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Hope in Life, Death, and Eternity

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 begins by saying, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven, a time to be born, and a time to die..." It goes on to address everything else that happens in life. It's something we should read often, if not daily.

I've been contemplating death lately. No, I’m not wanting to die, but I’m not afraid of dying, nor much of anything else, except spiders. They really creep me out and make me jump and squeal like a little girl. Beyond that though, I don’t worry, fret, or fear getting sick or dying, because Jesus gives me full assurance of His sovereignty over everything. I’m fully content in Christ and with whatever circumstances He places me in. That doesn't mean I always like the circumstances I'm in, I'm just confident in God's sovereignty over all things that I am able to trust Him and be at peace regardless of what's happening.

We live in a world plagued by obsessive worry over sickness and death, especially since covid hit. We constantly look to make some sort of sense out of death to keep it safely at bay. When someone dies from an illness or disease we tend to think, “They didn’t do something right to prevent it.” When someone is tragically killed we tend to think, “I don't fit that description; I don't live in that town; I would never have gone to that place or known that person.” But what happens when there is seemingly no logic, no reason? Where do we go to find peace of mind?

The fact is that staving off death is one of humanity’s favorite pastimes. Whether it’s exercise, diet, checking cholesterol, having a mammogram, a colonoscopy, wearing a mask, getting a vaccine, etc., we are always hedging against mortality. Find out what the profile is and identify the ways in which you do not fit it. When someone dies, regardless of the circumstances—sickness, car accident, gun shot, random or intentional, justified or not, it reminds us horribly of the reality of death.

Despite our best intentions, death is coming to each of us. We can’t escape it, and we can’t slow it down. That frightens many people. They don’t like not being in control, and they’re not quite sure of what’s on the other side. But for the believer in Jesus Christ, there is no fear in death, regardless of how and when it comes, because we know that for a child of God, death is actually gain, not loss. We know that we simply pass from this life into eternity. We know that God has numbered our days so we can’t “die before our time.”

Regardless of how or when, no matter how brutal or peaceful we go, it’s all in God’s control, and it’s possible to face it without dread or devastation. When you read the Bible you find many occasions in the Old and New Testament of people preparing for death. They understood their time was coming and they faced it with courage and peace because they understood death is a part of this life; it comes to all of us and then we move into eternity.

Regardless of how or when, no matter how brutal or peaceful we go, it’s all in God’s control.

For the born-again believer in Jesus Christ, we move into our heavenly home where Christ is, where there is no more sickness, pain, or suffering, and death is no more. Where all tears are wiped away, and sadness and grief are no more (Revelation 21:4).

For those who die without Christ, those who have not been born again because they reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they go to eternal torment, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, where there is unquenchable fire and thirst. That’s what hell is. It’s eternity without God. It’s a place made for the devil and his demons and for those who reject Jesus as Lord and Savior. “Those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

People go to hell because they reject Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus is the only way of salvation. Those who choose to go their own way instead of God’s way will not only suffer in this life, but for all eternity. That is the greatest tragedy of all because even though death is not avoidable, hell is, but people will still choose it. You say, no one would choose hell. Have you heard the expression, “I’m going to hell if I don’t change my ways?” or “I’d sell my soul to Satan for … (something they want really bad)?” Mankind is bent on his own evil way. Look at us. Look at history. Look at today.

Because of mankind’s stubborn self-serving ways, rejecting God, and disobeying His word, sin entered the world and brought with it suffering and death. Read Genesis. But God so loved the world that He made a way of redemption through His Son Jesus, who took all the suffering, judgment and death that we deserved upon Himself and made a way for us to be free to live forever in paradise with Him. Read the Gospels. It’s all a matter of choice. God chose to create us, to forgive us, and to send His Son Jesus to save us. He chose us and called us to Himself and He’s given us a choice to believe in Him and in His Son Jesus, and to turn from our sin and follow Him. In the Old Testament God gave His people a choice to obey and receive blessing, or to disobey and receive cursing (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). In the New Testament Jesus said, Believe in Me and have eternal life, don’t believe in Me, and you’re condemned (John 3:16-18 ). God chose to send His Son to save sinners. Jesus chose to die to give us eternal life. What will you choose?

God knew me before He created the heavens and the earth. He knit me together in my mother’s womb. He’s numbered every hair on my head and He knows every day I will live. God, the creator of Heaven and Earth, knows my name. He knew all the sins I would commit and yet still loved me, died for me, and chose me to be His (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139, Romans 8:29, Eph 4:1). Therefore, I have no more choices. My life is not my own. I am His. I am bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, and I gladly surrender my life to Him daily. I am compelled by the love and grace of God to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with every breath and fiber of my being, for all my days.

So, where do you go to find peace of mind in all the chaos and death? Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Look to Jesus. Fix your gaze on Him, not on the screens, not on the government, not on the numbers, not the vaccine, not guns, not cops, not science, not medicine, not philosophy or psychology, not that man or that woman. Nothing or no one else can save you, fix you, or love you completely. The only solution to our problem is Jesus. It is only when we fully surrender our life to Him that we will have confident assurance and peace that passes understanding to be able to say with the Apostle Paul, “To live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

We don’t need to be afraid when we die, because God is preparing a place especially for us. We can go throughout our entire life looking to see where we fit in, but heaven is that place. And as far as what heaven is like, read the Bible.

Remember beloved, when it’s our turn to go: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants” (Psalm 116:15).

I'll end my words now and leave you with God's word:

  • “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from Him and worship gods you have not known before” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).

  • “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

  • “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. …” (John 3:16-18).

  • “I tell you the truth, those who listen to My message and believe in God who sent Me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life” (John 5:24).

  • “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

  • “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8).

Mara Petro

Coaching in all matters of life.

Healing from your past, help for you now, hope for your future.

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