It makes me very sad to think of all the people in the world for whom this life is as good as it gets. Cetainly my life has brought me great joy: my wife of 40 years, 3 children and now a grandson, travel, adventure, and much love. But it has brought me sorrow as well: the death of my father (too young), the loss of jobs and a career, seeing people I loved and trusted turn against me, and all the war, evil and suffering I’ve seen over the past 60 years.
But I believe that life continues after our mortal existence. Why? Because I believe Jesus rose from the dead!
On the face of it, that’s one of the most unbelievable, fantastic claims anyone has ever made. Is there anyone else in the history of the world who has made this claim: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me…shall never die.”? Jesus made that claim, and then backed it up by overcoming death once and for all.
When I hear about the latest attempt to discredit Christianity (by James Cameron, director of TITANIC), it saddens me to think of all the people who will be swayed by this latest bogus “proof” of Jesus’ mortality. As the apostle Paul wrote, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead…”
Logic and reason tell us, of course, that simply stating a proposition does not make it true. It could be strongly argued that no life in history has had a greater impact for good than that lived by the Nazarene some 2000 years ago–yet even if that is true, it doesn’t prove that He is alive today.
When I was in college (Yale) many people around me made the case that there is no God. As much as I wanted to believe, my mind could not be convinced of the basic truths of Christianity. Even C.S.Lewis’s compelling autobiography SURPRISED BY JOY was not enought to convince me. It wasn’t until I gave up and surrendered to the love of God that I discovered the truth for myself. I simply prayed and asked the Spirit of Christ into my heart–35 years ago, in Kalamazoo, Michigan–and the world became new. I was born of the Spirit, all my sins were forgiven, and I immediately had the assurance of eternal life–not by my own reason, logic, or goodness, but simply by the grace of God.
This reminds me of the time I saw a butterfly “trapped” between a window and a screen–which had been opened at the bottom. As long as the butterfly flapped its wings, trying to escape, it could not get out. But once it became exhausted and fell to the bottom of the window, it was able to step right out into freedom!
“You ask me how I know He lives?” the well-known hymn asks…”He lives within my heart!”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.