“If I were not saved by God, I would still be drifting in the world,
struggling painfully in sin, living without any hope.
If I were not saved by God, I would still be trampled by the devils,
enjoying the pleasures of sin, not knowing where is the path of human life.
If I were not saved by God, I would not be blessed today,
much less know the value or the meaning of man’s living.
If I were not saved by God, I would still believe in vagueness
and live in emptiness, not knowing to whom I should be faithful.
I have finally understood God’s loving hand leads me forward.
So I have not lost my way but stepped onto the bright journey …” (“If I Were Not Saved by God” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Whenever I hear this hymn of experience, I appreciate how true those words are. If I were not saved by God, I would still be drifting in the world, bustling about for money and even losing life and not knowing where I would die.
I, a post-80s young man, was born in an ordinary peasant family. My elder brother was sickly from childhood. My father’s legs got hurt accidentally when I was ten and he became paralyzed two years later. We had been poor and was under a heavy debt after the treatment for my father’s illness. Consequently, my relatives and friends dare not lend money to us for fear that we couldn’t repay it to them. Helpless, I dropped out of school and left my parents to work away from home at the age of sixteen. Before, my peers played around after school, while I had to do farm work. So, I felt that my life was difficult. Now, others are in school, whereas I have to work and endure hardships at an early age. I complain that my parents gave birth to me, who have to suffer and toil after coming to the world. But I can do nothing but accept the fact. Due to my impoverished family, my greatest wish is to earn money hard to let my parents live a good life, no longer looked down upon and laughed at by others.
In the beginning, I worked in a private aluminum factory. As I was underage, my boss took care of my room and board. One year later, I thought that the wage was too low, so, I chose to work in a furniture factory, doing spray painting that no one else was willing to do. At that time, as long as it was not against the law and I could make money, any job would be fine to me. Because my only goal was climbing out of poverty and becoming rich. Afterward, introduced by my relative, I worked in a company which could provide the opportunity to go overseas. Later, I truly got the chance.
In spring of 2012, I got my wish and came to Japan and started my new life. I worked in the shipbuilding industry and signed a three-year-training contract. At first, the work was very tiring and difficult. I didn’t know how to cook, so I ate instant noodles for a month. At last, I was forced to learn to cook after I took too much of them and felt sick. I had half-cooked food for a long time. As we were foreigners in Japan, people in the company inevitably treated us unfairly, asking us to do dirty, tiring and dangerous work. When I did the spray painting, I was somewhat afraid, because the gas would be burning when it caught fire and safety neglect could put life in danger. However, whether it was the life suffering or the danger in the work, I didn’t feel that bitter when I thought that I could send money to my family and that I could buy car and house and become the greatest of the great and be no longer poor after going back home. In a twinkling, my life of three-year-work passed. Before my visa expired, our company had the policy of renewing the contract. To earn more money, I renewed my contract. After that, I was fortunate to hear God’s kingdom gospel.
In September of 2015, a friend of mine I knew in Japan preached the kingdom gospel to me. When she talked about belief in God with me, I felt that it was only a belief and I wasn’t interested in it. I said to her that even belief in God couldn’t change my fate and then I told her the sufferings I had undergone. I asked her, “Can belief in God change my fate? I’ve suffered a lot and I was born to suffer. Now the reality is to make more money. With money, I’ll no longer suffer. Belief in God is far from me.” Hearing what I said, my friend read a passage of s for me, “Where you will go every day, what you will do, who or what you will encounter, what you will say, what will happen to you—can any of this be predicted? People cannot foresee all these occurrences, much less control how they develop. In life, these unforeseeable events happen all the time, and they are an everyday occurrence. These daily vicissitudes and the ways they unfold, or the patterns by which they play out, are constant reminders to humanity that nothing happens at random, that these things’ ramifications, and their inevitability, cannot be shifted by human will. Every happening conveys an admonition from to mankind, and it also sends the message that human beings cannot control their own fates; at the same time every event is a rebuttal to humanity’s wild, futile ambition and desire to take its fate into its own hands. They are like powerful slaps about humanity’s ears one after another, forcing people to reconsider who, in the end, governs and controls their fate. And as their ambitions and desires are repeatedly thwarted and shattered, humans naturally arrive at an unconscious acceptance of what fate has in store, an acceptance of reality, of the will of Heaven and the Creator’s sovereignty. From these daily vicissitudes to the fates of entire human lives, there is nothing that does not reveal the Creator’s plans and His sovereignty; there is nothing that does not send the message that ‘the Creator’s authority cannot be exceeded,’ that does not convey the eternal truth that ‘the Creator’s authority is supreme’” (“God Himself, the Unique III” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After listening to those words, I felt that they were quite reasonable and it seemed that renewing the contract was out of God’s arrangement. I thought about that the family I was born into and my family life couldn’t be chosen by myself and I felt that there is an unseen Master. Then, my friend made me read the six junctures in a human life in the piece of God’s word “God Himself, the Unique III” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh that Birth: The First Juncture, Growing Up: The Second Juncture, Independence: The Third Juncture, Marriage: The Fourth Juncture, Progeny: The Fifth Juncture, and Death: The Sixth Juncture. These words astonished me and I felt that was the case. Normally, every person must pass the six junctures in the course of his or her life. I’m not the only one who goes through hardships among so many people in the world. If we can choose and control our fate, no one will be born into poor families and everyone will choose to be born into rich ones. Will there be people who are poor and suffering? It indeed can’t be chosen by man himself that what kind of family he or she is born into, what kind of parents he or she has, and what kind of husband or wife he or she will have. The more I thought, the more I felt that these words were practical. Fate can’t be changed by one himself. From then on, I became interested in belief in God gradually. I believed that there exists God and that man’s fate is not governed by himself. However, as I didn’t have much knowledge of God, I felt that God appeared to be very remote from me. But an experience later made me truly feel that God was beside me, caring for and protecting me.
