It’s the one area of human life where there is no discrimination or bias whatsoever. It might also be the only time where everyone agrees and acts similarly.
It’s the harsh and inescapable reality of death.
Today someone is at a hospital bedside watching the life drain from a loved one. Today someone will get that horrible call that a close friend has suddenly died. Today someone will receive the news that they don’t have long to live.
I vividly remember my dad slipping in and out of a coma. I knew the end was around the corner, and although I sat there in silence, I was screaming inside. I wanted to hear his voice one more time. I wanted him to be tender, to be my dad one final time. I wanted him to get up and hug me one last time.
People say that death is normal, but this moment was unprecedented. I never felt more unprepared, and I never wanted something to end more than those horrible few hours. As I watched my dad’s life slip away, I couldn’t help thinking, “This is not the way it’s supposed to be!”
Death feels so fundamentally unnatural because it is unnatural. Yes, death is the inevitable end to all things now, but it was not part of the original plan.
God created Adam and Eve to be forever beings. He placed them in a lush garden where life was to give way to life on into eternity. Then death entered the world when Adam and Eve treasured what was on the other side of God’s boundaries more than they did the beauty of life forever with God.
Death is dreadful, but it can be a gift and a teacher. It forces you to face the impermanence of the world around you and its inability to fulfill you. Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19).
Death and decay can open your eyes, inform your heart, and give you hope. Yes, you will still feel the sting and pain of loss, but its power to paralyze you will be broken when you understand that you cannot be robbed of life by something that was not designed to give you life.
(Alternatively, if you deny this reality, you will look for life in dying things—and that never works.)
God’s plan is not for you to get as much as you can out of life and then die. Your Father will lovingly allow you to experience death and decay so that you will be liberated from your bondage to the creation and begin to find rest in the power, presence, and love of the Creator.
Only when you accept the terrible news of death can you begin to find hope in the good news of life—a life that begins in the here and now and lasts forever.
The way to experience abundant life today is to face the inescapable reality of death that will come tomorrow. Looking death in the face can make you wise, and ultimately it can provide you with peace.
Paul David Tripp
1. When was the last time you experienced the death of a loved one? Why was it so painful?
2. When was the last time you experienced the death of a dream or the decay of an idol? How did you respond?
3. What are some of your current favorite treasures on earth? List the variety of ways that they can be destroyed or stolen.
4. Have you been previously robbed of life by something that was not designed to give you life? What lessons did you learn? Did this liberate you from your bondage to the creation in any way?
5. Do you know someone afraid of dying? What are they most afraid of? How can you use this entry gate as a way to share the gospel message with them?