This is an open letter to someone I love. This person sees death as an “escape,” or some kind of liberation from the troubles of this life in this World. They are obsessed with it, their life and surrounding culture continuously soaked in death-imagery and music. Its reminders are always there, no matter where they look. This person has come to believe that this is all there is. It’s worth examining how this person got there and how to get out of this mode of thinking.
I, too, was once obsessed with Death. It dominated my thoughts every waking moment. These thoughts invaded my dreams and even jolted me awake in the middle of the night. Thoughts of Death would creep in during the day, too, almost unnoticed yet still there nonetheless. There was no getting away from it. Even when I began to see the problem for what it was, it was literally everywhere.
Death means a lot of different things to different people. For the atheist, it is simply an end. They don’t know what kind of end, and they hope that their awareness doesn’t continue after death and so many of them will try to fight the inevitability of it. Some atheists with lots of money will spend every nickel they have trying to stop it. Yet it still comes to claim them in the end.
Death is the “great equalizer.” It knows no difference between the rich and the poor, the blessed and the heathen, nor the worthy or unworthy. We all have to go through it, whether it’s constantly on our minds or the furthest thing from it. Most of all, Death is the “great unknown.”
For those who Believe in the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they know death is simply a transition, a “veil” you pass through as you travel on to far greater places than this World, the place where God dwells with His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Death is something we all grapple with in trying to understand. It is one of the biggest concepts to wrap your mind around when you seek to find Jesus Christ. As a Believer, you come to understand that Jesus Christ not only went to the cross to be the final end-all/be-all sacrifice for the sins of the world, but you also know that in doing so, He conquered Death.
But then. a lot of people don’t understand this. They mock Jesus and His death, as well as the fact the He rose again after three days. They write it off as fairy tales that people who are afraid to die tell themselves so that they can cope with the concept of death. It never occurred to any of them – mainly because this is what modern culture and society teaches – that Jesus really exists and the events told in the Bible actually occurred.
And once you manage to get their attention on this, they always ask the same questions.
How is this possible? How can a man conquer death by dying in one of the most horrible ways possible? Because Jesus wasn’t just a man, He is the Son of the Almighty God the Father. For a time, while He walked on this earth among the people, God saw through the eyes of Jesus and in so doing, reconciled the world to Himself. He saw things from a different angle and decided that we were worth saving. Remember – the wages of sin is death. We all sin, so we are all appointed to death. Yet the Bible mentions in several places, especially in the New Testament, that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Jesus promises us Life, as long as we believe in Him. But how do we get there? How do we understand what this means, and how do we make sense of what the Bible says about it? Sometimes you just have to be shown. In order to be shown, you have to make a choice. You choose to either open your eyes and see it, or you stubbornly close them. If you seek these answers, you will come to understand why your life here on earth matters.
Why does Human life matter?
To put it in simple terms, we are not just animals that are more advanced than others. We are not “talking monkeys” that happen to have the ability to reason, as the atheists would have us believe. We are in this “petri dish” called Earth, being grown for a reason. The devil might tell you we’re a virus here on the planet, a form of cancer that plots and thinks. Some would have you believe that the petri dish is far more important than the culture that’s growing in it. If you stop thinking in “I’m a ‘walking virus’ mode,” you come to understand that all things have a purpose, even your day-to-day troubles, your pain and ultimately, your death.
So no, we’re not just animals that can think. There is a reason we are here, floating on this small island of life, alone in the known universe. We have a conscience and a consciousness for a reason, a true purpose. Scientists will tell you we’re a happy accident of nature, that somehow life sprang up from primordial clay when the right chemical reactions happened. Problem is, no one’s been able to duplicate this special kind of chemical fusion, even though we’re reverse-engineering DNA and the building blocks of life. We can make things that are already created as life suddenly come alive, like cloned sheep, but we cannot take simple chemicals and make it happen. We create things that mimic life but are not truly alive. And one day, even if we manage to create something that is technically “alive,” the living things we manage to grow will never have a spirit, never think on their own, never have a soul nor conscience. That is what separates us from the animal kingdom. We have a spirit breathed into us by the Lord God the Father. All our scientists can ever do is poorly mimic the grand work of the Father, never creating any of it on our own.
So why do we die? Why is it all people must go through this?
If you’re a Believer, you already understand the story behind the Original Sin caused by Adam and Eve. But beyond this, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God had to die in order to complete His work on the cross. During His time here on earth, Jesus was different. He was special in that He knew things about God that we could never understand. Jesus walked on water, He commanded the storms to stop battering the boat and it stopped. He understood how our reality is, how it works and what holds it all together. Jesus understood what the World is and overcame it. He understood God’s creation and the very nature of it and had the power through Lord God the Father to wield command over it, both in the seen and unseen realms. And yes, there are unseen realms.
