When I was younger, death seemed so far away, yet it frightened me just like it does nearly everyone else. And in this day and age, no wonder: accidents happen, natural disasters occur, and terrorists wreck havoc on others’ lives. People fear pain, fear torture, fear leaving their loved ones behind to face the world– and perhaps most of all, they fear what’s beyond the curtain.
…. I know what you’re thinking already: “It’s the usual talk of not needing to be frightened of death because you’re a Christian and already know where you’re going after you die.” Well, yes, that IS a part of it. But that’s not ALL this article is about.
This article is about how not only is this current, fallen, temporary world NOT our true home, but it is also about how our bodies aren’t even US.
Some of you *might* be staring at me like you think I’ve a few screws loose or something, but that’s besides the point. And I can personally reassure you, I am perfectly sane (unless you count that real-life Pokemon I’m hiding in my closet… But that’s another story 😉 ).
My reasoning is fairly simple, actually: Since the Garden Incident (as I’ve taken to calling it), our bodies have become as temporary, as vulnerable to sin as this world itself. Disease and grave robbers have proven it time and time again. Our bodies aren’t even ours, in actuality; they belong to God and He is gracious enough to permit us to USE them, for a period of time (think of it as housing rent, really.). Our bodies are actually temporary housing units, our “shells”.
Think about it in this light: A turtle’s shell isn’t actually the turtle ITSELF. The turtle itself is INSIDE the shell, and uses the shell for housing and protection. Of course, if you were to rip the poor turtle from its shell, the turtle would likely perish, and its shell would remain empty of its previous contents. Now, I’m not saying souls can die like the actual turtle (unless they possibly went to “the other place” instead of heaven… then they would be unfortunate enough to die a million eternal, excruciating deaths over, and over, and over… 😥 ); I’m saying our bodies are the shells we carry our souls in. They never were the “real us”. It’s true what they say about external beauty; it’s only skin-deep. Eternal beauty lasts, and is hidden deep within our souls. Our souls are the real us; our personalities, our hopes, beliefs, dreams, and so forth. Without our souls to animate them, our bodies, our shells, are nothing more than simply discarded puppets.
In Ted Dekker’s book “Outlaw,” Mr. Dekker openly supports this way of thinking, in fact, it is one of the major themes later on in the story and is also the reason one of the protagonists does not fear death. The only difference is, Dekker refers to our rented-out bodies as our “costumes” instead of “shells,” like I do, but essentially it means the same thing. Our bodies are just that– a disguise, a cover-up, masks, make-up, fancy clothes– the whole nine yards. When I read about that particular theme, I wanted to leap with joy. Here is a person, I thought, who gets it. Just like me.
Do you see why I no longer fear death, now? 🙂 Physical death is not something we should fear, especially if we know where we’re headed. What happens is that your soul, your entire being, just basically leaves house and goes to a permanent residence. It may seem painful or scary at the time, but it’s not something you should need to fear. When it happens, it happens (and it could literally happen any day, because hey, you never know…).
I hope this article helped change the way you see death and dying in general; God never wants us to be afraid of physical death, but spiritual death (one of the main reasons He gave us Jesus.). So as long as you have that downpat, you’re all set and ready for your new home someday! (And with God’s blessing, you and I will able to meet there in person!)
Image Credit: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/33180/20150216/italian-cemetery-gives-details-evolution-cholera.htm , Google Images