By Wang Zhi
“The Foolish Old Man Removes the Mountains” is a well-known ancient Chinese fable about an old man who was determined to dig away the two mountains in front of his house despite the impossibility of the task. Today, I’d like to tell a modern version of the story.
There was once a young man who lived in an isolated mountain village. A great mountain lay right in front of his house, making his travel very inconvenient. Whenever he went out, he had to take a path around it. Afterward, he got married and had three sons. As time went by, the young man turned old and frail, while his sons all grew up to be successful. The first son became a builder, the second one worked in business, and the third one was in charge of a logistics team. The only constant was the mountain in front of the house. Every time the old man traveled, he hobbled all the way circumventing the mountain. … One day, an idea suddenly occurred to the old man, so he called his three sons, saying that he wanted to have the mountain removed. Hearing that, his sons all advised him to give up the idea and live with them in the city. But the old man said, “I won’t go to the city, for I’ve already been used to the life in the village. The air is fresh, and there is no noise. The only problem is the mountain that stands in the way.” After discussion, the three sons decided to fulfill their father’s wish since they were capable of that. Then, the first son dispatched front-end loaders and excavators to the site, the second one paid the money, and the third one mobilized his logistics team. Having got everything prepared, they broke ground on the project. Instantly, the machines rumbled and kicked dust into the air. After a few months of operation, a 10-plus-meter-wide road was cut through the mountain and paved with asphalt. Besides, a pavilion was built in the yard, and the house looked literally like a villa. The old man was overwhelmed with joy as he saw the sight before him.
One day, high winds ripped through the newly built road to the house of the old man, sand smashing against the glass with noises. Immediately, the pavilion in the yard was blown askew, and the tiles were torn off the roof of the house. … After the wind passed, the onetime villa was left in ruins. The old man cried out in confusion, “Heavens! What did I do wrong? Why did this befall me? I’d never come across anything like this before. What’s going on?”
Why did this happen to the old man? God has given us the answer in His words. He says: “So what use is the mountain here? Is it somewhat like a filter for the wind? (Yes.) The mountain takes the fierce wind and cuts it down into what? (A slight breeze.) Into a slight breeze. Most people could touch and feel it in the environment where they lived—was it a fierce wind or a slight breeze that they felt? (A slight breeze.) Isn’t this one of the purposes behind God’s creation of mountains? Isn’t this His intent? What would it be like for people to live in an environment where the fierce wind blew around bits of sand without anything to block or filter it? Could it be that with sand and stones blowing around, people wouldn’t be able to live on the land? Some people might get hit in the head by the stones flying about, or others might get sand in their eyes and wouldn’t be able to see. People could get sucked up into the air or the wind could blow so hard they couldn’t stand up. Houses would be destroyed and all sorts of disasters would happen.” “such as mountains, mountain ranges, plains, hills, basins, valleys, plateaus, and rivers. God applies these different geographical environments to change an airflow’s speed, direction and force, using such a method to reduce or manipulate it into an appropriate wind speed, wind direction, and wind force, so that humans can have a normal living environment. Doing something like this seems difficult for humans, but it is easy for God because He observes all things. For Him to create an environment with a suitable airflow for mankind is too simple, too easy. Therefore, in such an environment created by God, each and every thing among all things is indispensable. There is value and necessity in all of their existence. However, Satan and corrupted mankind do not have such a philosophy. They keep destroying and developing, vainly dreaming of turning mountains into flat land, filling up canyons, and building skyscrapers on flat land to create concrete jungles. It is God’s hope that mankind can live happily, grow happily, and spend each day happily in the most suitable environment He prepared for them. That is why God has never been careless when it comes to dealing with mankind’s living environment.” “Why has man found himself in his current environmental predicament? Is it because of man’s greed and destruction? If man ends this destruction, won’t the living environment gradually right itself? If God does nothing, if God no longer wishes to do anything for mankind—that is to say, He doesn’t want to intervene—the best method would be for mankind to stop this destruction and return things to how they were. Putting an end to all this destruction means to stop the plundering and devastation of the things God has created. This will allow the environment where man lives to gradually improve. Failure to do so will result in further destruction of the environment and it will only become more serious.”
After reading God’s words, have you known who was to blame for the old man’s tragedy? What did he do wrong? Yes, he shouldn’t have “removed” the mountain that had protected him. Actually, God created all things and set boundaries and laws for them—all of this God has done is for us human beings to live happily. There is value in the existence of each and every thing among all things. For example, the mountain can block the wind and change its speed, so that the fierce wind is reduced to a mild breeze which can please people. Nonetheless, when we are blinded by greed and act contrary to God, for the sake of our own self-interests, trying to change the laws established by God for all things and wantonly damaging the homeland we rely on for our survival, can we still enjoy the pleasant breeze? When we believe we have led a cozy and comfortable life by changing the environment where we live, have we ever wondered the dire consequences of such willful destruction of the living environment God prepared for us? Considering the benefits the old man enjoyed from the mountain’s “removal,” we might approve of him; however, faced with the unexpected result of his house being destroyed by the strong wind carrying sand, we couldn’t help but heave a sigh: The old man, you are truly foolish!
The story is well worthy for us to deliberate. In real life, how can we save the land our lives depend on—the earth, where there has already been widespread devastation? The only answer is that we should stop the destruction, return things to how they were, gain knowledge of the Creator’s sovereignty and return to His side. …