It was these thoughts of how Jesus was able to command the weather and the water, the miracles He performed and so on that led me to read further on this and try to understand exactly how He conquered death. That, as I soon learned, is unknowable. We can’t comprehend all that God is because our minds simply aren’t equipped to grasp it. You might as well try to explain to your dog how to build and operate a photocopy machine. There are some things simply beyond our understanding. But that said, God stepped back and allowed me to make a few mistakes in my seeking Him that actually showed me that there was another “realm” beyond this one. Many realms. Even our mathematicians and physicists are aware of this, even if the only way they can see it is scribbled down in a bunch of formulas on paper or on a chalkboard. Even then, they know it’s there but don’t really see it. They can’t see the forest for all the trees in the way.
I listened to this person, one whom I love dearly. With a startling conviction, she told me that there is nothing good about life, there is no reason to care for herself anymore, no reason to go on living. I’ve said these same things, too, at one point in my life, so I know the darkness inside where these kinds of thoughts come from. I knew it intimately. Hello darkness, my old friend… Isn’t that what they sing?
Darkness is NOT your friend. It seeks only to destroy you, break you down so badly so that you willingly render up the life that God gave you. Darkness, my love, is a soul-shattering lie.
When you finally come to see the way, the truth and the LIFE that is Jesus, what He represents and why He did this for us when He didn’t have to, you can’t look upon that darkness any longer. You stop listening to the dark music, sang in mournful tones by those who are lost themselves and who know nothing but the dark night of the soul. They sing their songs, their music and the words that once spoke to the darkness in you and it now falls aside, unheard.
That’s why I no longer listen to certain kinds of music, and that even includes a lot of modern worship music. It has a trance-like effect and I’ve come to know that trances – altered states of consciousness – are dangerous places to be. I don’t watch movies anymore, either, not even a lot of Christian-based productions, because most of it (while made with good intentions) is still built upon darkness. You might not see it, but I can’t not see it. I refuse to let any of that darkness propagated in all forms of media enter my mind. It still does, on occasion, as there is no way to avoid it completely. However, if you see it, discern it and learn to defend yourself against it, you can find a peace beyond all understanding.
So how do I talk to this person, the one who obsesses on death – who simultaneously fears it yet cannot stop thinking about it in a romantic sort of way? She sees the Bible as a big list of Don’ts along with a litany of Wrath. Yes, God can be wrathful. He is capable of simply standing back and letting the worst of the world happen to us, letting us flounder and flail about in our misery until we either finally come to understand that He is the light to which our spirits must cling and the lamp unto our feet, or we choose to give in completely. It is and always has been our choice. Our life, no matter what direction it takes, is the sum total outcome of all of our choices. God doesn’t cause us misery. He simply steps back, out of the way and lets us fall victim to our own choices. Why do some people die young? Why do some suffer with cancer and other things? Why do some believers here and in other countries get tortured and murdered?
Because God gave us free will.
He allowed us the ability to choose. Everything we go through, everything we suffer is either our own choice or as a result of a choice someone else made that influenced what happened in our lives. We are given the opportunity to overcome adversity, overcome the flesh, to choose to come out of all the misery this life throws at us and seek God. Yes, some people are born with problems. They’re born handicapped or ugly and deformed, missing limbs and parts of their minds. But if you notice, sometimes the it’s the ugliest, most imperfect people who have the most beautiful souls. Sometimes they are here for only a short time, to teach something to those who love them – and even those who don’t. It’s all in playing the hand we’re given and the chance to finish the race.
All life is valuable because it’s not this flesh that matters, this imperfect vessel we occupy for a time, it’s what we learn to grow into. Something far greater than what we are now. If you spend too much time worrying about the vessel instead of the fragile creation that’s inside it, you’ll miss your chance to be what God intended you to be – truly beautiful.
I remember hearing all of this from other people during my struggle with the darkness. I figured they had and understood something I didn’t have – and I didn’t have it because I couldn’t make myself understand. How many times in our lives have we had a problem in front of us, one we stared at for hours, days and even years on end until one day we finally see something in it that we never saw before? Something that was right there, in our faces all along and that we just dismissed as irrelevant or simply just didn’t look at it?
Well, that’s where this person I love dearly is at now. She has a choice to make and wants me to make it for her. I can’t do that for her. I can’t take her pain for her or from her. I can’t impart my knowledge to her because it’s not only difficult to explain but because it is something you only find when you set aside everything you think you believe in and become willing to see and learn something new. Only Jesus can do that.
When a Christian first comes to accept Jesus Christ, that’s just the first step. In some cases, people are healed and some even turn their lives around overnight. Others, like me and this person I care about, are extremely stubborn and live our lives based on the mental constructs that living this World has built in our minds. You have to tear all of that down and throw it into the fire before you can even begin to understand. You have to realize that you are ruled by your flesh and only when you can overcome that and live in the Spirit instead will you begin to know what faith truly is. And some of us aren’t curious and aren’t willing to look beyond what they think is “reality.”
I can talk to you all day long about the things I’ve seen, the unexplainable things that you will never believe until you experience them for yourselves. I can talk to you about how there really are other worlds out there, ones we can’t even conceive of, yet are all around us. Right beside us. Beyond death. But none of it will matter unless you decide to seek out the Word to God for yourself. If you are miserable, then you have to open your mind to the Lord, being both reachable and teachable. Not by me or anyone else, but God.
