By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
A Christian’s Experience in a Foreign Country
It Is Not Easy to Live in a Foreign Country
As a new arrival in France, everything was strange to Xiaoxiao. When she was in China, she had some confidence in herself that she had some ability to do everything. But now she was incapable of anything in France: she couldn’t speak French, didn’t know the way, didn’t know where to take buses or buy tickets…. She had to learn everything from scratch. When she first went out on business, she depended on the translation software on her cell phone. But after several attempts, she found it was unreliable. One time, she wanted to buy ten eggs, but the translation software translated it as “I want to buy ten men,” and she wanted to buy a quilt, it translated it as “I want to buy a cage,” and so on. So she stopped using the translation software. She really dreaded going out on business. In order to avoid making a fool of myself and get things done, every time I went out, I would ask a friend to accompany me, so that I might not lose my way or could get help when something unexpected happened.
How to Face the Difficulties?
Some days ago, Xiaoxiao was informed that she needed to declare her income and provide some relevant documents according to the national policy. She became worried: How to get these documents? I don’t know where the places are. Besides, she couldn’t speak French and didn’t know how to deal with these businesses. Her colleagues couldn’t help her because they went different places, which made her feel more perplexed.
Facing these difficulties, she prayed to God, “Oh, God! I’m going out to do my business, but I can’t do anything—I don’t know where to take buses, I cannot speak French, and I don’t know how to submit these certificates…. Oh, God! May You guide me.” After praying, she was enlightened by God that she could overcome any difficulties by relying on Him. “Yes! I have God with me. What am I afraid of? Whether I will succeed or not, there is God’s permission.” Then she thought of the words in the Scriptures: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). “That’s right! I am a, and God is my rock. Fear comes from Satan; I shouldn’t fear.” Under the guidance of God, she became encouraged.
Meeting With Failures in the Process
The following day, Xiaoxiao planned that she first went to the bank to handle some materials, and then went to submit the tax returns. As she was unfamiliar with these places, and didn’t know what she would encounter, she was still a little worried. On the way, Xiaoxiao constantly prayed to God. Over an hour later, she arrived at the bank, where she saw many people were waiting in lines. Xiaoxiao was not sure which line she should join. Her eyes searched around, hoping to see some Chinese. But there was no one. After she stood in the hall watching for a while, she followed her instincts and joined a line. But unexpectedly, more than forty minutes later, when it almost came to her turn, several foreigners jumped the queue and made her move to the back. Though angry and worried, she could do nothing but had to line up again, as she didn’t speak French.
One hour later, it was finally her turn. She said “Bonjour” to the clerk with a smile. The clerk responded politely and then spoke a lot in French. She was stunned: What’s she talking about? Not understanding a single word of the clerk, she shook her head with a stiff smile. Then the clerk made gestures to her, but Xiaoxiao still couldn’t understand the clerk at all. So Xiaoxiao passed the clerk a piece of paper with all the business she needed to get done on it, but the clerk kept shaking her head and returned Xiaoxiao’s bank card firmly, which meant refusal. Seeing that, Xiaoxiao had to leave at once, giving way to the next client.
Getting out of the bank, Xiaoxiao felt very depressed: She spent two hours and lined up twice, but she got nothing done. She thought: What shall I do now? What is the meaning of what the clerk said? Will my declaration fail? I didn’t want to give up, but I had no idea what I could do. She suddenly thought of a friend who was experienced in handling such things, so Xiaoxiao called her quickly. Through the friend’s analysis, she guessed that the clerk might have asked Xiaoxiao to give her one of the certificates. Xiaoxiao didn’t show it at that time because she failed to understand what the clerk was saying, which was why Xiaoxiao was refused.
