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The lonely soul is from far away,
seeking the past, searching the future, struggling hard,
and chasing the dream.
I don’t know where I’m from and where to go,
born in crying and gone in despair,
Your coming ends my painful wandering life.
I see the hope and greet the dawn.
Looking through the vagueness, dimly I see your figure,
and that is the light of your countenance.
Yesterday, I wandered in the strange land, and today I have finally found home.
Having been badly damaged, without human likeness, I sigh for life,
like a dream.
Your coming ends my painful wandering life.
I no more wander or feel lost.
I’ve been home, seeing your white robe
and seeing the light of your countenance. …
(“Time” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs)
Each time when I hear this hymn of life experience, I am lost in a myriad of thoughts, and cannot help but recall the scenes of the past…
I remember that in my childhood, my grandfather told me, “‘The worth of other pursuits is small; the study of books excels them all.’ Only by hard study can you stand out among others after growing up.” And my parents also told me, “Knowledge can change your fate.” Furthermore, under the education and influence of my teachers, I was resolved to exert myself to study hard so as to stand out and lead a superior life in the future. It was truly that constant effort yields sure success. Eventually, through the tense review in my senior year of high school, I always got good grades and was certain to get into college. In June, 2004, when choosing my college and major after the college entrance examination, I had intended to choose Chinese Language and Literature as my major, so that in the future, I could become a Chinese teacher, thus turning myself into a veritable “engineer of the human soul.” However, my mom was afraid that the competition of this field was so keen that I might not find a job easily after graduation. She then advised me to study tourism major, because the husband of my father’s cousin was the vice-general manager of a travel agency subordinated to the Power Supply Bureau of the city, and I could work there immediately after I graduated. Thus, I chose Tourist Management as my major. In the end of August, I finally fulfilled my wish. The day when I entered the college, I set goals for myself: By all means, I must learn professional knowledge well, gain the bachelor’s degree, obtain a Tourist Guide’s Qualification Certificate and other related certificates, start a travel agency after graduation, and then buy a car and a house, leading a superior life. However, only later did I find that in college, there was no fair or righteousness. Whoever had a close relationship with the counselor would be given priority for the admission to the Party and be first accessed as excellence. I could have got the second scholarship. Whereas, my monitor had a good relationship with our counselor, which gained him extra marks. As a result, he got the second-class while I only got the third. Being aware of so many dark truths inside the college, I couldn’t help worrying about myself: In a college as such, can I have a good grasp of professional knowledge to lay a good foundation for my further development?
One day during the summer vacation of 2006, an 85-year-old grandmother and her daughter-in-law, Aunt Zhao, dropped by my house. In chatting, Aunt Zhao mentioned sorts of phenomena of Chinese society’s darkness and evil, its root, and the true fact that man had been corrupted by Satan. With great relish, I listened, nodding repeatedly. Then I asked, “Aunt, how can you gain such a deep insight into the darkness and evil of this world?” With a smile, she pointed her forefinger upward, saying, “It’s the Old Man in the Sky that tells me these. Do you believe that there’s a God? And have you ever heard of the?” Immediately, I answered, “Yes, I have. I borrowed an oil painting book from the college library, from which I learned that the Lord Jesus had been crucified for redeeming mankind.” She continued, “Then are you willing to ?” Hearing this, I thought: Christianity is a foreign religion, so it might be nice to convert to this God. Hence, at once, I replied, “Yes, I am.” Just in this way, I believed in God in curiosity. Aunt Zhao asked me to preach the gospel to my grandma, and I did. I told her that God could bless her with good health and inner peace after she believed in Him. At hearing this, she also accepted this stage of God’s work, and then converted my aunt as well. Afterward, the old grandma sent me a book. When reading, I was attracted by those Bible stories in it, feeling them so wonderful. But when I preached to my mom with the book, she said she just believed in Guanyin Bodhisattva and was unwilling to convert to . From then on, I, together with my grandma and aunt, lived the church life and sang hymns to praise God, feeling particularly released and sweet.
However, school started just after I attended a couple of meetings, so I went back to the college. When the sister near my college came to invite me to meetings, I was so busy in preparing for the Tourist Guide’s Qualification Certificate that I couldn’t afford the time. And when she came again, it was time for winter vacation. Though failing to attend meetings, at the very beginning, I was able to persist in praying in an undertone in the restroom every day. But as time went by, my heart strayed further and further from God without the supply of God’s words and the church life. Half a year later, my mom believed in God too. When I got home, she passed me a book of God’s word, yet I just read one piece of God’s word perfunctorily and returned it immediately when I finished. At that moment, my heart was not on the belief of God at all, only focusing on pursuing my own ideals and goals. In 2008, when I was in my senior, my classmates went to different parts of the country for internships. I was unwilling to go that far, so I served as a desk clerk in a mountain resort near the county town. One time when I took my colleague’s turn on duty, she intentionally placed into the balance a 100-yuan counterfeit bill. As I over-trusted her and didn’t check carefully, at last, I had to make the compensation myself. My heart was totally shattered. Thinking that I always helped take over her shift while she was absent, and never dunned her for the money she borrowed, I didn’t know why she treated me this way. After a good cry, I resolutely resigned and left the heartrending place. As soon as I left, the Municipal Tour Bureau called and said that there was a tour agency wanting me to conduct a tour around Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province. It was thus that I started to work as a part-time tour conductor. However, as I was an introvert and not good at chatting, scarcely did I chat or interact with the tourists, or perform any show on the bus. As a result, I would get complaints from the tourists after each tour, and was once almost turfed off the bus for not singing. What’s more, everywhere I arrived, as I was new there, the driver of the touring bus in league with the local tour guides would swindle me out of my commission, which made me suffer a lot. Sometimes, I also found myself too introverted and having chosen the wrong major, and thus felt like changing my profession. But in considering that my ideals had yet to be realized, I was unwilling to give up easily.
