Xu Ning, Japan
Influenced by these thoughts such as “Knowledge changes the fate of man,” “As a man sows, so he shall reap” and “One’s fate is in one’s own hands,” I began to seek knowledge, as if the more knowledge I had, the more wonderful future I would have. Therefore, entering a good university, finding a good job and leading an ideal life were my aims to strive for and even more of my parents’ expectations.
When I was in ninth grade, I became a Christian. However, because I didn’t understand enough truths, as for “God presides over the fate of all mankind,” I had always been half-believing, half-doubting. And I had been fettered by the notion that “One’s fate is in one’s own hands.”
My dad, graduating from a college, often told me his history of schooling to encourage me. Through his education and influence, testing into a good university became my goal of studying hard. Thus, I began to attend varieties of classes of supplementary schooling. Regardless of in summer vacation or winter vacation, I would have a full schedule. My vacations were almost fully occupied with all kinds of courses, such as math, English, composition, physics, chemistry and so on. After several years’ hard working, I finally entered a key high school. In my junior year of high school, in order to let me obtain a favorable future, my parents decided to arrange for me to go abroad for further studies. At that time, I also had this idea, hoping to test into a good university by my own efforts and have a good future and destiny. Eventually, I chose Japan.
In Japan, except for living the church life, I devoted all my time to studies, dreaming of testing into a good university by my own efforts. Under the heavy study pressure, I rushed around every day and never slacked off. From Monday through Friday, I attended classes in the mornings in a school where they conducted classes in Japanese and then went to the remedial class in the evenings; every Saturday and Sunday, I would study the Japanese economy, politics, history, geography, math…. In this manner, after I passed through the one-year heavy studying life, it was time to register for university matriculation.
I applied for admission to two prestigious universities and a language academy without any hesitation. By then, I applied for the pop economics major at the two universities. I thought: If I can enter one of them, my future will surely be filled with unlimited potential. After that, I made full preparations for the examinations: I first anticipated some subjects of the interviews; after writing the answers, I discussed them with my teachers and then made corresponding modifications. I studied in the self-study classroom till around eight or nine o’clock p.m. every day, having over twenty subjects at my tongue’s end. But I never thought that the teacher in the first university broke the routine: Clearly it was a Japanese interview, yet the teacher asked us to answer questions in English. On hearing that, I was shocked because my spoken English was poor. So I had to answer them word by word. Seeing others speak English quite fluently, I knew that it was impossible for me to pass this interview.
Later, I placed my hope on the second university. This interview went very smoothly; however, as I didn’t cut it fine in the written examination, I had to finish my composition in a hurry. Though I was a little worried about my exam results, still I held out a ray of hope of them. Then I sat for the exams in the academy which I didn’t prefer. Several days later, to my surprise, I was informed that I was admitted to the academy but not admitted to the two universities. I felt cold and distressed inside at this news. Despite being unwilling, I was unable to do anything about it, leaving it no choice but to go to the academy. I told my dad my decision; nonetheless, he, who always said he would esteem my choice regardless of which school I would be admitted to, made some difficulty of my decision and said tactfully that he hoped me to get into university and have a good job and good prospects. Hearing his words, I began to waver in my heart. Then I went on the internet and searched for information, finding that there was a faint hope that I would get a good job with an associate diploma. As a result, I gave up the academy resolutely. Soon afterward, I chose another university with my roommates. This time, I still chose economics resolutely. After many days and nights of hard work, I failed again. Faced with this outcome, I was very unwilling and couldn’t help but complain in my heart: Why did I study so hard but could not get what I want? Why do I always fail?
During a meeting one time, a sister knew my situation and then read me two passages of God’s words, “People’s desires are so perfect, but when people take their first steps in the journey of their lives, they gradually come to realize how imperfect human destiny is, and for the first time they truly grasp the fact that, though one can make bold plans for one’s future, though one may harbor audacious fantasies, no one has the ability or the power to realize his or her own dreams, no one is in a position to control his or her own future. There will always be some distance between one’s dreams and the realities that one must confront; things are never as one would like them to be, and faced with such realities people can never achieve satisfaction or contentment. Some people will even go to any length imaginable, will put forth great efforts and make great sacrifices for the sake of their livelihoods and future, in attempt to change their own fate. But in the end, even if they can realize their dreams and desires by means of their own hard work, they can never change their fates, and no matter how doggedly they try they can never exceed what destiny has allotted them. … What occupation one pursues, what one does for a living, and how much wealth one amasses in life are not decided by one’s parents, one’s talents, one’s efforts or one’s ambitions, but are predetermined by the Creator” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). “The fate of man is controlled by the hands of God. You are incapable of controlling yourself: Despite always rushing and busying about for himself, man remains incapable of controlling himself. If you could know your own prospects, if you could control your own fate, would you still be a creature?” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination”).
After finishing reading God’s words, I seemed to awake instantly: I’m only a creature. My everything is indeed in God’s hands. Which school I will test into is ruled and arranged by God. I want to get into a famous university, have a good diploma and find a good job. But all these are merely my wishes, my dreams. Whether they can be realized is not controlled by myself but predestined by God.
