Only by Resolving One's Notions Can One Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God (2) Part One

Regarding the issue of notions, we fellowshipped last time about three points: The first was notions about belief in God, the second was notions about incarnation, and the third was notions about God’s work. We finished discussing the first two points, and talked about some fairly basic conceptual content with respect to the third point. Regarding the notions concerning this point, or the content concerned with these notions, afterward did you carefully contemplate what other content is concerned with these notions and relates to this truth? No truths are as simple as their literal meaning; they all have their own real meaning contained within, and they are all concerned with people’s life entry, as well as with all aspects of their daily lives and belief in God. So, have you figured out from your daily lives any content regarding this aspect of the truth? When you are listening to fellowships on this aspect of the truth, you can only understand some of it, in a literal sense, and have some discernment of obvious notions. Afterward, through further contemplation, prayer and seeking, and fellowshipping with your brothers and sisters based on your experience, you should be able to gain a somewhat deeper and more practical understanding. Looking at these three truths in the literal sense, which one is most concerned with people’s corrupt dispositions, their understanding of God’s disposition, and their practical entry? Which truth is the most in-depth and profound? (The third truth.) The third truth is a little more in-depth. The first was notions about belief in God, and these notions are fairly obvious and superficial things; the second was notions about incarnation, which involve some content that people can see and understand, and that they may come into contact with and reflect on in life; the third was notions about God’s work, which is concerned with people’s corrupt dispositions—this last truth is somewhat more profound. So what exactly are notions about God’s work? What notions do people have about God’s work? How should they understand and deal with these notions, and how should they resolve them? This is the content of today’s fellowship.

When people’s notions about God’s work escalate from their application of reasoning and judgment to their making demands on God, having extravagant desires toward God, conflicting with Him, and making some assessments or judgments about His work, then these notions are no longer just a point of view or a belief, but are also concerned with people’s corrupt dispositions. Once they become concerned with corrupt dispositions, this is enough to cause people to resist God, judge Him, and even betray Him. Hence, it is not a big problem if people’s notions about God go no further than imaginings and speculation. Whereas, if they escalate into a point of view and an attitude toward God’s work, turn into unreasonable demands on God or judgment and condemnation of God, or become filled with ambition, desires, or intentions, then these are no longer ordinary notions. Why do I say they are no longer ordinary notions? Because these notions and thoughts relate to your life entry, and to your understanding of God’s work, and to whether you can accept and submit to God’s sovereignty, and to whether you can recognize Him as your Sovereign and as the Creator, and all this has a direct bearing on your standpoint and attitude toward God. Looking at it this way, is it a serious problem for people to have these notions? (Yes.) In order to dissect these notions, if we do it from a theoretical point of view, they may sound a bit abstract, or somewhat far removed from your daily lives. So let us talk some more about various types of people’s living situation, which we can see in daily life or among humankind, or about their destiny, or about their various views and attitudes toward life and toward God’s sovereignty and orchestration, so as to dissect people’s notions and allow them to see how God rules over and orchestrates humankind, and what the actual circumstances of God’s work are. This is a topic that is not so easy to fellowship on. If the fellowshipping is too theoretical, people will feel it is hollow, whereas if it is too concerned with trivial matters or too close to people’s real lives, they will think it is very shallow, and there will be problems of this type. Be that as it may, let us nevertheless fellowship about it in a way that is fairly straightforward and easy to understand, which is still by telling a story. Through the plot and characters of the story, as well as the philosophy of living reflected in the story itself and the phenomena that people see, they can understand some of the ways and methods by which God does His work, as well as the fallacious views that people have in real life regarding God’s work, His sovereignty and orchestration of everything, or some incorrect things that people cling onto—it is somewhat easier for people to understand when fellowshipping in this way.

