Thursday, November 22, 2007

Death, Early or Late

I wonder why it is that we humans tend to be so afraid of an early death for ourselves or our loved ones. I am old enough now to more fully appreciate the pain that comes with aging and the difficulties that the elderly must often endure.

I once believed that our life on this earth was the only one we would ever know. Any pleasure to be had must be had in this life. Even then I was aware that there would also be pain. As a young man I was optimistic that I could enjoy enough pleasure to trump the pain. Consequently I hoped for a long life.

I now believe that there will be a life after this one. Each of us may live forever in the presence of God with no more crying and pain. Or we may live in the eternal torment that is separation from God. I do not know why any of us would choose separation from God.

I trust that God will forgive me for all thoughts and deeds that would separate me from him. I cannot trust that he will forgive those who refuse to believe in him or who refuse to believe that they are in need of his forgiveness.

Consequently, I do not fear an early death. I have been afraid of the pain that comes in this life. More and more I find that I can look beyond that pain to the life that is to come. I pray that I will continue to grow in that way. I pray I may be of some use to God as I continue to struggle along in this life.

As for all other people, my greatest hope is that they will know God and his grace before their life on this earth ends. Whether they live long or die young, that is what matters most for their sake. If I must outlive some whom I love, it will be hard. But I would be selfish to cling to them when I feel assured that they are leaving this life for a better one.

As for you, dear reader, may you know God's grace and forgiveness even as you realize where you have fallen short of the mark in this life. And in our remaining time in this life, may you and I glorify him in the love we have for one another.
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