Zhen’ai answered her daughter’s call, her face beaming with joy as she awaited the good news.
“Hi mom, I’ve spoken with my mother-in-law’s relative to see whether or not they could allocate you and dad a ground floor apartment, as access would be a lot easier for you, but there are so many people in the village who want to live in ground floor apartments, and the village cadre says that it’s just not possible.” Zhen’ai’s daughter patiently explained.
“Oh no, what shall we do?” Zhen’ai’s expression drooped markedly, and it was a long time before she finally hung up the phone. Zhen’ai lay back against the sofa, frowning, and every now and then her daughter’s words would replay in her mind. She thought of how they would soon have to move to a high floor in a high-rise building with an elevator, and she agonized over it.
It was night and very quiet, and yet Zhen’ai’s heart simply would not calm down. The clock on the wall said it was 20 past midnight, but Zhen’ai had no mind for sleep. In the pale moonlight, she got up, put on her clothes and, taking out her book of telephone numbers, she dialed.
“Hello? Mom. It’s so late. What’s happened?”
“I want to talk to you about our move, son. Your dad is bed-ridden and will have to go into hospital at any time. And I have trouble with my eyes and I can’t see too well. If we really do go and live on a top floor in a high-rise and I go to do some grocery shopping or run some errand, what if I get all anxious and cannot see the floor buttons in the elevator, and what shall I do if I can’t get home?”
“Mom, let’s rethink this apartment thing, OK? It’s late, and you should go to bed. I have to work tomorrow, so how about we talk about it at lunchtime tomorrow?”
Zhen’ai realized that she’d disturbed her son’s sleep, so she could only say “Mm,” before hanging up. After she had prayed to God, unknowingly Zhen’ai fell asleep.
To other people, moving to a new place is a good thing. But to Zhen’ai, it was somewhat troublesome. What she was most worried about was living in a building with only an elevator, for if she couldn’t get downstairs, then this would interfere with attending meetings and doing her duty. So that she could continue to perform her duty normally, Zhen’ai spent several days racking her brains about this apartment move. One day, she suddenly came up with a good idea and she called her son.
“Hi mom, what’s up?”
“Son, I’ve been thinking. It’s really hard to get a ground floor apartment in the village, so how about you help me buy a small single house that’s been lived in before? It’s OK if the house is a bit old and it’s a little further from town.”
“Fine. I’ll find the time to go and look for one for you.”
After she hung up, Zhen’ai let out a long sigh of relief and her closely knitted brows began to relax. She felt that by letting her son handle the matter for her, she no longer had anything to worry about.
It had been some time since Zhen’ai’s son had told her that he would look for a house for her, but she still had not heard any good news. Zhen’ai was in a torment of worry once again. She felt it was useless to turn to her daughter, and useless to turn to her son and she really didn’t know what to do for the best. Every day, she couldn’t eat or sleep well for worrying over this matter—she just wanted the house move problem sorted. In desperation, she went directly to speak to the government clerks who were dealing with the move and she explained her situation, hoping that they would act on their own accord and coordinate with the village cadre to make some changes. The clerks listened to Zhen’ai and promised to help, saying that they would definitely help her and coordinate with the village cadre, and that it was proper to look after the elderly. Seeing them make such promises so quickly and sincerely, Zhen’ai’s worries were somewhat eased.
Time flew by, before long the people of the village moved into temporary rented accommodation, but a ground floor apartment never materialized for Zhen’ai and her husband. Only after making inquiries with other people in the village did she realize that the clerks whom she’d spoken to, who had promised to help organize an apartment for her, had long since gone back to their own jobs, leaving behind no trace of what they had discussed. Zhen’ai’s last shred of hope was gone and she was at her wits’ end. She saw the houses in the village being dismantled and knew that it was no longer possible to live in a ground floor apartment. She quaked to think of living in a high-rise with tens of floors, and she didn’t know how she would ever cope with life in the future.
