Our Greatest Adventure
March 2, 2021
“…for death is the destiny of everyone…” (Ecclesiastes 7:2, NIV).
She’s really quite healthy now. Long ago she had a history of breast cancer, but she still wants checkups once a year. “I’ve been going through a period of anxiety in my life,” she said. “I’ve been focusing on my mortality, dreaming about it, afraid of my death.” I shared with her, “I’m a Christian, but I understand what you are going through. I can still feel the cold sweats I experienced when I was 33, thinking of infinity and me not there. Then I went through a huge life struggle. God stepped down, and I fell into His arms. I felt the arms of God in such a real way that I began trusting Him with my death. My fear just disappeared.”
There’s the theology of death, and then, there’s the reality. If death wins, life doesn’t make sense; I don’t make sense. If I am just another biological product of an accidental universe, like a cactus or a salamander that returns to dust or mud, why do any of my hopes and dreams matter?
Each of us must decide how we will face the truth of death, and we must be honest.
Blaise Paschal wrote in Penses, “It affects our whole life to know whether our soul is mortal or immortal. If mortal, the last act is bloody; however fine the rest of the play. They throw earth over your head and it is finished, forever.”
Ernest Becker received the Pulitzer prize posthumously for his book, The Denial of Death, describing the utter incompatibility of our heroic vision of life and the truth of life. In it he wrote: “This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating yearning for life and self-expression—and with all this yet to die.”
His book describes the psychological defenses we use to keep from facing this truth, and he describes how those mechanisms have often led to great harm in this world.
Death is unimaginably horrible, but only by facing the truth of death can we really comprehend the wonderful truth of eternal life. The truth of eternal life is this:
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57, NIV).
As followers of Christ, we need to face death head on, not as a terror, but as a defeated foe. We need to commit our minds, hearts, actions and witness to truth from God’s Word and live without fear. Even more, because our thinking and hoping may not be enough, we must commit to the very Person who holds us in His arms, trusting Him to keep us safe forever. If we do, we can acknowledge with many who have gone before us what John Fraser Vincent wrote in Touchstone: “I am not ready to leave this world…. BUT if I have no choice…I AM READY…. I have no fear; in fact, I look upon this departure as My Greatest Adventure. I see it as a transition from one life (on earth) to everlasting life. I will look forward to seeing my family in due time.” And then he added, “If anyone feels a Joe/Dad glitch, it is real; it’s me saying I love you.”
Let me cover the truth of death with Your truth of life.