I cannot remember ever thinking of my own mortality before I was 30 years old. If someone had asked me if I believed I would die someday, I would have said, “Yes… sure I will die one day; everybody dies eventually.” However, I think it would not be inaccurate to say that I did not believe such a thing back then. The temporary nature of this mortal life was not a thought I entertained because I am inclined to believe that I am impervious to death.
Even today, it is unusual for me to think much about the end of my time on this earth (though the thought is increasingly recurrent in my mind). However, in the language of the author of Ecclesiastes, “life under the sun” is indeed temporary. My own temporality is the source of exasperating anxiety and the cause of sincere trust. Both of these thoughts and feelings are the result of my concentrated meditation upon my own mortality.
On the one hand, when I think of my demise, I am horrified. My illusions of control or ability or autonomy are ripped from me, and I am left utterly exposed to powers greater than myself. I feel as I imagine I would if I were to find myself standing on the precipice of an unknown world, with the only certain information being that there are countless others within who are exponentially more capable and knowledgeable than I am. The land of eternity is a boundless intimidation for me. I am helpless, weak, and ignorant.
On the other hand, my thoughts of the eternal future turn to peace and tranquility when I remember that Christ is both Lord of eternity and my beloved Savior. Oh, the reversal of emotions I feel when this thought breaks in upon the previous anguish! The turbulent sea immediately becomes serene. Where anxiety reigned, now peace has dethroned and routed the debilitating tyrant. What I shall experience in the unknown world, I still know not; but this I know, the One who created and rules all worlds is He who loves and cares for me.
The temporal nature of this mortal life is indeed a paradoxically painful and joyful reality for me. I know that I am temporal, dependent, and mortal. But Christ, who is my God and Savior, is eternal, self-existent, and lives forevermore.