My life been filled with friends and family who have been diagnosed with cancer. Breast Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Leukemia… and the list goes on. Death is a humbling experience. No matter how well or poorly you live, what you eat, who you were born to, married, or befriended, death is in our future…kind of.
I recently read a phrase that stated, rather well, that we ARE a soul and we have a body. A rather freeing concept, it means that how we spend this life is a manifestation of using the body we were given. When Tim McGraw’s father had died, he wrote a song about a man who encountered another terminally ill person after being diagnosed himself. When asked what he did when he found out, the man replied:
“I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying”
For many, death of a loved one can represent an eternal separation from the relationship we enjoyed over a lifetime. The message Jesus offers to Martha in John 11:1-44 changes this forever. Martha is challenged with the news that her brother, who is dead, will rise again. Martha knows that her brother Lazarus will rise again… in some distant, ambiguous, and spiritual way, but Jesus claims “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” It is unclear if Martha really “gets it” at this point. Mary has the same response as her sister, but with a much different tone, one of despair and sadness. So Jesus goes to where Lazarus is buried and raises him, against every logical objection.
The saddest part of life is holding off on spending time with family, taking trips with loved ones, giving to the poor, and doing what is important only to learn that your life or another’s is cut short. The concept of living like you are going to die gives an impetus to do all of your living before you die, but the reality, in Christ, is that we should be doing everything we hold of value every day because we are given Eternal Life. Living like our lives are not finite means that we should be able to live without fear of other’s judgments. When we stop rewriting God’s Word and begin living it like we were Jesus because everything is possible when lived out in Christ. Stop living like you were dying, live because you are alive forevermore.
Do I speak or act in ways that don’t reveal Christ and discounts His Life?
Do I try to live forever without believing in Jesus or His promises?