The life of the world to come

My friend Bryan says that I cope with things by writing about them. Looking back over my life, I realize that he’s right. Which is why I’m writing now, I guess.

Recently, I realized that being a teacher of the Gospel (be that an elder to his congregation, a father to his children, or a friend to another friend) is an attempt to prepare people for life in another world. But, of course, this is complicated because you’ve never been there yourself, nor are there truly words to express it all. You’re pointing to something inexpressible and saying, “Look at that!” You’re fumbling to describe Glory as one who has never been there to those who have never been there. And, of course, this is all the more complicated, because the current world keeps getting in the way. The coming world is upside down and backwards, and its ways are very different than the ways of this world.

In a few hours, Crystal is getting a biopsy for a lump in her throat. And, I’m slowly coming to realize that I’m scared. All the “what if” questions start dancing around in my head. What if it’s cancer? Then my mind starts rushing to treatment options. Chemotherapy? Radiation? Chelation? Something else?

All of this, of course, comes down to a very simple question. What if I’m about to lose my wife? Now, you can say that I don’t know anything yet and I should stop being crazy about it. And yes, that’s true. But I’m not confronting reality; I’m confronting my fears.

And the wisdom of this world says, “You fight for your life. You hold onto it, kicking and screaming.” You hire doctors. You take medicines. You fight with everything that you have.

But what does Jesus say? “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25) Fighting to save your life will make you lose it.

The Bible is clear: we will all die eventually. One day, either Crystal or I will get the news that one of us will soon be no more. Our mortality is assured. So what profit is there in fighting this reality?

But what else does Jesus say? “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24-25) My death is the gateway into my life. Crystal’s death is the gateway into her life. So why should I be afraid? Even if I must walk alone for a while in this world, must that be so terrible? It will only be a little while, and then all will be made right again forever. What are a few decades, when weighed against eternity?

But I am still too much of this world. I cannot see the world that is coming. And so, I am still afraid.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.


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