My friend and I were leaving a restaurant when friends of hers called us over, asking, “Have you heard about Henry?”
I immediately asked, “What happened?”
“He wasn’t feeling well, so he went to the hospital. Two days later, he died.”
Sorrow, shock, and fear were plainly sketched on each of their faces.
Death is a terrifyingly unpredictable menace, lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce at any moment. We might try to avoid thinking about it, but, deep down, we know that its victory over us is inescapable.
Why Do We Dread Death?
I think one of the reasons we find death so traumatic is that it places us before the great unknown. The question comes, unwanted: “What happens after we die?”
Is it the end?
Some people affirm that our life ends the moment our brain dies. The soul does not exist; only the body does. When we die, we perish forever, as does every living thing.
Is it part of a pain-fraught cycle?
Others believe that we are repeatedly reincarnated into this world until we learn to deny our desires enough to escape its inevitable sorrow, suffering, and struggle and enter a state of bliss.
Is everyone’s destiny the same?
Some humans believe that everyone’s soul gets to go to the same eternal abode after death. The best and the worst of humanity, and everyone in between, will all share the same fate.
Are we graded on a curve?
Yet others believe that only people who are good enough to meet some undefined standard get to live forever in a blessed place after death. Those who don’t make the grade end up in a place of eternal torment.
How do you react to those answers? What answer is most popular where you live?
My Reaction to Those Answers
For me, the thought of ceasing to exist after death is even more terrifying than death itself. If our existence is limited to our time on earth, then life has no ultimate meaning and the death of each loved one becomes an agonizing final goodbye.
I also shiver at the mere idea of going through numberless life cycles marked by suffering and evil, only to see each death strip me of what makes me unique.
And the thought of living forever in a world filled with imperfect people — and even utterly evil people — does not comfort me at all. I really don’t want to spend eternity with people as evil as Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot.
Yet the idea of a cut-off line separating the “good” from the “bad” is not reassuring either. When is “good” good enough? And whatever the cut-off line might be, wouldn’t we still be living in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people? And wouldn't that cause eternal suffering?
Do you ever wonder if there is a better answer out there?
I believe there is.
If only someone had come back from the dead to tell us clearly what comes next!
One day, my mother, facing her approaching death, cried out: “If only someone had come back from the dead to tell us clearly what comes next!”
She looked up in surprise when I gently reminded her, “But, Mom, someone has. Jesus’ tomb is empty. He rose from the dead and lives forever in a glorified body. And he invites us into an eternal relationship with him that begins in this life and goes on forever in the next. In that next life, we become fully like Jesus: perfect, free of all evil.”
Would you like to discover how Jesus makes it possible for us to live forever in a perfect world? Read on to discover Jesus’ answer to the problem of death or fill in the form below to talk to a mentor today who can help you understand his plan.