Consider This

When Death Makes You Look in Life’s Mirror

God helps us reflect on the big issues of life.

Funerals have a way of grabbing you by the shoulders, forcing you to look in the mirror of life and ask, “What happens when I die?” Sometimes you’re shaken hard, especially when the memorial’s for someone younger than yourself. It can be unnerving to confront life’s reality that we have no guarantee how long it will last. We shrink from musing on our mortality, but sometimes find it more discomforting to consider our living—the lifestyle we’re pursuing.

I started this editorial in flight, returning from a close friend’s funeral. En route I had read Joel Meeker’s “By the Way” column—“Halt! This is the realm of death!”—a fascinating and inspiring read about the 6 to 7 million people interred beneath Paris.

It also illustrated to me how remarkably limited we are. Six to 7 million people! It’s a number so unreal one glosses over it without emotional impact; but just one close friend is so real you’re stirred deeply, even to tears. Big numbers and faraway figures move us only slightly, but we stop and ponder when touched up close and personally. 

Fun or funeral—which is better?

Neither of us proposed to bookend this issue writing about death, but maybe the timing was providential. After all, we’re really writing about life. And hope. And truth.

Truth is, as we heard at the funeral, it is “better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting.” 

Solomon didn’t say it was more fun; he just said it was better. Given the choice between a party and a funeral, pick the funeral. Why?

“For that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth” (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4).

The house of mourning demands that we stop and consider deeply life’s meaning, our ways of living, where God fits into the picture, and whether there is any hopeful answer to humanity’s age-old question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14). 

Life, hope and truth. Those issues define who and what you are! What you know about truth, what you embrace as hope, how you understand life—living now and the life to come—those elements ultimately define the essence of your existence.

Replacing cracked and foggy mirrors

Here at Discern we strive in every article to give insight into God and His Word in hope that it will inspire your direction in life—showing how to live now and how to live eternally!

For example, when you read “Beyond Repair: 3 Things Too Broken for Us to Fix”, you’ll get a stark look at some of life’s unsolvable problems … and how God promises to solve them. 

In another article, the fifth in the proof of the Bible series, you’ll see another building block of evidence verifying the dependability of God’s Word. 

Why is this type of content so important? Well, remember that mirror of life mentioned in the first paragraph? Without the knowledge of God, we’re left only with the cracked and foggy mirror of human ideas about death and all the other really important issues of life. 

But by putting death in the light of God’s Word, we in mourning’s house that day saw the future clearly, gained comfort and, hopefully, took to heart the importance of living in a godly manner. Death is arguably the biggest thing humans can’t fix; but God can and will. He can fix your life too!

Clyde Kilough


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Discern Article Series

Christ Versus Christianity
Walk as He Walked
Christianity in Progress
Wonders of God's Creation