“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work.
I want to achieve it through not dying.”
I don’t think much about dying. I avoid the whole idea. But then Easter comes along… when God died. And that brings the whole terrible subject up again. Easter – with it’s Maundy Thursday, it’s tombs and grave clothes – annually reminds me of death.
But I get reminded annually anyway: birthdays. Yes, that’s right, birthdays remind me of death.
It wasn’t always this way. When I was little, I couldn’t wait for the next birthday. They couldn’t come fast enough. I ran into the future. I threw myself into years like a boy throwing himself into waves at the beach.
Each birthday was a bigger and better wave. Each moment a bigger thrill. I couldn’t wait until I was 10, when I could try out for little league. At 16, I could get my driver’s license. At 18, I could head off to college. Birthdays (then) brought waves of life – more and more.
Then somewhere along the way, a birthday (I can’t remember exactly which one) started feeling more like drowning. It was an odd sensation that grew with time. Birthdays began to weirdly feel more like losses – instead of gains. But like I said, I don’t talk about it much. I blow out my candles, endure the jokes and smile for the camera. Even so, the anxiety persists. It is getting so that I have trouble remembering the thrill of life because of the dread of death.
But then Easter comes along… when God didn’t avoid the terrible idea. In fact, as the story goes – He headed straight for it. And then… through it.
You are reading this the week after Easter. I waited to post this until now because it wasn’t until the days after the resurrection that the disciples began to understand what was happening to them. The more He appeared to them, the more it began to dawn on them. Jesus’ death had not been a mistake. His death, they came to see, had been the goal all along. Jesus didn’t come to conquer the Romans, He came to conquer Satan – and Satan’s hell and Satan’s death.
It started to dawn on the disciples – a different kind of life is possible. Not a little life free of Roman rule – no, a big life was possible. The resurrection meant that they could live! – free from the dread of death. And this thought, this bright rising thought – made them fearless.
This turns everything upside down. The instinct to run into life is the right instinct after all. Just when I am about to decide that passion for life is just a foolish, childish dream – Easter dawns.
And the Risen King shouts, “Run, child! Run into life! Throw yourself into it! There’s more where that came from.”
Let’s be fearless.
We are holding a seminar at the end of the month entitled “Hope in the Darkness: Walking with Individuals and Families Impacted by Depression” at Quail Hollow Presbyterian Church. It will be Saturday, April 27th from 9am to 1pm. To learn more and to register please visit http://hopeinthedarkness2013.eventbrite.com/#.
Roger Edwards joined The Barnabas Center in 1991. In addition to counseling individuals and couples, Roger teaches and leads discussion groups about applying the Bible to everyday life. He is a licensed professional counselor, holds a master’s degree in biblical counseling from Grace Theological Seminary in Indiana and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is married to Jean, and they have seven children.