In the past few days, I’ve had a lot of tragic reminders that life is short and that it is often filled with pain and sorrow. Our lives are more fragile than we care to admit. Our position in the world, which seems to us to be so fixed, is far more precarious than we are willing to believe. We suppress this truth. We deceive ourselves into believing that we have always been and we will always be, but this is folly. We imagine ourselves to be great and enduring when, in reality, we are small and fleeting.
“The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—that he should live on forever and not see decay. For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. But man, despite his riches does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:7-13).
Thus, it is good, even vital, for us to ponder the transience of our own existence, to stare our mortality in the face and make sense of it. “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). I urge you then, take it to heart. Of course, it’s easier to ignore. Our mortality makes us uneasy. It makes us afraid. We could be snatched from this world at any moment. Our loved ones might be taken. How then, do we live? How may we walk in hope and not in an ever-present, all-consuming fear of our fixed fate?
We hope in Jesus, not in ourselves. We fix our eye on the resurrected One who put death to shame. We invest, not in this world, which is susceptible to decay, but in the heavenly “city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). We bear up under the stings of a broken world and walk the path of death because we know that death will not win the day, but it will be swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54). Death, our greatest enemy, “has failed to be found equal to the life of Him who saves.” Jesus is risen. He has conquered. He has atoned. He will make all things new.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ (Reveleation 21:1-5).