By Xin Xin
In order to live, I rented the second floor of a shopfront, starting a cosmetics shop. Although it is not that popular, my income is enough for my yearly expenses. I live a simple life year after year. In the winter of 2015, my friend came to find me with joy, and witnessed God’s kingdom gospel to me. I knew God for the first time from my friend’s words, knew we are created by God and it is God who provides us daily essentials. My heart was deeply attracted to those unheard mysteries from my friend and I accepted God’s kingdom gospel right away. At that time I just felt that the word of God is awesome, so I had gatherings and read God’s word whenever I’m free, just to have a little comfort in my heart. I never thought about how to experience God’s work in real life. I felt that life is life and believing in God is just believing in God, and that there’s no link between both of them. I have to deal with everything that is happening to me in real life by myself. Until when I encountered a very troublesome situation, and after experiencing God’s wonderful work, I genuinely felt that God is around me, ruling and leading my daily life.
One time I had a customer in my shop. She went to the washroom to wash her hands after a short chit-chat. She turned on the tap but there was no water because we had water shortages often. She forgot to turn off the tap and I did not pay much attention to it either. I was not in the shop for a few days as I was out to settle other things. When I returned to the shop and opened the door, a stream of water was rushing towards me. I was dumbfounded by the room full of water: Things were floating and the tap was still running. I was so anxious that I did not even bother to take off my shoes before running to turn off the tap. In my heart I was thinking: I’m in deep trouble, what if the water leaked to the first floor, a grain and oil store. It will definitely soak the flour and other merchandise and I do not even have enough money to pay for all the loss. In the meantime, the owner came up furiously. She reprimanded: “Look what you have done! Don’t you know the house was full of water? It has soaked all my flour and rice. How do you expect me to sell them again? I don’t even think you can compensate me with your pathetic earning.” I felt helpless, thinking since it has happened, then I have got no choice too. I am also not happy, but I cannot fight with her. Since I soaked her merchandise, I have to talk to her nicely and apologize. I said immediately: “Calm down, please. I will compensate all your loss and not play tricks with you. You can go back first. After I clean up the mess, I will make my way down to your shop to see how much I have to pay.” Meanwhile, the owners of the clothing store and grocery store came too, both heatedly asking me for compensation. I spoke to them nicely with a smile: “Alright! Alright! Please go back. After I finish cleaning up the mess, I will make my way down to every shop of yours to check and I will compensate for every loss, don’t worry.” After I sent them back, I felt very uneasy: The three owners were very aggressive like they were going to swallow me. I’m also very stressed and drained in looking after my shop, and I can only earn a little money. I’m not even sure if I have enough money to pay for all the loss. What if one of them is hard to deal with, blackmails me or makes things difficult for me deliberately? Will a fight or argument happen? I’m afraid and dare not think more, feeling panicked as I clean and tidy up the mess. As I was worried, a passage of God’s words which a sister and I had interacted appeared in my mind: “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 these situations develop. In life, these unforeseeable events happen all the time; they are an everyday occurrence. These daily vicissitudes and the ways they unfold, or the patterns they follow, are constant reminders to humanity that nothing happens at random, that the process of each event’s occurrence, each event’s ineluctable nature, cannot be shifted by human will. Every occurrence conveys an admonition from the Creator to mankind, and it also sends the message that human beings cannot control their own fates. Every event is a rebuttal to humanity’s wild, futile ambition and desire to take its fate into its own hands” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). God’s words steadied my heart a little. I calmed down and gathered all my thoughts, recalled what the sister had told me: Since we believe in God, we must put God’s word into real life to experience it. God plans and sovereigns our daily life with good intentions, which requires me to experience with heart, so that I will see God’s wonderful work in everything that has happened to me. Eventually I will know God’s sovereignty. However, I never put God’s word in my heart, always thinking that believing in God and life have no links. And I never pay attention to experiencing God’s words and knowing God. Facing this matter, which makes me unexpected, there must be God’s grace and a lesson I should learn. I thought: Water supply did not come when I was in the shop but when I left, is it something I can predict? What will happen about the compensation is also something I can’t predict. What will happen when I meet the owners later, the amount of compensation is also something I can’t predict. Brothers and sisters always communicate about how God sovereigns everything, so God must have seen what has happened to me. I might as well put this matter in God’s hand, and see how God will lead me. Thinking of this, I quickly pray to God: “God, I do not know what to do with this matter, but I know everything is in Your sovereignty, may You lead me to face them fearlessly. No matter what will happen next and how much I need to pay, it’s all up to You. I’m willing to put everything in Your hands, obedient to Your arrangements. Thank You God! Amen!” After praying, my racing heart calmed down and I’m also filled with courage to face them. After tidying up the room, I went to the grain and oil store first.
