'Do you really believe in life after death?'
The man’s question was earnest. It was as if he wanted to believe but was not sure that it made sense. He had recently lost a close friend, and he was now thinking about death in a different manner.
Death is one of those topics that we avoid in polite conversation today. In fact, we use many euphemisms to describe it, right? I’ve already used one when I said the man, “lost” his friend. We speak of passing away or losing the battle.
I’ve thought more of death recently than usual. My dad was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in November and recently entered hospice care. Each time I see him he is clearly weaker.
I’ve already begun the grieving process. While driving home from a recent visit, Dan Fogelberg’s song, “Leader of the Band,” brought me to such tears that my chest was heaving and I had to pull to the side of the road.
But back to the original question: Do I believe in life after death? I believe in the resurrection. In fact, I would say to you that is the fundamental and foundational fact of our faith.
In 1 Corinthians Paul declared, “If there is no resurrection, then Christ has not been raised… and if Christ has not been raised then your faith is in vain…and you are still in your sins…and we are of all people, most to be pitied.”
In other words, without the resurrection the Christian faith is of no value at all. But we are confident that Jesus was raised, and that his resurrection is a guarantee on our own.
Paul refers to Jesus as, “the firstfruits of the resurrection.” That implies that there will be more.
I have faith that God tells the truth. I have faith that he is more powerful than even death. In fact, I’m basing my life and my death on that truth. I’m going to live forever. And that gives me the strength I need to face whatever comes my way.
Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, “Thou are with me.” And because of that, I have peace and joy.