The Fear of the LORD is the Beginning of Wisdom
My parents moved from Wuhan back to Fujian the year when I
went to high school. Because of my good grades upon graduation, I was admitted
to one of the best high schools in Fujian province.
I studied quite hard and got along not badly at first. But gradually I felt falling behind. It was a school that was well-known for its mathematical education, but math was one of the subject I feared most. Besides math, I was also afraid of physics and chemistry. I often failed tests on these subjects. Besides this, we had several political courses, and our Chinese class was half political too. In these classes, I had to say things that I felt were false, I did not like this. Gradually I lost interest in school and longed to leave.
In my second year of high school, there spreaded a doctrine teaching the immediate return of Jesus in the small house church we joined. I began to think, if Jesus was soon to return, and the world come to an end, then what's the need of going to school and spending time studying all those hard books, which were inevitably full of human mistakes? If it was for to make a living, why couldn't I do something else such as running a stationery store to sell home-made calendars.
With such idea on my mind, one day I played truant and wandered in the streets of downtown. But there happened to be a terrible suicide explosion on a bus, the streets were jammed. When I saw the blasted head and limbs in the street, and burnt flesh hung on the roadside windows, I felt sick and horrified. Just then, I saw my father's angry face among the crowd.
My father was so angry seeing me roaming in the street instead of going to school, that he wouldn't say a word to me all the way home. My mother used to scold me a lot at usual time, however was very quiet and peaceful when she knew what I did. She thought for a while before she asked me why I played truant. Then I told her my problem.
What my mother said to me in that half an hour I would remember all my life. She said I was wrong at least on three things. First, the true reason for my wanting to leave school was not because I loved Jesus so much, but because I met some difficulty at school. It was cowardice instead of love for truth for me to drop out for this reason, and God wouldn't like this. Second, even if Jesus would come tomorrow, we must do our duty today faithfully. Third, science is not something opposite to our belief, but is also a way to know God. So many great scientists are devoted Christians, because through studying the nature, they gain a better understanding of God and His way. If all the Christians in the world do not study science because Jesus is coming, then the enemies of God would have more ground to mock them. As for the political classes, she thought when Moses stayed in the palace of Egypt, he must have had to face "political classes" too, but he must learn all the things he needed to learn before he left there.
As she spoke, I felt as if light streaming into my confused mind. All of a sudden I realized how foolish I had been, and how I should spend my time and how I should live my life. I must go back to the school, and do my best to study those subjects I had problem with. There arose a love for God inside of me that was greater than my fear of those subjects. I earnestly prayed to God to forgive me and to help me.
My mother helped me schedule my time, so that I might use each day more efficiently.
Every morning, I would rise up before 5:30, say a simple prayer, then after a quick breakfast, start out to catch the school bus, as the high school was a good half hour's trip from home.
Every morning as soon as I awoke, some verses from the Bible would flash into my mind. They refreshed me like the dew refresh the plants and gave me so much strength that I was full of hope and was eager to begin a new day. I still remember many of these verses, like "Thou shalt mount up with wings like eagles...", "Thou shalt be a new man...","The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose...","The heavens declare the glory of God..., the sun is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race". These verses would make me feel like an eagle mounting up, like a sun rejoicing to run a race. These verses, I would copy them on a small notebook in the evening, and try to memorize them on my way to the bus station and on the bus to school. Those were beautiful mornings.
I was always one of the earliest student in the school. After arriving at the classroom, I would open the windows first, then sit down and start to read my English book. I would read aloud for half an hour, while more and more students came, then at 8:00, the morning session began.
We had 4 periods in the morning. Then we ate lunch at school, and had 3 more periods in the afternoon, before we went home at 5:30. I didn't sit up very late in the evening, but always went to bed promptly between 9:30 and 10.
However, until the midterm, I couldn't catch up yet. I still remember the shame I felt when after midterm exam, my math teacher came stand by my desk and told me that I got the lowest mark among all the girls. I wept and prayed to God for help.
I prayed to God to give me an interest in science and give me wisdom to understand it. God did listened to me and answered me fully. I gradually became fond of reading my math and physic textbooks, because while I meditated on the laws, I thought of God and how his power and wisdom were manifested in the universe. When I thought how the stars and the little things were all governed by the same laws ordained by God, I felt the beauty and harmony in science.
Our math teacher was a self-taught man. I felt he had something about him that made him different. When he called students to solve problem on the blackboard, he would not only correct their answers, but also correct their presentation of the answers. "Isn't this way more beautiful?" He would say after he arranged the factors in descending order of power. This helped me see the beauty in math.
When I meditated on the beauty and harmony of God's creation, I felt as if I could hear the singing of the stars as at the time of creation. This meditation even continue when I sat on the bus home, it mixed up with my prayer to God, making everything seem so lovely and fresh.
I remember the huge banyan tree in front of the school. It grew as tall as the 5-storey office building. Every morning, when I arrived at the school, so many little birds that nested among its branches flew out, chirping merrily and busily as if greeting me. In the afternoon, when I left school, they would fly back in the red setting sun, singing like old friends as if bidding me goodbye.
I also remember the big magnolia tree outside our classroom. It was so tall that from our classroom on the 6th floor, we could reach out for its small snowy flowers which filled the air with sweet fragrance.
I always took the school bus home, which stopped at each school to pick up the students and took them home in the university. But a couple of times, our English teacher played some interesting English movies for us. When the movie finished, the bus already passed, so I had to walk home. The trip took nearly 2 hours but I was happy to walk home. Once or twice, there happened to be a thunderstorm, which made my trip even more fun. All the way, I admired the blue mountains in the distant, the clear sky after the storm, and the green trees and fields along the roadside, my heart was filled with happy and bright thoughts about God, mixed with singing and prayers to Him. The rainwater gathered into small streams on road, the air was filled with the fragrance of the gum trees, at one place, I could smell the scent of rose but couldn't see any. I would take off my shoes to enjoy the feeling of touching the earth with bare feet. I was so absorbed in my walking and meditation that when all of a sudden I saw home before me, I felt regret that the trip had come to an end. It would be nearly 8 o'clock, but I didn't feel tired nor hungry.
Every day, I seemed to have endless strength, and seldom felt tired.
I began to realize my head lack of logic and order, that's why I couldn't do well on science. So I purposely trained myself to make up my weakness. I would study each law in the textbook careful, and prove it first by myself, then I compared my proof with that on the textbook, to find out where I lacked of logic, and where I did not have order. And I also paid special attention when I did housework. I remember how I prayed to God to teach me how to use the coal stove, and how to do everything in good order so as to use the least of time with the best result. When I did homework, which we had a lot every day, I was not satisfied with merely working out the problems, but I took much pain to work out every problem in good order and in simplicity.
Thus after sometime, I began to show progress. By the end of the term, I was one of the top students on physics, and was quite good at math too. My teachers said I had great potentiality, but I know where my wisdom came from. I could agree no more with the wise man in the past who said, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of understanding and knowledge.
As the graduation and college entrance exams drew near, many of my classmates sat up very late to do endless homework. But I didn't change my daily schedule, and always went to bed before 10. So while the last year of high school to others was the most tense and tiring period of time, for me was the happiest time of my life.
In my happy state of mind, I seldom thought about the future, how it would be, I felt I was content enough to walk with God and to do His will today. And after a sound sleep, there would come a new day full of hope and wonders. What could be better than this?
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