Sunday, March 18, 2012

Till we leave our tombs

Whenever I look back—and I try not to, but sometimes it happens—whenever I look back at my life, my mind automatically starts up analyzing, measuring and weighing my acts, those of others, judging my mistakes, pushing me to lamenting, but not to guilt—I don't know why, but I've never been able to feel guilty about anything since I met the Lord at age 24. But I remember a talk I had with the Lord in the garden arbor on the evening of Yom Kippur a few years ago, which was a sort of turning point in my life in middle age.

Yes, the past can be looked at as wasted, or as preparation, but the testimony of the Scriptures leans toward the second view, that of preparation.

That we have wasted the opportunities God keeps sending us, that seem inherent in time itself as His gift, is without doubt. That we have been taught by our mistakes and strengthened by withstanding oppressions, that we have patiently endured under trials, even under the trial of our own helplessness and sin, is also without doubt.

God is good, and as the holy apostle says, ‘He turns everything into good for those who seek Him.’

To know that my earthly life will end soon fills me with joy.

Soon? Am I prophesying my own death?

No, but I already find myself at that moment which will be my last on earth, I am experiencing that rapid flipping through the pages of the book of my life that happens as we are judged, watching what I did with Christ walking along beside me, and knowing that His love is unconditional and His mercy infinite. ‘Whoever believes in Me…’

Joy? Am I happy that my earthly life will end?

Yes, because it could not continue, I cannot continue, for ever, as I now am. I know that. It isn't as though we will be magically transformed, ‘dying and going to heaven’ to be angels as some have imagined. No, dying in Christ is to happily be ended as what we think of as ‘human,’ what I think of as ‘myself,’ and to vanish without a trace, to emerge ‘on the other side’ as a being I could never imagine here and now, so different from what I now am, that it would be easier for a baby to remember its life in the womb than it would be for that new creature I will have become to imagine my life on earth.

This is true joy, to be happy to die, knowing real life doesn't begin
till we leave our tombs.

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