One day, I took a bus home. As soon as I got on the bus, two monks who were playing with their phones jumped out at me. One of them was in grey robes, while the other was in yellow. I took a seat right behind the monk in grey robes and a middle-aged man who got on later sat behind the monk in yellow. The bus moved ahead. Then the middle-aged man leaned close to the ear of the monk in yellow, saying, “Master, I wanna do odd jobs in your temple. Could you talk with your abbot about this for me?” The monk replied, “Our temple is small, and just receives a few incense-offerings of believers. You’d better go to the Jiuhua Mountains.” The middle-aged man said, “It is not about money. I just want to do some good things, so as to be ill and die. Do any eminent monks in your temple know how to self-cultivate to avoid disease and death?” One of the monk looked the man up and down, saying, “How could people who eat all sorts of grains not get sick? How could people escape death if contracting a serious illness? It is a rule that all people must experience birth, aging, sickness, and death. No one can get rid of it. And no eminent monks can answer your question, either.” After these words, the two monks looked at each other and smiled. The middle-aged man smiled with a wink, asking, “Then what is your self-cultivation for? If you tell me a bit of secret, then I will spend money hyping you.” At hearing that, both of the two monks turned their heads and looked at him, and the one in grey said helplessly, “Do you think those cultivating themselves know the secret of never being ill or avoiding dying? Now that you think so, then you just go to be a monk!” Hearing this, the man in middle age started giggling, while the two monks looked at him with a hollow laugh.
Listening to their talk, I was lost in contemplation: Yeah! In our life which only lasts for a few decades, none of us can dictate our own life and death. Some people fought against disease at their early age, but after having spent a great quantity of money and seen many well-known doctors, they still could not be cured and passed away with regret in the end; some people, who had been sentenced to death by the doctor, were considered by most people to doom to lose life, yet as a consequence, death eluded them and they came to a natural end. There are many people who are strong in life and are just planning their own future ambitiously, but unexpectedly, death is drawing near to them; however, some people, who are ordinary-looking and always unwell and sick, were in danger several times, but things always barely turned out okay and they are alive till now.
Recall that I was often ill since I was six years old. I remember in a rainy autumn morning, I was sitting on the back of the bike in illness and my father pushed the bicycle to send me to the hospital. My mother supported my arm with one hand, and held an umbrella to protect me from the rain with the other. At that moment, my elder brother shouted after my mother, “Mom, buy a pair of white gym shoes for me. A sports meeting is to be held in my school.” My mother returned, “How could you be so thoughtless? Your younger sister has been sick like this, and even the money for rice is all used for her treatment.” After a short while, I struggled to look backward over my shoulder and saw my elder brother standing at the end of the lane, wiping the tears in the rain. I thought, “My elder brother, why are you crying? It would be so great if I were as healthy as you. …” At that time, I truly desired good health. Later, when I grew up and reached the age of marriage, in the streets I often heard someone say the following words, “ So-and-So has just got married. His wife is so weak and sickly, just like Lin Daiyu (heroine of Dream of the Red Chamber). She can’t live for a long time. Nice as she looks, she is totally unsuitable to be a wife. The tongue is not steel, yet it cuts. These words made me who was suffering diseases fear death more ever since. I was really afraid that I would pass away suddenly someday.
Until one day, I was fortunate to receive God’s kingdom gospel from a relative and be chosen by God and come before Him. I heard the utterances of the Creator and understood lots of mysteries of human life, such as how God dictates the fate of our lives, as well as our birth and death.say, “Where did the pain of birth, death, illness and old age present throughout the life of man come from? Because of what did people first have these things? Did man have these things when they were first created? They didn’t, did they? So where did these things come from? These things came after man was tempted by Satan and their flesh became degenerate, such as the pain of the flesh, the troubles and emptiness of the flesh and the extreme wretchedness of the world. Satan began to torment man after it had corrupted them … So this suffering was brought on man by Satan, and it only came after man had been corrupted by Satan and became degenerate.”