In the twinkling of an eye, my half a year’s life as a tour conductor had passed. When I was to seek for a formal job after my graduation, my relative, the vice-general manager of a travel agency, refused to help me, and so did another one, who opened a tour agency with others and was also the leader of a large-scale fleet of touring buses. I thought: No residence here, certainly there will be somewhere else. With my college diploma, the Tourist Guide’s Qualification Certificate, and half a year’s experience of conducting tours, it would be as easy as pie for me to find a job as a tour guide without their help. At that time, as I was conducting tours in a travel agency in the county town, I said to the elder sister who was an operator that I’d like to stay there as a regular courier. Unexpectedly, she told me that the manager had arranged her cousins to hold the position and there were no vacancies, so she was impotent. Therefore, I went to interview in another travel agency in the city. But they offered me such a low basic salary that my earnings could not even maintain my life when the off-season arrived or when the tourists had low purchasing power. Thereupon, I broke new ground by sending on the Internet numerous electronic resumes to the travel agencies in need of recruits. Still, like a stone dropped into the sea, it had produced no reaction. Helplessly, I shuttled back and forth on the street. And with a hint of hope, I walked into one travel agency after another, but all the results greatly disappointed me. Confronting such blows in succession, I felt mentally and physically exhausted. Every night, as long as I closed my eyes, my mind was occupied with the thoughts of how to find a job. I thought: I have studied hard for more than ten years, just for the sake of finding a satisfying job someday, and making myself better than anybody else. But now, however hard I try, I cannot find a job as a courier. What will my parents and classmates regard me as? How will the relatives, friends, and neighbors laugh at me? And where should I go? I felt that I had reached the lowest point, with an intense feeling of frustration striking me. I asked myself once and once again: Why am I living? What on earth is the meaning of my life? The harder it was to find a job, the more eager I was to find one. And the more eager I was to find one, the harder it was. Tortured by grief and despair, I always slept only for two hours at night, and spent the rest of time sleeplessly with my eyes open, waiting for the dawn. Such physical and mental pain was unendurable. In such circumstances, I even thought of committing suicide by jumping off the building, feeling that death might be the only way to free myself and by it, I would no longer have to bear the pressure from both society and the surrounding environment. But thinking of the scene that my mom fainted with weeping at my grandmother’s funeral, I couldn’t bear to have her suffer from the pain and shock of losing her daughter. So finally, I gave up the intention. For the sake of getting a job to scrape up enough money to carve out my career, once I was nearly deceived into doing pyramid scheme by a fellow villager met in a garden. It was my mom’s call that hindered me timely, so that no calamity was caused. When back at home, I lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling blankly and saying no words. Seeing this, my mom was so anxious that she went that night to fetch two young sisters about my age, asking them for help, “Please, hurry to save my daughter. I fear that if she keeps on like this, she’ll go mad.” The two young sisters arrived at my house; then we sat close together and had a long talk. They read me a passage of God’s word, “The fate of man is controlled by the hands of God. You are incapable of controlling yourself: Despite always rushing and busying about for himself, man remains incapable of controlling himself. If you could know your own prospects, if you could control your own fate, would you still be a creature? In short, regardless of how God works, all His work is for the sake of man. Take, for example, the heavens and earth and all things that God created to serve man: The moon, the sun, and the stars that He made for man, the animals and plants, spring, summer, autumn and winter, and so on—all are for the sake of man’s existence. And so, regardless of how He chastises and judges man, it is all for the sake of man’s salvation. Even though He strips man of his fleshly hopes, it is for the sake of purifying man, and the purification of man is for the sake of his existence. The destination of man is in the hands of the Creator, so how could man control himself?” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination”).
Although I knew that God was calling me back to His home soon, yet I thought: Have all the painstaking efforts I made these over ten years been for nothing? I’m not resigned, nor am I convinced that I can’t find a job. I’m gonna have another try. Later on, a friend introduced me to a famous travel agency in the city. After the interview, I waited at home for the final result, thinking that I ought to be recruited this time. But for days, no news had been received. Then I let my friend ask about it, and she sent me the message from the manager, which said: You are, firstly, a stranger here, secondly, flat in appearance, and thirdly, lack of enough work experience. After reading it, I was so grieved that I burst into tears, calling out constantly in my heart: Why is the world so unfair? Can knowledge really change my fate?
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