Reminded of Mortality
I discovered today yet more recent news about the passing of the mothers of two friends of mine. It does seem that the older I get, the more often I am reminded of my own mortality by the recent passing of someone else. And death seems to get closer and closer to home. But Death does not frighten me near as much one would think it would, unless of course someone else is familiar with the same feeling of limited fright. The other people out there who are believers in Jesus Christ - perhaps you can relate.
And yet, there is still that level of fear and awe that is inevitable. Even though my faith has afforded me a level of comfort when I am oft reminded of mortality, that reminder is still somewhat uncomfortable.
I am reminded of a recent conversation I had with my son at lunch, discussing the ins and outs of the Marvel comic universe, and which direction we think everything in the movie world (the Marvel cinematic universe, if you will) is going. My son and I, as you may have guessed, love super hero movies and stories. And we are obviously not the only ones; hince all the money comic books and movies have made off such fanatics as myself.
And why do people find super heroes so fascinating?
Perhaps one reason is because they usually laugh in the face of mortality. The heroes in such amazing stories do not fear Death; in many cases it is because Death seems to have a hard time taking them. And when Death does finally win against one of our heroes, it is seen or depicted in the story as so tragic, and so rare, and so unbelievable.
But those stories are just fantasy, aren't they? Most people know that it is impossible for us finite humans, in REAL life, to obtain any kind of immortality; any way to 'resist death's sting'.
And here is the conundrum:
There is one story... an AMAZING story, that IF TRUE, laughs in the face of Death altogether. This story is about a man who was fully Man, yet Fully God; the very Son of God, who demonstrated His manhood by dying on a cross, and then demonstrated His Divine power through His resurrection and complete conquest of Death. This is a story right out of the BEST SELLING BOOK IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD - and if it were true, it would be the answer to all of our problems.
All one has to do is simply BELIEVE in order for this story to give them the same level of, I guess we can call it, comfort, when it comes to the thought of real Death.
So here we have a book that has been purchased by more readers than any other book in history. There have been more free copies of the same book given away more times than any other book. And the story inside happens to help us all, in some way, face Death, and face the TRUTH of mortality.
Yet so many people, who know the story is there -
scoff at the very idea of that story being true.
So it all comes back to faith... believing in something we cannot see. We can't see the live events that took place centuries ago in Bethlehem or Jerusalem. We yearn to see a hero conquer death as usual, but somehow Jesus' story doesn't do it for us the same way we expect in our movies, and story books, and comics.
But that's the point isn't it?
We don't get to dictate or decide when Death finally comes. We have our own ideas of how we would do it if we could. Perhaps there is no irony after all in the fact that the creators of the comic book hero, Superman, were Jewish?
But in the end, only God has the final say. Only God decides when to challenge Death, when to prevent it, when to stop it, when to allow it to have its way, and of course when to overcome it.
Perhaps it's just more evidence of the sinful nature within us all that still leaves us with that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of our stomachs when we are reminded of our mortality - even when we believe. Because in the end, we finite humans do not like it when someone else is in control.
So the good ending, that actually does give us the most important level of control there is in existence besides the very Power of God, and the way even we little humans can tap into overcoming Death itself -
is the power to CHOOSE.
Because in the end, that is what the ultimate One that is in control tells us.
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.