America in God's Providence
May God Protect UsNo matter who you are, you are not born from an act of your own will. From birth to a certain age you don't realize your purpose of life or your role in life. It is not until you reach your adolescence that you begin to consider your purpose in life, think about what kind of life you are going to lead, and learn about the nature of human society as a whole. After going through the stage of adolescence, you enter the prime stage of youth, where your philosophy of life will become fully developed. However, only in old age will your view of life become fully ripened, and your understanding of what life really is become clear.
Any one individual cannot live all alone, centered on himself. In order for us to live, we need our friends, our family and our neighbors and society around us. Broadening our scope, we can live life on the national level, and finally on the world-wide level. Each man struggles hard to become an important person, and at best a figure of historical importance. Only a few can attain this high goal, while most others cannot reach this level. Most people pass into the spirit world after their physical death without being able to attain this goal. This is the common way of life for all men, and the destiny of humanity.
However, we see many different types of people who walk on the path of life. Some go straight forward, some go sideways, some go backwards, while some others go in a zigzag line. The record you make by your life is like lines which are traced behind you. Though you are still young, when you look back to your past, there must have been happy days and unhappy days, easy days and difficult days, meaningful days and days full of regret. From the viewpoint of your own interest, I'm sure that you have experienced more unhappy days than happy ones because of the unfavorable environment which exists in the world today. Very likely you are not in the position to be proud of yourself even though you may have confidence in what you do. Nobody can tell what will happen in the next moment. That has been the nature of our destiny as human beings.
In other words, you may go to work in the morning with happy anticipation, but nobody can guarantee your safety throughout the day. Even though your office may be nearby, you can never be too confident, because even a short distance from your doorstep you may have a car accident. Nobody can tell what our destiny holds for us. You can even meet seemingly agreeable people in seemingly agreeable places, but the result is not necessarily good - it could even bring untold misery to you. Passing an examination may be the goal of people who study hard. But at the very moment that a person finds he has passed the exam, some tragedy could happen. Nobody can tell. Suppose there are a man and a woman who dearly love each other, and they are confident that they are going to live as the most ideal couple in the whole world. But right at the wedding ceremony, something unexpected may come about. From this we can gather that a man can never be too sure of having a bright future. There are many instances in the world.
But there are not too many things around us that hold such a promise for goodness. Things are usually the other way around; we find more tragedy than goodness. Then, is there a place where we can be relaxed and reassured? No one can be relaxed and reassured when he is all alone. You need someone who can at least defend and protect you. Who must that someone be? Your parents may be able to play this role externally, protecting you to a certain extent. But they cannot guarantee your life in the face of death. Your teachers cannot take this responsibility; neither can your friends nor your nation, with all its power. Suppose the whole world is mobilized to help you; it cannot take responsibility for your life. Then, who can take the responsibility? We must find someone who can do that. Otherwise we are sure to be insecure and unhappy, even though we want to be happy and at ease.
We want someone to protect us on our way of destiny. Then, what must that someone be like? This one must transcend history-, that is, the past, present and the future. He must transcend time and space. unfortunately, man himself cannot transcend these no matter how great he is. Therefore, we are badly in need of someone like that who can take responsibility for our life in faith. If we cannot find one like that in human society, we would want to create someone in our imagination and fancy that he would protect us. But if there really is such an entity, how happy we would be! How eager we would be to locate him. The more difficult the environment becomes, the more insecure we become and we ardently set off in search of him. In this situation, unless you endeavor to confirm his existence and enter into a good relationship with him, you can never be assured about your life.
Then, what kind of relationship would you want to have between God and yourself? There may be teachers who are our seniors and who can protect us with their position, wealth and knowledge. But it is more desirable that we have someone who would protect us with the warmth of love. If we are going to be protected at all, we want to be protected not just for the time being, but for eternity. Then, who in the world could do that? Our parents. We need our parents. Next, we need brothers and sisters, and we also need our spouse, then our children. With them, we enjoy the blessedness of our life. But no matter how bright a day may be with other people rejoicing in the blessedness of our surroundings, if someone we love is on the verge of death, we cannot enjoy all the rest. However happy we may otherwise be, if our loved one is in a tragic situation, we, too, become unhappy.
