Daily Words of God | "God Himself, the Unique III" | Excerpt 129
Death: The Sixth Juncture
After so much hustle and bustle, so many frustrations and disappointments, after so many joys and sorrows and ups and downs, after so many unforgettable years, after watching the seasons turn time and again, one passes the important milestones in life without notice, and all in a flash one finds oneself in one’s waning years. The marks of time are stamped all over one’s body: One can no longer stand erect, a head of dark hair turns white, bright, lucid eyes grow dim and cloud over, and smooth, supple skin becomes wrinkled and spotted. One’s hearing weakens, one’s teeth loosen and fall out, one’s reactions become delayed, one’s movements slow…. At this point, one has completely bid farewell to the passionate years of one’s youth and entered the twilight of one’s life: old age. Next, one will face death, the last juncture in a human life.
1. Only the Creator Holds the Power of Life and Death Over Man
If one’s birth was destined by one’s previous life, then one’s death marks the end of that destiny. If one’s birth is the beginning of one’s mission in this life, then one’s death marks the end of that mission. Since the Creator has determined a fixed set of circumstances for a person’s birth, it goes without saying that He has also arranged a fixed set of circumstances for one’s death. In other words, no one is born by chance, no one’s death is unexpected, and both birth and death are necessarily connected with one’s previous and present lives. The circumstances of one’s birth and death are both predetermined by the Creator; this is a person’s destiny, a person’s fate. Just as much can be said about one’s birth, every person’s death will occur under a different set of special circumstances, hence people’s varying lifespans and the different manners and times of their deaths. Some people are strong and hale and yet die early; others are weak and sickly yet live to an old age, and pass away peacefully. Some perish of unnatural causes, others of natural ones. Some end their lives far from home, others shut their eyes with their loved ones by their side. Some people die in midair, others beneath the earth. Some sink beneath the water, others are lost in disasters. Some die in the morning, others at night. … Everyone wants an illustrious birth, a brilliant life, and a glorious death, but no one can overstep their own destiny, no one can escape the Creator’s sovereignty. This is human fate. Man can make all kinds of plans for his future, but no one can plan the manner and time of their birth and of their departure from the world. Though people do their best to avoid and resist the coming of death, yet still, unbeknownst to them, death silently draws near. No one knows when they will perish or how they will do so, much less where it will happen. Obviously, it is not humanity that holds the power of life and death, not some being in the natural world, but the Creator, whose authority is unique. Mankind’s life and death are not the product of some law of the natural world, but a consequence of the sovereignty of the Creator’s authority.
2. One Who Does Not Know the Creator’s Sovereignty Will Be Dogged by the Fear of Death
When one enters old age, the challenge one faces is not providing for a family or establishing one’s grand ambitions in life, but how to bid farewell to one’s life, how to meet the end of one’s life, how to put the period at the end of one’s own existence. Though on the surface it seems that people pay little attention to death, no one can avoid exploring the subject, for no one knows whether another world lies on the far side of death, a world that humans cannot perceive or feel, one they know nothing about. This makes people afraid to face death head-on, afraid to confront it as they ought, and instead they do their best to avoid the subject. And so it fills every person with dread about death, and adds a veil of mystery to this inevitable fact of life, casts a persistent shadow over every person’s heart.
When one feels one’s body deteriorating, when one senses that one is drawing nearer to death, one feels a vague dread, an inexpressible fear. Fear of death makes one feel ever more lonely and helpless, and at this point one asks oneself: Where did man come from? Where is man going? Is this how man is going to die, with his life having breezed past him? Is this the period that marks the end of man’s life? What, in the end, is the meaning of life? What is life worth, after all? Is it about fame and fortune? Is it about raising a family? … Regardless of whether one has thought about these specific questions, regardless of how deeply one fears death, in the depths of every person’s heart there is always a desire to probe the mysteries, a feeling of incomprehension about life, and mixed in with these, sentimentality about the world, a reluctance to leave. Perhaps no one can clearly articulate what it is that man fears, what it is that man wants to probe into, what it is that he is sentimental about and what he is reluctant to leave behind …
Because they fear death, people worry far too much; because they fear death, there is so much that they cannot let go of. When they are about to die, some people fret about this or that; they worry about their children, their loved ones, their wealth, as if by worrying they can erase the suffering and dread that death brings on, as if by maintaining a kind of intimacy with the living they can escape the helplessness and loneliness that accompany death. In the depths of the human heart there lies an inchoate fear, a fear of being parted from one’s loved ones, of never again laying eyes upon the blue sky, of never again looking upon the material world. A lonely soul, used to the company of its loved ones, is reluctant to release its grip and depart, all alone, for an unknown, unfamiliar world.