I took a Zumba class last week and felt like I was dying. Twenty minutes into the class, I was gasping for air, my face was beet-red, and my leg muscles felt like they were on fire. All to the beat of Latin music and in the name of physical fitness.
After another twenty minutes, things hadn't gotten any worse. (Whew.) I could almost imagine the fat cells on my hips waving a white flag. Staggering on to the end of the hour, I breathed a giant sigh of relief. I'd survived. (In fact, I think I'll have to do it again sometime. Maybe even today!)
The point is, I endured this torture to help prolong my life. When the truth is, my body has been dying as long as I've been living. Blood cells, skin cells, ... brain cells. And as much as I might try to push it off with exercise and healthy eating, someday I will face death itself.
The good news? As Max Lucado pointed out in his book, Six Hours One Friday, Jesus was always interrupting funerals. From the funeral procession outside of town to the daughter of a synagogue ruler. From his dear friend Lazarus to his own tomb.
Jesus spoke life into hopeless situations just to send the message that everything is going to be all right. Death does not get the final word. It's merely the doorway to the life to come.
So, I can "live like I'm dying" and make the most of every opportunity here. And I can also look forward to the day when I shed this life's pain for an eternity in God's presence.
Death is not the end. It is only the beginning.
What about you? Where is the balance between postponing death and longing for the life beyond?