When we look at things from this viewpoint, we can enjoy utmost happiness when we are with our loved ones sharing with each other an ideal love to the utmost degree. We don't know where we are bound in our life, just walking on the way not knowing our destination. We are always insecure. Centered on our physical parents, happiness will be mortal. The same thing is true centered on our brothers and sisters, and centered on married couples. Love with these people may change and even become ephemeral. Then we must look for and find that ideal love which will last for eternity. There seems to be no such love in the world, but we will never stop looking for it. We especially look for the one who will enable the love between parents and children and love between husband and wife to last for eternity, under his protection. That someone must be unchangeable, unique and eternal - that is, God.
Without God as the center point or starting point, we cannot make all these relationships unchangeable and eternal ones. There must be a person with a central mission as the agent of God's love, around whom all these relationships will be restored to their desired form. He must become the mediator between God and man to make that relationship a oneness between Father and son. The relationship must be restored between the parents and the children, between brothers and sisters, between husband and wife, to the original form which God intended at the time of creation. We are in pursuit of this relationship and to fulfill this relationship is the ultimate destiny of our lives. An ideal relationship of true love cannot be an ephemeral one, but is unchanging, unique and eternal.
As I said before, any relationship of love must exist by the relationship between subject and object -- you cannot enjoy love all by yourself. That is to say, everyone needs someone to love and protect him in an ideal environment provided by that person. Then alone can we be really relaxed in an environment which we trust will never change. However hard we may try, we will not find that stability in human society. Everything in human society is temporary and changeable. We need someone absolute and unchanging. He must be an omnipotent one. Therefore, throughout history, man has sought to find God through religious belief. In true religion, we should be able to restore the true relationship between parents and children, brother and sister, and husband and wife. With this knowledge, would you want to reach God through the mediator, the one who is the perfect object to God, the perfect Subject? Or, would you want to go straight to God? Which would you prefer? You are far below the standard at which
In a sense, a religion is the mediator, because every religion teaches about God. You know that God exists, but in what relationship to God would you want to put yourself? The relationship which is primary and also the most desirable one is the parent-child relationship. So, we want to serve God as our Parent with Him in the subject position, and with ourselves in the object position. Sometimes we want to make God our friend; sometimes we just feel like having Him as our brother. In an absolute love, He can be just anything to us. In that love, a father would not complain if his son would rule over him, although he is still in the position of the father. In the relationship of such love, a husband would never complain against his being dominated by his wife and vice versa. Love alone and nothing else makes it possible. Love is the highest law and the sacred bond bringing any two or more beings into harmonious oneness. However high in authority or in knowledge or wealth we may be, we all become tend
Is there anyone who is not willing to be dominated by that kind of love? Even God is willing to be dominated by that love, not to speak of man. Love is great. God is the very core of love, which makes Him the greatest of all. Love is the power that motivated God to create man and love alone is what makes God absolute. Centered on love, even the absolute and supreme Being is willing to be at the disposal of one who is the incarnation of His love. To such a man, God is the Father who is willing to become everything else for him. God is the Parent of all parents to man. He has the absolute love that surpasses the love of even model parents. With that love He can embrace all the parents of the world. In fact, God created man from His parental love. Without that love we die.
God is always ready to give the type of love which is best suited to and most wanted by the person seeking a relationship with Him. If we wanted parental love from God, He would be prepared with it; if we wanted brotherly love or conjugal love, or the love of a friend from Him, He is ready with these. He is also the symbol and reality of national love and universal love. In our church, we allow people to understand and feel God's love in such a dimension. Isn't it wonderful that the God of love is protecting us in every possible relationship? We, as the incarnation of His love, can in turn protect others and even ourselves along the way of fate, with this power of God's love.
