“If mortals die, will they live again?” (Job 14:14a)
GOD'S POWER TO GIVE NEW LIFE
The quote above is one of the questions that Job has, when he is in the midst of his misery. You’ll recall that Job lost just about everything - his property, his sons and daughters, his health. (See Chapters 1 and 2 of Job.)
On the one hand, Job is hoping that he can be hidden in Sheol (Job 14:13) and be left alone by God for a while. On the other hand, he believes that once humans die, they “do not rise again.” (Job 14:12)
I know people who have had close calls with death and it has been a kind of wake-up call. Once restored to health, they become resolute on living life to the fullest, including the pursuit of the things that they believe they are supposed to do before they die. (I have also known a few people who have gotten the wake-up call and not changed anything about they way they lived, prior to the accident or health scare. You might say that they didn’t wake up.)
For us as Christians, we can be both/and people. But that I mean this. We can strive to make the very most of the life we have been given on the earth, to love and serve others as we worship and glorify God. AND, we do not believe, with Job, that this life is the only one we will live. We believe that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead will raise us after we die, too, and that we will have some kind of body - some kind of recognizable body that reflects the uniqueness of who we are - in the next life.
We die, and - you might say - we are deader than dead. And then God, because of who God is, gives us life… all over again. There is new life, resurrected life, in a similar way to the way that God gave us life the first time around, when we were born on this earth.
Perhaps you have heard these words from the poem The Summer Day, by Mary Oliver:
“Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it that you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”
What DO you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Are you doing it? Does what you are doing have something to do with what you hear God calling you to do?
And… are you open to the possibility that God has a second wild and precious life waiting for you, one that will never end, one that will be lived in the nearer presence of the Lord - once this life is over?