Later, through the fellowship of my brothers, sisters and mom, I was realizing more and more that I always lived by the satanic poisons of “As a man sows, so he shall reap” and “One’s fate is in one’s own hands,” rebelling and going against God time and again. I always wanted to do something successful by means of my own hard work. Admitting that I failed, I was not afraid; I rose up again after I fell and fought against fate again and again. Presently, I got over one month left. If I still didn’t get into a school, I would have to return to my country. Not until then did I come to pray before God, “Oh, God. All my things are in Your hands. I’m unwilling to rebel against You any longer, or kick and struggle any longer. I feel painful in living thus. Now I’m willing to give this application entirely to You and let You rule over and arrange it. No matter what the consequence is, even if I’m faced with my return home, I shall be willing to submit. I believe what You give me is the best.”
This time, I didn’t choose economic schools in line with my own preference but applied to two universities on my teacher’s recommendation. I didn’t make full preparations for the exams because of having no sufficient time. Afterward I learnt that one of the two universities required students to study Buddhist philosophy in the first year. I was a Christian, so I gave up this university decisively. Thus I had but one university. I was kind of nervous thinking of this. On the day of the exam, as the test site was far, when I checked the route in the tram, I found the tram didn’t go through to my test site. So I had to change another one, yet I knew nothing of its route. I became very anxious and hurried to pray to God silently in my heart: “O God, may You help me. Will I miss the exam? If this is true, I’m willing to obey You without complaint.” Thank God. It went smoothly when I went to the station to buy the ticket.
After getting on the tram, I began to be secure. Yet I suddenly found my cellphone was gone; I was on the edge of tears. An aunt next to me said, “You’re on the right tram. It’s this one.” I said with a forced smile, “Yeah. But I left my cellphone at the station.” I thought: How come one wave barely has passed before another one comes? God, what should I do? In panic, I could do nothing but pray to and rely on God. I had no idea that she was very warm. She not only helped me contact the ticket office but arranged with the ticket seller that I could fetch my phone when I went back. I couldn’t stop thanking God in my heart. Thank Him for arranging people, matters and things to help me. Though it was not smooth sailing, when I arrived at the test site, there was still a half-hour left until the exam. Standing outside of the test site, I thought about everything that had just happened. The things that I considered to be bad finally turned peril into safety. I had faith in God unknowingly, for I understood no matter what kind of environment I face, God is by my side and helps me when I call to Him. While I was waiting, once I was nervous, I would say to myself, “Don’t be afraid. God is by my side.” Later on, the interview went smoothly out of my expectation. The questions the teachers asked were what I knew. I knew that was God’s arrangement. I praised His deeds silently in my heart.
After a few days, I had my exam results: I passed. When I successfully got the offer from the university, thinking it was bestowed by God, I gave thanks to Him from the bottom of my heart. Compared to this thing, what made me more excited was that I got much more knowledge of God. It was God who let me learn to rely on Him, look up to and obey Him in all things. I felt what He arranges for each of us is the most suitable, and it also makes us feel very free.
Thinking back, I, who had been going about my studies as a child, clearly knew from God’s word that “God presides over the fate of all mankind,” but I was still not willing to believe in His word. On the contrary, I was constantly in opposition to Him and always wanted to get everything I wanted by myself. At that moment, I felt like I was accused in my heart and then I thought of God’s words, “The sadness of man is not that man seeks happy life, not that he pursues fame and fortune or struggles against his own fate through the fog, but that after he has seen the Creator’s existence, after he has learned the fact that the Creator has sovereignty over human fate, he still cannot mend his ways, cannot pull his feet out of the mire, but hardens his heart and persists in his errors. He would rather keep thrashing in the mud, vying obstinately against the Creator’s sovereignty, resisting it until the bitter end, without the slightest shred of contrition, and only when he lies broken and bleeding does he at last decide to give up and turn back. This is true human sorrow. So I say, those who choose to submit are wise, and those who choose to escape are pig-headed” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). I was single-minded in my pursuit of entering into university, dreaming of getting something that didn’t belong to me with my own endeavors. I applied again and again, yet I was disappointed and sad time after time. I was fully aware that human fate is ordained by Heaven, but I was absolutely unwilling to repent and still desired to realize my dreams by myself. Through this experience, I truly appreciated that our fate is ordered in God’s hands and that He has made suitable arrangements for each of us. Now thinking of the three universities I applied to, I chose major in economics and administration without expectation, which I thought were promising. But in fact, if I learn them, can they be put to good use in the future? I am not sure. Will I engage in the career related to economics? I am not sure either. Will my life go off exactly according to my plan? The answer is no.
My dad studied architecture in college, but now runs a store selling cigarettes and wines. He travels around doing business every day, which is completely irrelevant to architecture. All of this is proof that God’s authority and predestination cannot be bypassed by anyone. Entering this university is God’s sovereignty and arrangement. The language I have learnt is of use to me and it is also a skill that belongs to me forever. I can use it not merely to read the foreign books, but most importantly, to spread the gospel, testify God and fulfill my duty as a created creature, which are the most glorious things. I eventually experienced that what God arranges for us is the best and most suitable. Thanks be to !