The fact that for centuries people have been trying to find the secret to eternal youth and living forever is just more proof that God is who He says He is. Te search for the fountain of youth and cryogenics are just two of the most famous endeavors to sustain our human bodies. The fact that we believe eternal life is possible or desirable is just more proof that we have been created by the Almighty with a deep-seated knowledge that this life is not going to end. Someplace far inside each human is the innate knowing that we were intended to exist forever. So, we seek to make it true. We strive through life-saving measures in medicine, foods we eat, fads we try, make-up, creams and more to stay young and last eternally here on this planet.
But as I watch the aging process in my dog and my mother-in-law, I wonder why it is we want to remain in this shell forever. Why do we attempt to prolong this part of eternity instead of gracefully moving on to the next stage in the promise of everlasting life?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an “eyes on heaven” kind of person. In fact, I tell people all the time heaven isn’t enough to make me want to stay focused on Christ. It’s the blessings that following Him in this life bring that keeps me focused on His love that bought my redemption. But we talk about death as if it’s the end. We try to prolong our life here as if we’re being cheated if we die young (or even old).
Think of it this way . . . if you decided to go on a free cruise to the Bahamas, would you feel cheated because you missed your family while you were gone? And in heaven we won’t even miss anyone! I picture God’s timing (or the lack of time in heaven) to make it seem like we all get there at the same moment.
I’m not looking forward to the pain and “stuff” that growing old brings. Arthritis does not seem attractive, and I don’t want to lose my sight or my hearing. In fact, my vanity isn’t even looking forward to sagging skin and wrinkles.
On the other hand, I don’t want to think that death is the end or teach my grandchildren that it’s a sad thing. For a Christian death is like winning the lottery or a trip to your ultimate vacation destination, and it’s a place that the whole family is invited to come to someday if they want to! (I pray my whole family chooses to join me).
I don’t want to prolong the inevitable so far that I have no life here in the living. I see that so much. Just because we can put in a pacemaker, should we in every instance? I praise God for the technology that brings a quality life to those who have more to give. However, I wonder what our Savior thinks when we use the gift He’s given us to play God and keep the shell of a person breathing.
I’ll admit, I have more questions than answers about when it’s the right time to use the gifts and advances in medicine that God has blessed us with. All I do know is that I will never again say someone was “cheated’ just because they moved from this life to the presence of Jesus earlier than our human minds thought was fair. I will think twice, and pray with fervency before I automatically do “everything possible” to sustain this tent that we call a body. Instead I will remember these verses:
2 Corinthians 5:8 – We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Revelation 14:13 – Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”