It was a rainy day. I came to the working place as ever. But I totally didn’t know that a disaster was befalling me quietly. Past 10 a.m. I was busy at the working spot as usual. Suddenly, with a bang, something hit the ground. At that time, I felt a cold shiver of fear run through me. After I turned around and took a look, I was stunned, finding that a big iron pipe which was 40cm in diameter, 4m in length, and 0.5tons in weight fell from the crane onto the ground which was less than half a meter away from me. Then, I was dumbfounded and speechless and it took a while for me to recover. I kept saying in my heart, “Thank God! Thank God!” Without God’s care and protection, I would have died young.
I went back home from work. When I told this matter to brothers and sisters, they testified to how God protected me and they read ’s words to me, “Throughout your long lives, basically every individual has encountered many dangerous situations and undergone many temptations. This is because Satan is right there beside you, its eyes fixed on you constantly. It likes it when disaster strikes you, when calamities befall you, when nothing goes right for you, and likes it when you are caught in Satan’s net. As for God, He is protecting you constantly, keeping you from one misfortune after another and from one disaster after another. This is why I say that everything man has—peace and joy, blessings and personal safety—is in fact all under God’s control, and He guides and decides the life and fate of every individual” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words, I knew that every day man is living in Satan’s net, afflicted by Satan. Without God’s protection, man has long been devoured by Satan. Thank God for protecting me. I enjoy God’s care but don’t know or worship Him. I’m really conscienceless. From that moment on, I even more understood God’s grace of and God’s loving hand protecting me. Thanks be to God! I will follow God steadily. In the following days, I led a normal church life with brothers and sisters. My life changed slowly, feeling less sorrow, pain and emptiness. When I gathered with brothers and sisters, we read God’s words, fellowshiped about God’s words, and sang hymns to praise God, feeling released and free. No one looked down upon me and no one was snobbish. I felt that I became more happy and fulfilling than before.
An experienced Japanese, who worked over ten years in our company, had high safety awareness and excellent skills. Once, he drove a cherry picker carrying a liquefied petroleum gas pipe and operated at a height of twenty meters above the ground. During the operation, the gas leaked due to carelessness. In the meantime, another worker was doing the welding above him. All of a sudden, the sparks fell on his clothes, contacted the leaked gas, and started a fire. He was devoured by the big fire on the spot, no room to resist and no time to ask for help. In several minutes, he was burnt to death alive. Seeing such a tragedy, many people felt regretful and lamented for what man lived. This matter made me realize that when man leaves God and doesn’t have God’s care and protection, man is always in danger and greater skills and much money can’t save their life. Man is so weak and powerless before varying disasters.
Later, I read a passage of God’s words, “Because of the Creator’s sovereignty and predestination, a lonely soul that started out with nothing to its name gains parents and a family, the chance to become a member of the human race, the chance to experience human life and see the world; and it also gains the chance to experience the Creator’s sovereignty, to know the marvelousness of the creation by the Creator, and most of all, to know and become subject to the Creator’s authority. But most people do not really seize this rare and fleeting opportunity. One exhausts a lifetime’s worth of energy fighting against fate, spends all of one’s time bustling about trying to feed one’s family and shuttling back and forth between wealth and status. The things that people treasure are family, money, and fame; they view these as the most valuable things in life. All people complain about their fates, yet still they push to the back of their minds the questions that it is most imperative to examine and understand: why man is alive, how man should live, what the value and meaning of life is. All of their lives, however many years that may be, they just rush about seeking fame and fortune, until their youth has fled, until they become gray and wrinkled; until they see that fame and fortune cannot stop one’s slide toward senility, that money cannot fill the emptiness of the heart; until they understand that no one is exempt from the law of birth, aging, sickness, and death, that no one can escape what fate has in store. Only when they are forced to confront life’s final juncture do they truly grasp that even if one owns millions in property, even if one is privileged and of high rank, no one can escape death, every person will return to his or her original position: a solitary soul, with nothing to its name” (“God Himself, the Unique III” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading God’s words, I had a deep feeling: Man’s soul comes from God. Predestined by God, man comes to the human world. But man is unwilling to believe in or worship God, and doesn’t cherish the opportunity to experience the Creator’s authority. And they only know to live for money, fame, gain and kinship, and bustle around to cast off the things fate has in store, without realizing that they are afflicted by Satan. What can they gain through the pursuit of these things? Of relatives, fame, gain, and money, which one can save their lives when they face death? Have they thought about that? Isn’t the death of my old colleague the tragedy of everyone who lives in this human world? Am I not the same? Going abroad to suffer and work is to earn money, be thought highly of by others, pursue fame and gain and no longer be bullied because of poverty. Don’t I always treat myself bitterly? I am walking the path of suffering. Isn’t it a road of no return? I don’t know that there is a God or want to believe in Him. Were it not for God’s salvation and God’s protection for me today, I would have died young, much less live in an enriching and meaningful way as now. Only now have I seen that the meaning of man’s life is not to pursue money and fame and gain but to come before God to accept God’s salvation and free themselves from Satan’s affliction. The more I thought, I more I was moved. I didn’t know how to express my gratitude for God. So, I learned the hymn “If I Were Not Saved by God” to praise Him. Thanks be to Almighty God!