D: You know of course, that I’m sorry to hear of further severe health complications, But my feelings, however deep and genuine, don’t cure your disease or take away the pain you do now and will endure until you leave. That sounds glib. Trust me, that isn’t how it feels and you must know that by now. I suppose it’s, what?—a bit of sad realism?
But your note still has a realism that doesn’t have the tone of despair. It sounds a bit like someone getting ready to face something she’d rather not face but has buckled on her armor to go do it just the same. I call that gallantry. But you have reason to be gallant. Your young Lord was (and continues) like that and you have done & are doing the best you can to be like Him.
In this phase of human living and in this ‘world’—the one we the human family built— for you, me and EVERYONE else, Death trumps all. That’s what Jesus had in mind when He says in John 6 that “the flesh profits nothing” and “working for the food that perishes” is a blunder; we’re not to make that the center of our goals.
Moses fed them bread, they ate and lived but then died. Jesus fed them bread, they ate it, lived but are now dead. Here and now with all its limits of one kind or another life ends in DEATH. And it doesn’t matter whether we’re currently healthy or not. Those that survive the C-virus will die later. Glib? No at all! But, depending on whose figures you use, something like 2 and a half million people die yearly in the USA. And these have nothing to do with the current C-virus issue.
Yesterday my friend Ray and I had a lengthy Bible study. He’s past 90, bright as a button, survived WWII, but he’ll die soon. Death finally comes. It happened to Jesus and He said it would. It’s what we do in this ‘world’ we built. If it isn’t disease, old age or starvation or murder it’s of something else. Jesus said, “Watch for Me! My glory follows dying.” (See Luke 24:26; 1 Peter 1:11 and elsewhere.)
For those of us who will not!!! have anything to with or for God, DEATH is what we earn; it’s our “wages” (see Romans 6.23). If alienation from God is what we choose, it’s Death we choose and it is a forever death we get—it’s the everlasting loss of LIFE.
For those in Christ DEATH is a door to glory. In John 6:50; 8:51; 11:25-26, and elsewhere, Jesus says those who believe in Him don’t DIE. Of course He knows they die because He says “I will raise them up in the last day” (6:40, 54). But He means they don’t die the same kind of death that is the wages of Sin. For those in Christ, those who trust in Him and NOT themselves, sins are not written down against them [Rom 4:4-8] so their death is not a ‘Sin-death’. It’s the prelude to LIFE.
There are two ‘worlds’ to live in. This one with all its creaturely limitations, this one that’s sustained by food and other fleshly (human) necessities. To spend our lives trying to stay in this ‘world’ is to toil to keep what perishes (see John 6:26-27). To “save our life” while rejecting the LIFE God is eager to give us means we lose ourselves (Mark 8:35-37).
So, should we despise this life, trash it so we can get a better one? God in Jesus Christ became one of us—to despise life now and the potential for lives of love within our limits would be nonsense and cowardly. That there are those who suffer so severely that they wish for death is no surprise. We’re humans for pity’s sake.
Our death is unavoidable—Christian or non-Christian. To those who have by faith made His death and resurrection theirs, that is, for those who BY TRUST embrace their destiny in CHRIST’S experience. For them the last word is not DEATH but resurrection to immortality and ceaseless joy and adventure and freedom from ALL that brings sorrow and loss, within us and around us.
When those who came to know Jesus stepped into the water of Baptism they were saying I embrace His death as mine and when rising out of the water they were saying I embrace His resurrection as mine (see Romans 6:3-6). We can’t finally avoid biological death but we can avoid everlasting cessation of existence and so the everlasting loss of EVERLASTING LIFE
If you slip away before me, D, I’ll know where to find you. Where my Ethel and many of my beloved ones are waiting for me and others.