Two Dates

dateIn what seems to me like a cosmic joke, a person’s life is often boiled down to a sequence of numbers – two dates with a dash between them.

The first is the date of our birth. Its arrival every year is an occasion for joy, gifts, or perhaps just a little extra attention. We write it on official documents. It’s a friend to us, right down to the whole “absence makes the heart grow fonder” thing – the further we get, the worse we feel.

The other, the day of our death, is unknown to us until it arrives. We will, by definition, never write it down. By the time it’s known, we can do nothing about it. It evokes loss, shadow, evaluation, the arranging of one’s affairs and moving on.

At least it does for “the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

But this last week, a friend of mine passed (expected), and the words used to describe her passing were, “She met Jesus!”

Immediate jealousy.

My friend escaped. She got out. She finally leaped beyond the reach of this world’s grime and reached Jesus.

And it hit me:

The day of our earthly passing will be a far greater day, a far more powerful and glorious marker, a far better friend, than our birthday ever was.

The day when all burdens are dropped like moldy bread into a trashcan. When our many soul glitches are instantaneously debugged. When all purposes are finally understood. When all rewards are revealed. When all tears are wiped away. When all bodies are made imperishable. When glory is, in one moment, dramatically and irreversibly redefined.

What is our birthday compared to that?

That day was all tears. Tears of joy for our moms, maybe, but of confusion and cold and blinding for us. Talk about shifting worldviews.

The next birth, the final birth, will be as waking from a dream and seeing truth in the flesh. With no expiration date.

I don’t know any of the digits of the date of my earthly death beyond the first two of the year (I’m guessing “20”). I personally hope to release at least four books, have a family, hike the Continental Divide trail, see Halley’s Comet, and hear a new DC Talk album first. (Not optimistic on the last one.)

But if I don’t…and this is so abstract but I’ve got to believe it…will I regret anything? Will I even be capable of something like that as I finally see him in all his splendor?

According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3b-4 HCSB)

I’m starting to see my death day as less an enemy and more a friend, eagerly waiting.

32 thoughts on “Two Dates

  1. Amen, Brandon. Death is not the end, it is like a new birth. One of my favorite sayings is “Jesus didn’t die just to get you into heaven, He died to get a bit of heaven into us.”

    When we die, spiritually it should feels as if we are simply stepping from one room to the next. It often takes a lifetime to draw that close to Him, but I have seen elders do it, I have seen them die with contentment, excitement even, as if they were going on a world cruise. Better than a birthday, indeed, but we need this life to prepare us,so make good use of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. TY, Brandon for sharing your insights. As a Bereaved Mom, I am forever aware of those 2 dates. Most importantly, I am aware of that ‘dash’ to the finish line. We all have an ‘appointed time’. My son had his and I will have mine. Some simply are able to fill even the shortest ‘dash’ more fully than what it may take others 80 yrs. to fill. (((HUGS))) I’m very sorry for your temporary loss.

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  3. Sorry for your friend, Brandon, even though she is as happy as one could ever be now; the ones that are left still hurt. I, too, find myself looking forward to that day more and more the older I get. Stuff hurts, life gets frustrating, and the earthly future seems so uncertain and even frightening. But, the future beyond that gives hope that increases with each day. Thanks for this, Brandon.

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  4. Not having to be afraid of death is a subject that ought to be talked about more. It is good to remember what lies at the end of the road.

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  5. Awesome post, Brandon. I like to think of my time here on Earth as an extended mission trip and when God says my trip is done and calls me home to Heaven and I will be ready, whenever that may be. I love the hymn “I’m But A Stranger Here, Heaven Is My Home”.

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  6. I’m sorry that you lost your friend. ❤ But to think of where she is now!

    Your point about not fearing death and looking forward to meeting Jesus reminds me of the lyrics from one of my favorite dongs, In Christ Alone:

    "…No guilt in life, no fear in death
    This is the power of Christ in me
    From life's first cry to final breath
    Jesus commands my destiny…"

    Liked by 1 person

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