Qingxin is looking at her second daughter make the bed. Then her daughter looks up at her and says anxiously, “Mom, some of my classmates have got their jobs already. I’ve graduated from college now, but haven’t found a job. Dad is on sick leave and can do nothing for my job hunting. You are more experienced and foresighted than I, so why not give me some advice? What career do you think I should choose to get a promising future?”
Seeing her daughter’s worried and expectant face, Qingxin walks to the bed and sits down. She holds her daughter’s hand and asks her to sit next to her.
Qingxin says to her daughter, “Honey, after you and your elder sister were old enough to go to school, every time you sat for an entrance examination, I was expecting that you would be admitted by a top school, because I thought you would be somebody in life if you graduated from a top school and that I could be benefited, too. Therefore, before your sister graduated, I hurried to spend money seeking personal connections, paving the way for her job hunting. But all my efforts were in vain. Later, your sister found a job accidentally on her own. It was a steady job and she was satisfied with it. So, tell me, what’s the point in spending money and being worried so much?”
Her daughter says nothing, so Qingxin continues, “In my free time, I often think of my past. I was a top student from primary school to senior high school. Those who knew me believed that I would have no problem being admitted by a college. And I worked harder, hoping that I could make it. Unfortunately, I failed in the entrance examination. Later, I became a contract worker in a company. And your father, who even didn’t finish high school, became a civil servant in a special circumstance. See, do people’s fantasies and plans work?
The daughter looks at her mother and shakes her head blankly, yet she is reluctant to accept what her mother has said. She argues, “Full consideration and more efforts would produce better results.”
Looking at her second daughter with a smile, Qingxin shakes her head and says, “We people cannot control our life. Everything is predestined and arranged by God. Come, honey. Read this passage. Perhaps it will remove your worries in job hunting.”
Her daughter looks at her in wonder and with curiosity, “Really? Is there such a book?”
Again, Qingxin smiles at her daughter and nods her head, “Read it and you’ll see.”
The daughter says nothing more. She takes the book and begins to read from the words: “When one leaves one’s parents and becomes independent, the social conditions one faces, and the kind of work and career available to one are both decreed by fate and have nothing to do with one’s parents. Some people choose a good major in college and end up finding a satisfactory job after graduation, making a triumphant first stride in the journey of their lives. Some people learn and master many different skills and yet never find a job that suits them or find their position, much less have a career; at the outset of their life journey they find themselves thwarted at every turn, beset by troubles, their prospects dismal and their lives uncertain. Some people apply themselves diligently to their studies, yet narrowly miss all their chances to receive a higher education, and seem fated never to achieve success, their very first aspiration in the journey of their lives dissolving into thin air. Not knowing[d] whether the road ahead is smooth or rocky, they feel for the first time how full of variables human destiny is, and so regard life with hope and dread. Some people, despite not being very well educated, write books and achieve a measure of fame; some, though almost totally illiterate, make money in business and are thereby able to support themselves…. What occupation one chooses, how one makes a living: do people have any control over whether they make a good choice or a bad choice? Do they accord with their desires and decisions? Most people wish they could work less and earn more, not to toil in the sun and rain, dress well, glow and shine everywhere, tower above others, and bring honor to their ancestors. 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. … 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.
“When one reaches maturity, one is able to leave one’s parents and strike out on one’s own, and it is at this point that one truly begins to play one’s own role, that one’s mission in life ceases to be foggy and gradually becomes clear. … Besides birth and childrearing, the parents’ responsibility in a child’s life is simply to provide him or her with a formal environment to grow up in, for nothing except the predestination of the Creator has a bearing on a person’s fate. No one can control what kind of future a person will have; it is predetermined long in advance, and not even one’s parents can change one’s fate. … no one’s parents can stave off one’s fate in life or exert the slightest influence on the role one plays in life. … no one’s parents can assist one in accomplishing one’s mission in life, no one’s relatives can help one assume one’s role in life. How one accomplishes one’s mission and in what kind of living environment one performs one’s role are entirely determined by one’s fate in life. In other words, no other objective conditions can influence the mission of a person, which is predestined by the Creator. All people become mature in their own particular growing-up environments, then gradually, step by step, set off down their own roads in life, fulfill the destinies planned for them by the Creator, naturally, involuntarily entering the vast sea of humanity and assuming their own posts in life, where they begin to fulfill their responsibilities as created beings for the sake of the Creator’s predestination, for the sake of His sovereignty” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
Finishing reading these words, the daughter glances at the words “God’s newest utterances” in the book. She looks up at her mother with surprise and says, “Mom, you don’t have the same viewpoints as before. Now I know it’s because you have read God’s words.” Qingxin nods happily.
The daughter continues, “Mom, these words are really good. Look at those examples in real life. It’s true that no one can decide one’s occupation and that one’s destiny does not accord with his imagination and plans. For example, my classmate’s father is almost illiterate, but he is good at doing business and has two factories. I didn’t understand this before: He can read few words; how could he manage two factories? Now through God’s words I understand that God has predestined him to do business in this life. It doesn’t matter how many words he can read. And I, because my dad is a civil servant and knows accounting, majored in accounting, hoping that my dad could use his social relationships to get me an accounting job when I graduated. But unexpectedly, dad’s health is slipping these years. People nowadays are ‘realistic.’ There’s no friendship when one leaves, not to mention dad’s relationships. Dream and reality are too much different! It seems that you and dad don’t play a decisive role in my job hunting, nor can you help me in my life or career.”
The daughter’s clear brow furrows again. She muses, “Mom, now I know that God has predestined what occupation one chooses and how one makes a living, but how can I know what God has predestined for me? What should I do about my work?”
Qingxin still smiles at her daughter and says, “God has already told us what to do. Let’s take a look at God’s words.” Her daughter nods and watches her flip through several pages.
Qingxin reads, “When people recognize God’s sovereignty over human fate, the smart ones choose to know it and accept it, to bid farewell to the painful days when they tried to build a good life with their own two hands, instead of continuing to struggle against fate and pursue their so-called life goals in their own manner.
“When confronting real-life problems, how should you know and understand God’s authority and His sovereignty? When you do not know how to understand, handle, and experience these problems, what attitude should you adopt to show your intention, your desire, and your reality of submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements? First you must learn to wait; then you must learn to seek; then you must learn to submit. ‘Waiting’ means waiting for the time of God, awaiting the people, events, and things that He has arranged for you, waiting for His will to gradually reveal itself to you. ‘Seeking’ means observing and understanding God’s thoughtful intentions for you through the people, events, and things that He has laid out, understanding the truth through them, understanding what humans must accomplish and the ways they must keep, understanding what results God means to achieve in humans and what accomplishments He means to attain in them. ‘Submitting,’ of course, refers to accepting the people, events, and things that God has orchestrated, accepting His sovereignty and, through it, coming to know how the Creator dictates man’s fate, how He supplies man with His life, how He works the truth into man. All things under God’s arrangements and sovereignty obey natural laws, and if you resolve to let God arrange and dictate everything for you, you should learn to wait, you should learn to seek, you should learn to submit. This is the attitude that every person who wants to submit to God’s authority must take, the basic quality that every person who wants to accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements must possess. To hold such an attitude, to possess such a quality, you must work harder; and only thus can you enter into the true reality” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
Finishing reading God’s words, Qingxin says to her daughter, “Honey, you see, God’s words has told us very clearly that when we recognize our everything is under God’s sovereignty and arrangements, we should be smart people, giving our questions and difficulties over to God’s hands instead of struggling by ourselves. This is the attitude we should take as creatures. Even though now we don’t know what we should do, we can pray for God to guide us to understand His will. God says: ‘All things under God’s arrangements and sovereignty obey natural laws, and if you resolve to let God arrange and dictate everything for you, you should learn to wait, you should learn to seek, you should learn to submit.’ Then we should do as God says. Seek God more and wait for God’s guidance. When we look for a job with this attitude, God will arrange people, events, things, and circumstances to show us what job suits us. We should believe that God has His time for all things. When we know what job suits us most and what job benefits us most, the job is the ordination of God and we should submit. In this way, we are obeying the sovereignty and arrangements of God.”
After listening to God’s words and her mother’s communication, the daughter stops frowning. She remembers that she has wanted to join a company but been uncertain. Now she knows what to do. She says to her mother excitedly, “Mom, I would like to join a company, but I don’t know whether that company suits me or not. I can’t make a decision. I was afraid that you would worry about it, so I didn’t tell you. Now I know that all is in God’s hands. Let’s pray and seek God.”
Qingxin nods at her daughter happily. Her daughter also smiles with relief.
d. The original text omits “Not knowing.”