It’s been a while since I’ve done any blogging but I’m back now. Up until the lockdown I was travelling quite a bit, but then further travel got shut down, so I have used the extra time afforded me to write my next book. It wasn’t on my ‘to do’ list until next year, and even then it was somewhat speculative, but it is now finished and in the editing phase…so watch this space!
Many observations could be made about these unprecedented times, but one of the things that has struck me most is the way in which people have responded to the pandemic as if death was only invented in February or March of this year. It is obviously perfectly reasonable for people to have concerns about the possibility of them, or their loved ones, dying sooner than they would have otherwise wished, but there has been an overall response, driven, of course, by the perpetual fear-mongering of both governments and the media (there are votes to be had and money to be made during pandemics), almost suggestive that if it wasn’t for Covid then people would not be dying.
There are few absolute certainties in life, but one of them is that we are all going to die. It is, of course, the biggest unmentionable elephant in any room, and only rarely do the citizens of modern western civilisations (it is very different in those countries where imminent death is a daily risk) live as if conscious of the fact that they are, most certainly, one hundred per cent, going to die. Every man, woman and child is living on death row, and nothing could be more important than for people to live in the light of that fact. Yet very few do. Perceived threats of impending possible death will obviously get a response, but outside of that the inevitability of one eventually dying is largely ignored, and kept very carefully away from conscious awareness.
This is really just to prove how accurate the Bible is when one of its writers states that human beings are held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:15) There are always folk of an atheistic bent who relish telling everyone that there is nothing to fear in the ‘nothingness’ that follows death, but they are a very small minority, and even then remain as keen as everyone else to do everything they can to avoid it. People are terrified of dying…end of story!
How very different for us as believers though. I don’t for one moment suggest that we should be in a hurry to die – and I most certainly have concerns as to how it might happen to me – but scripture makes very clear that for us who know the Lord, the best is yet to come. There is nothing for us to fear after death because we will be with Him for all eternity, and that is why our quality of life, irrespective of our circumstances, ought to be so abundant. When Paul says that, having food and clothing, we should be content, this is why. (1 Timothy 6:8) If the best is yet to come, then we have no reason for despair, and even if there is worse for us to come in this life, it will eventually pail into the most complete insignificance and inconsequentiality once we are home with Jesus.
Unbelievers are terrified of dying, and well they should be. We should, of course, do what we can to show them the way to eternal life, but we know from the Lord Himself that, sadly, the vast majority will reject Him, and remain on the broad road that leads to destruction. But for those of us who do love the Lord, however easy or difficult our lives might be, we know the best is yet to come, and that all will be not only well, but incredible beyond imagination. If we were to think of our lives as a book, then our life down here is merely the front cover. The actual book, the real business, our abundant life, however much or little of it we may or may not experience in this life, only really begins in full when that which so terrifies mankind (that is, death) actually becomes the very best thing that will ever happen to us.
We hang on to life dearly, of course we do, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Indeed, my battle with cancer, along with the fight to also survive the treatment, showed me very clearly how precious my life in this life is. But it also taught me that the very worst that cancer and chemotherapy could do, or anything else for that matter, was to kill me, and in so doing would immediately become my very best. Following the Lord is the ultimate win-win situation to be in.