Friday, August 6, 2010

Opinion: My Wounds Cry for the Grave

Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.
Job 14:5

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16

Have you ever had a near-death experience? Perhaps you have been in an accident, or had a medical problem, that you are amazed that you lived through. I know people with incredible stories; people who say they should have died, and are mystified at why they are still here.

Or how about this: have you ever known someone who was supposed to live, but did not make it? Some seemingly inconsequential illness, or random action, resulted in death, and those familiar with that person are left in shock.

I have a theory. I’ll try not to get all Final-Destination on you, my friends. But my theory is simply this: we each have a set number of days to live, and there is nothing we can do to change it.

This theory is based on scriptures like the ones above, and a belief that though he gives us free will, God is in control.

I cannot prove this theory. Perhaps it is a simplistic view of life that conveniently resolves questions as to why one person survives a plane crash, while another dies while sitting in the safety of their living room. But I like to think that no matter what I do, whether I wear my seatbelt or not, whether I exercise every day or not, whether I jump out of a window or not, if it’s not my time to go, it's just not my time to go.

I often hear about unsuccessful suicide attempts. I often hear of athletes who are in perfect health--dying. People often call it a stroke of luck, or a freak accident. But what if it is neither of those?

I am not advocating reckless living here, please understand this. However, instead of exercising and eating right and going to the doctor to prolong my life, I do these things to increase the quality of it.

This theory could release some people who carry a guilty burden with them, who wonder if they could have prevented the death of someone they love, perhaps someone they are responsible for, like a child or family member.

And it becomes more difficult to believe this theory when a large group of people die at the same time, due to genocide or epidemic. I don’t have an answer for that.

But as for me, it helps me not worry about how I am going to die someday. It helps me not worry about my loved ones when I die. It helps me to live life freely and focus on my relationship with God, because I will die some day and stand before him. I may not know the day, but he does, and my security will rest with him.

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