Death is real

I was watching another one of those stupid zombie shows - movies that make light of killing and death. Soon after heard the news (click for news on TV) of our high school classmate who died in a car crash. Deaths and road accidents here and there every day, but shocking and unreal when it's someone who went to school with, saw daily, talked to, teased, grew up with. One who barely turned 21, attending uni and probably facing exam periods like most of us. How dare death just end everything?

The article disappoints me with it's brief and cold description. Then I'm moved, realising road toll statistics and morbidity data are not mere numbers. Behind each number there is a life, a family, a circle of friends, a story. Disease and death are so de-personalised in medicine. Oh that I would always see life, death, disease as a compassionate human being, not a med student for whom these are simply topics of study.

Only in death do we realise that life is a gift. To all of his classmates and friends, it's a shock that such a thing could happen. Death is real and inevitable, happening to anyone at anytime. Even at the prime of our youth when we feel that we have forever to dream, to pursue interests, to enjoy life. A fear that anyone, even those in our own circles, can be taken without warning. When we consider the end, how does it change our perspective of life? How do we live meaningfully, purposefully? When we dream, have hopes for and plans for the future, for holidays, for travel, career, love, marriage, children... surely we need to be humble in acknowledging we are not in control.

Now listen, you who say "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-14)

Let's be humble before our Lord God. Let's not pretend that we are gods of our lives, that if we can plan and make our own success, happiness, even meaning.

God, why don't you warn us individually? Why allow such suffering on families, such a heaviness in the hearts of friends? How would I continue to have faith and trust if this was my best friends, my dear family? If such was the case.. I would be mouring and crying out to God in despair and desperation, asking why why why! instead of considering life and existance like this. I believe God grants us wisdom when we ask, but don't think we can ever fully comprehend suffering and death completely. As it is here are my thoughts.

I had a sudden awareness that many of my friends do not know God, with confusion and sorrow I asked: God where is your love and mercy, how can you bear to see anyone perish, why will you not save all?! Then I caught a glimpse of why God's heart yearns for us to turn to him. He does not want to see a single person perish. Yet he gives us free will, to chose how we live our current life, to choose whether we love him and want to spend eternity with him.

How do we know he loves and yearns for us? Before we knew him "everything was done so you would come" - as the lyrics go. God prepared a way for us to be in his holy presence despite us choosing to ignore him, choosing to be our own gods or follow idols like money and power, choosing "freedom" that is actually sin that brings us destruction, choosing blatant evil. That's why Jesus came: "for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) He takes no delight in punishing. "As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live." Ezekial 33:11

Death is disruptive, it's unnatural - and was not so before sin came into the world. And God has "set eternity in the hearts of men" (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

For non-Christian friends, do you feel comfortable with the fact that your life will end one day? Do you know where you are going? Do you live in denial of death? Knowing life is brief, is it enough to hedonistically "eat, drink and be merry" and not consider the end?

As Christians, do we truly not only believe, but obey God - loving him with all our heart, strength and mind, and finding ways to serve him wherever we are? And do we have a heart to share with those who have not had the same opportunity to hear the "good news"?

For us all: how will we live purposefully and meaningfully, how will our priorities change, how will we be different to each of our friends and loved ones? Let the death of a friend not be in vain, but touch us deeply, sharpening our perspective and motivate us all to live "better" lives.

edit// here is the more recent, less cold and more human news article


moskvax said...

st. augustine, confessions 4.iv documents his analogous experience

Winnie said...

stephen: hi, I've never read augustine's writing, thanks for introducing it.

~lina~ said...

I assume you had probably read my comments... in respect to victor I think we should just let this set in peace.... :)

Take care Winnie.

Sin Zhenrui said...

Winnie... Read John 21: 22. God has planned out a destiny for each of us.. we should not compare.. or worry about the life of others..

moskvax said...

i'm sorry for being so disrespectful before, too, and not mentioning at all the fact that your friend had died.

moskvax said...

i hope you and your friends and everyone who knew him, which includes a friend of mine, are able to come to terms with this loss.

Joey Cloud said...

hey sorry I only just read your post after I wrote mine. I didn't see the removed comments above but I assume it's a somewhat challenging discussion about what you wrote.

Indeed it takes something major to happen around us/to us to really awaken our indifference, and force us to confront our questions about death, fate, God, or whether it has any meaning at all.

However, no matter what we believe, or how we choose to interpret the situation, the only thing that matters is our actions, as that's all we can really do to make a difference.

As such, I agree that for those of us who are christians, facing this sort of situation begs the question of how serious do we take the salvation of ourselves and our friends/family. Do we really appreciate the meaning of having eternal life and are we ready to forsake some comforts to stand for what we believe to be the truth.

My condolences and prayers for Victor's family and friends.


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