4. Come Under the Creator’s Dominion and Face Death Calmly
At the moment a person is born, one lonely soul begins its experience of life on earth, its experience of the Creator’s authority which the Creator has arranged for it. Needless to say, for the person—the soul—this is an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge of the Creator’s sovereignty, to come to know His authority and to experience it personally. People live their lives within the laws of fate laid out for them by the Creator, and for any rational person with a conscience, coming to terms, over the decades of their life, with the Creator’s sovereignty and coming to know His authority is not a difficult thing to do. Therefore, it should be very easy for every person to recognize, through their own life experiences over several decades, that all human fates are predestined, and it should be easy to grasp or to summarize what it means to be alive. As one embraces these life lessons, one will gradually come to understand where life comes from, to grasp what the heart truly needs, what will lead one to the true path of life, and what the mission and goal of a human life ought to be. One will gradually recognize that if one does not worship the Creator, if one does not come under His dominion, then when the time comes to confront death—when one’s soul is about to face the Creator once more—one’s heart will be filled with boundless dread and turmoil. If a person has been in the world for several decades yet has not understood where human life comes from nor recognized in whose palm human fate rests, then it is no wonder that they will not be able to face death calmly. A person who has gained, in their decades of experience of human life, knowledge of the Creator’s sovereignty is a person with a correct appreciation for the meaning and value of life. Such a person has a deep knowledge of life’s purpose, with real experience and understanding of the Creator’s sovereignty, and beyond that, is able to submit to the Creator’s authority. Such a person understands the meaning of God’s creation of mankind, understands that man should worship the Creator, that everything man possesses comes from the Creator and will return to Him some day not far in the future. This kind of person understands that the Creator arranges man’s birth and has sovereignty over man’s death, and that both life and death are predestined by the Creator’s authority. So, when one truly grasps these things, one will naturally be able to face death calmly, to calmly lay aside all one’s worldly possessions, accept and submit happily to all that follows, and welcome the last life-juncture, arranged, as it is, by the Creator, rather than blindly dreading it and struggling against it. If one views life as an opportunity to experience the Creator’s sovereignty and come to know His authority, if one sees one’s life as a rare chance to perform one’s duty as a created human being and to complete one’s mission, then one will surely have the correct outlook on life, will surely live a life blessed and guided by the Creator, will surely walk in the light of the Creator, will surely know the Creator’s sovereignty, will surely come under His dominion, and surely become a witness to His miraculous deeds, a witness to His authority. Needless to say, such a person will surely be loved and accepted by the Creator, and only such a person can hold a calm attitude toward death and welcome life’s final juncture with joy. One person who obviously held this kind of attitude toward death is Job. Job was in a position to accept the final juncture of life happily, and having brought his life’s journey to a smooth conclusion and completed his mission in life, he returned to be at the Creator’s side.