So here is the story. There was once a little girl who was born into a not-so-rich family. Ever since she was very young she had a wish: She didn’t ask to be rich or wealthy in life, all she wanted was someone to rely on. Was this wish too extravagant? Was it asking too much? (No.) But unfortunately, her father passed away before she reached adulthood, so in effect she had no one to rely on in life. She had lost the primary person she could rely on in this life, the only person she thought in her young mind that she could depend on. Was her young mind not afflicted with great anguish? For something like this to happen, it must have caused her great anguish. Was there trauma in her heart? There definitely was trauma. How did such trauma come about? It was because, in her young mind, she wasn’t ready yet, saying, “I can be independent, I can provide for myself, I don’t need to rely on my parents anymore.” She was, as they say, yet to spread her wings. In her naive thoughts, she hadn’t got around to thinking what to do about her future or how she would survive without her parents. It was in this situation, before she had become aware of such things, that her father passed away, which meant that her means of support in life was gone, and that times would get even tougher than they already were. You can imagine what her days must have been like after that. She led a difficult life with her mother and young brother, barely making ends meet. But no matter how anguished she was, life still had to go on, so she just stumbled on, keeping her mother and brother company. A few years later she had grown up, and could independently earn some money to provide for her mother and brother’s living expenses, but still they were by no means wealthy in life. All this time, her innermost wish had not changed. She needed someone to rely on, but what kind of person? What exactly was the one she wished to rely on? You describe them to Me. What does “someone to rely on” mean in the simplest terms? It means someone who could give her the means to live, as well as food and clothing, without her needing to go off and eke out a living on her own, or suffer any pain. Someone whom, at the very least, she could lean on whenever things went wrong, someone who had her back, as they say—that was the kind of person she hoped to rely on. Even if they couldn’t help or support her financially in life, then at the very least, whenever something went wrong or whenever she felt anguished, she would have a shoulder to lean on, someone who could help her get through the tough times and ride out the storm—this was what she wished for. Was this too much to ask? Was this wish unrealistic? It wasn’t too much to ask, and it wasn’t an unrealistic wish. Don’t many people also wish for something so simple as this? Very few people can say that they were born without relying on anyone but themselves. Most people living in this world and in a community hope to have a friend, or someone to rely on, and this girl was no exception.

In the blink of an eye she reached marriageable age, and still she wished to find someone she could rely on, someone dependable. That person didn’t need to be particularly wealthy, or to keep her in the lap of luxury, and he didn’t need to be a great conversationalist. He just needed to be there to support her whenever she was most in trouble, or beset by difficulty or illness, even if only to give her a few comforting words and nothing more. Was this a wish that could easily come true? This is uncertain. No one knows whether people’s wishes are what God planned to give them or accomplish in them, or whether ultimately, their wishes are already preordained in their destiny. Therefore, no one knew whether this girl’s wish could come true, and she herself didn’t know either. However, she kept holding onto this wish as she moved toward the next stage in life. At this time, she felt very apprehensive and uneasy, but be that as it may, the day had nevertheless come. She didn’t know if the person she was planning to marry actually was someone she could rely on for the rest of her life, but still she sincerely hoped in her heart: “This person should be someone I can depend on. The past twenty or so years of my life have been hard enough. If I end up with someone who isn’t dependable, the rest of my life will be even harder. Who else would I be able to rely on?” She felt pained, but there was nothing she could do, so she just continued hoping. In order to survive, when people don’t know why they are here in this life and how they should go through life, they grope forward with this kind of wish and unknown hope. When this moment came, she didn’t know what her future would be like. The future was unknown. She continued to move forward. However, many facts often run counter to people’s wishes. For the time being, let us not comment on why God arranges people’s destiny in this way—whether it is God’s intentional arrangement, or whether it is because people’s corruption and ignorance have caused their desires and demands to be diametrically opposed to the destiny God has arranged for them, so that their wishes often cannot come true, and so that things often don’t turn out the way they had hoped—let us not discuss all this for now. First, let’s continue with the story itself.

