By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
What Should We Do to Overcome Our Fear of Death?
From the moment we are born crying into the world, we begin our life journey. As we gradually grow up, people, events, and things around us are also constantly changing. We try to change our fates with our own two hands, but only to find that we have to accept the ups and downs that our fates have in store. Some people achieve what they desire, while some people achieve nothing…. Yet whatever we have experienced during this process, when we enter old age, each of us will unknowingly confront the last life-juncture: Death.
I have an aunt who works in a hospital. Every time I went to her for something, I had to pass many wards, in which almost all of the patients were old people who were incapable of looking after themselves, and who were lying on the bed and depended on drugs to stay alive. Whenever I happened to meet their blank and fearful eyes, I would unconsciously develop sympathy for them, and then I would hurriedly avoid their eyes. When turning away from them, I saw their families busy serving them meals or water, dressing them, feeding them medicine, and so on. It seemed that they wanted to delay the approach of the death of their loved ones in this way. However, once the wheel of destiny starts to go around, no one can reverse it.
I saw an article about a teacher who suffered from chronic renal failure. In order to cure his illness, he had almost visited all the large famous hospitals in a few years, yet at last he was no better, but rather grew worse. Because of taking too much medicine, his eyes got blurred and he couldn’t see clearly, and his legs became numb and he could hardly walk. He was diagnosed with drug poisoning. Yet he still didn’t give up the treatment, and eventually his kidney problem got even worse due to the side effects of the drugs. During that period, he thought: I have been a heavy burden to my family for too long and I have thought of committing suicide several times. But why do I fear death, fear departing from this world? …
I, who am young, often pondered: Why do people still desperately struggle to survive even when they know clearly they are close to dying? Since we all know that we will have to face death some day, why can’t we face it calmly when death truly draws near?
One day I finally got the answer from a book. It says, “Why are they unable to escape the suffering from the fear of death? When facing death, some people wet themselves; others shiver, faint, lash out against Heaven and man alike, even wail and weep. These are by no means the sudden reactions that occur 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; because people want nothing but to arrange and govern everything themselves, to control their own fates, their own lives and death. It is no wonder, therefore, that people are never able to escape the fear of death.” When pondering this passage of words, I recalled the manifestations of those people who were facing death. Then I saw the light: The reason why they feared death was because they didn’t know the, didn’t know God’s sovereignty and arrangements, much less truly submit to them. Actually, it is God who plans out and arranges when a person is born, and when and in what context he dies. Yet after corrupted by Satan, we are full of various satanic poisons, and no longer believe in God’s sovereignty but try to change our fates by our own ability, always hoping to cast off God’s authority, sovereignty and arrangements. Therefore, when death really draws near, we have no idea where we are going, and what we show is only fear and dread.
After understanding this, I couldn’t help thinking: What should we do to overcome the fear of death? Then I continued to read, “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 strifes, from evil, from Satan’s bondage; 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 be tried and deprived by the Creator, submit 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, pass every one of life’s junctures in light, smoothly complete one’s journey in light, successfully achieve one’s mission—to experience, learn, and come to know the Creator’s sovereignty as a created being—and pass away in light, and for ever after stand at the Creator’s side as a created human being, commended by Him.” After reading these words, I came to understand: Only when we have the knowledge of the Creator’s predestination and His sovereignty and genuinely submit under His dominion, can we be freed from the fear of death. Job died full of days. In the face of death, he behaved differently from others. That was because in his heart he believed that everything was in God’s hands; no matter whether God deprived him or blessed him, he still blessed the name of Jehovah God. He lived his life in the subjective pursuit of belief, recognition, and submission to God’s sovereignty. So, when death came upon him, he had no cares or regrets, nor worries about his outcome, much less the fear of death. And when he gave his all to God, he was happy and released.
So, regardless of how we define the word “life” or how we experience it, in the end we are still unable to escape the law ordained by the Creator for us. Only by accepting and submitting to His sovereignty and predestination can we face our life calmly like Job. Just as the book says, “So, when one truly grasps these things, one will naturally be able to face death calmly, to lay aside all of one’s worldly possessions calmly, accept and submit happily to all that follows, and welcome the last life-juncture arranged by the Creator rather than blindly dread it and struggle against it.”