At a job fair hosted by a well-known company, there was so great an influx of graduates from top universities who applied for jobs. An uninteresting-looking young applicant with the diploma of junior college attracted no one’s attention among Ph.D. or MA candidates. As was expected, he was refused by the interviewer.
After knowing his failure, the young man didn’t leave at once. He asked the interviewer, “Could I have your business card?”
Casting him a cold eye, the interviewer felt an aversion to such an importunate applicant in the heart.
“Although I can’t become an employee in your company, maybe we can make friends,” insisted the young man.
“Well, make friends?” the interviewer looked at the young man in disbelief.
“Yep, our friends were strangers to us at the beginning. One day, if you lack a tennis partner, you can call me,” the young man said playfully and lost no time in avoiding his embarrassment.
After some hesitation, the interviewer exchanged the business cards with him at last. Later, on one occasion, when the interviewer played tennis, he suddenly remembered the humorous young man. Out of curiosity, he called him and invited him to play tennis. From then on, they really became good friends gradually.
After they got familiar with each other, the interviewer said to the young man, “During the job fair, with some reasons, we also refused several outstanding graduates. I heard that the result dumbfounded them, and that some of them even became depressed. You, at that time, gave me a very deep impression. Having failed in the application, you still asked for my business card. Didn’t you feel you asked too much in that condition? You know, it was a job fair of a large company. But you were just a job seeker, and graduated from a common college. In full view of everyone, if I had refused your requirement again, could you have been unafraid of further embarrassment?
The young man answered, with a wry smile, “Alas, if I had graduated from a top university like them but had been refused by you, I wouldn’t have withstood such a blow and setback. Such is human nature, that we all put ourselves upon a high status, reckon that we have competence and deserve God’s blessings. However, once we fail, we may become mired in defeat and even dare not face the fact. Luckily, since I have a humble beginning, it won’t strike me as poison if I fail. And even if I was rejected again, I would have gotten used to others’ fleers.”
The interviewer nodded with agreement.
Indeed, not everyone can have such a calm attitude toward setbacks like the young man in the story. Just as he realized that the reason why he could be calm relatively was because he was marginally qualified, and he would not necessarily suffer much from loss of face or distress of mind caused by his failure. Moreover, as he said that, he would have eagerly chased after success and even been determined to win it if he had possessed too much glory. Besides, he would have high expectations. But once he suffered setbacks, it will fell far short of his expectations and cause him great frustration , just like these rejected outstanding graduates. In reality, we also have heard or seen so many things like that in our life. Many people foster lofty ideals for themselves from childhood, and are unwilling to have a common life. However, after facing setbacks in studies, business or marriages, many people feel very awkward, and that their status and faces are damaged. So, they cannot raise their heads or get others’ admiration and praise, always living in a sense of inferiority and losing faith in life. And they are in pain and distress, unsatisfied with the status quo, and even complain that they were born unlucky.
In this respect, I talked with many people. Most of them were similarly impressed, because they had similar life experiences. But no one could work out a resolution for this question. Pessimists only lash out against Heaven and man alike, complaining the unfair fate. Optimists probably console themselves with some soothing remarks, having no other way. After becoming a Christian, I discussed this topic with a brother. He told me, “The reason why we all are afraid of failure is because we unrealistically pursue the perfection, and believe that we should have the power to do everything very well within our spheres. When we regard ourselves as a perfect person, we can’t bear our mistakes or failure.” Later, he reads to me: “Within mankind’s corrupt disposition is a practical issue of which you are not aware; it is a most serious problem, and one that is common to every single person’s humanity. This is humanity’s weakest point, as well as an element of the essence of human nature that is most difficult to uncover and change. People themselves are objects of creation. Can objects of creation achieve omnipotence? Can they achieve perfection? Can they achieve flawlessness? Can they achieve proficiency in everything, come to understand everything, and accomplish everything? They cannot, right? However, within humans, there is a weakness. … No matter how capable or incapable they might be, before this even comes to light, they want to package themselves up and disguise themselves as important figures, and become perfect and flawless, without any defects. They just want to arm themselves so that in the eyes of others they will become great, powerful, fully capable, and without anything they cannot do; they wish to appear incapable of nothing. … In conducting yourself, if you choose this sort of path—always having your head stuck in the clouds rather than your feet on the ground, always wanting to fly, always wanting to be incredible—then you are bound to have problems. Choosing this sort of path in life is not right” (‘The Five Conditions People Have Before They Enter the Right Track of Believing in God’).
Having heard God’s word, I suddenly saw the light: We are just creations, so we cannot be capable of everything or be perfect at all. However, when having little knowledge of that, we often think highly of ourselves and think we are forceful. And we always desire to raise ourselves above the crowd, and become equal to anything. We never allow ourselves to fail. Even if we have experienced failure time after time, we still long for the success that we want in the end. For example, in our school days we strive for coming out ahead in every subject. After going into work, we work hard to be the elite in our profession. When we find a place in society, we begin to pursue to be a man of men. However, after many difficulties, when our wishes don’t come true, many of us complain about something in pain. The source of our pain is not because we can’t accomplish our will or goals, but because we have improper views of pursuit. Directed by our satanic disposition, we are always pretentious, want to satisfy our vanity and status, and get ahead to gain others’ admiration. All in all, we don’t want to be the ordinary and true self, nor do we want to do whatever we are capable of or obey.
Later, I read God’s word: “That is, a person begins to recognize that he or she is an object of creation, and this person develops hopes of becoming a genuine creature of creation in order to satisfy God. At the same time, such people also accept God as their Lord—the Lord of creation—and desire to obey all of God’s requirements, as well as His rule. … First of all, a person must have an honest heart. It must be honest, earnest, down-to-earth, and devoid of any great aspirations or lofty goals. It should be one that wants to walk one step at a time on the ground in following God and worshiping God, and wants to be a creature of creation. It does not desire to be a bird in the sky or any object of creation on another planet, let alone wish to be someone with supernatural abilities” (‘The Five Conditions People Have Before They Enter the Right Track of Believing in God’).
God has showed His will to us. As creations of God, we are not supermen, much less angels, without any super strength. It is because God didn’t bestow the supernatural powers on us when He created us, nor does He require us to be a perfect man. After God has given us the normal humanity, we can cry or weep when in distress; we may get mad when we are angry. … That is the natural revelation of normal humanity, not failings or disgrace. Likewise, God also has given us different characters and specialties. However, whether they are our advantages or shortcomings, they all have a limit and a scope God has arranged. As far as a man who has normal humanity and sense is concerned, even if he is very stupid, he still is able to make a living in the world. This has been preordained by God. However, no matter how wise he is, he cannot possibly do things perfectly, even less possibly do things at the highest level. Therefore, facing the failures and setbacks in our life, we should treat them properly: We shouldn’t be so blindly conceited as to seek lifting us above ourselves, nor should we be so passive as to conclude that we are nothing. As creating beings, we should believe that as long as we do our utmost to cooperate in and finish what we should do, God will give us a proper arrangement for our life according to our needs. When we have a reverent attitude to obey and acceptand arrangement, we will not worry about our personal gains and losses anymore, but live with a generous heart and get the true freedom and release.
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