Challenging Challenges: Our Own Mortality

     When we’re young we rarely think about dying. Unless a friend is suddenly taken in an auto accident, or by cancer, or some extreme medical situation. These are rare, but poignant, reminders that, someday, we will all meet our Maker. Or, if you are an atheist, you will simply cease to exist. Or you’re just not sure about all this morbid stuff.

     Look at the health and beauty industry. We do all we can to prolong our life AND our beauty. For some of us…, it works. But for most, no matter how much moola we sink into ourselves it just doesn’t matter. We will get old (some, not so graciously) and we will die.

     For most people there is a great fear of death that shrouds our every breath. When my wife and I were engaged we had to go visit her dying grandmother. She lived for another 39 years. Some people live dying: others will die living life to the fullest.

     So why does death, and the reality of our own mortality, plague us? For one, it is the ultimate, final equalizer. The question we each need to answer is— Is death it? or, Is there something else? Beyond. Only a few of us have ever escaped this eventual actuality. Some have passed over and returned, with various stories of afterlife.

     For genuine Christians, there truly is an afterlife. For others…, well!?! The question then is— where? More explicitly, where we will join God, our Lord Christ, His Spirit, and a myriad of friends and followers? Or hell, which will be…, well, hell.

     Our mortality can be either a question of termination, or a matter of transition. Personally, I do not need a heaven to be rewarded for the joy of serving the God of the Universe while on earth. I see it more as frosting on the cake. Mind you, I love frosting. But I don’t need it to honor our Lord while in this life. The joy of being his servant is enough.

     The real question is one of termination! How can we grow, raise families, make a difference, and just have all that simply come to an abrupt END? THAT’s what doesn’t make sense.

     By logical sequence there must be some form of continuation beyond this present life. Our life doesn’t end. It continues. The only question is where and to what purpose.

     So, how do you see your own mortality? Or should I say, your immortality? Do surprises lie ahead? Or do you look forward to a transition into something totally wild!

Honor God, honor people, make a difference,

Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT—  Making our Relationships Count

…of bed-boards and springboards

Matanya

At this moment I am sitting by my mother’s side as she lies on a bed dying. She always preferred her bed to be on the firmer side. Not too much so, but sufficiently so. Bed-boards always make a soft bed so much more comfortable. She lies on such a bed at this moment. Not that it matters to her that much. She is in pain, breathing with some degree of difficulty.

She is leaving us.

Yet as she lies in this bed, she is also taking her first steps onto a springboard. This will be her launching step into a world filled with glory, golden light, and the exuberance of a new life, peace, and rest for a weary traveler. Each of us, unquestionably, will come to this point. The only questions are when, where, and how?  Will it be gentle, rough? Drawn out, or quick? Surrounded by friends & family; or alone?

Though we may wish it, this is not the case for everyone. The springboard does not always launch to a place of celebration—rather, it shatters, plunging its load into an abyss of captivity. It is a dark place where people can avoid each other; a place where they will finally get what they truly want—a world of total independence, with no responsibility to care for others. It is a world devoid of God, His love, and His perimeters of protection set in motion on this planet to guard its inhabitants from self-destruction. In this underworld those safe-guards do not exist.

It is now late into the night. I sit here alone with my mother…, waiting for her to take that initial leap from a springboard, propelling her into that new, exhilarating, vibrant life. For that has been her life’s desire, “to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

For some of my friends, my dear close friends, this is not their desire. Their desire is to have all that this world has to give them. And that is what they will receive.

I weep for them.

Sitting here, I am envious that my mother, so much the gracious servant during her time in this realm, will soon get to play and dance and sing in the courtroom of heaven. There’s just the matter of this human shell to discard.

It is true; we all will come to that point of crossing-over. For my mother, it will be from a bed-board to a springboard, to life. When our time comes to step up onto the springboard, what will be our next step? Where will we come down? And what must we do beforehand to prepare?

[On Saturday, January 19th, 2013, at 1:57 p.m., Florence Adelaine Andersen Davis, jumped into the arms of our heavenly Father; there to celebrate His glory forever. She was 97 years old, by our reckoning. I am soooooo jealous.]

Mom- 27 Dec 2012

Following in the family footsteps,

Gary

afterlife

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, afterlife, heaven, death, What will you be like when you are dead? People have been obsessed with this question for millennia. Ancient Egypt established the afterlife as a destination, a passing over to another realm, at least for the worthy (or wealthy). Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259 BCE – 210 BCE) did take it with him— 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, all in earthy terracotta. Dante Alighieri’s 14th century Divine Comedy describes for us the Nine Circles of Hell (Dante’s Inferno)— Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery; as well as a depiction of Heaven as the Four Cardinal Virtures— Justice, Fortitude, Prudence, and Temperance, coupled with the Three Theological Virtues— Faith, Hope and Love. Hinduism offers us Reincarnation, Islam— Paradise, Christianity— Heaven (or Hell, depending). And postmodern scientific uncertainty— well, uncertainty, or nothingness, or, just the end. Then there are those Near Death Experiences, when people seemingly return from beyond and tell us of visions of light, a tunnel, even Jesus. Hum. Oddly, they report that it is the little things in life, kindness, caring, touch, forgiveness, that truly matter.

What seems amazing, though, is how much energy we expend on preparing for death, or at least for retirement. It’s all about protecting ourselves, isn’t it. Nothing wrong with that, of course; but history reveals just how obsessive we can become with it. On the other end of the spectrum are those who live for the moment. Future be damned! Live for NOW. This disregard for the consequences of our actions, though oft pleasurable, has its own built in self-destruct machinery. Obviously, we need to establish a happier, more sensible middle arrangement.

Though most religions offer us some revelations of the afterlife, most can be considered to be speculative, metaphorical, or at best, scant. Even within my own faith, Biblical Christianity, the descriptions of the afterlife usually describe encounters with God the Father, Throne Rooms, Judgment, etc. Even if these descriptions are merely metaphorical, versus actual, they are enough to give me pause about my own position before a Holy God. Shouldn’t we be giving our energies to making a difference in this life, on this planet, in the lives of some of those we know, and some we don’t know— quite yet! I’m not living my life, being good, to avoid Hell, or to gain a reward in Heaven. I live my life as honorably as I know how, as compassionately as I can be, and as in line with the principles set-up by God at Creation for this world to run smoothly.

As long as I am alive, I want to be someone who makes a difference in other people’s lives. (I’ll probably drive God crazy when I’m dead.) How ‘bout you?

Have a nice week.

Gary