5. Job’s Pursuits and Gains in Life Allow Him to Calmly Face Death
In the scriptures it is written about Job: “So Job died, being old and full of days” (Job 42:17). This means that when Job passed away, he had no regrets and felt no pain, but departed naturally from this world. As everyone knows, Job was a man who feared God and shunned evil while he was alive. His deeds were commended by God and memorialized by others, and his life may be said to have had worth and significance that exceeded all others’. Job enjoyed God’s blessings and was called righteous by Him on earth, and he was also tried by God and tested by Satan. He stood witness for God and deserved to be called a righteous person by Him. In the decades after he was tried by God, he lived a life that was even more valuable, meaningful, grounded, and peaceful than before. Because of his righteous deeds, God tried him, and also because of his righteous deeds, God appeared to him and spoke to him directly. So, in the years after he was tried, Job understood and appreciated life’s value in a more concrete way, attained a deeper understanding of the Creator’s sovereignty, and gained a more precise and definite knowledge of how the Creator gives and takes away His blessings. The Book of Job records that Jehovah God bestowed even greater blessings upon Job than He did before, putting Job in an even better position to know the Creator’s sovereignty and to face death calmly. So Job, when he grew old and faced death, certainly would not have been anxious about his property. He had no worries, nothing to regret, and of course did not fear death, for he spent all his life walking the way of fearing God and shunning evil. He had no reason to worry about his own end. How many people today could act in all the ways Job did when he confronted his own death? Why is no one capable of maintaining such a simple outward bearing? There is only one reason: Job lived his life in the subjective pursuit of belief, recognition, and submission to God’s sovereignty, and it was with this belief, recognition, and submission that he passed through the important junctures in life, lived out his last years, and greeted his life’s final juncture. Regardless of what Job experienced, his pursuits and goals in life were not painful, but happy. He was happy not only because of the blessings or commendation bestowed on him by the Creator, but more importantly, because of his pursuits and life goals, because of the growing knowledge and true understanding of the Creator’s sovereignty he attained through fearing God and shunning evil, and moreover, because of his personal experience, as a subject of the Creator’s sovereignty, of the wondrous deeds of God, and the tender yet unforgettable experiences and memories of man and God’s coexistence, acquaintance, and mutual understanding. Job was happy because of the comfort and joy that came from knowing the Creator’s will, and because of the reverence that arose after seeing that He is great, wondrous, lovable, and faithful. Job was able to face death without any suffering because he knew that, in dying, he would return to the Creator’s side. It was his pursuits and gains in life that allowed him to face death calmly, allowed him to face the prospect of the Creator taking back his life calmly, and moreover, allowed him to stand unsullied and free from care before the Creator. Can people nowadays achieve the kind of happiness that Job possessed? Do you have the conditions necessary to do so? Since people nowadays do have these conditions, why are they unable to live happily, as Job did? Why are they unable to escape the suffering of the fear of death? When facing death, some people urinate uncontrollably; others shiver, faint, lash out against Heaven and man alike; some even wail and weep. These are by no means natural reactions that occur suddenly when death draws near. People behave in these embarrassing ways mainly because, deep in their hearts, they fear death, because they do not have a clear knowledge and appreciation of God’s sovereignty and His arrangements, much less truly submit to them. People react in this way because they want nothing but to arrange and govern everything themselves, to control their own fates, their own lives and deaths. It is no wonder, therefore, that people are never able to escape the fear of death.
6. Only by Accepting the Creator’s Sovereignty Can One Return to His Side
When one does not have clear knowledge and experience of God’s sovereignty and of His arrangements, one’s knowledge of fate and of death will necessarily be incoherent. People cannot see clearly that everything rests in God’s palm, do not realize that everything is subject to God’s control and sovereignty, do not recognize that man cannot cast off or escape such sovereignty. For this reason, when their time comes to face death, there is no end to their last words, worries, and regrets. They are weighed down by so much baggage, so much reluctance, so much confusion. This causes them to fear death. For any person born into this world, birth is necessary and death inevitable; no one can rise above this course of things. If one wishes to depart from this world painlessly, if one wants to be able to face life’s final juncture with no reluctance or worry, the only way is to leave no regrets. And the only way to depart without regrets is to know the Creator’s sovereignty, to know His authority, and to submit to them. Only in this way can one stay far from human strife, from evil, from Satan’s bondage, and only in this way can one live a life like Job’s, guided and blessed by the Creator, a life that is free and liberated, a life with value and meaning, a life that is honest and openhearted. Only in this way can one submit, like Job, to the trials and deprivation of the Creator, to the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements. Only in this way can one worship the Creator all one’s life and win His commendation, as Job did, and hear His voice, see Him appear. Only in this way can one live and die happily, like Job, with no pain, no worry, no regrets. Only in this way can one live in light, like Job, and pass every one of life’s junctures in light, smoothly complete one’s journey in light, successfully complete one’s mission—to experience, learn, and come to know, as a created being, the Creator’s sovereignty—and pass away in the light, and for ever after stand at the Creator’s side as a created human being, commended by Him.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh