Words on How to Experience Failures, Falls, Trials, and Refinement (Excerpt 63)

Some people often fall ill, but no matter how much they pray to God, they still don’t get better. No matter how much they want to rid themselves of their illness, they cannot. Sometimes, they may even face life-threatening conditions and are forced to confront them head-on. In fact, if one really has faith in God in their heart, they first of all must know that a person’s lifespan is in God’s hands. The timing of one’s birth and death is predestined by God. When God gives people illness, there is a reason behind it—it has meaning. It feels like sickness to them, but, in actual fact, what they have been given is grace, not illness. People must first of all recognize and be sure about this fact, and take it seriously. When people are suffering from illness, they can come often before God, and make sure to do what they should, with prudence and caution, and treat their duty with greater care and diligence than others. As far as people are concerned, this is a protection, not shackles. It is the negative way of handling things. In addition, everyone’s lifespan has been predetermined by God. An illness may appear to be terminal from a medical standpoint, but from God’s point of view, if your life must still go on and your time has yet to come, then you couldn’t die even if you wanted to. If God has given you a commission, and your mission is not over, then you will not even die from an illness that is supposed to be fatal—God will not take you yet. Even if you do not pray and seek the truth, or do not attend to treating your illness, or even if you put off your treatment, you will not die. This is particularly true for those who have received a commission from God: When their mission has yet to be completed, no matter what illness befalls them, they must not die straight away; they must live until the final moment of the mission’s completion. Do you have this faith? If you do not, you will only offer some superficial prayers to God, saying, “God! I have to complete the commission You gave me. I want to spend my final days in loyalty to You, so that I will leave no regrets behind. You must protect me!” Although you pray like this, if you don’t take the initiative to seek the truth, then you will not have the will and the strength to exercise loyalty. As you are not willing to pay the real price, you often use this kind of excuse and this method to pray to God and bargain with Him—is this a person who pursues the truth? If your illness were to be cured, would you really be able to perform your duty well? Not necessarily. The fact is that no matter whether your bargaining is meant to get your illness cured and keep you from dying, or whether you have some other intent or goal in it, from God’s point of view, if you can do your duty and are still of use, if God has decided that you are to be used, then you will not die. You will not be able to die even if you want to. But if you make trouble, and commit all manner of evil deeds, and aggravate God’s disposition, you will die swiftly; your life will be cut short. Everyone’s lifespan was determined by God before the creation of the world. If they can obey the arrangements and orchestrations of God, then regardless of whether they suffer illness or not, and whether they are in good or poor health, they will live the number of years predetermined by God. Do you have this faith? If you only acknowledge this based on doctrine, then you do not have true faith, and it is useless to say nice-sounding words; if you confirm from the bottom of your heart that God will do this, your approach and way of practice will naturally change. Of course, people must have some common sense about maintaining their health during their life regardless of whether they become sick or not. This is the instinct that God has given to man. It is the reason and common sense that one should possess within the free will that God has given them. Once you are sick, you should understand some common sense regarding health care and treatment for dealing with this illness—this is what you should do. However, treating your illness in this way is not meant to challenge the lifespan set for you by God, nor is it to guarantee that you can live out the lifespan that He has set for you. What does this mean? It can be put this way: In a passive regard, if you do not take your illness seriously, if you do your duty however you should, and get a bit more rest than others, if you have not delayed your duty, your illness will not get worse, and it will not kill you. Everything depends on what God does. In other words, if, in God’s view, your predestined lifespan has not yet run its course, then, even if you get sick, He will not allow you to die. If your illness is not terminal, but your time has come, then God will take you away whenever He wants. Is this not completely at the mercy of God’s thought? It is at the mercy of His predetermination! This is how you should look at this matter. You might do your part and go to the doctor, take some medicine, look after your health, and get exercise, but you need to understand deep down that a person’s life is in God’s hands, a person’s lifespan is predetermined by God, and no one can transcend what God has predetermined. If you do not possess even this small measure of understanding, then you do not truly have faith, and do not actually believe in God.