Just as Zhen’ai was at a loss about what to do, she read these words of God: “If you believe in God’s rule, then you have to believe that the things that happen every day, be they good or bad, are not random occurrences. It is not that someone is intentionally hard on you or targeting you; it is actually all arranged and orchestrated by God” (“To Attain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “People spend most of their time living in an unconscious state. They don’t know whether it’s right to rely on God or on themselves. Then most of the time they choose to rely on themselves, to rely on the beneficial conditions and environments around them, as well as the people, events and things around them that are beneficial to them. This is what people are best at. What people are worst at is relying on God and looking to God, because they feel that looking to God is too much bother. They can’t see Him or feel Him, and they feel it is vague and not realistic to do so. So people perform the worst with this lesson, and their entry into it is the shallowest” (“Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World” in Records of Christ’s Talks). She also read in Sermons and Fellowship: “If one’s faith is merely based on acknowledging God’s existence and he believes that everything else is unrelated to God, is his faith tenable? From God’s perspective, it is not tenable. He is an unbeliever! This is because he does not believe in God’s rule and God’s almightiness, he does not believe that God leads, provides and protects the human race, and moreover, he does not believe that everything that man has is due to God’s bestowment and that it is all predestined by God. His disbeliefs are sufficient to indicate that his heart does not believe in God.… Within this person’s heart, God does not have a place. This kind of person nominally believes in God. His mouth will never testify to God’s miraculous deeds” (“The Four Criteria One Must Fulfill in Order to Obtain Salvation” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (V)).
Zhen’ai pondered as she read and suddenly she understood that everything that was happening to her now were not the deeds of man but were the orchestrations and arrangements of God’s hand. God was permitting this situation in order to lead her to practically experience God’s work and to learn about God’s almightiness and sovereignty. Coming to this realization, a smile broke across Zhen’ai’s face, such as had not been seen for a long time. In her heart, she understood clearly that these difficulties were being arranged specifically by God to target her own shortcomings, that God wanted to use this situation to guide her to learn how to look to God and rely on God in the things that were happening to her, to have true knowledge of God’s almightiness and sovereignty, and to make her soon into someone who truly obeys God, worships God and knows God. Zhen’ai continued reading God’s words: “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 the course of development these things take, and their inevitability, cannot be shifted by human will” (“God Himself, the Unique III” in). “Of everything that occurs in the universe, there is nothing that I do not have the final say in. What exists that is not in My hands?” (“The First Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
These words enabled Zhen’ai to understand even more clearly. She understood that it simply isn’t up to people themselves where they go every day or where they live; it is God who arranged all this long ago. Neither was what floor she would live on in the hands of any one person, for God knew which floor she should live on to make it easier for her to attend meetings and perform her duty. All was dominated and arranged in God’s hands.
Just then, Zhen’ai felt upset at herself and ashamed. She realized Her faith in God was too small and her own self-will was too strong, always wanting to solve her problems using human methods and not relying on God or believing that God would arrange things suitably for her.
As she came to this realization, Zhen’ai silently prayed to God: “O God! I wish to look to You and entrust You with my difficulties, and no longer will I do this or that going by my own ideas. I wish to experience Your deeds in this real situation, know Your almightiness and sovereignty and submit to Your orchestrations and arrangements. Amen!”
When Zhen’ai sincerely looked to God and entrusted Him with everything, the burden in her heart was lightened, and the worry that had been written on her face was much reduced.
One day, Zhen’ai was in her courtyard trimming vegetables, when she overheard her neighbors having a discussion. “I hear that all the apartments on the first, second and third floor of this building we’re moving to have all been taken.”
“That’s right, I’ve heard that too. It seems as though us common folk who don’t have any backdoor connections will just end up living in the top floors.”
Hearing this discussion, Zhen’ai’s hands stopped suddenly and her spirits dropped at once. She couldn’t help but once again start worrying about her life in the future, and how she would attend meetings and perform her duty.
