I've been thinking of writing this for a while, and have held back because I don't want those struggling with thoughts of hurting or killing themselves to get the impression I might approve of those choices... I don't. In fact, two of my previous blogs include the reasons why: Suicide and The Days After.
Having clarified that, I now wish to share my thoughts on death.
I have been contemplating death lately. Not in a "I want to die" way, but just in a general, death sucks way.
Let's face it, when we experience the death of a loved one, we hurt. When we face death, we fear. None of these are emotions we wish to experience, we would avoid them at all cost if we could. As a Christian, I think to the Bible for many of my answers, and in there I discover a story of a Man who not only had the option of never dying, but this same One voluntarily chose to die, in a most cruel, public, painful way. The only reason He suffered this way was to save us from the fate of an eternal death.
When we go back to the beginning, I guess you could say that Adam also chose death. His motives were not so altruistic as Christ's. Adam chose death because he did not think he could live without his beloved Eve, who had been deceived into taking death.
Adam's choice brought death to all living things, contamination of all things beautiful and lovely. Christ's choice returned peace, joy and love, allowing the eventual return of eternal life to all who had initially chosen death.
When Eve, and then Adam, ate the forbidden fruit, was death their punishment? Was it the only option? I have to admit that I am absolutely grateful that it was. The longer I live on this earth, the more I am grateful that we do not have the option of eternal life in this state. Life is regularly horrible, continually throwing evil, traumatic events in our paths. Only by the grace of God do we survive at all. Death, I believe, was not intended to be our punishment, but rather our saving grace. No matter how horrid things get, we know that there will be an end. It will either come through death or through the second coming of Christ.
This doesn't meant that I don't grieve horribly when I lose a loved one. If you have read my blogs, you will know the depth of my pain when I consider the deaths of my siblings, I sometimes fear the death of my close friends and remaining family. I don't like pain, I especially don't like emotional pain! What it does mean is that I greatly anticipate with joy the second return of Christ, when I will see my loved ones resurrected to life, when I myself will be restored to eternal life and the privilege of meeting my Saviour and Lord, learning at His knee, basking in His glory for all time.
So... death as a punishment? Or death as an escape? Probably both. We can learn a lot from the discipline God hands out. We can view Him as an unrealistic parent, dishing out punishment without consideration, or we can thank Him for the disciplines He provides, recognizing they are, in the long run, for our own good.
My perspective on this matter, I welcome your comments in response.