Thursday, August 01, 2019

Days. And the End of those days.

There are specific verses in the scriptures that cause me to ponder and contemplate.

But there is a certain category of verses that stops me in my tracks without fail. Here is one example:
"So David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David." 1 Kings 2.10
I have recently finished reading in 2 Samuel of all the mighty exploits of King David along with many trials and difficulties. Pages and pages. A long, full, accomplished life. It's taken me several days to read about all he did.

Similarly I read of Moses, or Joshua. Or Solomon, Paul.

And it is always the same.
"So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord." Deuteronomy 34.5
"Now it came to pass after these things that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died... And they buried him within the border of his inheritance..." Joshua 24.29
Such verses never fail to give me pause. I stop short. I actually gasp - every time. It somehow catches me by surprise.

Not the fact of it. Rather the instant finality of it. All these pages telling of all their full-of-life deeds come crashing to a standstill with one word.

A man's entire life, his whole existence, his "being" STOPS. And no matter how it is prefaced, I find it to be abrupt; it is instant. It is a blink of an eye -- they are here and then...not.

That first verse quoted above gives an important perspective and piece of knowledge. David rested "with his fathers". This simple phrase clues us in: this has gone on for generations. This is not unique to David.

We all know that. At least I think we all know that. But how to grapple with such knowledge. What to do?

We can ignore it, push it aside, pretend it isn't so. And live in continuous "surprise".
We can fill our lives with "doing", grab for all the gusto we can, stack up the accomplishments.
We can savor each moment, commit it all to memory, build memorials and fill photo albums.
We can exercise, use anti-aging creams, try to stretch the moments and make them last.
We can spend our lives on religion, sacrifice for the good of others, gain accolades of sainthood.
We can imagine that this life alone is worth living for along with all of its pain and sorrow, sin and failure, suffering and brokenness.

No matter. In the end, it will be the same for each one of us. One moment here, the next...not.

However greatly you live your life; whatever degree of wealth, fame, success you amass; no matter how much you are loved when you are gone -- there is nothing to be done about the finality of life here in this world. It is an end appointed to all. There will be one simple summation: he died.

One man has overcome death. Only One man. And He is willing to share that victory over death with anyone who will ask and accept.

It seemed only right to tell you once again. He is the answer for the question: what to do?

Every time I stop short, gasp, and recall our days and the brevity of those days and the end of those days, I myself remember His great gift of eternal life. And I give thanks all over again.

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