Rebecca's Ponderings

February 27, 2010

Why settle for half?

Filed under: Growing in Christ — Rebecca @ 4:08 am
Tags: , , ,

We recently finished reading through the book of Isaiah. This book is so rich, it was difficult to keep moving at the set pace. I wanted to linger over many of the passages, ponder them, and really study their full meanings. Yet I also value the perspective I am gaining from reading through the Bible in such a short time frame.

One interesting nugget that I did ponder a bit was Hezekiah’s prayer; I was amazed by his views of life and death. His statements seem to indicate that he had no, or at least very little, understanding of anything beyond death. He was focused exclusively on his earthly life. Viewing death as a curse, he said, “I cannot praise you from the grave.” He considered the years God added to his life to be a blessing and reward. He was fixated on life here, to the exclusion of the beauty of heaven.

This is the polar opposite of the views held by some Christians today. Here, in the rural south, gospel music is popular. It is filled with stories about how miserable life is on earth, but that we can have hope because one glorious day, we’ll go to heaven. There are descriptions of streets of gold, pearly gates, and beautiful mansions. Of course, this message is not just in the music. The church down the street often posts road signs reminding passersby of the eternal rewards and, more often, the eternal punishments awaiting us in the afterlife. They are fixated on life in heaven to the exclusion of the beauty here.

Both of these views would depress me as they leave out half of the equation. Thankfully, the Bible clearly teaches that there is life beyond the grave. Thankfully, it also teaches that the blessings of God are not solely reserved for the afterlife. Jesus said he came to bring life, and life to the full. Paul explained it well when he said, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” We are blessed either way. So instead of asking whether the glass is half-empty or half-full, perhaps we should just be asking Christ to give us a whole new glass?

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