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Thanks to God, I Have Recovered From Business Failure
By Dingzhen, United States
The Beginning of My Dream
In my childhood, my family was very poor, and my mother was always in bad health. Every time when I saw others wear pretty dresses, I would envy them. Because my family didn’t have spare money to buy clothes for me, I had to wear what my older sister used to wear. In those days, I always felt too ashamed to lift up my head before my classmates. Thus I secretly resolved: When I grow up, I must come to the top, leading a rich life.
After my marriage, in order to lead a wealthy life as soon as possible, I borrowed some money and came to America to work in 1995. In August 1998, my husband and I rented a storefront and started a restaurant business. After we had run it for some time, the business increased rapidly. Sometimes I would work until 2:00 a.m., always getting exhausted physically and mentally, but as long as I saw the money I earned, the feeling of fatigue was gone. As my husband’s cooking got better and better, guests returned in increasing numbers, and on top of that my children had grown up by that time, so in September 2000, I rented another storefront to open another restaurant. After we operated it for a while, the business was doing well too. At this time, some of my relatives and friends in America all came to my restaurants to work, and they really admired me. Seeing them look at me admiringly, I could finally draw myself up to my full height and raise my head before them.
Because I was busy with the business of the restaurants every day, gradually, I rarely went to church for Mass, and became more and more distant from the Lord. In 2004, I opened two takeouts. Although I had already had four restaurants then, I was still unsatisfied. Later I bought a piece of land of more than 8000 square feet, built some buildings with storefronts on it, and then rented the storefronts out after having them decorated. And after that, I opened a 5000-square-foot cafeteria. At that time, I firmly believed: My fate is in my hands, and as long as I work hard, I will obtain the wonderful life I want.
The Shattering of My Dream
In the blink of an eye, it was 2008. America was then faced with financial crisis, and the economy was declining. The business of my restaurants was also affected. Because of the difficulties in money operation, I had to reduce the staff, trying to save as many of the restaurants as possible. At that time, our whole family was occupied with the affairs of the restaurants, going out early and returning home late, and what’s more, we all wished that we could be in two places at once. Every day I was completely exhausted. Such a life continued until 2011. By then we were still not able to rent out the storefronts, the restaurants still failed to be transferred, and our whole family had been completely done in. I had no choice but to shut up three restaurants.
Faced with the failure of my business, I considered there were reasons for it: On the one hand, I encountered the economic crisis; on the other hand, I didn’t manage the business well. In spite of my failure, I refused to resign myself to defeat, believing that as long as our whole family worked hard, we would surely change the status quo and revive the business, just as the sayings go, “By doing we learn,” and “Failure teaches success.” Afterward, we started a takeout in which we invested about 100 thousand dollars. I thought: This store is situated in the town with a large popularity. Besides, my husband’s cooking is good, and we have advertised. So the business must be good in the future. Even if we can’t make much money, at least what we earn will be adequate to support our family, and there is no way we can make a loss. But finally, this store still ended in failure. On top of that, once I fell down in the restaurant due to overwork, causing me to suffer a hairline fracture in my back, and since then my health had not been good. I had thought that I might regain past success through running this store based on my own efforts, but now all my hopes were destroyed. Faced with this situation, I felt very painful and completely collapsed.
In those days, my husband drowned his sorrows in drink frequently. At the sight of this, my heart was aching, and I often washed my face with tears. I could not help but ask myself: Is it wrong to struggle with my own hands? Is this my fate? I felt completely helpless, just as if I had fallen into a deep hole, unable to see the way ahead. In the midst of my suffering, I came before the Lord and prayed, “O Lord! Because I occupied myself with my business, I have become further and further away from You. Please forgive me! Now I fail completely, feeling very painful. Lord, I don’t understand Your will, nor can I feel You are with me. I don’t know how to walk the path before me. O Lord! Please guide me. …” Like this, I frequently came into the presence of the Lord and prayed to Him. Eventually, in the autumn of 2013, I finally sold out all my stores and land, and the money I got was just enough for me to repay all my debts. In my heart, I knew it was the Lord who was helping me. Right after all debts were cleared, we moved to New York.
Waking Up as if From a Dream
After arriving at New York, I would go to church every Sunday. One day in April 2015, a sister preached to me the gospel of the Lord’s return. And she also fellowshiped with me about the mystery of the incarnation and of, and the truth concerning the three-stage work of God’s management plan, and so on. Through a period of investigation, I confirmed that Almighty God is precisely the return of the Lord.
One day, I read God’s words, “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.”
