I noticed a church sign that read– ‘We Help You Prepare for Your Finals!’ Laughed out loud as I always do with clever church signs. This was one of them! Obviously, not referring to high school or college finals. We know which final they’re talking about! The longer I’m in this world, the more I long for God’s Kingdom. Do I hear an ‘amen’?
But what about those days, weeks and months leading up to our finals? Not something we like to dwell on. I remember in seminary at Princeton, that they invited Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, author of ‘On Death and Dying’, to speak to the seminary community. She had written of five psychological steps involved in the dying process. She said that many people go through stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Five stages. Sometimes they are reversed, even in a different order. At the time, it seemed like she spoke the definitive word on the subject.
As important as her work was, something absolutely critical was left out. What could that be? You’ve probably guessed it. The rescue stage. The most important stage. Where death does not utter the final word. As St. Paul writes in Romans 7: 24–‘What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?’ Who? Who will rescue us?
Verse 25 says, ‘Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ The rescue stage! Jesus, our Rescuer! Dr. Kubler-Ross was a soft-spoken, articulate Swiss woman, who I don’t remember mentioning God or faith in Jesus. Even then, as a young man, I knew something was missing. The emptiness of this approach could be felt with the lack of rescue. Jumping off into the unknown felt dangerous and very scary. Going there with Jesus holding my hand gives comfort and confidence.
Preparing for your finals? Don’t worry. Jesus has already taken them for us. Grade? A++! Death has flunked its final, once for all. All our sins forgiven! We’re heaven bound! Jesus took our finals for us. Jesus never fails. Never!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for being with us right to the end of our lives when the great adventure begins! In Jesus’ name. Amen.