This question must be asked thousands of times every day. Every minute, 105 people die; 6,500 every hour. By the time you have finished this chapter, more than 1,000 people will have died. How many times today will that question be asked? Yet how strange that it takes the moment or the threat of the moment for the question to come to the forefront. I think the Creator wants a change in perspective, this set of priorities, but it seems – particularly in the West – that our mindset is fixated on survival, on health, on staying alive, on a better quality of life. Yet how hollow all that sounds and feels when death stares us in the face in our family, when it’s our friend, our spouse, or our relative.
Hebrews 9:27 tells us, ‘It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement.’ As we’ve just seen, there is more than one death every second. There is no doubt that every one of us will face death – it is even more certain than taxes. It is the one certain thing that every human being will face; every human being ever born has faced it. The only way out of life is death. Unless Jesus returns, everyone reading these words right now will die, Christian and non-Christian alike.
For the Christian, death is different: it must be different, it has to be different, it really is different! Death is not a brick wall, it’s not an unscalable rock face or a cul-de-sac at the end of life’s road. It’s a doorway to the greatest adventure of all time. It’s the journey home after a long time away. It’s a doorway to a new world, a better world, a world that we would choose now if we could. For those reading who are not yet followers of God, the truth is rather different. The choices made on earth are sealed at death, there is no second chance and no coming back!
When we go out on our family boat – even for a few days – there are hours of detailed preparation. We look at the weather, charts, navigation for day and night, tides, winds and full details on how to get into each new harbour or port. We work out who can go and what they can take. If research is to be believed, our family spends more time preparing for those things than most people ever spend thinking about death and what lies beyond it!