And Then What?

My maternal grandmother passed away when I was a child. I was too young to really comprehend what had happened or even what death meant, and I had little (if any? I can’t recall) knowledge of Heaven or Hell.

So while playing video games–when I could typically think without interruption–my mind would wander every now and again to the thought of death, specifically about what happens at death.

Does death hurt? Is there nothingness afterwards? Are we conscious of that nothingness? And if not, is it possible at all to comprehend an end to all consciousness? Is it anything at all like sleep?

The thought terrified me, though I don’t remember ever talking to anyone about it.

Throughout my life, I still face that thought every now and then, though usually there isn’t anything to provoke it. And to this day, the fear it illicits is very real to the point that I feel like I really need to throw up, but can’t.

I experienced the thought again today, this time with the added realization that if death is the end, then it is impossible to do anything meaningful. You may say, “Do it for future generations.” Well, if death is the end, then the Bible is false and mankind will become extinct like every other beast that has dominated this Earth, whether by his own devices or by the extinguishing of the sun or some other cataclysmic event.

If death is the end, everything is futile. Think about that for a moment; just writing about it turns my stomach.

Does that sound stupid coming from a born again Christian? Probably. But doesn’t the Bible say to comfort each other with words pertaining to the resurrection of the dead–that death isn’t the end? It is comforting specifically because the thought of death is so frightening.

Sometimes I really feel like Chris Thile as he sings in “Doubting Thomas”: What will be left when I’ve drawn my last breath / Besides the folks I’ve met and folks who know me / Will I discover a soul cleansing love / Or just the dirt above and below me. I’m a Doubting Thomas … Oh me of little faith.”

And like the father of Mark 9:24, I cry out, “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief.”

Jesus came that we might not fear this life or the next. He came that we might have life, and that we’d have it abundantly.

It’s easy to say that Jesus came to show us the importance of this life–love our neighbors, live life to its fullest, etc.–because this life is all there is. And if death was the end, that’d be fine. But that’s only a partial, incomplete, and thus wrong view of what Jesus taught.

If death was the end, what of the treasures we’re to lay up in Heaven?

If death was the end, what of divine forgiveness rather than just that of our fellow man?

If death was the end, why did He rise again?

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord our Redeemer, who will raise the dead in Christ in triumph over the sting of death.

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord our Comforter, who can overshadow our fear and bring forth overflowing peace–peace that passes all understanding–into our hearts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use your Gravatar-enabled email address while commenting to automatically enhance your comment with some of Gravatar's open profile data.

Comments must be made in accordance with the comment policy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam; learn how your comment data is processed.

You may use Markdown to format your comments; additionally, these HTML tags and attributes may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

the Rick Beckman archive
Scroll to Top