What A Valuable Lesson That Adversity Taught Me
By Zhang Nan
I was born in a working-class family in the 1970s. I have an elder sister and a younger one. At that time, our parents’ incomes were only thirty to forty yuan per month. So we were always in serious straits. The clothes of us three were covered with layers of patches and they had to be passed on from the elder siblings to the younger ones. When they were too torn up to be repaired, our mother would cut them into insoles of us. Our snacks were always dry steamed-buns with salt and when we saw our neighbors’ kids ate and wore well, we’d admire them and also feel self-based. After I entered school, the teachers, by teaching, planted into my heart the seeds of concepts like one’s fate is controlled by himself and one needs to create a beautiful future with his own hands, etc. I thought: When I grow up, I will change the present life condition with my own hands and have my family live a wealthy life, so that we will no longer live such bitter life or be looked down upon by others.
Ups and Downs in Business
In 2004, I met my husband who also came from a poor family and had the same childhood and ambition as me. When we got married, we had no money to buy a car or a property. We depended on the salary, which was about one thousand yuan per month, to maintain our living and could barely make ends meet. To live a better life, my husband and I tried our best to plan what we’d do every day in those days. Finally, our hard work paid off. At the end of 2004, my husband and I got in touch with the delivery industry by chance, so we devoted ourselves to it for more than ten years. In the beginning, people didn’t accept delivery service, we had a difficult time in starting the business; however, with our hard work and excellent service attitude, we gradually had many clients. Therefore, our business developed solidly and firmly from a mom-and-pop shop into a limited company with twenty staffs and twenty-four branches in different towns. The number of packages we delivered daily also grew from one or two to two or three thousand. We bought our own car and property, had some deposits, and also invested in a logistics company. We then became somewhat famous in the delivery and logistics circles of our county, and our relatives and friends saw us differently. Seeing my achievements in those days, I was quite pleased with myself in my heart: I was self-based from childhood and always felt inferior to others; now haven’t I changed my life situation with my own ability? It seems that I can win the same success as others. My success in business strengthened my conviction that one’s fate is controlled by himself and one needs to create a beautiful future with his own hands.
However, the time when I was intoxicated with success did not last long. In 2012, the delivery industry, which was still new at that time, showed a blowout development. In only half a year, there emerged seven or eight different delivery companies in our small county. In order to seize markets and have more clients, our peers lowered their rates to the maximum extent, which led to a vicious cycle. Under the stress of struggling with the loss of clients, my husband and I had to lower our rates drastically till there was no profit for us. To retain our clients and increase the volume of business, we even sustained losses in the business of some areas. After a period of time, the volume was indeed increased, but the expenses of paying for the loss and damage of the packages and the staffs’ transportation fee had grown several times as well. Besides, with the volume rising gradually, I could not go on with the same routine anymore. I had an eating disorder because I needed to take charge of everything in our company and I had to work for fourteen or fifteen hours per day. I feared to hear the news from my staffs such as client’s package had been lost or damaged. Each time I heard these, I felt uneasy and irritable, and my spirit was in an extremely intense and panic every day. Moreover, in the following two years, our delivery and logistic companies were both out of pocket. The newly-bought truck worth more than two hundred thousand yuan had an accident, and it was almost totaled. The medical fees of the wounded were close to one hundred thousand yuan. This accident cost not only our years of savings completely but made me borrow two hundred and twenty thousand yuan from our relatives.
What A Valuable Lesson That Adversity Taught Me
At the beginning of 2014, I was both mentally and physically exhausted and tired, and I almost lost confidence in life, when a relative testified to me the Gospel of God. She told me that God has come to save humans. Only He can free us from sufferings. With her Mp5 player, she played to me a hymn called “Almighty God Is Always Waiting for Your Returning”: “The Almighty has mercy on these people who suffer deeply. At the same time, He is fed up with these people who have no consciousness, because He has to wait, wait too long for the answer from humans. He desires to seek, seek your heart and your spirit. He wants to bring you food and water and to awaken you, so you are no longer thirsty, no longer hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel the desolation of this world, do not be perplexed, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival any time. He is watching by your side, waiting for you to turn back. He is waiting for the day your memory suddenly recovers: becoming conscious of the fact that you came from God, somehow and somewhere once lost, falling unconscious on the roadside, and then, unknowingly having a father. You further realize that the Almighty has been watching there, awaiting your return all along. He longs bitterly, waiting for a response without an answer. His watching is priceless and is for the heart and the spirit of humans. Perhaps this watching is indefinite, and perhaps this watching is at its end. But you should know exactly where your heart and spirit are now” (“Follow the Lamb and Sing the New Songs”). Having heard it, I was touched very much, and I listened to that hymn repeatedly with tears in my eyes. Recalling my experiences all these years, I found that I had suffered unspeakably in life, which had already made my heart lose direction. But when I was extremely perplexed and helpless, the gospel of God reached me. Only at that moment did I realize that God is the Watcher of us humans, and He is always waiting for people like us who suffered deeply will come before Him and accept His salvation. God told me that He can provide us with life and save us out of the sea of bitterness. The minute I heard this word, I felt as if I grasped a lifeline that gave me hope of survive. Therefore, I accepted God’s work delightedly.
