They say that in life we cannot be certain of anything. Even if we have our whole future or maybe just our day planned out, we still have to account for variable changes – things we cannot really foresee will happen. It can be as mundane as the sudden change in the weather – the sunny day becoming cloudy and oftentimes rainy (a common scene in a tropical country riddled with global warming) or it may be an unexpected job promotion or a pop quiz in class. Life is indeed full of uncertainties.
But one thing in life we can be certain of – and that is death. It may be a morbid topic for some, for some it may be taboo. No one alive really likes speaking about death, much less discussing it. It oftentimes bring many gloomy thoughts and some believe it disrespectful to be speaking of death amongst robustly alive individuals and all the more around ill ones.
The latest events in the lives of my friends – all from different social networks – has led me to consider that death is indeed an inevitable event in a person’s life. And as such one that merits much preparation. If we prepare for things which are uncertain – we study so hard in college but we are really uncertain if we can pass our dream medical or law school or maybe land our dream job – then all the more should we prepare for things which are certain in life – and as such our death.
I have seen friends who encountered sudden deaths in their families and they are suddenly at a lost on how to handle the death of their loved one. And I mean not just emotionally (although this is hard enough) but also financially and logistically (which I believe if one is not prepared is actually harder). Imagine the stress of having to decide on the coffin, on the wake services, on the burial manner – these are decisions hard to make if one is caught unprepared.
But more than the questions of how we would want our departed bodies treated on earth once we die, the more pressing question would probably be how we want our souls treated when we die. Now some may argue that there is no afterlife – that we vanish into thin air once our bodies cease breathing – but I beg to disagree. I believe in an afterlife – something far more glorious than this ruined habitat we call earth. So bear with me.
Now if we assume there is indeed an afterlife, how have we prepared our souls for it? Some would say, Oh I’ve been a really really good person here on earth – giving alms to the poor, not littering on the streets, saying kind words to people. I am good and I believe I deserve heaven. Or maybe some of us would say, Well I tried my best to live a good life here on earth, it’s up to God to decide where I’ll be. And even some of us would say, So what if I go to hell?
Can you see the various levels of uncertainties we have of our afterlife? So we are certain we would die – how we would die, we do not know. But we are uncertain what would happen afterwards.
I say that apart from the certainty of death, we can most be certain of what our afterlife would look like. That for me is one of the surest things we can have here on earth.
The afterlife is only two things: Heaven and Hell. They are real and certain places, very much opposite in character. Where in heaven there is eternal joy and prosperous living in the company of other people, in hell there is eternal torture and suffering – alone. Yes, in hell suffering is not in the company of other people but alone. So who would still want to go to hell?
Of course everyone would want to go to the place of bliss and joy. But how do you go there? It is easy to go to hell – live a sinful life and you are bound for eternal damnation. But heaven is a different thing. No amount of godly living will get you there. Contrary to popular opinion being good doesn’t merit a ticket to heaven. In fact no amount of good works will make the gates of heaven open wide for us.
So where does that place us? If we can’t get into heaven where do we go? There are only two destinations – it’s either one or the other. No gray areas.
The good thing about all this discussion of death and the afterlife is that there is a sure way for us to go to heaven. I am sure we all dream of heaven – I mean who dreams of going to hell? Or if we haven’t think about it, maybe we should start doing so, given all the deaths happening around us – open your eyes and look around and you’ll see dying people everywhere.
So what then is the ticket? *drum roll please*
Jesus and what he did on the cross.
Just that. Plain and simple. Believe in that single event two thousand years ago. Know it’s implication in our life. Accept his sacrifice. Pursue a personal relationship with a Personal Savior.
And you can be certain that your afterlife is well taken care of. All that’s left now is the logistics of your burial. *wink*