We decided to celebrate our discovery with a soda. It wasn’t just flat. It was the worst thing I ever put in my mouth. On a whim, we searched the box, and sure enough, there was a sell-by date that was about a year past.
We all have shelf lives too, as much as we hate to think about it. But instead of viewing this from the perspective of immortality—how short our lives really are--we seem to view it from the perspective of the shelf life of a bottle of milk—compared to that we live practically forever. Maybe that is why we view death as a tragedy instead of a victory. We keep looking through the wrong end of the binoculars. One of the most difficult things we have to do as Christians is constantly changing our perspectives, re-focusing our hearts from things in plain sight to things which the world cannot, and will not, see.
2 Chron 34 and 35 tell us the story of Josiah, the last good king of Judah. He tried to clean up a Temple that was in disrepair and a worship that was in disarray. As his reward God said he would not live to see destruction brought upon Judah. What!? Dying was a reward? Yes, because this godly man had his perspective correct. He viewed going on to the next life as far preferable to seeing God’s people destroyed.
Josiah died in battle at the age of 39. Dying young was his reward for faithfulness.. What one of us would not look at that fact superficially and say, What a tragedy for such a good man to die so young? Maybe I need to rethink my attitude about death. I may grieve, but faith means my life will not be ruined by the death of a loved one. I may have a little concern about how it will be to die, but faith means I should not be terrified.
I hope I am not coming across as morbid. Maybe having nearly become a relatively young widow twice in eight years has me more aware of the possibilities these days. I simply mean to remind us that we have hopes and comforts the rest of the world doesn’t.
I have a shelf life and so do you. It is shorter than we think, and it will mean nothing to us in that first glimpse of Eternity. I imagine we will be glad to be there, and wonder why we worried even a little.
For me to live is Christ and to die is gain…I am in a strait between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for it is far better…Phil 1:21,23