Guest Post: Death and Eternity
Today I’m excited to share some valuable thoughts from my friend Roman Evers. Roman lives in Conway, Arkansas where he is currently involved in seminary classes as he prepares for the ministry. I appreciate his important perspective, and I hope you benefit from these considerations as much as I have!
Thinking about death can be an uncomfortable thing, even for believers, but it can also be of the highest value if viewed in the right perspective. The kind of meditating on death that is of real value is not just wondering what it will feel like when it comes or how it will happen; rather, it is considering the certainty of the fact that it will come (and you know not when) and on that basis asking the question, how then shall we live? The answer – we should live with death ever before our eyes, letting it motivate us to live a life that will count for eternity. Viewed in this way then, thinking on death is something that probably all of us ought to do more.
I would like to tell a story of something I experienced as a little boy that later served to provoke much good thinking on the subject of death for me. A young lady who used to babysit me died in a tragic car accident at age 17 or so; I can still remember getting the news that my sweet baby sitter had died, and how it troubled my little heart. One morning not long ago, when I awoke this was the first thought on mind: “Surely she did not expect to die that day. Many, if not most of us, do not wake up with that realization on the fateful day of our death. But what of me? Could today be the day that I cross over the river of death which all pilgrims and those who are not pilgrims alike must cross?”
This thought that “today could be the day I die” seemed to consume my mind so much that I was compelled to pen my thoughts in a poem for the next several hours.
When you awoke this morning,
did you think it would happen today?
No different from the day before
was the pattern that seemed to stay.
The sun shone through the window,
and warmed you where you lay.
You proceeded to make your plans,
while still basking in its ray.
And you thought out all your work,
allowing ample time for play.
All this you did without knowing,
that death would not delay.
For it suddenly came like a deluge,
and swept your soul away.
You say, “I did not foresee it,”
you’re not the first to say.
Death’s grip is now upon you
you can’t resist its sway.
The world was what you lived for,
happiness found in decay.
All those fleeting pleasures,
they lead your heart astray.
Doesn’t it all seem worthless now,
the games, the sports, the play?
Isn’t it all detestable now,
that talk you used to spray?
But you see where it began, don’t you?
it started in failing to pray.
Eternal light, Eternal light!
Open my eyes with spit and clay
For at the path’s end there’s a river
and all must go that way.
So then, let us live as though we had an appointment with death in the next moment–that by living in light of death we will live in light of eternity. Because eternity is all that matters when death is at the door.