Mortality: A Frightening Reality
To any honest and thinking person, life holds any number of frightening realities. Disease and disaster are constantly lurking in the many bushes that populate life’s landscape. We cannot see them, but we are constantly reminded of their presence by the passing of a friend or loved one about our age or a news report of an earthquake, ten car pile up, or terrorist attack. Such things can make us feel extremely vulnerable and uncertain about our future.
What makes these realities even more frightening is that they bring to mind our earthly mortality. Even the oldest of us has a very short existence here, and the older we get the shorter it seems. Some spend their lives attempting to get as much as possible accomplished in the short time they have while others try not to think about it at all. Some smother thoughts of their inevitable demise with money, things, alcohol, or drugs. The problem is those reminders. They keep popping up. If those were not enough, we have our own bodies. We can hardly ignore them as they lead us on this relentless pursuit of the end of our mortal existence.
But there is something even more frightening than our mortality. Some find it relatively easy to live with the prospect of a future of non-existence. They see it preferable to the pain and suffering of this life or the painful circumstances that often accompany death. How often have we heard the comment at someone’s death or funeral; “She’s so much better off”? They either believe that bliss of some sort awaits everyone or that eternal non-existence is a preferable future.
But while mortality is a sobering earthly prospect, the immortality that awaits us in eternity is even more so. The question of mortality and then immortality can only be ignored for so long. Death is not the drunkards joke or the cynic’s song. It is an exit, an exodus from the temporal to the eternal. It is not left to humans who arrogantly believe they know best when life should end and eternity begins for the individual. Death is an appointment for every human. As is the meeting of Almighty God on the other side of it. The atheist has a vested interest in his unbelief, because the prospect of meeting God is indeed a frightening one. Why not devise a reality that leaves God out and dares anyone to prove otherwise rather than give an account for wasting a brief and temporary life? Why not be your own God and create your own truth? Why not die “happy” and hopeless? Why not live with a sorrowfully skewed idea of justice and fairness which lays blame at the feet of others, sings the victim’s lyrics, and looks forward to a godless death that finally “solves” life’s unanswerable questions?
The other side of mortality is a frightening reality had not the infinite and eternal God revealed Himself to us and made a free offer of eternal life in the person of His Son. “And this is life eternal, that they might know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.” To know God; now their is a prospect for mere mortals. This is the prospect that pulls the teeth from death’s jaws, ties it’s mighty paws, and leaves it powerless. This is the prospect that turns incapacitating fear into holy awe and eternal joy. For those who embrace Christ, the frightening reality of our mortality is no more, for we await the prospect of knowing and getting to know our Father forever.