After reading these words of God, I came to know the reason why I felt so much pain: Isn’t it because I don’t know God’s sovereignty, am not willing to obey it, and always try to rely on my own effort to obtain the life I desire? Thinking back over the years, in order to make more money to live a life where I am above others, I was never content with my present fortune, and continuously expanded my business, believing “one’s destiny is in his own hand,” always trying to “build a beautiful family by my hands.” From starting my own restaurant to buying land and building storefronts for rent, my business could be said to have reached its height. Yet my ambitions and desires were so strong that I wasn’t satisfied with that, and instead continued purchasing land and opening restaurants. And even though the financial crisis brought me economic loss, I didn’t wake up, but tried to learn from the failure and then to make a comeback. In this way, I expended a lot of effort and paid much price for the sake of living a life where I am above others. In the end, not only did I not obtain the good life I wanted, but instead, I got many illnesses. Now, only through God’s words did I understand: Whether I am poor or rich is ordained by God. If God destined me to be a common person, then no matter how hard I strive, I will not lead an affluent life. This is dictated and arranged by God and is also a reflection of God’s authority. Thinking back on these years, I felt as if I had been in a dream, and it was God’s words that awakened me from it. I then made up my mind: I am willing to let go of my wrong pursuit, and to obey God’s sovereignty, calmly facing my life.
After accepting God’s work of the last days, by reading the words of God and leading a church life I understood some truths. However, because I was deeply corrupted by Satan, once there was a suitable opportunity, I still wanted to give another try. One day in September 2015, my daughter said to me that she wanted to start a nail salon. My husband who was by our side also said, “Since our economic conditions still permit, and our daughter is talented in this respect, then let’s set her up in a nail salon. Being her own boss, she will not have to dance to others’ tune.” Hearing my husband’s words, I thought: That is right. Now that my daughter has such a skill, it should be profitable to open a nail salon. At least, it can offer our family a good life. If the business is busy, I can give her a hand, and this will not hinder me from believing in God. So, I invested fifty thousand dollars to set my daughter up in a nail salon.
At the beginning, the business of the shop was not bad, and thus my heart started to leap in anticipation again. I thought: Since my daughter’s shop is profitable, I will not have to worry about her in the future, and the money I invested in her shop should soon be returned to me. Then I can buy a house nearby and settle down. In the past I didn’t succeed in running the restaurants; now perhaps I can struggle again by running this nail salon. And if it goes smoothly, then I can gain a foothold in this trade and realize my dream. Unexpectedly, the good times did not last for long. Several months later, the business of the nail salon began to decline slowly, and it folded up in less than two years. After my daughter’s shop closed down, I felt disappointed and discouraged in my heart, and my state was also not good.
One day, I saw God’s words saying, “Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive one day in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? (Yes.) People’s status is based on how much money they have as is their respectability. The backs of the poor are bent in shame, while the rich enjoy their high status. They stand tall and proud, speaking loudly and living arrogantly. What does this saying and trend bring to people? Don’t many people see getting money as being worth any cost? Don’t many people sacrifice their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Don’t many more people lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Isn’t this a loss for people? (Yes.) Isn’t Satan sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Isn’t this a malicious trick? As you progress from objecting to this popular saying to finally accepting it as truth, your heart falls completely under Satan’s grasp, and therefore you unwittingly come to live by it.”
God’s words revealed the source of my corruption. Under the influence of the satanic philosophies such as “money is first,” “money makes the world go round,” and so on, I believed that in this world only the people who had great power and wealth could live with dignity and be looked up to by others. So, for the sake of money, I worked hard and expended half a lifetime of efforts and energy. These philosophies of Satan have already rooted deep in my heart and become a part of my life. As a result, though I followed the work of God in the last days, because I understood too little of the truth and still was unable to shake off the temptation of money, I fell into Satan’s temptation again. Only now did I see clearly that Satan uses these philosophies to deceive and seduce me, making me have no inclination to seek the truths, drift further and further away from God, and finally end up in the clutches of Satan. This is Satan’s sinister motive. Thinking about it now, through my own experience I deeply understood that our fate is in God’s hands, and our struggles and toil can only bring us harm and pain. I recalled a fellow townsman of mine. In order to make more money, even though he knew that he was sick, he didn’t receive timely treatment. Eventually, his illness deteriorated into late-stage cancer, and he died in his forties. Then I thought about myself: Even if I possessed a great fortune, this can’t prolong my life when I am faced with death. Just as the Lord, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). It can be seen that it is empty and meaningless for us to pursue money and wealth.
Later I also read these words of God, “After you recognize this, your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God.” These words of God showed me the way of practice and the direction I ought to seek: I should let God take charge of my life and make arrangements for me. Only in this way will I be able to live an easy and liberated life. After understanding these, I was willing to abandon my previous wrongful pursuits, to accept and obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and to seek to become a person who knows and worships God.
Gaining Happiness and Joy
Thinking back on the road I’ve taken, if I hadn’t experienced the failure in business, I would still keep struggling on the wrong way, living an exhausting and painful life. If without such a failure, I would not have returned before God again and received God’s salvation. Now I have truly experienced God’s salvation to me, and understood that as one of God’s creations, I should submit to the arrangements of God. I feel that living in this way is how one can live a true life with ease and happiness.
Now my family also has given up the idea of setting up their own shops. My daughter posted her resume on the internet, and many nail salons want to engage her as a manager. I know this is all God’s blessing. Although now I am not living a wealthy life, my family and I have more time to spend together, and our life is very easy and happy. What is more, I also have more time to read God’s words and to fulfill my duty. I feel that such a life is happier and more meaningful. Thank Almighty God for saving me! All the glory be to Almighty God!
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