Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Beyond Human Comprehension

The scriptures make it very clear that we all we have is one life. Lately I have been contemplating life and death more than I did as a younger man. It seems to me that our lives here on this planet are just a day; there is a dawn of life like the joy of the early morning, then comes the middle of the day when there is the heat of the sun that seems to wear us out at times, and after a bit there is the twilight.

I remember years ago a member of our church sold life insurance. We had invited him to come to our home and make a presentation.  As he attempted to convince me of my need to buy life insurance (I really didn't need to be convinced) he asked a question, "If the worst were to happen, would you be ready?"

What he said shook me a bit and has stayed with me for all these years.  There two things inherently wrong with his statement: First, it is not "if". There is no question of "if" when it comes to death, the only question is when death will come. Death is not something which is arbitrary or optional. It isn’t a matter of chance for, "it is appointed unto man to die." We all have an appointment with death and rescheduling it is not an option.

The second error in the question he asked was even more striking: Death is not the "worst" thing that can happen to a believer.  I used to believe that dying was the worst possible thing that could happen to a person. But at this point in my life I have been able to embrace the fact, that at least to the Christian, death is not the enemy.  

As a younger man, dying was the last thing I wanted to happen to me.  So what changed? I still have no eager desire to die, but I have come to understand that I am not striving for the rewards of this life, but of the next.  I have finally reached the point of my walk with God that I am no longer living for this life, but for the next life.

It is good to recall the words of Peter:

"Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on. God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear." I Peter 1:3-5

I have come to understand that death makes us come to grips with God. In death we come to the end of human knowledge.  We come to the end of human power as the doctors stand by helpless.  We come to the end of human comfort where all the wonder drugs can no longer ease our suffering, and at death we come to the end of human dignity and the realization that our life here, "under the sun," has simply been a vapor, a mere flash in the scope of eternity.  At death we are left with God, with the "evidence of the things we have hoped for,” and at death our faith finally will come to fruition. When we die what we are left with is His eternal presence; His perfect love, His complete knowledge, His boundless forgiveness, and His infinite patience that overlooks our arrogance and foolishness.

"Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is." - I John 3:2

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