“I called the song ‘Out of Control’ because it dawned on me…that we humans have little or no influence on the two most important moments of our life. Being born and dying.”Bono
The two bookends of our lives — our birth and our death — remind us that we are out of control. Between those two bookends, is our desperate fight to wrest control from God.
The first quarter of our lives we want to speed through these formative years. Neil Cole reflects on rushed nature of his first quarter when he writes, “I barely remember my 20s, they just flew by fast because I was so anxious to grow up. What I do remember is being in a hurry; to being more grown up and respected in other’s eyes.”
Eventually the pendulum swings and we want to stave off death by every means possible. The fear of the end looms heavy over us as we realize it is beyond our control. As Woody Allen quipped, “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Unfortunately that is a non-negotiable.
Ever since the Garden when Adam and Eve sought to take control of their own destiny, we have followed our first parents in this fools endeavor to control life. The curse laid upon Adam and Eve was more than just death, more than just pain in childbirth and the endless grind of work. The curse was that while they gained knowledge of Good and Evil, they did not gain power to control Good and Evil.
Knowledge without power is misery. We know we will die, but we have no power to control the two most important aspects of our life. The Dalai Llama says that all reflection on life begins by reflecting on our death.
Thankfully, we have a God who wanted to make all things good again and sent his Son — the one who does have power — to conquer death and take control of our lives. For those of us who are in Christ Jesus we are promised that we will not experience death. Eternity begins today for those who have surrendered their control to Jesus Christ.
Christ stepped into the bookends of our birth and our death in order to rewrite the story so that we can rejoice in His promise:
Now the home of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.Rev 21:3-4