I also read these words in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “For thousands of years, all people have been constrained and bound by death and none can get past it. Fearing death has been the most vital weakness of man. … Actually, man’s life and death are both in God’s control and are predestined by God. Man’ soul comes from God, and man’s flesh is also given by God. Both the flesh and soul of man belong to God, but by no means belong to man himself. Man’s everything comes from God, which is a fact no one can deny. It is God who has the sovereignty over man. Humans themselves do not have. We should subject to God’s manipulation whether we live or die. As a matter of fact, man’s life and death are decided by one word of God …”
Through God’s words, I came to know that there were no birth, death, illness and old age for the mankind God created in the beginning. Just because our ancestors, Adam and Eve, were tempted by the serpent and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, betrayed God and sinned, from then on, illnesses and death began to befall us mankind. Nevertheless, the fact that the life of all things comes from God and our life and death and fate are still in His hand has never changed. Take me as an example, when I was young I never expected that I could still be alive now. At that time, when I went for my physical examination, the doctor often told me: “If you want to live as long as others, you must do more exercise. If your financial condition permits, you’d better eat more health care products. Otherwise, you are too weak and your resistance is low as well.…” The doctor did not continue to say, but through these words I understood it would be very difficult for me to live to be seventy or eighty years old as an ordinary person and I might die in my middle age. Before I believed in God, I had led a gloomy life. Sometimes when I looked silently at my families and friends around me, I would uncontrollably shed tears, feeling painful at the prospect of my leaving this world and these familiar people someday. To my surprise, several decades have passed and now I am more than sixty years old. My hair has turned gray and I am of average constitution, yet I do not have any serious illness. My peers all pay more attention to keeping fit and healthy at this age while I just do some exercises in my free time and my means do not admit of my having many top grade health care products. However, I do not have any feeling of discomfort. I am no longer as I was in my youth nor am I like most of the unbelievers nowadays, being afraid of death or desiring to live to be hundred. This is because in my earlier life I have experienced that life and death is by no means controlled and influenced by us humans, and that only God has the authority to rule over our life and death.
God’s words say, “From when He created the world, God has done much work involving the vitality of life, has done much work that brings life to man, and has paid a great price so that man might gain life, for God Himself is, and God Himself is the way by which man is resurrected. God is never absent from the heart of man, and lives among man at all times. He has been the driving force of man’s living, the fundament of man’s existence, and a rich deposit for man’s existence after birth. He causes man to be reborn, and enables him to tenaciously live in his every role. Thanks to His power, and His inextinguishable life force, man has lived for generation after generation, throughout which the power of God’s life has been the mainstay of man’s existence, and for which God has paid a price that no ordinary man has ever paid. God’s life force can prevail over any power; moreover, it exceeds any power. His life is eternal, His power extraordinary…”
Now I can go out for meetings normally, do some work in the church within my capacity, and deal with trivialities in daily life. My children do not need to worry about me. Many acquaintances all think that I seemed younger, and even I myself feel so. At least I feel in the mood to be young. I have always believed that every extra minute of my life is granted by God, because it is God who is using His great power to keep me alive, and this is His grace and blessing for me. God gives me the time and chance to read more of His words. Furthermore, He gives me the opportunity to spread the gospel of God to more people, so that through me, a person who was dying in appearance, they can see the fact and authority of God’s sovereignty over human fate, and feel even more that no other love in this world can compare with God’s love. It is God who bestows us life, selects us from the evil and corrupted world, and brings us before Him; now in the last days, while the worldly people are suffering all sorts of disasters in differing degrees, God protects and cares for us and keeps us away from the disasters. Besides, before the destructive disasters prophesied in Revelation comes, God allows us to have the time and the opportunity to read God’s words and pursue the truth so that our corrupt disposition can be purified and transformed. … All God does is for the sake of our life, and He has bestowed all the truths for our pursuit of salvation on us, which is much more meaningful than the continuation of lifespan we pursue. We cannot decide our own life and death, much less possess the way of eternal life. God comes again in the last days, has revealed the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and bestows us with the way of truth for the pursuit of purification and salvation, so that we can obtain the truth and know God and thereby attain God’s salvation and survive the great disaster. By then, we will truly attain the way of eternal life and live forever in God’s kingdom.