After the girl got married, she entered the next stage of life, while holding onto her wish. What awaited her at this stage of life? She didn’t know, but she couldn’t avoid it just because she was afraid of the unknown. She had to steel herself and move forward, and she still had to live through each day. At this major turning point in her life, the destiny that God had arranged for her finally arrived—and it was the opposite of what she had longed for. The homely family life that she had longed for, with a simple bed, a small writing desk, a simple, clean room, a husband and children—this simple life she wanted could never come to pass. After she got married, her husband would spend all year away from home due to work, so they had to live apart. What prospects does such a life hold for a woman? That of being bullied and discriminated against. Having to face such a living environment was another blow to her life and destiny. This was something she had never envisioned, and also something she had never wanted to see or face. But now, the facts were completely inconsistent with her wishes and imaginings. That which she didn’t want to see or experience had actually happened to her. Her husband was away at work all year long. She had to be independent, both in life and financially. She had to go out and earn money to pay the bills by herself. She didn’t have anyone to help her in life, and had to rely on herself for everything. In such a living environment, did this woman end up with someone she could rely on, or not at all? (Not at all.) Was her wish fulfilled or dashed after she got married? (It was dashed.) Obviously, in the second important stage of her life, her hope had been dashed once again, and she had no one to rely on. The person she had thought she could rely on in life was not by her side, and couldn’t be relied on at all. The person whom she had considered to be her pillar of strength, her rock, and someone to rely on couldn’t be relied on at all. She had to do everything by herself, and handle and face everything on her own. During her most difficult times, she could only hide in bed and cry under the covers, with no one to share her troubles with. For the sake of her face, competitiveness, and self-esteem, she often projected a formidable exterior, and came across as a strong woman, but deep down she was actually very fragile. She needed support, and longed for someone to rely on, but this wish had not yet come true.

A few years further on and she was moving around with her several young children in tow, renting houses and living a life of no fixed abode. In this way, one of her most basic requirements for life was gradually being eroded away, bit by bit, as the years passed. All she had wanted was to have a small room with a bed, a small writing table, and a stove for cooking on, and for her family to be able to eat around the table, keep a few chickens, and live a simple life. She didn’t expect to be rich or wealthy. As long as life was simple, peaceful, and the family was together, that was enough. However, all she could do now was live a hand-to-mouth existence with her children in tow. Not only did she have no one to rely on, but worse still, she had to become the person whom her own children relied on. She also thought that, since living in this mortal world was so painful, she would maybe find a way to resolve this pain, such as by becoming a Buddhist nun, or finding a place to cultivate her spiritual virtues, away from human society and away from this suffering, without relying on anyone, and without anyone relying on her, because living like this was just too tiring and painful. But what was the one thing that sustained her and kept her going? (Her children.) That’s right. If she didn’t have children, perhaps each day she lived would have been even more painful, but once she had children, she took on responsibilities and became the person they relied on. When her children called out “Mommy,” she felt that the burden on her shoulders was too heavy, that she couldn’t just abdicate her responsibilities like that, and that she couldn’t rely on others, but she could be the one others relied on—this, she thought, could also be regarded as a source of joy in life, an attitude toward life, and a motivation to live. In this way, she endured another ten years or so for the sake of her children. Did the days seem long? (Yes, they did.) Why did they seem long? (Because she lived a hard life, so the days seemed long.) You know from experience, those sound like the words of someone who has been there and done that. The days were hard and torturous, so they seemed extremely long. Everything she experienced was like a kind of torture deep within her heart, so she had to live counting the days, and this kind of life was not easy to go through. Even after the children had grown up, her wish still did not change. She still had this wish deep in her heart: “The children are older and it’s no longer such an effort to take care of them. If my husband could be with us and the family were to be reunited, then our life would be even better.” Her wonderful imagining returned and, just as unbelievers say, it put the wind of hope back in her sails. Whenever she couldn’t sleep at night, she would think such thoughts as: “Now that the children are grown up, if they can get into college, and eventually find a good job and earn money, then life will be easier, and the food, clothing and housing situation will be better than it is now. And if my husband comes back, life will be even better, and I’ll have someone to rely on! The two people that I relied on before failed me, but now I have more people to rely on. Heaven has been pretty good to me! It looks like better days are ahead.” She believed that better days were ahead. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? No one knows. No one knows what a person’s destiny in life is, or what lies ahead. People all stumble through life like this, clinging onto their beautiful wishes.

Ten years passed, her husband transferred to a different job, and the family was finally reunited, which was a good thing. So in the end, could her husband become someone she could rely on? Could he share some of the pain in her life? Because they had never lived together, nor interacted on a deep level, she didn’t know her husband well at all. In the days that followed, she and her husband started learning to live together and gained a deeper understanding of each other. Still her wish did not change. She hoped that this man could become the one she relied on, the one to comfort her and relieve her pain, come what may. However, things still didn’t turn out as she had intended. This husband whom she had never interacted with on a deep level, this man whom she didn’t understand at all, simply couldn’t become the one she relied on. The reason was that the two people’s survival abilities, human qualities, outlooks on life, values, and attitudes toward their children, family, and relatives were completely different. The couple constantly quarreled, and continually bickered with each other over isolated things. This woman hoped deep down that she could keep enduring so that her husband might come to understand her kindness, her patience, and her hardship, and afterward be emotionally touched by her and reconnect with her, but still her wish did not come true. As far as she was concerned, deep down, was her husband someone she could rely on? Could he become someone for her to rely on? (No, he couldn’t.) Whenever she faced difficulties, her husband not only failed to comfort her and ease her pain, but actually increased her pain, making her feel even more disappointed and helpless. At this time, what were her innermost feelings and understanding on life? They were disappointment and pain, which made her question, “Is there really a God? Why is my life so hard? All I want is someone to rely on, is that too much to ask? I only have this one little wish. Why has it still not come true in all the years I’ve lived? My requirements aren’t excessive and I have no ambitions. I just want someone to lean on whenever things go wrong, that’s all. Why can’t even such a small wish be fulfilled?” This situation went on for several years. Obviously, this family’s life was not very harmonious; there were frequent arguments. The children were sad and unhappy, and so were their parents. There was no peace or joy in the family, and each person felt only fear, trepidation, and terror, as well as pain and uneasiness deep in their hearts.

A few years later, things finally turned around and the gospel of the Lord Jesus came to her. She felt that her wish might finally come true. “I don’t need to rely on my father, my husband, or anyone around me,” she thought. “As long as I rely on the Lord Jesus I can be at peace, and have someone to really rely on, and find real peace and happiness, and then life will become less of an ordeal.” After accepting the gospel of the Lord Jesus, this woman became much happier, and of course her life became much more settled. Although her husband’s attitude toward her hadn’t changed, and he was still as harsh as before, ignoring her and showing her no consideration, care or concern, or even patience, gratitude or tolerance, nevertheless, because she had the salvation of the Lord Jesus in her heart, her attitude toward all this changed. She no longer argued or tried to reason with her husband, because she had come to understand that people have nothing to gain from arguing about all these things. Whenever things went awry, she spoke to the Lord Jesus and her heart became much more open. In this way, her family life appeared to become relatively settled. But the good times didn’t last long, and her life took another turn. Once she started believing in the Lord Jesus, she preached the gospel with zeal, embraced church life, and supported her brothers and sisters. However, her husband didn’t approve. He began to persecute her and often chided her by saying things like: “Do you still want to live with me? If you really don’t want to do so, let’s split up!” She had no alternative but to just pray to the Lord and put up with it. Although days like this were difficult and painful, the trauma in her heart was much less than before, and she could also draw some comfort from prayer. Whenever she was distressed, she would pray to the Lord. Her heart thus had someone to rely on and gained temporary fulfillment, and she felt that her life was much better.

Gradually, the children grew up. Because the children had lived with her since childhood and their affection for her was somewhat stronger, this woman felt, “Now that my children have grown up, I no longer need to rely on my husband, I can rely on my children.” To all appearances, it seemed that she had already come to rely on the Lord Jesus and had put her heart, her family, and even her future and prospects in His hands. But in fact, deep down, she still clung onto this wish for the people she could see and who had a relationship with her, and she hoped that this wish would one day come true. Because people cannot see where the Lord Jesus is, they say that the Lord Jesus is beside them and in their hearts, but she thought that God could not be touched or seen, so this made her feel uneasy. She thought it would be enough to just rely on the Lord Jesus to see her through significant events and major issues, but that in real life she would still have to rely on her children. Throughout all this time her wish had not changed, and she had not let go of it. She now believed in the Lord Jesus, but why had this wish still not changed? There are multiple reasons for this. One is that she didn’t understand the truth and didn’t know or understand much about God’s sovereignty and orchestration; this is the objective reason. The subjective reason is that she was a cowardly person. Although she believed in God, after experiencing so much pain, she still had no clear insight about the significance of believing in God, or about people’s destiny, God’s orchestration, and the way in which the Creator works. Which things show that she had no clear insight about these things? First of all, she always pinned her own happiness and her deep-seated yearning for a better life onto others, hoping that her wish could be realized because of others’ assistance or helping hands. Was this a mistaken view about life and destiny? (Yes.) This view was mistaken. As a parent, is it a mistake to pin your hopes onto your children, by hoping that they will be dutiful to you and able to support you when they grow up? It’s not mistaken, and it’s not asking too much. So what is the problem here? She constantly wanted to rely on her children, and to live a happy life by relying on her children, and to spend the rest of her life relying on her children, and to enjoy this-and-that by relying on her children. What was her mistaken view in doing this? Why did she have this idea? What was at the source of this view that she held? People always extravagantly hope for a certain way of life and a certain standard of living. That is to say, even before people come to know how God has preordained their lives or what their destiny is, they have already planned what their standard of living must be, which is that they must be happy, and have peace and joy in their lives, and be rich and wealthy, and have people to help them and rely on—people have already planned their own life path, their life goals, their final destination in life, and everything else. Is there any belief in God within all of this? (No.) No, there isn’t. This woman always had a view on life: If I rely on so-and-so, my life will become more peaceful, happier, and more affluent; if I rely on so-and-so, my life will become more settled, more secure, and more joyful. Is this viewpoint right or wrong? (It’s wrong.) After so many years, she had already reached the stage of believing in the Lord Jesus, but she still hadn’t seen clearly what human life is about. She still had her own intentions and plans, and was calculating her future path and planning her future life. Looking at it now, was this attitude toward life and this kind of planning correct or incorrect? (It was incorrect.) Why? (Because she was pursuing her own ideals and wishes, rather than what God requires of people.) What she was pursuing had nothing to do with God’s preordination. Even before she knew what God was going to do, she first resolved to find someone to rely on. She would rely on this person at this stage and that person at the next stage. In this way, she lost her reliance on God and came to rely solely on people, rather than on God. Given that she constantly had this wish and these plans, did she have God in her heart? (No.) So, in a way, what was the cause of the pain that came from all her struggles? (It was caused by her wish.) That’s absolutely true. So how did her wish come about? (By her not believing in God’s sovereignty or in His orchestration and arrangements.) That’s right. She didn’t understand how people’s destiny comes about, nor did she understand how God’s sovereignty works. This is the root of the problem.

Let us continue the story. When this woman’s children grew up, some got jobs and others settled down and got married, and of course they had to leave their parents and lead independent lives, and couldn’t get together with their parents often. So, what was the next problem this woman faced? Her wish to rely on her children seemed to be on the verge of being shattered yet again. It was another painful tragedy, another blow in her experience of life. Due to all sorts of reasons, her children couldn’t live by her side and keep her company, or often visit her and take care of her. Therefore, her hope that her children could be by her side to be filial to her and take care of her, and her wish to rely on her children so that she could take things easier, and live a more comfortable and happier life—all this was slipping further and further away from her. Thus, her concern, worry, and longing for her children became more and more intense. Was this not another kind of pain? As she grew older and the years weighed on her little by little, her pain became deeper and deeper, as did her longing for her children. Many years passed, and although the people whom this woman relied on at each stage of her life were different, they all left her at the appointed times, completely shattering her wishes or delusions, and leaving her feeling extremely tormented and anguished deep down. What did this bring to her? Did it cause her to reflect on life? Or to reflect on how the Creator arranges people’s destiny? If one takes into account people’s normal thinking, after listening to some sermons and having understood some truths, they should know some things about the Creator, about life, and about people’s destiny. However, due to various reasons, and because of the problem with the protagonist herself in this story, up to this point she still could not comprehend and didn’t have a clue about what she had experienced and encountered at each stage of her life, or what her problem was, and deep in her heart she still longed for someone to rely on. So who exactly should she rely on? It is true that God is the One that people rely on, but God is not just for people to rely on, this is not all He is for. It is more important for people to know how to get along with the Creator, how to know God and submit to Him—it is not just a relationship of relying on and being relied on.

