When the Lord returns, how can we recognize His voice and welcome Him?
By Mary, United States
When I first arrived in the United States, because of the language barrier, it took a long time before I was able to find a job in a restaurant’s kitchen. But the boss’s temper was very violent. Both to new and old employees, if he found fault with anyone, or if the employee did something unpleasing to him, he would yell, or fire people on the spot. When I first arrived, I was often yelled at by him as well.
At the restaurant, I was responsible for a few certain dishes. Once, to test me, the boss asked me, “Mary, what are the ingredients in sweet and sour pork ribs?” I was very nervous, my voice was a little weak, and I forgot one of the ingredients, upon which my boss immediately threw down the spatula in his hand, shouting, “How could I have hired such a stupid person. …” The boss’s accusation hurt me deeply, and I didn’t dare say anything. Of the six of us in the kitchen, every day some of us were scolded, and three of them were fired because of mistakes in their work or doing things that weren’t in line with the boss’s desires. I was especially worried about this. Every day when I went to work, my nerves were on end, and I was cautious in everything I did, because I was afraid of being scolded in front of everyone by the boss for doing the wrong things, or even fired.
One day, I went to put a tray of freshly washed plates on the shelf, but I suddenly slipped, sending the tray of plates in my arms crashing to the ground. Looking at the dozens of broken plates, I was dumbfounded. I thought, “That’s it, it’s over, I’ve broken so many plates, if the boss finds out, he will definitely fire me! I had coworkers who were fired for similar mistakes in the past.” The thought of it was terrifying, and I didn’t know what to do. When other colleagues heard what I’d done, some said, “How could you be so careless? I have no idea how much money that will cost you.” Others said, “Well, that’s it, Mary is definitely going to be fired.” Hearing what everyone said made me even more afraid. This job was hard to find, and if I really was fired by the boss, what would I do to support myself? I knew my language wasn’t good, that I didn’t have any other skills, and I couldn’t find another job. … One of my coworkers said, “Come on, let’s clean these up. Don’t let the boss find out, or there’s no telling how hard he’ll make things for you, Mary.” The head chef also rushed over and said, “Everyone hurry and help clean up. We can’t let the boss know!” All of my coworkers set to work. As some were busy sweeping the floor, others picking up the shards of shattered plates, I felt both fear and confusion, and I also helped my coworkers clean up, thinking that I would try my best to cover it up.
But after I got down on the floor and started cleaning for a few minutes, I felt very uncomfortable inside. I am a Christian. I obviously broke the plates, and then wanted to lie to the boss. This was deception. This does not accord with! I thought of : “Behaving like a normal human being is to speak with coherence. Yes means yes, no means no. Be true to the facts and speak appropriately. Don’t cheat, don’t lie.” “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. … Nothing major has happened to you at the moment, and you do not bear great testimony, but every detail of your daily life relates to the testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you.”
As I weighed God’s words, I realized: I am a Christian, and that being honest and not lying is God’s requirement for us. If I do something wrong, I must be brave enough to take responsibility, because only by living this way can I have a human likeness and have dignity! Although the external appearance of this incident is that I broke the plates, that this happened to me is a test for me. God is by my side to see if I could practice the truth and be honest, and Satan is also watching me and waiting to see what I would choose. If I tried to protect my own interests, feared being scolded by the boss, or was afraid of being dismissed, I would deal with it deceptively, and lose the testimony. Satan would also accuse me before God, which would humiliate the name of God. It would also show that I am not someone who truly believes in God. After thinking of this, my heart was bright. I had to stand firm and testify for God. When the boss came, I was ready to admit my mistake to him.
At this moment, the movements of my hands slowed, and when the head chef saw, he said, “Mary, hurry and get this cleaned up! The boss will be here soon.” When I heard the chef say that, I still had some fear in my heart, but I decided I still wanted to act according to God’s word and be honest. Even if I was fired or scolded, I wouldn’t complain.
