The fragility of our being is hardly conscionable because we almost know no better and we live like this existence of ours will last and last and last. On another level, of course, we know the truth. Who hasn’t been to a funeral or had someone close be affected by death recently?
It’s like the stories we hear about hardworking men and women who suffered much to bring home the bacon, only to then die tragically soon after they finally retired. They lived; for what?
Enter he everlasting paradox: life exists beyond death. The final reconciliation is not death after all. It is spiritual being beyond material being i.e. the next life as opposed to this. Chalk and cheese.
The chilling truth is, for anyone reading, we all belong to God—even the so-called atheist. The inevitable trip to eternity, the transactional journey and destination to the place of everlasting-to-everlasting, is as certain as it is incomprehensible to us. This is cited in evidence of the fact of our awe at death. At best we’re mystified at the prospect of physical death; at worst we’re horrified and terrified at the prospect. Death has it over us. There’s never any denying it.
Secondarily, we’re also awed by life—we simultaneously can’t bear the pain of it, yet we cannot truly face leaving. Figure that one out! This fact is grounded in the phenomenon to mourn, to grieve, the commonest emotion known to humankind.
Both these reasons show us why it’s a very good idea to get spiritually involved now, and indeed, get ready for the spiritual life to come.
We can see here that the material world is failing as far as the life to come is concerned. It’s such a pathetically inadequate schema compared with the riches of the spiritual in the ‘land to come.’ Boy, will we be surprised! The material and spiritual worlds and realities are rank opposites and never the twain shall meet.
The purpose of riches, wealth and resources in this life is simply to test our commitment in the context of free will. Given our own way, what would we choose? Where’s our heart for things versus our heart for non-things?
Death has a way of commanding our attention. It is proof we don’t have all the answers. No one escapes it and we know its sting when it comes. How we miss those loved ones and friends that have made that trip eternal before us. We truly wonder whether they can see us and whether they’re watching over us.
Life too has its way of commanding our attention in two ways. Riches and spoil in this world—i.e. materialism—including anything involving money, even to a focus on church debt. Then there’s the captivating beauty of the created universe replete with forces and natural laws of balance. The former is often easier to see. The latter, however, is the infinitely more spiritually sustainable option.
Both death and life—the awesomeness of both—are compelling for the case for God.
One heartbeat skipped is all it takes. One electric shock, one hit on the head; one fall; one cluster of cancerous cells... the principal put before us is one of our own frailty. It is a depressing reality if we get stuck on it, but it’s also a healthy reality to be reminded of.
Eternity seems quite a simple concept. But remember: one trip, two destinations. You choose... this side of eternity... yes, that would be now.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.