Death comes in many packages. However, there is a recurring theme to all of them.
Our physical death brings us to heaven or hell. God has spoken about both and I accept Him at His word. In heaven, Christ promises that we will be like Him when we see Him face to face. That’s wilder than the best Star Trek plot. In hell, there will be gnashing of teeth and separation from God. That’s spookier than any Halloween movie.
On the other hand, figurative deaths prepare us for that ultimate transition.
When I was young, I went through two earth-shattering transitions.
One was moving from a small Catholic elementary school with 25 graduates to a freshman high school class of 265.
Locker rooms, science labs, upperclassmen and those long hallways led to some long days. The coziness of grade school died with every pimple and senior cheerleader who didn’t know I existed.
Later, going off to college separated me from my parents and hometown. It took me more than a year to stop coming home to my more familiar job of delivering pizzas on weekends. The campus, classes, students, extra curricular organizations and all of the temptations of a school with a lopsided gender-ratio-in-my-favor led to a death of my identity.
As with winter’s seriously-long transition to spring, death brings life. High school and college eventually brought achievements and friends and diplomas and future opportunities.
It’s easy to look back and say we conquered all of life’s “goodbyes.” But when we are going through a death, it’s hard to see past what we are losing.
Little did we know they were all part of a dress rehearsal for a glorious final curtain.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: Funeral homes make it hard to see past the casket. May we see the metaphors through every death, pimples and all. One day, we will with unblemished faces see the very countenance of Christ.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus…Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Philippians 3:13,14 (NIV), 1 John 3:2,3 (NIV)