At the grain and oil store, the owner was with gloomy face, said angrily: “How am I going to sell all those flour?” Seeing that the owner was not happy, I was getting a little nervous, I immediately said: “I’m really sorry, it’s my fault. I’m being too careless for causing you all your loss. I will buy all the flour and rice and eat them myself. Please tell me how much they cost.” I was praying to God in my heart as I spoke to him: “God! All things are in Your hands. Whatever happens today, I’m willing to be obedient, and face it with courage. Please be with me …” The owner’s attitude seems to be a little nicer. Then the owner and I counted 21 bags of rice and flour that were soaked. After counting, I didn’t expect the owner to say: “All of these cost 900 Yuan. But I think it is difficult for you to deal with them. There is a bag and you can take the flour that was soaked and I will think of ways to sell the rest of them.” Hearing this, I was shocked but delighted at the same time. I realized it was all the work of God and I saw that our thoughts are really under God’s control, and that God is truly amazing! So I thanked God repeatedly in my heart. I helped the owner pack the soaked rice and flour into new bags, and paid him 110 Yuan. Thank God! I realized if I put everything in God’s hand, things will change incredibly.
I stepped out of the grain and oil store with more faith and courage to face the owner of the clothing store. I walked to the clothing store lighthearted. The owner’s face turned red with anger and said unreasonably: “See! You have made my clothes dirty, you must pay me! Those cost 750 Yuan, you also have to be responsible for my spoiled roof!” I was annoyed at what she said and thought: You are so unreasonable, just two and a half sets of clothes cost 750 Yuan? You are so bad. They are not famous brands! You are actually blackmailing me! Just as I was about to argue with her, I recalled what God said: “Everything that happens to people happens when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Though nothing major is happening to you at the moment and you do not bear great testimony, every detail of your daily life is a matter of testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”). I thought: Just now, I prayed to God and was willing to obey God’s arrangements, but only a little thing that did not go in my way will make me disobey God, and I even want to argue and fight with her. This is not what a Christian should do. Besides, if I really argue with her, it will make things worse and even shame on God’s name. God wants me to live as a normal human being, glory Him, testify to Him, have love towards people and be able to forgive and understand each other, not fussing over our gain and loss. Not to mention that it is my mistake that caused their loss, it is understandable that they will be angry. I can’t let my anger take over me. I have to practice God’s word, follow what God wants me to do and live as a normal human being to satisfy God. Thinking of that, I said mildly to the owner: “I will take all the clothes back to wash them and iron them nicely. If you can sell them, then go ahead. If you can’t, I will pay for them. I will fix the roof for you and will not let you suffer any loss.” The owner was speechless and agreed. Back home, I told my family everything. My daughter-in-law was furious and said: “You did not even do it on purpose, she is just blackmailing you! I’m going to find her!” Looking at how agitated she was, I felt so fortunate that God’s word protected me. If I did not believe in God, I would have fought and argued for my own benefits like her. I can’t even imagine the outcome of it. I am a Christian, my words and actions influence people around me, even more relate to the glory and testimony to God. I quickly stopped her and said: “It is indeed our fault. We dirtied their clothes. It will be hard for them to sell again. Since we caused trouble for them, then we have to be responsible to compensate them.” Hearing my words, she didn’t say anything more. She washed and ironed the clothes and I brought them back to the owner. The owner saw the clothes were cleaner than before, and thus she didn’t ask me to pay for them again. Based on the damage of the roof, I paid her 200 Yuan. She was satisfied and never made things difficult for me again.
Out of the clothing store, I headed to the grocery store, and said sincerely to the owner: “Sorry for causing such a mess, I’m really sorry. I will pay for whatever was damaged.” The owner saw my sincere attitude and politely said: “You are lucky that this is a grocery store. Everything can be washed, so there is not so big of a deal. Since you are so sincere, how am I able to make things difficult for you? We are neighbors and we meet almost everyday, if you need help, you can find me.” I thanked God in my heart countlessly after hearing his words. This troublesome matter was solved under God’s guidance. Our neighbors around were all convinced. After experiencing this matter, I felt that God is always around me and leading me. He gave me faith and courage to face difficulties, guiding me to experience His word and secretly paving the path for me, making my loss to the minimum. God is truly practical! Although I’m not able to see God but I can feel God is around me and leading me, setting things and people around me. After this incident, I confirmed God’s words in my heart: “Of everything that occurs in the universe, there is nothing in which I do not have the final say. Is there anything that is not in My hands?” God truly holds sovereignty over all things and controls all things. Everything is moving under God’s control. I genuinely felt that God’s work is amazing!
Recalling my past attitude towards God, I felt I’m in debt. I have treated believing in God as spiritual sustenance, reading God’s words only to find comfort in my heart. I never thought that believing in God and life had links, never paid attention to experience God’s word, experience God’s work, and never let God’s word lead me in life and change my life. I have a lot of feelings towards this “unexpected incident.” I felt that God is so real. He is beside me, and He can help me anytime. He is the one whom I can rely on anytime. It also lets me see that my daily life is under God’s control. Now not only do I read God’s words, gather with brothers and sisters to find my spiritual sustenance, I also have learned to bring God’s words and work into my daily life to experience, knowing God is real and living and He is the Creator who controls everything! Even though this matter is not really a big deal, but it is a turning point in my believing in God. It is remarkable and unforgettable for me!