When we pinch ourselves it hurts. But if we are assured manifold benefits after the pain, will we not gladly endure it? With this confidence, we can dash forward on any path of misery and hardship. Everyone is uneasy and insecure on the way of fate, without knowing what our future has in store for us. If, in this dark situation, we find a light giving us the full and clear picture of where we are bound, how are we going to march forward to the goal where the new world of God-centered love and harmony waits for us? Would we not abandon our old way of life and join the new one? Because of the evil entity, Satan, we have to make the way smooth and straight by repelling the satanic power as we go along and by building the kingdom of God in our hearts and sharing it with our fellow men. God is the ultimate subjective Being, and we as His objects want to work for His sake and ours, and finally find Him and join Him in perfect oneness.
If we are confident of God's love, we can overcome any difficulty, however uneven the road may be. The more difficult the road is, the stronger our conviction is that this is the short-cut through which we reach the goal at the earliest possible date. There we can meet God who is anxiously waiting for us, full of blessings to give those who dash forward with all their knowledge and understanding. Once we do this, misery and unhappiness cannot dominate our lives. Through our everyday experience, we know that without love we cannot overcome the miseries on our way of fate.
Let us suppose that a man died through misfortune on the way of his search for the ultimate subjective Being. However, his death does not mean the end, but the beginning of his life. Then, in the spirit world, this man could tell God even that he died in order to live in the spirit world, to more fully enjoy God's love. We must be ready to die, but to die with God's love in our hearts. If we imagine that we are going to die in the bosom of God's love, then we do not die a miserable death at all. In this case, a man's death could be of higher value than any other death, because he died with the best attitude. If your wife died long ago, and after you had died this kind of invaluable death you joined her in the spirit world, would she not respect and love you more than she had on earth? If you died for the sake of someone, and that person later comes to the spirit world, would he not love and serve you? Their love in the spirit world must be of higher dimension than their love on the earth.
In the Bible we read many paradoxical things. Jesus said, "If you love me, you must deny yourself and bear the cross and follow me." (Luke 17:33) He also said that, "Those who want to gain their lives will lose them." These words encourage us to win the love of highest dimension at the cost of everything else. If you loved me so much as to die for me, and I met you later in the spirit world, how happy we would be to see each other! If you truly love someone, you will always gladly die for him. Even though you might die, it would not mean the end, but it means new life. By this kind of sacrificial death, we pass through the toll gate to reach the world of love, which is eternal and of a higher dimension. Then we are not afraid of love. Are you willing to die that kind of death? When we know what is coming after death, we are happy people, even though we may have to die.
We have all discovered great things. I have gone through untold difficulties, but I am sure I am the happiest man in the whole world - am I not? I am a happy man because I know how to overcome unhappiness with love. I am the type of person who hates to be sympathized with, but I love to sympathize with others, and I feel immense happiness in making others happy. When I want to sympathize with others out of my own accord, can I complain about what I have to do? In this way, I can enjoy the real taste of love. When I am sympathized with, I can only taste passive love, which is not what I want.
Some may think that our faith forces us or drives us on the painful way. But I hope most of you can overcome the pain by digesting it with the power of love, because happiness and love are promised at the end of hardships. As our subject indicates, we want someone to protect us on the way of fate. That someone must be God. But even God cannot protect or love us when we don't deserve it - that is, when we don't set up the condition to receive that love. God is not in need of money, position or knowledge. What He needs is love. And we need that love too, because by true love we can enjoy the privilege of controlling Him. If we can do that, we can control our own fate, because we can control God who controls our fate. God would not leave those who truly love Him on the path of unhappiness and misery. God will help His people to overcome the miseries caused by Satan.
Those who are ardently in love with God can easily overcome unhappiness, because the way of unhappiness will lead them to happiness. When I was in prison in North Korea, I went through severe torture; the more severe the torture was, the stronger I would become. Every cell of mine was mobilized to fight against the pain. I would fancy that with every blow God's blessing would be multiplied. Because of this, I was not afraid of the torture, and I could easily endure it. If we have this attitude, we can make the crooked way straight and the bumpy road smooth. Even though our path of life may be an uneasy, insecure, ephemeral one, full of misery which is more than death, we know that through God's love for us and our love of God, we can go through the path without difficulty. When we are ready to live and die in the love of God, we deserve God's protection. This is the way every human being has to go. May God protect us on our way of destiny.
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