By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
The Ups and Downs of My Life
Jiejing South Korea
I was born to an ordinary peasant family in northeast China. We passed our lives with our faces to the earth and our backs to the sky for generations. Seeing my forebears spend every day doing backbreaking labor in the fields, the ignorant me said to myself, “I’m not going to live like them.” Therefore, as a child, I swore I would study hard and walk out of the countryside with my own efforts. As I grew older, this resolution gradually took root in my heart. To realize my wish, I buried myself in my studies every day. Never did I dare to slack off. Even when my friends and classmates hung out after school or at weekends, I just shut myself indoors studying. My parents advised me to go play outside, but I said, “No, I must study hard. I want to go to college and get a good job in the future. Only then can I earn money and buy you a house in town, so we no longer have to live in the countryside.”
In a flash, the middle school graduation exams were drawing near. I had thought I would surely enter the key high school through my persistent efforts. But on the first morning of the exams, when I arrived at the door of the examination room, I found my admission ticket gone. I rummaged in my bag but didn’t find it. I was seized with panic and burst out crying. Having no choice, I took a taxi home to look for it. I searched the house from top to bottom, but found no trace of it. In helplessness, I hurried back to the exam room by taxi. Still I was late. All the candidates were sitting in the exam rooms, while I was not allowed to go in without the admission ticket. When I was so worried, the teacher emptied my bag and found my admission ticket. I hurried into the room with it. The trouble I met before the exam disturbed me so much that I couldn’t quiet my heart at once. Two days later, the exams were over. When I got my transcript, I was informed that I had failed to get into the key high school. At that moment, I was so sad. My tears kept flowing down uncontrollably. I didn’t know who to ask: Why was I born into a poor family? Why is it so hard for me to test into university and walk out of the countryside through my own diligence?
However, I did not give up, still believing in the notion “My life depends on myself, not the fate; each man is the architect of his own fate.” I began to rush about, trying to find a way to change my fate. Later, I heard that vocational high school students with good grades could also test into university. So I went to a vocational high school to continue my education. But after I studied there for some time, I was aware that few among the students there studied seriously, while the teachers were scarcely responsible. Thus I felt my future bleak, and was very disappointed. Just at that time, good news came to me that my uncle’s work unit was recruiting staff from within. And if I could pass the examination, I would become a civil servant after graduation and got an “iron-rice bowl.” My aunt advised me to have a try. As a result, I really passed the examination. I was thrilled, expecting it to be the turning point in my life.
In an instant, three years had passed. To support me to go to school, my poor family was already under a heavy debt. The only thing that I was proud of was that I had always ranked among the best. I hopefully waited to be assigned to a good job after graduation, then find a decent husband, and repay my parents’ love. Unexpectedly, when I went to the local personnel bureau with my diploma, hoping them to get me a job, the staff told me, “When you were at school, the one in charge was our former leader. He is no longer the leader now. So the policies he established are invalid.” As I heard this, it felt like I had been struck by a lightning bolt: It’s done! It is a waste of going to school, also a waste of money—my parents’ hard-earned money. I cried out, “Why? I have been longing to change my fate on my own, but never can I fulfill my wish. Why is this?!” During that time, I reached the lowest point in my life, and cried all day long. I didn’t know what I lived for, and was even more clueless as to where my direction in life was.
Then my friend introduced me to a potential marriage partner (a Korean, who is now my husband). We met, and dated. But before we could get to know each other better, the translator had done all the paperwork for the immigration for me, and the necessary procedures for going to South Korea were gone through in only about one month. All this came when I least expected it. It would take others at least four or five months to deal with these procedures. But I, who was not ready to get married yet, came to South Korea with him—my husband. Everything went so well with me. Just as the saying goes, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”
After coming to South Korea, I really suffered a lot from the different language, food, culture, and manners. But little by little, I became accustomed to all of this. I began to enter into society, and worked at a biscuit factory and then a soft drinks plant. I treasured each job very much and worked very hard. Yet due to a variety of reasons, I lost them soon. Facing all the miseries, I couldn’t figure out how to go on living, and why I couldn’t achieve the anticipated results however hard I tried. It seemed all of this had already been mysteriously arranged. So, I gradually started to believe in destiny. And when life was difficult, I constantly thought of the words “You will have it if it belongs to you, whereas you don’t kvetch for it if it doesn’t appear in your life.” I felt as though my fate was really not controlled in my hands, and I didn’t have the final say on all these things.
In the spring of 2014, my mother-in-law set me up in business—opening a Chinese food store. I saw the dawn of hope in my life again. Moreover, at the end of July in 2015, I got a bigger surprise: A Chinese girl, who often came to my shop, preached God’sof the kingdom to me after we got familiar with each other. She genuinely told me her story. She said it was God that had saved her. As her husband had an affair, she got hurt and felt desperate. Were it not for the guidance of God, she might have killed herself. … I was touched by her heartfelt words and personal experience, and was attracted by God’s wonderful deeds and great power. I also told her about my own experience, and said to her, “In the past, there were many believers in the Lord coming to preach gospel to me, yet I just turned them down. But this time, it is different. I feel I have quite a lot to say to you.”
