Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Inevitable End

‘All share a common destiny…
The same destiny overtakes all.’
Ecclesiastes 9:3

Although Maximus – the Gladiator – the hero of the movie, ended up dying, he was not defeated. In his death, he won, he triumphed. At the same time, the death of the Emperor, the schemer, the man who hated all the world and who hated Maximus the most; who cheated in the battle and tried to tear a good man down without reason – this man died a death of pain, loneliness and shame. And I felt sorry for him.

[Watch the epic movie The Gladiator if you haven’t!]

Is death ever a good thing?

No, of course not... Right?

People mourn and cry in sadness over the loss of life. Death is never good – even if it means “release” for some. Death is the final enemy. We do not welcome death. We live our lives ignoring it. We shut it out and shun its lurking existence. Right?

Nevertheless, no man in the history of mankind – except JESUS CHRIST – has ever defied the chains of death. All have fallen. All have been ensnared, often caught unawares, by the jaws of death. None have escaped.

We never think of it. Or maybe we do – occasionally when we read the news. Sometimes when we watch the movies – no good movie omits the presence of death and the epic struggle between living and dying! But somehow, we dodge it. Let it be. Let live until the day comes. For now, we go on as if it will never come. That terrible day when our eyes grow dim, our minds cease to absorb one more memory, our hands grow cold and the world fades to nothing.

For people who see this life as a ‘chance’ existence, death is certainly a fearful prospect. It is the END. Just like that. A whole life of learning and working and toiling; failing and trying; winning and losing; again and again. And then what – to lose it all in one final clean, or not so clean, sweep? Incredulous! Yet true. Finally, regardless whether you’re prepared or not, each man has to face the inevitable end.

Why are you talking about death? You say. It is an unpleasant subject! I know you’re trying to sound philosophical and all. But its best kept forgotten and subdued somewhere in the crevasses of our consciousness. While life goes on, let it stay there and wait. Right?

But mark these words – death is inevitable! Why suppress and shun the very thought of our ‘final act’? Having said that, the mysterious thing about this off-putting subject is it is an unforeseen shadow. No man knows what or when is his end. To attempt to bind and cage this shifting shadow is merely to “grasp for the wind”, as the wise King Solomon said. It is futile. If time is up, time is up. Who can halt the mysterious workings of the universe – who can reverse what the Creator has appointed to each man?

‘All share a common destiny…
As it is with the good man, so it is with the sinner.
Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished.’
Ecclesiastes 9:2, 6

But our meaning on earth is not to contemplate death everyday. (Do not think I am implying that!) Our purpose on earth is not to dwell on our unforeseeable end. We are not to constantly live today worrying about tomorrow. If we worry about tomorrow, we inevitably cease to live today – in the present!

And so our destiny is to live today. While it is called Today, we live. We eat and drink and work. We pray and laugh and love. We cry and share and we reach out to the people who need reaching out to. WE DO OUR PART.

And finally, when the inevitable day comes, we will not be afraid. Death no longer frightens us. Meaningless is its merciless taunting. No longer does it roar in our faces. It is a prowling lion silenced by a muzzle. Although death is still our solemn end, we face no defeat. If we have lived our lives doing our part, living for the glory of God and doing His will for each of us individually, death is nothing to fear! If you and I have such a perspective on our God-given lives, fear not, for death is but a portal to the next incredible journey.

‘So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are IN GOD’S HANDS.’
Ecclesiastes 9:1

Solum deum Timidus,
Janielle =)

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