What will it be? Corona Virus? Heart attack? Brain aneurysm? Stroke? Blood clot? Cancer? Car wreck? Hepatitis C? Lyme Disease? Swine Flu? Bird Flu? Asian Flu? E-coli? Mrsa? Sars Virus? Legionnaires’ Disease? Asbestos poisoning? Lead poisoning? Mercury poisoning? DDT poisoning? Food poisoning? Old age? Dirt on the Clintons? Mad Cow (more than one way for that to happen in rural Oklahoma)?
As an astute comedian put it very well years ago, “Death continues to be the number one cause of fatalities in America.” Death is a 100% guarantee historically. Just ask anyone who lived in the 1800s. Oh, wait, you can’t, they’re all dead!
Twice in the last century our world was engulfed in what came to be called “world wars.” 75,000,000 (that’s 75 million!) people died in World War II alone and millions lived for years fearing the possibility that we would lose the war! The century before that, our own nation was fighting a so-called “civil” war that took the lives of over 1,000,000 Americans and devastated the economy in the South.
It will always be something. From 1962 I remember my dad walking around our house in his orange flight suit. He was standing ready to be called to duty while my mom filled our bathtub with “emergency water” in case the missiles in Cuba were launched at us. That was just a small part of the “cold war” that kept anxiety alive and well for millions of folks over about 45 years.
So why do we dread death in the manner in which we do? God, through Solomon, said the truth is that the day of our death is better than the day of our birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1); this from a man who had every material advantage in this world! A poor, impoverished, diseased and lonely man we might envision saying that death might be good, but Solomon was healthy, smart, rich and powerful.
The certainty of death is exactly why God provided a fantastic way out through Jesus. His gift of eternal life, far away from this messed up world, is the reality on which we need to be focused. Let’s put our treasure there, like Jesus said (Matthew 6:19-21) and revel in our heavenly citizenship:
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20