In pain, Zhen’ai kept calling on God in her heart to enlighten her, to make her understand His will and understand how she was to experience the situation she faced. After she prayed, Zhen’ai’s heart was much calmer and, going back inside, she flipped open her book of God’s words and read: “When you have faith and you can touch His actions in your practical experience, God will appear to you, and He will enlighten and guide you from within. Without that faith, God will be unable to do that. If you have lost hope in God, how will you be able to experience Him? Therefore, only when you have faith and you do not harbor doubts toward God, only when you have true faith in Him no matter what He does will He enlighten and illuminate you in your experiences, and only then will you be able to see His actions. These things are all achieved through faith, and faith is only achieved through refinement—faith cannot develop in the absence of refinement” (“Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words were like a timely rain, watering Zhen’ai’s parched heart. Gradually, her heart brightened, and she realized that although she could say that all things were under God’s sovereignty, whenever there was even a sign of trouble ahead, she would become mired in her difficulties and she had no true faith in God. Just then, Zhen’ai thought of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. If they hadn’t had true faith in God, would they have seen water issuing from the rock or the parting of the red sea? If the widow of Zarephath hadn’t had faith in God and hadn’t believed in what the prophet Elijah said, making bread for him to eat with her small bit of flour and oil, would she have been able to witness God’s deeds and survive three years of famine? And then there was little David being able to defeat the giant Philistine Goliath, beyond what anyone could have imagined—was this not because of his true faith inGod? Thinking these thoughts, Zhen’ai’s heart calmed down, and she became willing to hand everything over into God’s hands, and experience God’s work with an obedient heart.
Not long after, the village notified every family to go and choose a new apartment, and when Zhen’ai’s son went to choose one, Zhen’ai prayed silently in her heart: “O God! All things are in Your hands. No matter what floor apartment my son chooses, I will not complain. I ask that You protect my heart and let me submit to Your orchestrations and arrangements.”
After praying, Zhen’ai felt unusually calm, and she thought that no matter what floor she ended up living on, whether it was a floor she wanted or not, she believed that whatever God prepared for her would surely be most suitable.
“Mom, I’ve got great news. We’ve managed to choose an apartment on the second floor.”
“Really? How could that be? Haven’t all the apartments near the ground floor been taken?” Zhen’ai didn’t dare believe her own ears.
“Of course really. Would I trick you? See for yourself!” Zhen’ai’s son then quickly took out the building number and gave it to her, and she hurriedly put on her reading glasses and read it carefully. Zhen’ai read it over and over, but she hadn’t read it wrong, and in her heart she kept giving thanks to God.
Zhen’ai truly came to appreciate God’s ability to turn something into nothing and nothing into something.
When her neighbor heard that Zhen’ai’s family had somehow managed to secure a much-desired apartment on the second floor without either having any connections or spending any money, she was puzzled and said to Zhen’ai: “My family is number 60 on the list, and when we went looking for an apartment we didn’t see any available on the second floor. Yet your family is number 265, and there are over 200 households between your family and mine, so how come you were able to choose an apartment on the second floor? How come you were so lucky?”
Zhen’ai knew clearly in her heart that being able now to settle down and live peacefully on the second floor of the new building was entirely God’s orchestration and arrangement. It was God showing her concern and mercy and opening a way for her for the sake of her attending meetings and fulfilling her duty.
With this experience, Zhen’ai understood these words of God: “The breadth of God’s authority and power surpasses the imagination of man; it is unfathomable to man, unimaginable to man, and shall never be completely known by man” (“God Himself, the Unique I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). She also came to understand that, through the difficulties she encountered, God was enabling her to learn to rely on Him and look to Him, and was leading her to achieve true knowledge of His almightiness and sovereignty within her practical experiences.
After this experience, Zhen’ai’s faith in God increased, and she made a resolution that, after she had moved into the new building, she would do all in her power to fulfill her duty well to repay God’s love!