Even Death Is About Hope
“No one gets out of life alive. There’s no such thing as a survival story.“
– Matthew McCullough
Maybe that sounds gloomy to you. Even though we know death is inevitable for each of us, it’s not a subject we bring up often. Talking about death can be considered morbid and taboo.
Because we live longer than ever before, we can dismiss death from our thoughts more than at any time in the past. As little as 300 years ago, the average life expectancy was the late thirties. The average life expectancy now? Nearly 80 year olds.
But death is no less inevitable than ever before. It’s simply a timing issue.
“Every one of us lives with a death sentence we cannot escape. We’re still waiting our turn.“
For the wise, facing death now means greater life now.
Matthew McCullough says that the best way to enjoy your life is to get honest about your death. He’s the author of the new book, Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope. And while it is a book about death, he frames it more about Jesus and his promises.
And therefore, even death becomes about hope.
Not just hope for life after death, although that is definitely huge. But hope about death also belongs in the present as well.
McCullough says that overcoming our detachment from death helps us enjoy a deeper attachment to Jesus. Understanding the gospel in light of death let’s us know that even though no one is too important not to die, we all are important enough for Christ to die for us.
“We are important because we are loved, not loved because we’re important.”
So we are to enjoy the life that God gives us now, as well as look forward to the life we’ll have after we die.
“Jesus’s death and resurrection have purchased freedom to enjoy what you have even when you know you’re going to lose it. Enjoy your vacation even though it’ll be over in a flash.”
The good things of life don’t have to be permanent to bring us joy.
“Of course these things won’t last. Yes, it will hurt when they’re gone. But they don’t have to last to be wonderful. They are delicious, God-given, God-glorifying appetizers for the hearty and satisfying meal that’s still to come.”
The problems we face in life aren’t permanent either. While they bring us pain and they matter, often the problems we focus on most aren’t our biggest problems. When we expect this world to offer us comfort and security, we wrongly see our suffering as abnormal. But McCullough writes that,
“Remembering death helps us stop trying to protect what we can’t protect. And remembering Christ helps us stop trying to protect what we don’t need to protect.”
Don’t waste your time protecting what can’t be protected.
We can place our hope not only in God’s goodness for us down the road, but also in God’s goodness for us now.
“Connecting with the certainty of death is a critical step toward connecting with the certainty of hope.”
* * *
My thanks to Crossway
for the review copy of this book
- Hope, Not Just FROM Bad, but FOR Good
- Hold Hope for One at a Time
Thank you, Lisa, for all your posts on hope and practicing hope. I’ll admit that while I admire you being able to write daily posts, I have a hard time keeping up. Just know that I do try and do appreciate them. I just wanted to tell you that since I don’t comment on all of them. This truth especially struck me today – “even though no one is too important not to die, we all are important enough for Christ to die for us.” His unconditional, unfailing love is such a comfort, isn’t it? Love and blessings to you!
I so agree that detachment from death, and the taboo about talking about it, are counterproductive. If you haven’t read it, you might be interested in Richard Beck’s book, The Slavery of Death (2013) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20558729-the-slavery-of-death
Very interesting. I have always struggled having hope in facing my eventual death, because it has been so hard to visualize heaven and this unnatural separation of spirit from a rotting body. Graphic, I know, but true. This is very hard to admit as a Christian. I know God’s Word is true, and I know that one day He will recreate the earth and that the new earth and heavens shall be one. But it’s just hard to think about my bones rising and enfleshing immortally. Going to that thin place Iona really helped and standing on the summit. I could see that heaven was so close. I could feel it. I need to hope in the God of all hope and in His sure and true promises. It will change how I live and die. Thank you, Lisa!
I think most believers come to this understanding naturally through the wisdom of God in us.
Mortality catches up with everyone. This is the basis of others coming to grasp and believe. If a person doesn’t have the capability to make themselves live forever… then they need to find the One who can.
Got off on a tangent there. I like that we’re coming to the time of a better understanding of this life and the truth of death.
Precious. We truly need to reframe life and death. When we look at them from God’s perspective everything changes. Suddenly there’s hope upon hope. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing this. Blessings to you!
Oh Lisa I needed this post right now. I am terrified of flying and I am about to fly from NYC to Los Angeles on Monday. Reading this post and specifically “Don’t waste your time protecting what can’t be protected.” is actually very comforting for me! I will keep repeating that to myself over the next couple of days!! Thank you so much for linking up!!