By Chen Nuo, United States
Haoran came back to the village from the town. He was the only college student in the village over the years. People in and around the village all said that he was promising in the town.
Early one morning, Grandpa asked Haoran to carry a basket on his back and follow him into the mountain.
On the way, Grandpa told Haoran to collect into the basket all those which seemed good and beautiful.
The more Haoran picked up, the heavier the burden felt. In order not to overload the basket, he started to be choosy and only put those much-needed or essential into the basket. He knew it was necessary to make a trade-off in such a circumstance.
When they were halfway up the mountain, there had been so many things in the basket, and it became too strenuous to carry.
Seeing Haoran overburdened, Grandpa then suggested he pick out things less important from the basket and throw them away.
Haoran listened to Grandpa and made his choice, and continued to climb the mountain with him.
At Grandpa’s request, Haoran resumed collecting good stuff as before. Gradually, the basket was replenished and got heavy again. Then, Grandpa let him make a second choice.
Picking up and giving up continually on the way, Haoran had been worn out when they reached the top of the mountain. He felt extremely relaxed the moment he laid down the basket.
At this time, Grandpa came up and asked Haoran, “What have you understood?”
Haoran said gratefully, “Grandpa, I realized that life is like a journey where there are many temptations along the way. As we walked up the mountain, I collected lots of things. But with more things added to the basket, the burden became heavier and heavier. Only learning to choose and give up can relieve me of the burden.”
Such an understanding is Haoran’s real life experience, but what is highlighted is how to make a trade-off. Many of us have experienced the ups and downs of our lives, and realized the significance of choosing and giving up. But when we encounter practical problems, we just can’t discern what should be kept and what should be discarded and always fail to make the right decision.
Much of the time we would choose what we like and are passionate about, but they may not necessarily suit us. Instead, we lose many beautiful things in pursuit of our dreams. For example, we pursue to wear valuable jewelry, live in grand mansions, and drive luxury cars, enjoying a life of pleasure-seeking. We work hard and strive to win the admiration of others. Maybe we can succeed at last, but when life comes to an end, we will find all those things do not truly belong to us. We can’t help asking ourselves: What is the meaning of human life? Is it only for the pursuit of material enjoyment? At this time, many people start to reflect: Did I choose wrongly at the start? However, we have only one life to live.
God says: “Fame and fortune one gains in the material world give one temporary satisfaction, passing pleasure, a false sense of ease, and make one lose one’s way. And so people, as they thrash about in the vast sea of humanity, craving peace, comfort, and tranquility of heart, are subsumed again and again beneath the waves. When people have yet to figure out the questions that it is most crucial to understand—where they come from, why they are alive, where they are going, and so forth—they are seduced by fame and fortune, misled, controlled by them, irrevocably lost. Time flies; years pass in an eyeblink; before one realizes it, one has bid farewell to the best years of one’s life. When one is soon to depart from the world, one arrives at the gradual realization that everything in the world is drifting away, that one can no longer hold onto the things one possessed; then one truly feels that one still owns nothing at all, like a wailing infant that has just emerged into the world.”
Now I finally understand our entire lives are ordained and ruled over by God. God knows what we need for surviving in this world, and He supplies us in time and in proportion based on our needs and inadequacies. However, as we humans have no truth, we can’t distinguish between positive and negative, black and white. When we are faced with choices, we often lose our way and are tempted by Satan into a wrong pursuit. Life passes in the blink of an eye. Only when death approaches do we realize that all that we’ve spent our lives chasing after is empty; we were not born with any of them, nor will we take any of them away when we die. Just as Job said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). When we can submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements as Job did, and can seek God’s guidance in everything, we will undoubtedly face all calmly and make the best choice, for God will lead us and take the helm for us.