I’m trying to get back into my 34” waist pants! I don’t know if I’ll ever make it! I’m exercising, taking vitamins, and trying to watch my carbohydrates. I’m sure I’m not alone in my efforts to live a healthier, happier life. We’ve popped pills, pumped iron, burned up (literally!) treadmills, said “no” to cake and pie, and numerous other efforts to be healthier. Well, I’d like to live long enough to see my grandchildren marry! I’d like to see great-grandchildren! And, who knows, my great, great grandchildren! Wouldn’t you? Yes, I’m doing lots of things to help me live longer! Yet, I keep foremost in mind the fact that the mortality rate in the United States is still 100%! It’s the same in the rest of the world.

Martin Luther once said, “Even in the best of health we should have death always before our eyes. We will not expect to remain on this earth forever, but will have one foot in the air, so to speak.” The passing of our loved ones from this life serves as a constant reminder that we’re all temporary beings, just passing through the valley of the shadow of death. The loss of our loved ones is always a day of sadness, but while there are tears in our eyes, there is joy and hope in our hearts, for death has been swallowed up in victory. Those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ have been promised the “Crown of life.” In the Book of Revelation, John gives Christ’s message to the churches. He tells them that there will be suffering in this life and even severe persecution, but he exhorts the Church members to “…be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). In this short verse is the reality that death will take us all! Yet along with that reality comes the promise of life beyond; eternal life!

Some years ago Miss Alabama was competing for the title of “Miss Universe.” She was asked the question, “if you could live forever, would you and why? She replied, “I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.” I have no idea what she said there, but I would argue that for those of us in Christ, we will live forever because we were created to live forever, and according to God’s promises we will live forever, that’s why I will live forever! As I travel through this valley of the shadow of death and I watch loved ones pass away and feel the decay and deterioration of my bodily and intellectual strength, I have a hope! It’s a hope based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and his promise to be preparing a place for me even now as I run this earthly race. I’ll hold on to the truth of the Gospel message through the hurts and hardships of life knowing that God has awaiting me the crown of “eternal” life set aside, with my name on it, reserved in heaven!