As we advance in age, we become more aware that we are mortal. One day this physical body will stop. No longer will blood move through our bodies, no longer will our lungs take in a wonderful breath of fresh air. No longer are we young and full of energy and passion as we were while in Turkey serving our country, preserving the traditions, freedoms, and beliefs of our forefathers. One day - we will die!
Our perspective has everything to with the quality of our remaining days above the ground. I am reminded of the comments of Solomon, the wisest man that every lived, other than Jesus Christ. In his introductory words he states in chapter 1 verse 2. Meaningless! Meaningless! says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is vanity." Then in verse 14 he states "I have seen all the things that are done under the sun, all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Notice how Solomon uses the phrase "under the sun." From a secular, earthy, atheist point of view, there is no real meaning to life. We are our own gods, and we are vividly aware of our short comings and what little control we have over this vast universe. From that point of view we have no real purpose of existence. That reasoning points to the conclusion that we are accidents, and that there is no real difference between us and the animals.
However, when we read the pages of the Bible, it states that we are creatures created in God's image. He breaths his gift of life into us. The Bible also states that God has a plan and purpose for our lives and for our eternity. The sufferings that we suffer here are building character that is needed in eternity for our service. When we choose to worship him through his son Jesus Christ, he then hangs onto and preserves and protects us for eternity. Our lives don't just end at the grave - they persevere throughout all eternity.
Did all this come into being by accident? Are did all this come about by creation using intelligent design? To me to think that all this finely tuned, delicately balanced world with genetic patterning- to think that this came about by accident is ludicrous.
There is a God and he loves us, accepts us, and forgives us, when we relate to him though the manner that he chose - not the manner that we choose. His way is to trust and have faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then because of what Jesus did, not what we do, we can have a relationship with a Him.
One of the most encouraging writings I have seen on dealing properly with death comes from a daily devotional reader called Morning & Evening written by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. It reads as follows:
"Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. " John 17:24
O death! why do you touch the tree beneath whose spreading branches weariness has rest? Why do snatch away the excellent of the earth, in whom is all our delight? If you must use your ax, use it upon the trees which yield no fruit; you might be thanked then. But why will you fell the goodly cedars of Lebanon? O withdraw your ax, and spare the righteous. But no, it must no be; death strikes the comeliest of our friends: the most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy, the most devoted must die. And why? It is through Jesus' prevailing prayer - "Father, I want those You have given to Me to be with Me where I am." It is that which bears them on eagle's wings to heaven. Every time a believer mounts from this earth to paradise, it is an answer to Christ's prayer. A good old divine remarks, "Many times Jesus and His people pull against one another in prayer. You bend your knee in prayer and say "Father, I want Your saints to be with Me where I am." Christ says, "Father, I want those You have given to Me to be with Me where I am" Thus the disciple is at cross-purposes with His Lord. The soul can't be in both places; the loved one can't be with Christ and with you, too. Now, which pleader shall win the day? If you had your choice: if the King should step from His throne, and say, "Here are two supplicants praying in opposition to one another, which shall be answered?" Oh! I am sure, even though it were agonizing for you, you would jump to your feet, and say, "Jesus, not my will, but Yours be done." You would give up your prayer for your loved one's life, if you could realize the thoughts that Christ is praying in the opposite direction - "Father, I want those You have given to Me to be with Me where I am." Lord, you shall have them. By faith we let them go.