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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “Tanks for the Memories”
While today’s episode focused a lot on humorous attempts to “steal winter” and used hibernation as a metaphor, there’s little doubt that the true theme of this episode is death.
Death is inevitable. Everything that is born will one day die and return to the dust. Yet what is possibly unique to humans is that most of us are fully aware that we will inevitably die before it actually happens. As a result, we attach a great deal of importance to our impending deaths.
Death is an intimidating thing, and perhaps even a scary one. For the Christian, we know that is especially true because just as death is inevitable, so too is the judgment that comes after death as well as the final judgment of the dead at the end of time.”And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28). Death carries a promise of salvation and peace for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, while it carries a promise of condemnation and eternal torment for all others.For this reason, critics of both Christianity as well as other religions often accuse them of being orders that make people feel good about death because they’re “too cowardly” to face it head on.
I disagree with that on two parts. For one, people can be “cowardly” about death with or without religion. (Look at suicide bombers or murderers-suiciders for an extreme example.) That’s because, like I said, death is a powerful and intimidating thing no matter who you are. At the bare minimum, one can confidently say one’s own death will be the final great and important event of their lives and will leave a lasting impact on everyone they have ever formed any connection with. To not feel the slightest bit of awe, trepidation, or fear about that is, at least to me, a sign that one has not taken the time to think about how serious of a matter it is regardless of religion or no religion.
The second part is that Christians are fully capable of fearing death as much as non-Christians, because while our souls might go on our physical lives are over, and there are things that we only get one chance to accomplish. As you get older, you might start wondering about how much of your life your spent working and how much time you spent building relationships. How much time you wasted on more self-centered pursuits and how much time you spent with your family. Wondering if you should have had more children or gotten married while you were still young. If you should have studied this or that in school rather than gotten locked in to a different position. Lifestyle choices you wish you had made or hadn’t made. Times you should have helped other people and been less selfish, or relationships you wish you had maintained or hadn’t broken. And as you get older, the most intimidating thought of all…the realization that you have fewer days ahead of you than you have behind you. These are the thoughts that a saved person can have just as much as an unsaved person, atheist, agnostic, or anyone else.
These thoughts, like many thoughts, are natural and neither good nor bad. While the guideline to “live without regrets” is a good rule of thumb to adhere to, odds are we all have some if for no other reason than everyone’s priorities shift as they get older and they value certain things more than others. The important thing to do is not to expect no regrets in our lives or wishes of things we could have done, but when one arises to not be so sunk in regret or depression about what was failed to do or missed out on that we ignore our future potential. So long as you’re alive…so long as you’re still breathing and have your wits about you and your body to move…there’s always a chance to get more out of life. There’s always opportunities still out there that can be seized.
For Biblical examples, Noah was 600 years old when he boarded the Ark. Abraham was 100 years old when he finally had the son that God had promised would eventually make his descendants as numerous “as the stars of heaven”. Moses was 80 years old, and I imagine thinking of spending his last few days being a quiet herder, when he was called to deliver Israel from Egypt. Job is believed to have been 70 years old when he lost everything, including all of his sons and daughters, and was likely a man as good as dead…yet he went on to live another 140 years afterward, restarting his family and becoming even more prosperous.
These all might be a bit extreme as people don’t live that long through normal means, but the point that it makes clear is that even when the world says a person has no time or life left, God always gives people time and purpose according to his clock, and that there isn’t an age in which we are “too old” or “too far gone” to make a life of difference both for ourselves and for eternity.
There is the true encouragement for the Christian over the non-believer in regards to death; that so long as we “seek first the Kingdom of God” we have blessed assurance of leading a life that makes a difference in spite of our fears and regrets. My prayer for today is that we are able to live without either “chaining us down” and keeping us from living as we were meant to live.
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you that you have promised to not only grant salvation and eternal life to all who confess their sins and accept you as Lord and Savior, but that you have seen this as too little; that you have also promised to grant us a life that makes a difference and an impact so long as we hold fast to you and seek to do your Will first. Help me to cling to this when regret and fear threatens to stymie the remaining days I have been gifted on this Earth and to make a firm decision, starting today, to move on from the past and live the remainder of my life ‘without regrets’. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”