Then Xiaoxiao had to return to the bank again. It was only one hour left before the tax office closed. Lining up there again, she was full of worries: It’s getting late; will I have to take tomorrow off and come again? I don’t want to. At that point, God guided her, and she remembered a line of: “Everything in the universe is determined by God. Is there anything that is not in God’s hand?” “It’s true. What I am experiencing today is a small thing, but it still rests in God’s hand. Everything in my life is determined by God, and all that I should do is to obey God’s orchestration, rather than use my mind and experience to analyze or measure it.” When she thought of that, her impatient heart calmed down. One hour later, it was her turn again. This time she showed the certificate and got all the documents she needed without any trouble. With the documents and prepared materials, she hurried for the tax office, still a little worried that she was late.
God’s Deeds Are Everywhere
When Xiaoxiao arrived at the tax office, she saw a mailbox in front of the door, which reminded her of what her friend said: You just need to put the tax returns into the mailbox. Just then, Xiaoxiao saw several people putting their tax returns into it. She thought: It’s so simple. I just need to put my tax returns into the mailbox; I thought it in a complicated way. Then she took out my tax returns and was about to put them into it, when a few people blocked her way and didn’t leave for quite a while. She was so anxious that I stamped her feet. After they went off, she was again about to put the tax returns into the mailbox when a Korean who can speak Chinese came out of the tax office and stopped her, saying, “Do not put them into this box. It isn’t for your tax returns.” Only then did her carefully look at the sign on the box and found it really didn’t agree with that on her tax returns. The Korean then said, “You must submit your tax returns in the hall.” At last, with the help of the Korean, Xiaoxiao handed in the tax returns successfully.
The moment when she got out of the tax office, she was quite excited, not because she declared her income successfully, but because this little experience enabled her to appreciate that God was right by her side. Wasn’t it ruled and arranged by God that the Korean who can speak Chinese appeared just when she was about to put the tax returns into the mailbox? Looking back, if it had not been for those unexpected failures, Xiaoxiao wouldn’t have lined up for three times and delayed for so long, much less would she have met the Korean. The things that seemed bad turned out to be good, andwas hidden within them. From Xiaoxiao’s experience, we saw that in every matter that seems trivial to us in daily life, as long as we sincerely look up to God, He will open up a way out for us in every aspect and carefully arrange environments to help and guide us. And the difficulties and failures we come up against in our experiences, however, are all God’s meticulous arrangements. Our worry is unnecessary, is a sign of ignorance, because God will give us practical help and guidance. Although we cannot see God with our naked eyes, we can truly experience that God is right by our side, accompanying us all the time and guiding our everyday life.
On the way home, Xiaoxiao listened to the hit hymn sent by a sister, “One day, you’ll feel the’s no more a riddle, He’s never been hidden, never covered His face from you; He’s not far from you at all; He’s no longer the One you yearn for day and night but can’t reach with your feelings. He is genuinely standing guard around your side, supplying your life, and controlling your fate. He’s not on the distant horizon, nor is He hidden in the clouds. He is right by your side, reigning over your all. He’s your everything and your only One.
A God as such makes you adore Him, admire Him, cling to Him, hold Him close, whom you fear to lose, no longer want to turn your back on and disobey, or avoid and distance from; you just want to care for Him, obey Him, repay all He gives you, submit to His dominion. You no longer refuse His guidance, supply, care, and protection; you don’t resist His sovereignty and arrangement any more. You just want to follow Him, be with Him; you just want to accept Him as your one and only life, as your one and only Lord and God.”
Listening to the beautiful melody of the hymn, Xiaoxiao thought that she had seen belief in God as something very simple before, thinking that believing in God meant attending gatherings during her spare time, singing hymns, offering one tenth, and helping needy believers. But now she realized that truly believing in God is not simply keeping the rules and ceremonies outwardly, but practically experiencing and feeling how God leads man’s daily life. God’s realness, His loveliness, His wisdom, and His wondrousness and unfathomableness are all hidden within our life, and only if we use our hearts to seek experience will we be able to appreciate them and feel that God is right by our side leading us. All the glory and praise be to God. Amen!