Consider the Ant and her ways.
My dear love, I remember this photo you took with my digital camera when you were a teenager. It was one among many snapshots you took, but it was unique because it was a close-up “macro” photo of an ant you found crawling across a piece of wood. It loomed large in the photo, and while it was oddly alien-looking, it was also a stark and beautiful work of art. God’s work. I want you to see life like that again. having interest in the wondrous things here on petri-dish earth.
I want you think about that ant. Just a lowly insect, yet they are known as the “lords of the earth” because what they do contributes something critical to the soil in our ecosystem. The simplest way to explain who and what we are is to (as the Bible says) study the ant and consider its ways. (Proverbs 6:6-8). The lesson is that it’s not just the storing up of food and provisions like the ant does, but its life cycle. The metamorphosis it undergoes during it’s time here on earth, shown here:
As you can see, an ant starts out first as an egg, then hatches to become larva. The larva begin to feed and they grow, develop into pupa. The pupae eventually grow and change, they shed their husk and a fully developed worker ant comes out of it. Some ants go on to breed, whether male or female, and the female lays eggs. After the egg laying, they eventually die. Then the whole process starts over again. When you look at this as stages of our existence, you can consider the eggs, the larvae and pupae as the three stages of our lives in this world, this dimension. The other, more fully grown and functional stages of being a worker and so on are in other places, other dimensions we cannot see. If you look at earth as a place where an extremely rare form of life – humanity – is being cultivated, observed, tested, vetted and allowed to grow further, your view on things like abortion and euthanasia change dramatically. You begin to see that all human life has potential, that you are a larva or a pupa, you come to understand that upon death and leaving the husk of your flesh behind, you are becoming something far greater than you can even dream of right now. In case you didn’t notice, those fully developed ants – the “kings” and “queens” – have wings. They can fly. There’s a lesson in that.
But, if you choose to give up on your life prematurely, if you forsake the chance you were given, then you truly die. But death in the higher dimensions isn’t death as we understand it. There is no “end,” just an awareness that you are separated from God. You won’t know Jesus, who is the Word and the Life, and you will not feel the intense love and companionship of the Holy Spirit that you refused to allow to reside within you. If you end your life, you throw that chance away. And the saddest part is, your torment doesn’t end just because you got rid of your pupa shell, your body and flesh. The real you still lives on, wandering – fully aware – in the outer darkness.
You see, hell is not what you think it is. Yes it’s endless torment, but it’s torment brought on because the others trapped in such outer darkness are bored. Yes, you heard that right. Bored. What would you do if you knew you were stuck somewhere and couldn’t die? As the millennia wore on, whatever you once were becomes incredibly bored and so you try to divert your attention, your awareness, to other pursuits. Hell isn’t just the stuff that happens to you when you are separated forever from God, but it’s also you trying to fill an endless amount of time with stuff to do. Dark things that you, as a living, breathing person can’t even imagine.
I made the mistake once of asking God to show me what hell looked like. Don’t ask God questions like that, because sometimes He will answer you and you won’t like it. Trust me on that one.
Try to understand this. Get into God’s Word and read it for yourself. Don’t just take what I say, learn the truth for yourself. It’s all there. Find out why your life really is precious, how it is a treasure to God, and why if you throw that treasure away, there truly will be no hope. Come to understand that Death is a transition to somewhere else, not an escape. The only escape is Salvation, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the only way. Take His hand and let Him lead you out of the Darkness. Understand that once you leave this world, there are only the absolutes of Light and Darkness. No gray areas. Choose light. Only then will you know what happiness really is.
Don’t count on other people to bring you happiness. I love you more than anything, and even I can’t promise you I’ll be there forever. The only one who can do that is God. Rely on Him, trust Him, and everything else will work itself out.
Give your troubles, fears, sadness, depression, addictions, anxieties and obsessions over to the Lord to take away from you. That is what Repentance is. Admitting there’s a problem, and giving it God, You be truly honest with yourself and God the nature of your problems, and you ask forgiveness for them. That’s all. There’s nothing mysterious about it. Once you begin to give your problems and every wrong thing [read: sin] you’ve done over to the Lord, you’ll begin to notice that your life begins to change for the better. Slowly at first, and there are struggles. But you keep on giving it all to the Lord until one day – sooner than you might think – you are moving forward into a good life. You may not be given everything you ever wanted, but you will find happiness.
To know God through His Son Jesus Christ is to know a peace and a love beyond all understanding. You’ve tried everything else. You’ve stared into the Abyss and it’s stared back at you long enough. Now try reaching out for Jesus. Call for Him out loud, by His name, Jesus Christ. If you really want Him to help you, this is how you reach out for Him. With truth, with honesty and setting all your pride aside.
I love you. Even more importantly, God loves you.
Featured image original link: http://angelcage.deviantart.com/art/Sad-Angel-No-More-18774469