"Jesus did not just die so we wouldn't have to, He died so we would know how to." -Professor Ted Bryant
Death has been something that's been on my mind lately. You might read that and freak out, but don't. What I simply mean is this: last weekend two college girls from two different campuses here in Indiana died suddenly. One of them I knew, one I didn't. They were 18 and 19. One was found unresponsive in her room and taken to a hospital where she later died. The other was simply hanging out in a hammock when a dead tree fell on her and killed her. So sudden. Just like that. In one instant a life can be taken. Two girls who weren't supposed to die so young.
We always talk about being prepared for death because it can come suddenly. But I guess it doesn't really hit you until somthing like this happens. After learning about the deaths of these two girls, it was like a new revelation, or maybe just a very poignant reminder, of how brief life is and how suddenly it can be taken. Anything I do while I'm just living a normal life could suddenly be the cause of my death. Both of those girls were just living normal everyday lives and freak accidents happened. Sometimes it's difficult to see God in all this. Right now, these deaths are still fresh, so it's difficult to see where God is working. But I know He does.
It's time like these when the idea that I will one day die comes to mind. And honestly, it freaks me out. I know Christians aren't supposed to be afraid of death. And here's the thing: I do want to be with God someday. However, I have always been afraid of change and of the unknown. And heaven will be a huge change. Heaven is the unknown. And that scares me. Not because I don't know where I'll go (I do know) but because it's a huge change. I'm not ready yet. I'm not ready to die this young. But neither were those other two girls. So why have they died, and I'm still here? Why is it that normal moments in their lives turned into nonexistence, while I am saved by God's gracious hand every day from those normal moments that could take my life? I rode my bike to the store today across a very busy street. Anything could have happened, but it didn't.
Yet the thing that scares me more than being the one to die is being the one to be left behind. Even though I didn't know/barely knew these girls, their deaths have affected me. They're gone, I'm not. I and people like me have to live without their lives in this world anymore. Someday I'm going to lose my parents...and that scares me. I'm not ready to live without them.
At this point you might be wondering why I included the quote at the beginning of this post. I think that God is calling me to the mission field. This calling is a lot about dying metaphorically to self. This is a huge part a Christian's life, and something I still struggle with daily. But I think this quote also has to do with physical death. I feel called to go to unsafe places. I may have to face death or the death of loved ones a lot sooner then I would wish. And when I think about that kind of death (dying for the cause of Christ), somehow, there is peace. While any other kind of death scares me at this point, somehow the idea of dying so that Christ may be known doesn't scare me. It's not ideally the way I would chose to go, but if it's God's plan, then I think I'm okay with that. And that's what I think this quote means. Jesus died so we wouldn't have to die spiritually, but He also died as an example of how to die to ourselves spiritually and how to be willing to die physically for Him.
So I hope that somewhere in this random collection of my thoughts you can find something that speaks to you. Don't worry, I'm perfectly sane. I don't need counseling. But this is something that I think many people might think about and don't know how to express. And while I may not have expressed it perfectly, I'm willing to be vulnerable and say what's on my heart.
May the peace of God dwell in you richly.