Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has great mercy, and because of His mercy he gave us new life. This new life brings us a living hope through Jesus Christ’s resurrection from death.
Now we wait to receive the blessings God has for His children. These blessings are kept for you in heaven. They cannot be ruined or be destroyed or lose their beauty.
1 Peter 1:3-4 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
What about death is to be feared? Nothing? Or nothingness?
Whatever we believe, only one of two things will happen as we draw our last breath. Either we will know no more, or our souls will live on with some sort of consciousness. Either nothing or everything. In a way, it’s kind of like a reverse lottery. All the numbers but the one chosen get the prize. How often, when we play because the pot is hundreds of millions, do we really expect to win? Faith in Christ, however, bets on upside-down odds. I’m sure to win simply because I choose to believe. And it costs me nothing.
Today, I’m thinking about this curious concept of “nothing”. As a believer in the God of the Bible, and my Savior Jesus Christ, I have lost my fear that nothing, or rather, that nothingness follows death. Yes, I am aware that my hope might be false; that my thoughts will simply cease. I confess, however, that there are times when I would welcome an ending like that, especially considering the behavioral and health struggles life has drug (dragged?) me through. In other words, such a fate would be a relief. Why would I fear it?
Perhaps what we social creatures fear, then, is a sense of no longer getting to be involved, of not participating further in life – in the lives of those around us. As if it were some sort of punishment. A divine and permanent time out, face in the ethereally drab corner, nothing ever again to behold. Bingo. This is the essence of life eternal, and the “hell” to be afraid of is to be forever separated from God and from our loved ones. But why choose nothing, when everything is the alternative?
Is there anything in life then to fear? I submit not, although this is the much harder ‘fear of nothing’ to pull off. There are many parts of living that can hurt, physically and emotionally. Heck, there are things that cause me ‘logical’ pain – like the growing absence of common sense in today’s world. Consequences can be dreadful. Self-condemnation is agonizing.
But “because of His mercy He gave us new life … A living hope.” That is, almost infinite second chances. When we fall, we are invited to rise up, literally pulled back to our feet by an unseen hand. I like this kind of ‘nothing to fear’! Simply put, my faith sustains me through whatever life brings because, “This, too, shall pass.”
The key, I think, is in the sentence, “These blessings are kept for you in heaven.” Sentence, as in a period of time to be served, bound to “human existence”, at the conclusion of which I am to be set free. Free to enjoy the ‘everything’ of eternal life.