Hearing my words, she shared two passages ofwith me: “From the moment you come crying into this world, you begin to perform your duty. You assume your role in the plan of God and in the ordination of God. You begin the journey of life. Whatever your background and whatever the journey ahead of you, none can escape the orchestration and arrangement that Heaven has in store, and none are in control of their destiny, for only He who rules over all things is capable of such work.” “God sets up this kind of environment for people at the same time as choosing them, and it is greatly beneficial to His work in saving people. From the outside, it looks like God has done nothing earthshaking for man; He just does everything secretly, humbly and in silence. But in fact, all that God does is done to lay a foundation for your salvation, to prepare the road ahead and to prepare all necessary conditions for your salvation. Straight away at each person’s specified time, God brings them back before Him—when the time comes for you to hear God’s voice, that is the time you come before Him.” I felt these words were absolutely right. In the past, there were so many people who came to preach gospel to me, but I refused all of them. Nevertheless, when this girl came to my shop, I was moved by her words, and was willing to know more about belief in God. All these things were arranged by God. Looking back, I came from China to South Korea, experienced from looking for jobs everywhere to owning my own shop financially backed by my mother-in-law, and at last, I met and got acquainted with this sister who preached the gospel to me. All of this was not able to be anticipated, but was indeed ordained and controlled by God.
After that, she read me some God’s words about the six junctures of life. God says, “Can one achieve everything one desires in life? How many things over the few decades of your existence have you been able to accomplish as you wished? How many things do not happen as expected? How many things come as pleasant surprises? How many things are you still waiting to bear fruit—unconsciously awaiting the right moment, awaiting the will of Heaven? How many things make you feel helpless and thwarted? Everyone is full of hopes about their fate, and anticipates that everything in their life will go as they wish, that they will not want for food or clothing, that their fortunes will rise spectacularly. Nobody wants a life that is poor and downtrodden, full of hardships, beset by calamities. But people cannot foresee or control these things.” “To put it simply, under God’s authority every person actively or passively accepts His sovereignty and His arrangements, and no matter how one struggles in the course of one’s life, no matter how many crooked paths one walks, in the end one will return to the orbit of fate that thehas traced out for him or her.”
After hearing these words, I was totally convinced: Yeah, who can predetermine and orchestrate our life? From the moment we were born, the life of every one of us had already been arranged by God. Whether we are rich or poor, noble or mean, receive blessings or misfortune, these are not things that we can control ourselves. No matter how we struggle, it is to no avail, because the one who holds sovereignty over the human fate is not us human beings, but God. At this time, I suddenly saw the light: Turns out that anything unpleasant befalling me is not what I can avoid or change, like my failure in the high school entrance examination, which shattered my dream of rising above others through study. And at what points I will change my life direction and when there will be a surprise in store for me are not what I can ask for, such as my coming to South Korea without any conscious efforts or trouble and settling down here, and my receiving God’s salvation of the last days. Everything goes orderly within the course set out by God. My fate is ordered in God’s hands, and I have my ups and downs at different times. When I strove for something with my own two hands, I was exhausted and painful; but when I was a little obedient to what fate had in store, I was filled with joy. Now I’ve got to know what I should learn the most is to obey the sovereignty of God, and only then can I live freely and without restraints. Just assays, “when you truly know, when you truly come to recognize that God has sovereignty over human fate, when you truly understand that everything God has planned for and decided for you is a great benefit, and is a great protection, then you feel your pain gradually lighten, and the whole of you become relaxed, free, liberated.” “You can only have one hope: that you can submit to each day’s environment that God prepares and each day of life He gives you, letting Him lead you, that you can most happily and peacefully live in His presence, allow Him to lead you, and are able to submit to His sovereignty. If you have this kind of attitude, you will then come to see without conscious effort that all this is under God’s command.”
Thinking about myself, as I was ignorant of the fact that man’s fate is in God’s hands and under His dominion, since childhood I have lived by the incorrect notion “My life depends on myself, not the fate; each man is the architect of his own fate,” always trying to change my fate with my own efforts—to be on top and build a good life. Actually this is struggling against fate and resisting God. I spent all these years seeking to satisfy my desires and ambitions. Yet the more I wanted to get something, the less I was able to obtain it; and the more I was incapable of getting it, the more I was eager to go on fighting for it. Then, as a result, I had squandered my time over these years of struggling against fate, and eventually got so tired and was extremely bitter. Even after I got married and had a child, I was still hoping in vain to rely on my own ability to decide my daughter’s fate. In order to make her become somebody in the future, I engaged a private tutor for her when she was four. Moreover, regardless of how busy or weary I was every day, I would rather not eat but personally help her to finish the homework I assigned to her. Besides, I gave her a little quiz once a week. Yet despite how carefully I had taught her, she still got several wrong answers in every quiz. As I was too ambitious for her, I often got angry and beat her. Every time I saw her bottom red and swollen after I spanked her, I would hug her crying and said sorry to her. But the next time when she didn’t do good enough in the quiz, I would treat her the same way, and then I would regret again. I really didn’t see why my earnest teaching just couldn’t improve her grades. And so, this kept constantly inflicting pain on my daughter and me for so many years. But, since I read God’s words about the six junctures of life, my viewpoint began to change. I realized: My fate doesn’t depend on me, nor does my daughter’s. Whether or not she does well in her studies, her growth, who she will become, what job she will have, … all of this had already been decided by God from the moment she was born. Thanks to God’s words, the confusion, suffering, demand, discontent, and complaint inside me had all vanished like smoke. I finally got the answer to the years of confusion about my life: Man is created by God, and his fate rests in God’s hands. And to obey God is the wisest option for us humans. God’s word saved me and my daughter as well.
I truly thanked God for bringing me, such a lowly and numb person, before Him, and feeding me bit by bit, so that I was aware where I came from, knew the Creator’s authority and power to rule humanity’s fate, as well as the meaning of life. I made a vow to God, “O God! No matter what the circumstances in the future, I will follow You till the end, and submit to all the orchestrations and arrangements of You. All the glory be to God! Amen!”