January 10, 2008

Resolved (Day 7)

#9 – Resolved: To think much, on all occasions, of my dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

How many of us routinely try to picture ourselves in a casket? More interesting yet – how many of us think about the manner in which we may die?

You might say that's morbid. I would say you have a point. But the question that crosses my mind when I read this resolution is: What good can come from thinking about our death and the manner in which we may die?

I think there's probably a couple. First and foremost, I think it would keep us grounded that although we are strong today (healthy and able), there's going to come a time where the life will leave our bodies and we will be strong no more.

I think back to watching my stepmom pass away from cancer and what I remember most is how strong she was. A year prior to her death, she was an extremely strong woman. She was never sick. She was sharp. She was healthy. And in a year, it all changed and her physical body was reduced to nothing.

How quickly the common circumstances of death, as Edwards would call them, can engulf us. As I watch people grow older, it really makes me sad. I watch people that were strong in the 30's, 40's, and 50's but now that they are in the 60's, 70's, and 80's their bodies are simply giving out on them. Death visits us all and its effects are non-discriminatory. Many of us will not die suddenly. Rather we will go through a slow agonizing process of having our faculties taken from us slowly. It's difficult to think about.

So why should we? Because it will keep us humble and make us grateful. If we know that the precious time we have where we do have our faculties, where we are blessed with health, where we are sharp mentally and emotionally, where we do have the ability to still process most of the world around us, is just that: PRECIOUS, then we will treat it as such and won't waste it. We'll be thankful for what we were given and not bitter when it is taken from us. As the Bible says – God gives, and God takes away.

Pondering our death and the common circumstances of it will remind us that we are not God and that no matter what achievements we claim as our own, soon we will be reduced to an infant-like stage similar to when we came in the world.

I also think that pondering our dying and within that considering that it really is not an eternal death but rather a step into eternal life (for those that have repented of their sin and believed in Jesus) helps us not be afraid when it comes upon us. Somehow, I think our relationship with Jesus should help us face dying with grace, not with anger and fear. Is it scary to die? I'm assuming so (I haven't yet). But there should also be a real peace in dying for the Christian. A hope born out of a lifetime of following someone you will soon see.

In Jesus, death (or dying) has no sting.

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