After this woman lost her reliance on her children and by the time she reached old age, she transferred her hopes onto her husband, who became her one last straw to grasp at. She had to rely on him for her basic necessities, and to keep on living. She had to find ways to make her husband live a few more years, so that she could draw some benefit for herself. That was the one she relied on. Having lived for this long, the old woman had a head full of gray hair, a wrinkled face, and almost all of her teeth had fallen out. Although her appearance had changed, what remained the same was that at each stage of her life, she had hit a wall, and despite hitting a wall many times, she had the same constant wish—that of having someone to rely on. Another thing that didn’t change was her delusion about God’s promises to people, as well as some delusions about herself, humankind, and her destiny and prospects. Although deep down, these delusions were becoming more and more fuzzy and distant, perhaps she still held a glimmer of hope deep within her heart: “If, in my remaining years, I am able to live happily with someone I can rely on, or I can see the day when God’s work ends and He is glorified, then this life will not have been in vain.” That was the life of this woman. And that’s the end of the story. What should the title of this story be? (“Who Do I Rely On?”) That’s a pretty good and thought-provoking title.

Returning to the topic of our fellowship, what does this story have to do with people’s notions about God’s work? Which part relates to people’s notions about God’s work? What notions does it relate to? Share your thoughts. (People feel that God should accomplish things according to their expectations and plans. This is the kind of notion that people have.) Within people’s notions, people think that so long as their aspirations are good, positive and proactive, the Creator should grant them, and that they should not be deprived of the right to strive toward a beautiful life. This is a notion. Does the Creator’s fulfillment accord with man’s wishes, with his hopes, with his imaginings? (It does not.) In what way, then, does the Creator act? Regardless of who you are, and regardless of what you have planned, how perfect and honorable your imaginings are, or to what extent they match the reality of your life, God does not look at any of these things, nor does He pay attention to them; rather, things are accomplished, orchestrated, and arranged according to God’s ordained methods and laws. This is God’s righteous disposition. Some people think, “After the countless hardships I’ve experienced in my life, aren’t I entitled to a good life? When I come before the Creator, won’t I be qualified to request and aspire toward a beautiful life and a beautiful destination?” Is this not a human notion? What are such notions and human-engendered thoughts to God? They are unreasonable demands. How do such unreasonable demands come about? (People do not know God’s authority.) This is the objective reason. What is the subjective reason? It is that they have a rebellious disposition, and that they are unwilling to seek the truth or to submit to the Creator’s sovereignty or arrangements. Is the life the Creator arranges for the majority of people one of hardship, or is it happy and carefree? (One of hardship.) The majority of people live lives of hardship, with too many difficulties and too much pain. What is the Creator’s purpose in arranging hardships for people during their whole life? What is the significance of this? In one sense, such arrangements are meant to allow people to experience and know God’s sovereignty, arrangements, and authority; in another sense, His primary purpose is to let people experience what life really is, and thereby to realize that man’s destiny is controlled in God’s hand, and is neither decided by any person nor changed in the wake of changes in people’s subjective will. Whatever the Creator does and whatever sort of life or fate He has arranged for people, He makes them reflect on life and on what man’s destiny really is, and, as they reflect on all these things, He makes them come before God. When God expresses the truth and tells people what all this is, He makes people come before Him, accept what God says, experience what God says, understand what the relationship really is between all God says and all the things people experience in their real lives. He lets people verify the practicality, accuracy, and validity of these truths, after which they gain them and acknowledge that man is controlled in the hand of the Creator, and that man’s destiny is ruled and arranged by God. Once people have understood all this, they will no longer have any impractical plans for their life, and they will not have plans that go against the wishes of the Creator nor what He has ordained and arranged; rather, they will have an increasingly accurate assessment and understanding, or a comprehension and plan, of how their life should be lived and the road they should take. This is the purpose and significance of the many hardships that the Creator arranges in people’s lives.

