Does anyone else find themselves particularly nervous when it comes to talking/thinking/reading about death? Or is that just me?
I’m going to guess you’ve had your fair share of anxiousness associated with thinking about where this is all going and when will this all end or when will everything else begin, or however you think about death, even if you are confident in Christ (and I am confident in Him y’all), it can be scary to wonder if this is it or if tomorrow is or whatever else other day you are thinking might be your last.
I would like to relieve some of that burden from your shoulders by first telling you that you cannot control anything. Maybe this added to the burden, but let me explain to you a little bit about why embracing your out of control-ness can be so freeing. You’re already out of control. If you have any sense of security pretending you’re in control, it is a false sense of security. We have to approach our lack of ability to control with a maturity of understanding we were never in control.
Now, when this whole global pandemic really got to work, a lot of people freaked out (myself included because I’m not trying to point fingers), and it was entirely out of a fear of the unknown. I noticed a lot of people recognizing how out of control we’ve always been, and how this is just emphasizing the reality of our lives as a constant unknown. Life is the unknown, where our only sure thing is Jesus, and the more intentionally we pursue Him instead of our illusion of control (which, by the way, falls apart the minute anything takes a negative turn), the less control will matter because we’ll be fully in Trust with the One Who actually knows all the things to come, all the things that came, and all the things happening in the present. Our ability to handle the unknowns of all the things in our lives, the suffering, the loss, the joys, the fears, the ends, the beginnings, doesn’t come with an ability to know and control what is going to happen but with a profound understanding and Peace in the absolute Goodness of God, Who in all things is working for the Good of those who Love Him. We are not just told there is Good in the Presence or that Good is being pursued for us, we are covenanted Goodness. We are in the midst of the unknown, always, yet in that unknown we are even more in the midst of the Good Father, Love Himself, the Prince of Peace.
As I was reading my Bible earlier today, I came across this verse: “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:16)
I love Psalm 139, and I read it often, but today, this verse hit me differently. I spend a lot of time worrying about time and all the things I hope to do. I worry about death and division, quality of life and control, uncertainty and where is this all going—but when I read this verse, a weight lifted and I breathed deeply, a spirit-knowledge breath of relief, knowing that there is a good story out there with everyday written out. Our God Who exists outside of Time has already and is currently accompanying me in the my first and last breaths, in my suffering and comfort, in my weeping and rejoicing—in every moment, He is there now, and this story is Good.
“The story isn’t over if the story isn’t Good.” (Corey Asbury) Because this Story is not like a short fairytale with one big problem easily resolved to a happily ever after—this story is the greatest battle, romance, expectation-betraying, self-sacrificial, heart-changing, Eternity-spanning adventure to ever exist. And our very names are written in and through this story. Our stories are written in this story! We get a name, a chapter, a victory, a calling, a purpose.
You very well could have not existed, I very well could have not existed. The chances of any one of us being given life was 1 in 400 trillion.
And here we are.
Our lives are worth much more than worrying about our deaths, especially since it is oh so rare to even exist at all.
You have no control, I have no control, but we are known, our stories are known, our lives are significant.
And at the end of our chapter, when the page begins to turn and we take our final breaths, death is only bringing us into more life.
One of my all-time favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis says, “The witch would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.” (emphasis added)
Oh and death indeed has worked backwards, for we are born into a sinful world and we are reborn into life, and then as the death of this world takes our final physical breath, we breathe even more deeply into the Really Real of Life that comes when we close our eyes here and open them there.
And until then, shall we live fearless? Shall we live in the unknown with confidence? Shall we listen to the Voice behind us, telling us in which way to walk?
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27)
Let us not allow ourselves to die to the present in order to try living in the future we’ve built around our fears and uncertainties. We are here now and until whenever we enter The Better, so here, now, let us abide in the One Who remains sovereign.