The Maze: Part 10, Death

The only thing that stood in between me and the door were these huge, ginormous, super tall, gigantic, humongous, really tall statues.

They were scary, scary, scary.  They were these tall statues of that Egyptian god that’s a dog or something.  I can’t remember if they had those Egyptian always-awake side-eyes or not.  But I was petrified they were animatrons.

I would not go forwards.  I was so close to the end.  I didn’t want to give up, but I was terrified.  My dad couldn’t wheel me anymore.  He tried to inspire me by saying something like, “Look, you can see the outside.”  And he was right.  The bright, sunny, warm, happy day was streaming into this last abysmal corridor of the maze.

There was an attendant nearby, and my mom went up to her and asked her if the statues moved.  Mom told her I had a terrible fear of animatrons.  The attendant said they did not move.  I watched people exit with no problems.  And I didn’t believe the attendant would lie when she had to see how scared I was.

Well.

I walked past those really tall, humongous, gigantic, super tall, ginormous, huge statues, and I was keeping a close eye on the one closest to me.  And right when I got to where, if I took one more frightened step, I would be right in front of it–that thing started walking towards me.

I’ve heard for a long time now that people fear public speaking more than death.

I’m not sure I believe that.

Death is a scary idea.

I have things that terrify me like everyone else (ok, maybe more than some people), but if I was truly forced to pick between death and one of them . . . I’m not sure I would pick death.  Maybe I would.  But the idea of really leaving my body, really going into eternity . . . that’s terrifying to me.

I don’t know myself without my body.  I have never seen my soul.  I don’t know what I would look like, or even if I could see myself.  I don’t know what Heaven is like and, even though I believe Jesus will keep my soul safe there . . . I am still scared.  There are so many unknowns about Heaven.  I don’t want to play a harp all day long.  And there are so many mysteries about God that are too great for me to understand.  What if I find out God hates me after all?

With all the what-ifs, all the fears, all the knowledge too big to fit into my tiny brain . . dying sounds awfully scary.  And yet I believe God, in His great grace, gave me an allegory for what death will be like for me in a little maze in California on a hot summer day when I was still a teenager and my life was an absolute shipwreck.

First . . there’s the scare.  Just like that statue that didn’t look like it could possibly move actually did move and came towards me, Death will come for me someday if Jesus does not return before then.

I will die.  At 28, I can tell I don’t have the same youth I had at 8.  I don’t figure that’s going to get better by 38 or 48 or 58 or 68 or 78 or 88 or 98 or 108.  And, on top of a ticking clock, there are all the diseases I could get, all the accidents that could happen to me, and always the possibility I could be killed.

I am pretty good at talking myself out of the idea of death.  I used to play video games because they somehow seemed “unchanging”, like maybe they might be around forever.

But that’s a no-go.

The Super Nintendo I got addicted to in 1993 or so isn’t just exactly the same as a Wii.

Even though a game can stay the “same” each time you play it and you can think of that as an eternal quality . . it also has no flexibility for change past what was written into its computer chip.  So sooner or later, I always had to switch out games.

(Besides that, eventually the game would plain old rot.  There is nothing eternal about the nature of technology.  You can ask the 8-track if you don’t believe me.)

Sitcoms try to promise that “unchanging” concept, too: families or friends on TV stay much the same through the years, often living in the same house or apartment.  But then the time comes when the actors go on to do different things or they retire or die, and the viewer soaking up all that make-believe for so many years must settle for reruns in an attempt to feel the same “happiness”.  That, too, doesn’t work, because, sooner or later, it gets old to watch the same episodes over and over and over.

Even if video games and sitcoms could last forever . . we don’t.  We have bodies cursed because of sin, and they aren’t going to last for hundreds of years, much less thousands or millions or billions or trillions or . .

Why am I saying all this?  Am I trying to celebrate Halloween or something?

Not at all.  I get that death is a scary topic–I get it very well.

I about needed a heart transplant–for my own heart to be taken out of my throat and put back in my chest.

Death is coming for all of us . . and, if that was all I had to say, I could be campaigning for October 31.

But I have news that’s so good, you can almost forget about death altogether: There IS an escape, an escape that all of us can take–an escape to the world of Light.

“Look, you can see the outside.”

There is a way past death, a way so far beyond death’s reach it can’t possibly hope to get us.  Just as that doorway was much too small for that statue to get out of, God’s gates are far too wise to allow even the least sin through.

Satan can never get us when we are safe in the love of God.

But how can we possibly get through God’s gates ourselves, if sin is not allowed?  It doesn’t do me any good to know there’s salvation beyond the boundaries I can reach with the chain of my sin anchored securely to Hell.

But Jesus broke that chain on the cross.  Jesus didn’t come only to show us the way to Heaven–if He had, there would still be no people in Heaven besides the Lord Himself.  Knowing the way to Heaven isn’t enough–we have to be freed from our sin to make it there.

That animatronic Egyptian dog statue couldn’t get me because it was on a set path of movement.  And it could not take one step further than the programming within it allowed.

In kind of the same way, Satan thought he had it all figured out.  He had a 100% chance of catching us in our sins.  But then Jesus made a path where Satan was not allowed–a path from our fallen world straight into Heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Satan didn’t see it coming because it took God’s death to make that path possible.  And even if Satan had seen it coming, there was absolutely nothing he could have done–and nothing he can do, still today.

The path is open to all who want to take it, because Satan can’t place a blockade even the size of an ice cube in the path of an all-powerful God willing and able to purchase back His people from their sins, and to forgive them.

I ran screaming out of that maze, and let me tell you something, that animatronic stupid statue thing, it may have been tall, and it may have had big old long legs, but it could not catch me.  I ran faster than the gingerbread man out of that maze and onto the top of a stairwell.  The sun burst through my fear and my heart decided it didn’t have to beat 10 times a second anymore.

Death . . is real.  But eternity with God can be, too.

I am still scared of animatronic Egyptian dog statues.  And, way more than that, I am still scared of death.  But I don’t have to panic as my life unravels into death.  Instead, I can run to the Light, for there is my Savior.

 In Him was Life, and that Life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it. (John 1:3-4, Weymouth NT)

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28, NIV)

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Published in: on October 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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