Although I accepted God’s work and took an active part in having church meetings and reading God’s words, I always have doubts about God and was unwilling to hand my difficulties over to God and obey His sovereignty. The brothers and sisters often fellowshiped with me that I could witness God’s almightiness if I put the practical difficulties in our company into God’s hand and let God orchestrate and arrange them. However, I always thought I’d better not trouble God if I was able to deal with them. I still wished to change the circumstance of our company by myself. In the July of the same year, to break away from economic crisis, my husband tried to integrate the delivery market with a boss of a peer company. Unexpectedly, as a consequence, we had a loss of three hundred thousand yuan in just four months. At that time, there were people gathering round our firm every day to press for the repayment of our debts. When they couldn’t get money, they would threaten to close down our company. The situation was so terrible that my husband was afraid to stay at home or show himself in the office. During that period of time, I was so stressed that I couldn’t eat or sleep well. I was deeply worried about the situation of our company and all the debts. I not only didn’t know how to rely on or look up to God but I made complaints in my heart: Where is the end of this sort of life?
Once in a church meeting, I told my trouble to the brothers and sisters. One sister said: “You have such big problems, but you still didn’t put them into God’s hand. Your heart is too hard.” Then that sister read to me a passage of God’s words, which made me have a deep thought. God says: “To be able to accept the Creator’s sovereignty, to receive His salvation — what great fortune that is! If a person’s attitude toward fate is passive, it proves that he or she is resisting everything that God has arranged for him or her, that he or she does not have a submissive attitude. If one’s attitude toward God’s sovereignty over human fate is active, then when one looks back upon one’s journey, when one truly comes to grips with God’s sovereignty, one will more earnestly desire to submit to everything that God has arranged, will have more of the determination and confidence to let God orchestrate one’s fate, to stop rebelling against God. For one sees that when one does not comprehend fate, when one does not understand God’s sovereignty, when one gropes forward willfully, staggering and tottering, through the fog, the journey is too difficult, too heartbreaking. So 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 one has no God, when one cannot see Him, when one cannot clearly recognize God’s sovereignty, every day is meaningless, worthless, miserable. Wherever one is, whatever one’s job is, one’s means of living and the pursuit of one’s goals bring one nothing but endless heartbreak and irrelievable suffering, such that one cannot bear to look back. Only when one accepts the Creator’s sovereignty, submits to His orchestrations and arrangements, and seeks true human life, will one gradually break free from all heartbreak and suffering, shake off all the emptiness of life” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). Having heard God’s word, I thought that due to my ignorance of God’s sovereignty and arrangement, I always raved against my fate to escape what it has in store and change it, regarding that I could realize my dream by my individual efforts. As a result, no matter whatever degree I’ve developed my efforts to and whatever strivings I’ve had, I sill came back to where I started and get myself into a total mess. I was busy handling the business of my company, and was stopped outside my office by our creditors. The scenes where I was extremely crazy were recalled in my mind. Just as what God says, before we come before God and know God’s sovereignty, we give ourselves over to our heart to strive against fate. That journey is too difficult and too heartbreaking. The word of God gave me an inspiration: Oh! Though I have believed in God, I neither acknowledge Almighty God as the One who dominates human’s fate in my heart, nor intend to hand over my all to God and let God control and arrange them. I continue to live my former life like before and fight against my fate. Thanks be to God! The word of God lets me know the root of my suffering and find some ways of practice.
Faced with our half-paralyzed corporation, my husband and I had no capabilities to hold on. But during the hardest time, I learned to depend on and look up to God. I prayed my difficulties to God: “Almighty God! Facing so much trouble, I indeed cannot endure it. I have no energy to run my company anymore. I am too tired. However, my company is under the direct management of the state postal administration department. I cannot stop running my company randomly. Almighty God! What should I do? I had no knowledge of You before. Nor did I have trust in Your sovereignty and great power. Now I am in such a desperate position. I don’t want to pursue the vain things like money, position and fame any more. I am willing to put my difficulties into Your hand. May You dominate and arrange them.” Thanks be to God! He heard my prayers and helped me out of the hard time with His authority. It was not long before someone took the initiative to purchase the stock right of our company. We sold eighty percent of it smoothly. We not only paid off the debts of more than five hundred thousand, but still had some remaining money at hand. What’s more, I needn’t worry about the operation and the business of our company. From then onwards, I live in a more free and relieved life.
Through this experience, I really tasted God’s great power of managing all. I further confirmed in my heart that God is the One who dominates all, and this also strengthened my faith in God. Meanwhile, I realize that due to our ignorance of God’s authority, we blindly fight against God and fate, which is all in vain and can only cause trouble to ourselves. Only if we come under the power of Almighty God, obey God, and live according to God’s requirements can we live happily, pleasantly and peaceably. I now break free of the bondage of the wrong concept that one’s fate is controlled by himself and one needs to create a beautiful future with his own hands. I do not fight against fate anymore, instead I am willing to submit to God’s sovereignty. Whatever my life will be in future, I will always be willing to rely on and look up to God, and live under God’s authority. Thanks be to God! From then on, my life has transformed for the better, and my heart is relieved and free.
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