Some people do everything possible, using various methods to treat their illnesses, but no matter what treatment is used, they cannot be cured. The more they are treated, the more serious the illness becomes. Instead of praying to God to find out exactly what is going on with the illness, and looking for the root cause, they take matters into their own hands. They end up employing a lot of methods and spending quite a bit of money, but their disease still does not get cured. Then, once they’ve given up on treatment, the illness unexpectedly heals on its own after some time, and they do not know how it happened. Some people develop an unremarkable disease and are not really concerned about it, but one day their condition worsens and they die suddenly. What’s going on with that? People are unable to fathom that; actually, from God’s point of view, this is because that person’s mission in this world was completed, so He took them away. People often say, “People don’t die if they aren’t sick.” Is this really the case? There have been people who, after being examined at the hospital, were found to have no illness. They were extremely healthy but ended up dying within a few days. This is called dying without sickness. There are many such people. This means that a person has reached the end of their life, and they have been taken back to the spiritual realm. Some people have survived cancer and tuberculosis and still lived into their seventies or eighties. There are quite a few such people. All this hinges on God’s ordinations. Having this understanding is true faith in God. If you are physically sick and you need to take some medicine to manage your condition, then you should take the medicine or get exercise regularly, relaxing and handling it calmly. What kind of attitude is this? This is an attitude of genuine faith in God. Suppose you do not take your medicine, do not get shots, do not exercise, do not take care of your health, and then you’re still worried to death, praying all the time: “Oh, God, I have to perform my duties properly, my mission hasn’t been completed, I’m not ready to die. I want to fulfill my duties and complete Your commission. If I die, I will not be able to complete Your commission. I don’t want to leave behind any regrets. God, please listen to my prayers; let me live on so I can fulfill my duties and complete Your commission. I wish to praise You forever and to see Your day of glory as soon as possible.” By all outward appearances, you do not take medicine or get any shots, and you seem very strong and full of faith in God. In actuality, your faith is smaller than a mustard seed. You are scared to death, and you have no faith in God. How is it that you have no faith? How did this happen? Human beings simply do not understand the Creator’s attitude, principles, and ways of dealing with His created beings, so they use their own limited perspective, notions, and imaginings to guess what God will do. They want to gamble with God to see whether God will heal them and let them live a long life. Isn’t this foolish? If God allows you to live, you will not die no matter how sick you get. If God does not allow you to live, then even if you are not sick, you will still die if that is what must be. The span of your life is predetermined by God. To know this is true knowledge and true faith. So, does God make people fall sick at random? It is not random; it is a way to refine their faith. It is suffering that people must endure. If He makes you fall sick, do not try to escape it; if He does not, then do not request it. All is in the Creator’s hands, and people must learn to let nature take its course. What is nature? Nothing in nature is random; it all comes from God. This is true. Among sufferers of the same disease, some die and others live; all of this was predetermined by God. If you can live, it proves that you have not yet completed the mission God gave you. You should work hard at completing it, and cherish this time; do not waste it. This is what it is. If you are sick, do not try to escape it, and, if you are not sick, do not request it. In any matter, you cannot get what you want merely by requesting it, nor can you escape anything just because you want to. No one can change that which God has decided to do.

Prior to being nailed to the cross, the Lord Jesus offered a prayer. How exactly was it worded? (“If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).) As members of created humanity, people should all undergo such a process of seeking, because they do not understand God’s will. This is a normal process. However, no matter how you seek, and no matter how long, arduous, or difficult the process of seeking might be, nothing God determined to do has ever changed since the beginning, nor has He ever decided to change it. People may seek and wait, and God does permit them a process by which to gain understanding, knowledge, and clarity on what is actually true, but He would never alter a single decision. Therefore, you should not feel that things happen to you at random, or that, when you somehow escape disaster and certain death, it is dumb luck and coincidence. It is not. God has a preset plan and specific arrangements for every created being, from the greatest to the smallest, from the macroscopic—planets and the cosmos—down to created mankind, and even microorganisms. This is God’s almightiness. Some people who fall ill say their illness came from the exhaustion of some activity or from having eaten the wrong thing accidentally. Do not look for such reasons; they are all negative and resistant attitudes. You should face with positivity the environments, people, events, and things that God has arranged for you. Do not look for objective reasons; rather, you should seek and understand exactly what God’s intention and attitude are in presenting you with this situation, and what attitude you should have as a created being when dealing with it; this is the path you must seek. When a person survives, it is never random, nor is it inevitable; the Creator’s arrangements, intentions, and sovereignty are always there. Nothing is hollow. Do you think God’s words, His will, and the truth are hollow? They are not! When people have not grasped God’s will, they are prone to certain notions and imaginings, and they feel as if those notions and imaginings are quite right, and that they must be in line with God’s intentions. People