Returning to the story, after the protagonist experienced many hardships, what was her understanding of why she had suffered hardships and pain in this life, and of why the Creator orchestrated and arranged things this way? Can you see that from the story? Did she gain an understanding of these things? (No.) Why did she not gain it? (Because at every stage of her life, and at every turning point in her life, when her wishes were shattered again and again, she did not reflect or draw a conclusion as to why her lifelong dream could never come true. If she could have reflected and sought the truth, she would have changed. However, she didn’t understand the sovereignty of the Creator, and could only resolutely persist with her dream and hope that one day her destiny would suddenly change, which was impossible. During this process, she was constantly resisting and struggling, hence her immense anguish.) That’s how it was. Because she chose a wrong path, but she didn’t know it. She regarded it as a correct path, as her legitimate pursuit and legitimate wish, and then worked hard, fought, and struggled in that direction. She never doubted whether her wish was realistic or not, nor did she doubt the correctness of it. Instead, she stubbornly pursued this direction, never changing or turning around. What, then, was God’s purpose in giving her so much hardship in life? It was not by accident that God did all this. In any person’s life, God arranges some exceptional experiences and some painful experiences for them. In fact, the Creator is using this method and these facts to tell you not to go on like this, and that this path leads nowhere, and that it is not the path you should take. What do you see in this, intangibly? This is God choosing a path for people, and it is also God’s way of talking to people, and His way of saving people, and of getting people to emerge from their wrong notions and stubborn ways. This is also God’s way of telling you: The path you chose is a quagmire, a pit of fire, a road of no return, and you must not walk down it. If you keep on going this way, you will continue to suffer. This is not the correct path in life, it is not the path you should take, and it is not the path that God has preordained for you. If you are a smart person, then after experiencing hardship, you will reflect: “Why did I experience such hardship? Why did I hit a wall? Is this path not suitable for me? So, what path should I walk and what direction should I take in life?” While you are reflecting, God will give you some inspiration and guidance, or point out the right direction in which you should take your next step. God is constantly guiding you, so that you can more practically and accurately grasp the path ahead which He has planned for you in real life. Did the protagonist in the story I just told you do this? (No, she never reflected.) What kind of disposition did she have? (Intransigence.) Intransigence—this is so troublesome. From when she was a child to when she was a gray-haired old woman, her wish of having someone to rely on never changed. Whether before she had heard God’s gospel and gained insights into how the Creator created the heavens and earth and all things, or when God’s gospel came to her and God told her the truth of all this, her wish never changed from start to finish—this is the most lamentable aspect. People have thoughts and ideas. What was God’s purpose in creating all this for people? It was for people to perceive and comprehend the people, events, things, and environments that God arranges for them. As a normal person possessed of reason and conscience, every created human being will understand the Creator’s intention more or less and to a varying degree of depth when they experience and appreciate with their heart all these things that God has orchestrated. This is one way in which God works that is particularly practical and real. But because people are too arrogant and intransigent, and cannot easily accept the truth, it is difficult for them to grasp the Creator’s will. How is people’s intransigence manifested? No matter what God says or does, people still cling onto their own things. Their mentality is: “I want to plan my life. I have ideas, I have a brain, I’m educated, and I can be in control of my life. I can see the source of everything in my life, and I can completely orchestrate all of this, so I can plan my own happiness, my own future, and my own prospects.” When they hit a wall, they say, “I failed this time, I’ll try again next time.” They believe that this is how people should live, and that if a person doesn’t have a competitive spirit, they will be extremely useless and feeble in life. What is at the root of their persistence? What’s the reason for it? It is because they believe that they must absolutely be a strong person rather than a weak person, and that they must not be beaten down by life, much less be looked down upon by others, and that people should be independent and competitive, and possessed of resolve, and be held in high esteem by others. These dispositions, these ideas, and these thoughts dominate their behavior, so that each time they face the difficulties, predicaments, or pain that God orchestrates for them, they choose the same way as before: that of persisting with their own thoughts, not turning around, and absolutely persisting to the end with whatever they think is good, right, and beneficial for themselves, and being a competitive person. It is precisely this intransigent disposition that leads them to make many ignorant and impractical judgments, and gives rise to many impractical understandings and experiences.

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