After we finished cleaning up, I saw the head chef hiding the broken pieces at the bottom of the garbage can. I said, “Don’t hide them. When the boss comes, I’ll tell him the truth, and I’ll pay however much it costs….” Before I could finish, the chef interrupted anxiously, “Mary, what’s the matter with you? You want to let the boss know? That’s begging to be fired? Don’t you want this job? Don’t you know how hard it is to find a job now? We’ll help you hide it from the boss, so he won’t cause you any trouble.” I didn’t answer, because I was still determined to tell the boss.
Time passed slowly, 10 minutes, 20 minutes…. I was imagining the boss’s ferocious expression in my mind, and I began to get nervous and afraid again. Even though I knew God’s requirement is that we be honest people, and I really wanted to tell the boss I had broken so many plates, I was worried I would be fired. How could I best put this to the boss? If I didn’t say it the right way, I was sure he would scold me as badly, or even worse, than before! The more I thought about it, the more confused I became. An hour passed quickly, and the boss would be coming to work soon, but I still hadn’t thought about how to tell the boss. All I could do was to pray in my heart, “God, I am afraid. I know that today, to practice the truth, I must open up and be honest with the boss, but when I am to face the fact, I’m still worried about being fired. God, I ask only that You give me the confidence and strength, and make me not think about my own interests but be able to practice the truth to satisfy You.” After my prayer, a passage of God’s word suddenly appeared in my mind, “The heart and spirit of man are held in the hand of God, and all the life of man is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear according to God’s thoughts. This is how God rules over all things.” With the guidance and illumination of God’s word, my heart felt bright. Yes, God rules over all things, matters, and people, so my boss’s thoughts and my work are both in God’s hands. If God allows me to stay, the boss will not fire me, and if I am dismissed, God allowed that as well, so I should simply submit to God’s arrangements. Upon realizing this, my heart felt particularly calm and steady.
An hour later, the boss came, and I kept praying to God in my heart to ask for the strength to break through the dark power of Satan and practice the truth. Thanks be to God. After I saw my boss, I didn’t know where the strength came from, but I said, “Boss, I did something wrong today.” After the boss heard me, he not only didn’t get angry, there was the trace of a smile on his face as he asked me, “What did you do wrong?” I opened the garbage bag and said, “I just accidentally broke a lot of plates, they’re in here, so see how much money I’ve lost you, and you can deduct it in my salary.” The boss came over and looked at the broken plates in the bag, then said to me in a normal tone of voice, “There’s no need to pay, they’re only broken plates, they don’t matter. I just hope you didn’t hurt your hand. Be more careful from now on.” Then he asked again if I had any injuries. I was surprised and happy to hear my boss’s words. It was incredible that a boss with a violent personality could say such things after I made a mistake.
At that moment, my colleagues all looked at me with stunned looks on their faces. They couldn’t imagine that I would really voluntarily admit my mistake to the boss, and I never expected the boss to not only not punish me, but to actually speak to me gently. As the head chef was dumping the garbage out with me, he asked me when we walked: “I don’t know what you were thinking. You didn’t have to tell the boss about this. We all would have helped you, because we know he is very cruel to you. Were you worried we would tell the boss?” I said, very seriously, “No, I know you really wanted to help me, but I am a Christian, and God told us to be honest, do things practically, and never engage in deception. If we do something wrong, we must be brave enough to face it and bear it. This is the principle by which Christians live.” The head chef was surprised, and said, “You are a Christian! No wonder after getting along with you for so long, I’ve always thought you were a good person, different from other people! I really admire you. Believing in God is a good thing, and in the future I hope to have the chance to learn more about it from you.” After hearing the head chef say that, I was very happy, and sincerely thanked God. This was the effect of God’s word upon me, not because I was a good person.
What surprised me even more is that since then, the boss hasn’t yelled at me, and whenever the store wants to recruit new employees, he discusses it with me and considers my opinions. He also gave me a raise. This incident made me understand that all situations I meet and all people, matters, and things I encounter contain God’s will, and that God uses these environments to give us more of the truth. When we act according to God’s requirements, we can see God’s guidance and blessings. Thanks be to God!