How Do You See Things?

          If there is one thing that this pandemic has done, it is to make us more conscious of our limitations and our mortality. It also has reminded us of the uncertainty of this life.  There are no guarantees. The sobering truth is any one of us could contract COVID-19 (or any other potentially fatal disease for that matter). And if so, maybe we would be among the blessed individuals who exhibit no sign of the disease. Maybe we would experience a mere annoyance. Then again, perhaps we would find ourselves fighting for our lives in the ICU. Of course, it could be the very thing that ushers us into the Lord’s presence.  

          I’d like a little more time here though. I’m certain you do too. For this reason, among others, I strive to make the most of the time that God does give me. Every day is a gift from His hand and I don’t want to take it for granted. But, if the Lord should deem otherwise, I’ll be glad to go.

          This is how St. Paul saw things. He writes in His Letter to the Philippians, “I will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”

          This is a man who had one foot in this world and the other in the next. In essence he learned to walk in two worlds at the same time. Should he have shifted to one side, he’d have been perfectly at ease. Should he have shifted to the other; that too would have been completely acceptable. Such can be the disposition of anyone who has trusted Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Where do you fall here? How do you feel about this arrangement? 

          Early this week I happened to see an opinion piece in The Washington Post by a Harvard professor named Pinker. Accusing Christians of being behind the push to end the COVID-19 lockdown, Steven Pinker wrote, “Belief in an afterlife is a malignant delusion, since it devalues actual lives and discourages action that would make them longer, safer, and happier.”

          What an incredibly ignorant statement to make, and factually inaccurate! To the contrary, history is replete with examples of men and women of Christian faith who while looking forward to Heaven have been completely and passionately engaged in caring for the various needs and alleviating the sufferings of countless millions on this planet. How many examples do you know of humanistic secularists doing the same?  I can think of none. 

          In contrast to Pinker and those with a similar mindset stands a giant of Christianity, Ravi Zacharias, who entered into glory last week. Ravi’s eternal perspective is summed up in a hymn written by the New England Puritan, Richard Baxter (1615-1691). Ravi quoted him just weeks before his unexpected death:

Lord, it belongs not to my care

Whether I die or live;

To love and serve Thee is my share,

And this Thy grace must give.


If life be long, I will be glad

That I may long obey;

If short, yet why should I be sad

To welcome endless day?


Christ leads me through no darker rooms

Than He went through before;

He that unto God’s kingdom comes

Must enter by this door.


Come Lord, when grace hath made me meet

Thy blessed face to see;

For if Thy work on earth be sweet

What will thy glory be!


Then I shall end my sad complaints

And weary sinful days,

And join with the triumphant saints

That sing my Savior’s praise.


My knowledge of that life is small,

The eye of faith is dim;

But ’tis enough that Christ knows all,

And I shall be with Him.

           That second verse in particular speaks to what I’ve been talking about in this post.  In life and in death joy is ours as we come to see things in His light.

In Him, Pastor Paul