Have you every faced death? Certainly each and every one of us probably does all the time, but are just not aware of it because of the protective work of God in not allowing us to be aware of how fragile our existence here is–but have you ever actually almost died, or faced a situation in which you were aware you might die?
“In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:10)
Our existence here in this life–in our physical human bodies–truly is fragile. It takes but a second, a hair’s breath, to separate our souls from our bodies. We aren’t normally cognizant of this reality, but there are times that make us sit up, so to speak, and say, “Wow! That could have been (or might yet be) the end!”
Sometimes situations occur seemingly out of the blue and without advance notice. Accidents, emergency life-threatening illnesses like heart attacks and strokes, and acts of nature or war can occur with no discernible warning whatsoever. About a week ago, I had just picked up my daughter from school when very suddenly and seemingly out of no where a yellow street sign was literally flying through the air directly at our car. A vehicle traveling in the opposite direction must have hit it, and I had about a second to respond. I swerved out of the way, and it crashed where we had been. It was completely unexpected and so out of the ordinary, but it could have really been either the end of my daughter and me, or the beginning of a long and miserable hospitalization and recovery period. Yet, because of God’s grace in allowing me to not be otherwise preoccupied at that moment and capable of responding instantaneously, (ultimately, how does God work in situations like this? perhaps He did supernaturally turn that steering wheel for me or make my cerebral reactions faster than they normally are?) we drove off shaken but completely fine.
There are other times when we have advance warning that our lives may be at risk. Scheduled surgeries, military deployments, and high risk jobs have inherent danger. Within less than a month I am facing a double hip replacement surgery. These are becoming much more common and my surgeon does upwards of three hundred of them a year, but because I will be out completely under anesthesia and there is always the issue of blood clots afterward, the outcome is not guaranteed.
Yet, even though while situations like these cause us to reevaluate our mortality, the funny thing is that we are not typically cognizant of how fragile our human existence altogether is. The New Testament book of Hebrews tells us:
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers [God’s people in the past] by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person [the One who reflects the Father to us perfectly] and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged [paid for] our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty [the Father] on high.” (Hebrews 1:1-3 )
Passages like these are long and seemingly complicated in an older translation like the New King James, but because of its accuracy, it is worth trying to pull apart what it says. Notice especially that it is Jesus who is “upholding all things by the word of His power.” The book of Colossians tells us, “He [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together [the NKJV uses the word “consist].” (Colossians 1:17 NIV)
In some way we cannot yet comprehend, Jesus is the One who is holding all things together, the One in whom all things consist. God, in His mercy, has established typically inviolable direct cause and effect relationships–what we call the laws of science, such as gravity. Imagine how bizarre and unpredictable life would be in a world in which one day you could jump off a bridge and safely hover, and the next fall off and die. God has given us predictabiity–but not for the purpose of excluding Him. Mankind, amazingly, has taken that predictability and attempted to write God out of the picture.
Yet consistency is not an argument for the non-existence of God: to the contrary, it is a defining characteristic of His nature. God is always loving. He is always kind. He is always just: “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19 NIV) God’s nature does not change; neither do what we call the laws of science. And it is in Him “in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”
So, have you faced death? Are you, perhaps, facing it now? Each of us will some day, you know. Admit your frailties to Him; agree with Him that you have a sin-nature problem you are entirely incapable of solving on your own. And thank Him that He has solved it for you in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, committing the remainder of your existence to loving and obeying Him!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish [die eternally] 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 [not merely mentally, but genuinely, so as to produce a change] in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness [doing wrong] instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:16-21 NIV)
Help me believe in You, Jesus–genuinely! Amen.