying to God, I always made demands of Him, rather than gave my heart to Him and said what was in my heart, or sought the truth from God and understood His will. And every time I skimmed through God’s words briefly, instead of focusing my mind on pondering the truth in them. In addition, at every meeting, I just went through the formalities in a hurry: Although sitting there, yet I wished the meeting would end early and wanted to come back to review my lessons. … There was no part of me that was satisfying God in these deceptive practices, but I took them as a bargaining chip for gaining God’s blessings and unreasonably demanded Him for a good result. In my examination, when I worked the last question out, I was delighted and thanked God. However, when seeing my score of 73, I began to reason with God, and even complained against Him. I saw that I indeed had no conscience or sense, and that as it was revealed by God’s words, what I had done and said was just—conducting transactions with Him in order to gain His blessings. In thinking about this, immediately, I felt ashamed and really too indebted to God.
After that, the sister read another passage ofto me, “Job did not talk of trades with God, and made no requests or demands of God. His praising of was because of the great power and authority of God in ruling all things, and was not dependent on whether he gained blessings or was struck by disaster. He believed that regardless of whether God blesses people or brings disaster upon them, God’s power and authority will not change, and thus, regardless of a person’s circumstances, God’s name should be praised. That man is blessed by God is because of God’s sovereignty, and when disaster befalls man, so, too, is it because of God’s sovereignty. God’s power and authority rule over and arrange everything of man; the vagaries of man’s fortune are the manifestation of God’s power and authority, and regardless of one’s viewpoint, God’s name should be praised. This is what Job experienced and came to know during the years of his life. All of Job’s thoughts and actions reached the ears of God, and arrived before God, and were seen as important by God. God cherished this knowledge of Job, and treasured Job for having such a heart. This heart awaited God’s command always, and in all places, and no matter what the time or place it welcomed whatever befell him. Job made no demands of God. What he demanded of himself was to wait for, accept, face, and obey all of the arrangements that came from God; Job believed this to be his duty, and it was precisely what was wanted by God” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II”).
I was encouraged and heartened greatly by Job’s experiences. Job feared God and shunned evil, and never talked of trades with God. When his vast property had been stolen, when his whole body had been covered with sore boils, he did not complain about God or argue with Him although not knowing His intentions. Because he knew: He was just a creation. God is the Creator. As a created being, worshiping God is the natural course, not the capital with which he conducted transactions with God for His blessings. From his lifetime of experiences, Job attained to the realization, “As a created being, he should obey the Creator’s arrangements in all circumstances. Man is not qualified to reason with God. Whatever God gives or takes away depends on God, and He must be praised.” Comparing myself with Job and thinking about myself, I felt more ashamed. I had believed in God for many years, but I didn’t realize that reading God’s word, attending meetings, and praying to Him are what a created being should do, and that no matter whether He blesses me, I should worship Him, and should obey His sovereignty more. Now, from God’s words, I found the right way of practice. And I also knew that I should put obeying God first in everything: Regardless of whether I am faced with a good matter or not, I no longer consider my own benefit or measure it according to my conceptions, but wait, accept, and obey.
When I was willing to obey, I knew that my classmate who often played games had learned this subject in high school. Although he did not study hard before the examination, he knew many of the questions in the test papers. However, I had never learned the subject before. Therefore, due to my weak foundation, it was normal for me to get a low mark. After knowing this, I felt guiltier in my heart. But for God’s blessings and His allowing me to answer the last question, maybe I would have failed this subject. Yet, I actually complained against God unreasonably. I really was too lacking in common sense. After understanding this, my knot in my mind was undone completely.
When thinking of my practical experience of God’s work and my fellowship with brothers and sisters in that period of time, I understood God’s intentions, and knew I should believe in God without conducting transactions with Him or making demands of Him. And I also knew only pursuing the truth and obeying God is most significant. I could never gain this in class. At the moment, my heart was full of gratitude and praise to God, and I no longer agonized about whether I would score high or low.
When I sat in the examination room again, I prayed to God in my heart, “O God! Today, I no longer lay stress on how high I will score. No matter what the result is, I’ll be willing to accept it, and face it with equanimity.” After praying, my heart was very calm. During my test, I relied on God at all times. I still was quite calm after the exam. When the result was announced, to my surprise, I got 86. This test was more difficult than the last one, but I got a better result in this test. I knew it was because of God’s blessings. Thanks be to God! Through this experience, I had some gains: I should have reason, and only by obeying God’s arrangements in everything can my heart be at peace and reassured.
Xiaomo, Hunan Province