do not know what God’s intentions are, so they feel, “My thinking this way is right. I have genuine faith. I fear and submit to God, I am a person who loves God.” In fact, God utterly detests your notions and imaginings. While you’re thinking how right you are, you actually do not understand the truth at all, nor have you obtained the truth. When one day you see all these matters clearly and realize that all these things are ultimately ruled, arranged, and ordained by the Creator, you will have learned your lessons from all the people, events, and things that you have encountered, and you will have achieved the results that you are due. Only then will you truly understand God’s will and realize that everything God does is to save people, and that God’s good intentions and earnest efforts are contained within it. When you have this understanding, you should thank and praise God, never feeling like: “God has ordained me to perform this duty, so I must be very important in God’s heart. God cannot abandon me and He will not let me die.” This is wrong. God has a method in everything He does. What does that mean? God ordains when a person will be born, when they will die, and how many missions they will have in this life. God has ordained your lifespan. He will not end your lifespan early because of your poor performance in this life, nor will He extend your life several years due to good performance in this life. This is what is called having a method. Regarding those bad people who commit all manner of evil deeds in the world, have caused great harm to the world, who committed many harmful deeds that endangered others during a certain period, some people say: “God is blind. Why doesn’t He destroy such people?” Do you know what the cause of this is? What is the root cause behind this? The root cause is this: Positive figures play a positive role, and negative figures play a negative role. Everyone has a mission, everyone has a role, everyone’s life and death have been predestined long ago; God would never upset this. When you were born, you came into this world on time, not one minute or one second off schedule; when you die and your soul departs, that will also not be one minute or one second off schedule. God will not change the life span that was originally destined for a person because of their great contribution to humankind, letting them live an extra twenty or thirty years. God has never done this and will never do this in the future. He will also not cause a person to die ahead of schedule just because they are especially harmful to humankind. God will never do that. This is the rule and law of heaven, and God will never violate it. What have you seen from this matter? (No one can change the things that are ordained by God.) God Himself would never upset nor change the things that He has ordained or planned. This is a fact; furthermore, from this matter, we see God’s power and wisdom. God has already fully planned the genesis, advent, lifespan, ending of all the created beings, as well as their life’s mission and the role they play in all mankind. No one can change these things; this is the authority of the Creator. The advent of every created being, their life’s mission, when their lifespan will end—all of these laws have been ordained by God long ago, just as God ordained the orbit of every celestial body; which orbit these celestial bodies follow, for how many years, how they orbit, what laws they follow—this was all ordained by God long ago, unchanged for thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, of years. This is ordained by God, and this is His authority. What about man, then, that tiny created being? Let’s put man aside and first talk about dogs. God has ordained that they live for about ten years, and that they must die when they reach that age. Can this timeframe be changed? (No.) We won’t go into special cases. The lifespan of a small animal, which humans cannot even change, is predestined by God—then how not so for man? So, no matter what people ask for, the last thing they should ask for is an extension to their lifespan. The blessings and misfortunes of a person’s life, and when a person will die—these things are predestined by God. No one can change them, and no amount of asking will have any effect. You can ask God to enlighten you about some things, such as what you experience, what you recognize, and what you can gain from an environment. That is to say, you can seek the truth and pray to God for life entry and a change in your life disposition. If your sincerity can move God, you will be able to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. This is what God is willing to do. But you should be reasonable. You cannot ask God for longevity or immortality, because your lifespan is ordained by God. It cannot be changed by people, and no amount of asking will make a difference. As long as it is ordained by God, He will not change it. If you acknowledge that God is the Creator, that God is your Sovereign, your God and your Lord, then you must never ask for these things. What does God tell people to ask for? What does the Lord’s Prayer say? “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). What else should you ask for? Do you know? You should perform your duties as created beings within God’s management work. You should complete the commissions given to you by God, fulfill your mission properly, avoid failing your mission, be worthy of your God-given life and existence, and not let this life be wasted or in vain. In this life, you should come to know the Creator, live out a likeness befitting a created being, and satisfy the Creator’s wishes—these are the things you should ask for. What to ask for and what not to ask for, which things to ask for are in line with God’s will and which things are not, whether what you wish to ask for can be granted—these matters should be clear in your heart first. Don’t act foolishly. If what you’re asking for has already been ordained by God, then your prayers are in vain. Isn’t it foolish for you to pray for it then? Isn’t this clashing with God? God has you live to be eighty years old, but you demand living to be a hundred; God has you live to be thirty years old, but you demand reaching sixty. Isn’t this rebelliousness? Isn’t this resisting God? People should be reasonable and not do foolish things.

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