Faith is on the front page, and the headlines are ghastly. America has been given a fresh look into a barbarism as old as time itself, albeit a look we did not ask for.
It’s easy to ignore tragedy and injustice when it’s out of sight. It’s more difficult when it’s thrown in your face, and we have received a face full of imagery from people determined to show us a horrible ending for anyone refusing to submit to their ideology.
A string of tragedies is unwinding before us, and reporters seem unable to provide the hope that we so desperately need. As we waited to learn the fates of journalists kidnapped in the Middle East, news anchors reported despairingly on the situation, predicting that regardless of any developments, there would be no good ending.
No good ending.
For many, this is true. When the atrocity is over, the body no longer moves. Life is overcome by death, not only of the body, but of the meaning once ascribed to its molecules in motion.
This is the lament of the naturalist, those who believe the natural world is all there is and all there ever will be. For the naturalist, there is one final ending, and it is not good.
Largely unrecognized by those who believe life can retain its meaning and purpose without the prospect of a life hereafter is the inescapable fact that without ultimate meaning and purpose in eternity, there can be no ultimate meaning or purpose to our short time spent on Earth.
But the Christian need not dig in to such an indefensible position. The Christian may confidently assert the fact of meaning and purpose in our lives today; they have no reason to flinch from a charge that his philosophy is based on an illusion, or worse yet, a delusion.
For the Christian, the end of life as we know it is not the end. The death of the body brings new life to a spirit destined to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The Christian is promised neither a good life, nor a good death. It promises only a life of service, glorifying the one person worthy of worship, the Creator of life itself.
Indeed, God has made a promise to those who put their faith and trust in him:
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (NIV, 1 Thess. 4:16-17).
It is the promise of a good ending.
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