After believing in God I only attended a few gatherings because I was so busy with work; I still didn’t understand the significance of. Later on, my family business suffered a loss and I became pregnant, so things got tighter and tighter. I no longer felt inclined to practice my faith, constantly trying to think of ways to earn some money so that we could live a little better. Especially when I saw my friends wearing gold and silver, I couldn’t help but envy them, thinking: “I , but I have to deal with the problems in life by myself. I should certainly be able to earn money with my trade (Western food chef).” So, I didn’t take my family’s advice, and determined to leave my child, not yet one year old, in my parents’ care and throw myself into this money-obsessed world, flinging my faith in God to the winds.
I came to Shanghai, full of hope, and found a position. I got through the interview easily, but the boss said that since I wasn’t familiar with the business yet, I had to first work as a server for a month, but the salary would be the same as a chef’s. I wasn’t too happy about it, but then thought that since I was just starting out it wasn’t a bad idea to familiarize myself, and I’d have the chance to learn more about the industry. I familiarized myself for a month this way and two more groups of chefs were recruited, but the boss didn’t bring up my situation again. I went to ask the manager what was going on, who just said evasively that there were enough chefs on deck now. I thought: “With my skills as a chef I should be getting a good salary. If they have me continue working as a server, I’ll quit!” I then tendered my resignation; this was how my first job in Shanghai came to nothing.
I wasn’t discouraged. I thought that in such a big city, I’d certainly be able to find work. Before long I found another restaurant with a slightly higher salary, and the boss there was very demanding and strict regarding the chefs’ skills. He frequently went to Japan and after returning, would teach us traditional teppanyaki. I really had my heart set on that job and fantasized that before long, I’d be making my ideal salary…. But to my surprise, on the last day of my second month there I was suddenly called in to talk to the boss. He said that I had prepared the lamb chops in the freezer without his permission (lamb chops need to be prepared), and before I could get a word out, he went on to say: “You don’t need to come in tomorrow.” He then turned to go, leaving me standing there, stunned. When I came to, tears were rolling down my face like little pearls. I later learned that chefs never made it past two months there because according to the company regulations, they were required to sign a contract after two months, and if the business wasn’t doing well and it had to shut down, the boss would have to pay severance to any employees on a contract. So the boss just used temporary labor and wouldn’t sign a contract with anyone.
Half a year flew by, and not only had I not earned money, but in fact, I had spent quite a bit of money on my repeated job searches. However, I wasn’t resigned. I found a job in a hotel through a friend, and unexpectedly, after I’d been there for less than three months, the other chef resigned, leaving just me. I worked every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., insanely busy—I didn’t even have time to take breaks. Sometimes I didn’t even have a chance to eat; I had to go hungry or buy a snack for myself. I was so overworked that my pinky finger started to hurt, my neck was bothering me, and my back often hurt so much that I couldn’t stand. My body couldn’t handle it. Left without a choice, I walked away from that job I had held for less than half a year.
Looking back over the difficult year I had had, the more I thought about it the sadder I felt and I couldn’t stop my tears from flowing. Helpless and left with no choice, I called my mom and poured my heart out to her. She consoled me and advised me to come home. But I wasn’t willing to do that—I felt that I was young and should be able to make a lot of money with my skills, and I’d be able to turn my situation around. But, I saw that I had encountered repeated failures and had suffered so much over the past year, and not only had I not earned money but had worked myself sick. At the moment, I thought of a passage of God’s words: “Do you have your future and your fate in your own hands? You always run away and want to take a worldly path, but why can’t you get out? Why is it that you waver at a crossroads for many years and then end up choosing this path once again? After wandering for many years, why is it that you have now returned to this house in spite of yourself? Is this just your own matter?” I compared this to my own experiences and saw that I had been so foolish and ignorant. In spite of my faith in God, I was still living relying on Satan’s poison, “Rely on your own two hands to create a beautiful future.” I wanted to use the skills I had learned to get a good life for myself and didn’t even stop at departing from God and not attending gatherings. I didn’t read His words, either. God had no place in my heart at all—I was just the same as a nonbeliever. But the reality was that I had left God, thrown everything into work, and had bitterly struggled for an entire year, but still didn’t get the life I wanted in return. I was living in pain and difficulty. My real-life experiences showed me that my future prospects and my fate really weren’t in my own hands, and that no matter how I strived, whether I gained anything or not in the end wasn’t up to me, but was controlled and ruled over by God. In fact, through my mom advising me to go back home in that phone call, God was giving me an opportunity to return before Him. So, I repented and prayed before God, and made my decision that regardless of whether I could find work after going back, I had to return before God, attend gatherings, read His words, and fulfill my duty.
Not long after getting on the bus to go back, a former colleague from my hometown called me to say that they needed a chef at his work and he wanted me to go. I was astonished and pleasantly surprised. I asked him why they needed another chef so soon after opening (he had asked me three months prior if I wanted to go into business with him, and I had declined). He said that the boss had other things going on and hadn’t finished the remodel, so they weren’t actually opening until the following month. I was incredibly excited after getting off the phone. Just as my heart was barely starting to turn around I saw that things had taken a turn for the better—God’s deeds are so wondrous! I had been thinking that my profession was too obscure and that it would be hard to find work at home, but surprisingly, God arranged everything for me before I even arrived. Thanks be to God!
