Wednesday, January 07, 2009
On Death and Dying
When we come in to this world, truly it is on only one condition, that condition is we must leave. All come in. All go out.
Through this world we all pass. Why? This world is a testing ground that each soul must pass through. When all the souls have passed through the earth, it will cease to be. We cannot just go to heaven now, we and all the rest must take the test. God does not test us. He does not put troubles on our back. The troubles we are tested with are the doing of man, random events and the devil. While He does not test us, He does watch how we do. As parents, our most important job is to insure our children get into heaven. Our second most important job is to be there to greet them. A measure of how you have done here is how your children do here. If you do your best and they do their best, all is well. No matter how much or how little you are tested, so long as you do your best (not merely claim to be trying) that is good enough with God’s help.
As imperfect beings with free will, we will never be perfect and will always make bad choices. God has a plan for us – JESUS. Jesus by one single sacrifice one time atoned for all mankind for all time. Recall Jesus’ words in the Gospel according to Saint John, beginning at the First Verse of the Fourteenth Chapter: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” So, if you accept the saving grace Jesus provides, you are heavenbound. He has a place for each of us.
What about those who are not Christians? In Mere Christianity on page 65, CS Lewis writes, “… the truth is God has not told us what His arrangements about other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him. But in the meantime, if you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is remain outside yourself."
The real point of this is that we do not know what arrangements, if any, God has made for other people. We know what arrangements He made for us when He sent His Son to give His life that we might live. Why take chances.
What is ahead of us in heaven? That is not so clear. What we know for sure is that it is good. Jesus told us that this world is like heaven “viewed darkly, as through a glass.” CS Lewis refers to this world as The Shadowlands. Life there is like here, except real.
Too many people have been visited by both angels and their family members who have gone before to doubt we will join those who have gone before us in happiness. All things required for our happiness will be there. To questions like, “Will I be able to fly?” One must answer, ‘Either you will be able to fly if that is what you want or you will be so happy with what is there, you won’t remember you wanted to fly.” Not a perfect answer, but an honest one.
When we think of death, it seems so final. No one comes back from death. Not true, Jesus did and both Moses and Elias visited Jesus in the presence of the disciples. On the other hand, for the rest of us, it is a one way trip. Think of death as in years gone past, Australia. When one left England for their new life in Australia, they were never to come back. Because of the time involved in the sailing transit, they were for the most part never heard of again. Did they still live? But, of course. Was their life better than in England? But, of course. At the same time, it was a one way trip. In this sense, we all go to Australia; Christians, at least. Concentrate on reuniting with your family in Australia. Make sure you don’t miss the boat.
Concentrate not on the temporary separation, but rather unity in heaven for eternity.