What will of God is concealed within the Lord Jesus’ refusal to observe the Sabbath? And what inspiration does it bring to us today?
In Peril, God’s Hand Saved Me
“If I were not saved by God, I would still be drifting in the world,
struggling painfully in sin, living without any hope.
“If I were not saved by God, I would still be drifting in this world,
struggling hard and painfully in sin; every day gets bleak and hopeless.
If I were not saved by God, I’d still be crushed below the devil’s feet,
snared in sin and its enjoyments, ignorant of what my life would be.
If I were not saved by God, I’d be without my blessings here today,
much less know why we should live on or the meaning of our lives.
If I were not saved by God, I’d still be confused about my faith,
still in empty space passing the days, unaware in whom to put my faith.
I have finally understood God’s loving hand holds mine as we go.
I would never go and lose my way ’cause I’m on this brilliant course to stay” (“If I Were Not Saved by God” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Whenever I hear this hymn of experience, I am always deeply moved. If it weren’t for God saving me, as described in the hymn, I might still be wandering aimlessly in the world, tiring myself out chasing after money, even to the point that I would long since have lost my life and died abroad in a foreign land …
I’m a child of the eighties, and was born in an ordinary farmer household. My older brother was always unwell and sick since he was little. My father was wounded in an accident when I was 10; he was paralyzed two years after that. Our family’s financial situation was poor to begin with, and we went heavily into debt treating my father. Our friends and relatives were afraid that we would never be able to pay back the debt, and weren’t willing to loan us money. Helpless, I was forced to drop out of school at 16 to work away from home. In deep and quiet night, I would often think: When they were young, children the same age as me would play freely after school, while I would have to be in fields doing farming work; now they have grown up as me, and they are still going to school, acting like spoiled children with their parents, but I have to start working at an early age and suffer all kinds of hardships to support my family. … At that time, I complained to my parents about why they gave birth to me, and asked why it was that I came into this world just to suffer and toil. But there was nothing I could do about it, and I could only accept this reality. At the time, my greatest wish was to work hard, earn money, and allow my parents to live comfortably, and no longer be looked down on by others.
At first I worked in a private aluminum alloy factory. Since I was a child laborer, the boss always took good care of me with my food and housing. After one year, I felt that my wages were too low, and chose to go do the lacquer spraying work in a furniture factory that other people didn’t want to do. At that time, no matter what kind of work I was doing, as long as I didn’t break the law, I would go do it if I could make more money. My only goal was that I wanted to become a person with money, so I wouldn’t have to live the life of a poor person again. After that, my relatives introduced me to a company that offered me the opportunity to leave the country for work. I had never thought that after a few years I would go abroad.
In the Spring of 2012, I had my wish granted when I came to Japan and began my new life. I was involved in the shipbuilding industry, and through an apprenticeship I signed a three-year contract with the company. When I started work, I was exhausted and suffering. Because I didn’t know how to cook, I ate instant noodles for a month, until I couldn’t eat them with the feeling like I was going to throw up and was forced to learn to cook. I have no idea how many days I ate half-cooked rice. In Japan, we were foreigners, so it was hard for the company’s workers to keep from having an unfair treatment toward us. They made us do a lot of dirty, tiring, and dangerous tasks. When I was spraying lacquer, I was rather scared, because if the gas came into contact with fire it would ignite, and if I stopped paying attention for a moment it could endanger my life. But no matter if it was suffering in my life or danger in my work, as long as I thought of making more money to send back to my family, and being able to buy a car and a house after I returned home and elevate myself over others and no longer be poor, I felt that my suffering at the time actually wasn’t too bad. Three years of my life passed in the blink of an eye working there, and the time period on my visa was almost up. The company had a policy of renewing contracts, so in order to make more money, I chose to renew my contract and continue to work in Japan. What pleasantly surprised me was that not long after I renewed my contract, I encountered the of the kingdom of .
In September of 2015, a friend I had met in Japan told me about God’s work in the last days. When she was telling me about believing in God, I thought this was just a kind of belief, and didn’t think it was interesting. I felt that believing in God wouldn’t be able to change my destiny. Soon after that, I told my friend about my own way of thinking and the hardships I had endured, then asked her, “Can believing in God change my destiny? I’ve suffered so much, I’m just an ill-fated person. If I had money I wouldn’t be suffering, and right now the most real thing for me is to make money. For me, believing in God is something remote.” When my friend heard me speaking like this, she read to me a section of the word of God: “Where you will go every day, what you will do, who or what you will encounter, what you will say, what will happen to you—can any of this be predicted? People cannot foresee all these occurrences, much less control how they develop. In life, these unforeseeable events happen all the time, and they are an everyday occurrence. These daily vicissitudes and the ways they unfold, or the patterns by which they play out, are constant reminders to humanity that nothing happens at random, that these things’ ramifications, and their inevitability, cannot be shifted by human will. Every happening conveys an admonition from the to mankind, and it also sends the message that human beings cannot control their own fates; at the same time every event is a rebuttal to humanity’s wild, futile ambition and desire to take its fate into its own hands. They are like powerful slaps about humanity’s ears one after another, forcing people to reconsider who, in the end, governs and controls their fate. And as their ambitions and desires are repeatedly thwarted and shattered, humans naturally arrive at an unconscious acceptance of what fate has in store, an acceptance of reality, of the will of Heaven and the Creator’s sovereignty. From these daily vicissitudes to the fates of entire human lives, there is nothing that does not reveal the Creator’s plans and His sovereignty; there is nothing that does not send the message that ‘the Creator’s authority cannot be exceeded,’ that does not convey the eternal truth that ‘the Creator’s authority is supreme’” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). After hearing this, I felt that these words made a lot of sense, and I couldn’t help but think that being able to renew my contract also seemed like something that had been arranged by God. It also made me think about the home I was born into and my life with my family were things I had no choice about. I had the feeling that somewhere out there is a Sovereign in control.
My friend also had me read this section of the word of God “God Himself, the Unique III” which talks about six junctures that a person must pass through in life: Birth: The First Juncture; Growing Up: The Second Juncture; Independence: The Third Juncture; Marriage: The Fourth Juncture; Progeny: The Fifth Juncture; Death: The Sixth Juncture. When I had read the word of God, I was amazed. I had never imagined that God had spoken so clearly about man’s destiny, and the facts are indeed as He described. According to ordinary circumstances, a person will experience these six junctures in his life. I thought of how many people there are on earth suffering, and how it wasn’t just me. If destiny were really up to a person’s choice and he were in control of it, then everyone would choose to live in a big, fancy house, and would there be anyone suffering from poverty and hardship? In fact, the family a person is born into is absolutely not up to them to choose, and they can’t choose what kind of parents they have. After they grow up, the kind of husband or wife they have is also not up to them. … The more I pondered them, the more I felt these words were practical, and I then began in my heart to believe what Almighty God had said. Fate is not something that can be changed by oneself. Since then, I began to get more and more interested in believing in God, and I believed that God exists, and believed that a person’s fate is not under his own control. But because I didn’t know much about God, I felt that God was very remote from me. However, in an experience not long after that, I genuinely felt: God is beside me, watching over and protecting me.