Once I got home I got in touch with theand began officially taking part in the life of the church; I also performed the duties I was able to. I read these words of God in a gathering: “Because people do not recognize God’s orchestrations and God’s sovereignty, they always face fate defiantly, with a rebellious attitude, and always want to cast off God’s authority and sovereignty and the things fate has in store, hoping in vain to change their current circumstances and alter their fate. But they can never succeed; they are thwarted at every turn. This struggle, which takes place deep in one’s soul, is painful; the pain is unforgettable; and all the while one is frittering away one’s life. What is the cause of this pain? Is it because of God’s sovereignty, or because a person was born unlucky? Obviously neither is true. At bottom, it is because of the paths people take, the ways people choose to live their lives.” God’s words were so utterly true. I had overestimated my own capabilities, wanting to break free from God’s rule and arrangements and rely on my own little skills to make it, but as a result I hit a major wall. I thought of my sad journey of the past year, floating around away from home and really felt that when I walked away from the embrace of the Lord of creation, I lived within the pain and fear under Satan’s power. I had nothing to lean on and didn’t know who to talk to when I encountered difficulties, just like a blind person stumbling down a road, without a single day of peace or happiness. But just when I was suffering and helpless, God didn’t turn His back on me. He didn’t make a fuss over my rebelliousness, instead putting people, events, and things into play to get me to come before Him once again, even arranging a good job for me. God truly is so lovely.
After a period of time, the boss had a talk with me, telling me that business profits weren’t good and that I’d have to take a 1,000-yuan pay cut if I wanted to keep working there. I felt really put out—my salary wasn’t high in the first place, and if it went down more, it would be on par with an apprentice’s pay. My bean-counting self reared up again. I thought: “The pay is so low here; I may as well go find a job in the city. But if I leave, I won’t be able to attend gatherings or perform my duty anymore. But if I keep working here, how will I save money to buy a car?” My internal battle went back and forth this way, until I later saw these words of God: “God works, God cares for a person, looks upon a person, and Satan dogs His every step. Whoever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ways to tempt, harass and wreck the work God does in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is its objective? It does not want God to have anyone; it wants all those that God wants, to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they commit evil acts alongside it. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive?” I understood from God’s words that while He works to save people, Satan exploits every trick, doing its utmost to disrupt this. It doesn’t want God to gain people, so it thinks of everything it can to entice people away from God and get them to betray Him. Satan was using my desire to earn more money and have a better life than others’ to tempt me and get me to distance myself from God and betray Him. Satan is so cunning and abominable! Realizing that Satan’s scheming was within this, I wasn’t willing to once again fall into its hands and be harmed by it. So, I prayed to God: “Oh God, my stature is too small and I’m always being enticed and confused by Satan. I ask You to guide me so that I may triumph over this test from Satan.”
Later, I read in the word of God: “Money cannot buy life, that fame cannot erase death, that neither money nor fame can lengthen a person’s life by a single minute, a single second.” Yes, having money and a name is worthless in the face of having life. After being corrupted by Satan all we aspire to is name, money, and status, and Satan uses these things as bait to lure us away from God step by step, so that we lose our way more and more and in the end we entirely betray God and fall under Satan’s power. I thought back on my own previous experiences, and although I had come back before God, in my heart I still longed for the trends of society. When I saw that others had more comfortable material lives with a car and a house, walking along with their noses up in the air, I was envious of them. I wasn’t content to continue along steadily and smoothly, obedient under the dominion of the Lord of creation, so I pursued social trends. But when I really distanced myself from God and stepped onto the path of seeking fame and fortune for myself, not only did I not attain the life I was hoping for, but all it brought me was suffering. When I thought of this, I realized with clarity that I could no longer depart from God for the sake of a little bit of material enjoyment, as I had in the past. No matter how much money I’m making, I can’t leave home for work. I need to attend gatherings and perform my duty. Once I put this into practice, my heart was at ease. And to my surprise, I only received the lower salary for one month, and the next month it went back up again, even higher than it had been before. This gave me an even deeper experience with God’s wondrous deeds!
After experiencing the wondrousness of God’s work I felt really guilty and ashamed. I thought of how I had always treated my faith in God as some sort of religious belief: God was God, and I was me. I had never diligently tried to come into contact with God and share my heart with Him, telling Him about my innermost thoughts and struggles. Along this path I have come to truly recognize that as long as we genuinely believe in God and rely on Him, coming before Him with a heart of reverence and obedience, God will resolve all of the difficulties in our lives. Another thing I deeply experienced was how painful and helpless my days were without God. When faced with difficulties I had nothing to lean on and no peace in my heart. Only after returning before God did I have a true support as well as peace and happiness in my soul. I am willing to hand my own future prospects and fate over to God’s rule and arrangements because all that He sets up for me will be the best!