The Origin and End of Life
We were 38,000 feet in the air on a 5 hours’ flight. Everything seemed perfectly okay. No turbulence. All was calm. Most passengers on board were soundly asleep. I had watched an entertaining in-flight movie, enjoyed eating the meal served by the air hostess and was reclining to enjoy a nap when it happened. I was almost drifting off to a slumber when I saw it unfolding. At first it seemed like another movie. Only this time, it wasn’t playing on a screen. I was watching the unimaginable unfolding right before my eyes. The passenger sitting beside me had gotten up few minutes ago to use the washroom. Then he staggered out like a drunken man. “Wait a minute” I thought to myself “Since when did they start allowing alcohol on planes?”. Then it hit me: The passenger wasn’t drunk. He was dying!
Before anyone realized what was really happening, he hit the floor of the plane unconscious with a loud thud at the foot of the passenger sitting closest to the lavatories. This was not a joke. By now I’m wide awake and wondering what could be wrong with him. The man at who’s feet he fell let out a shout and signaled for the cabin crew. At once, he was lifted to a narrow space in between the economy and business class. A call was made for medical personnel on board. Even though the only thing I knew about medicine was how to spell the word, I joined the team of 3 medics who immediately responded and swung into action. I offered to hold up his legs while they applied emergency procedures, doing their best to diagnose what pre-condition this stranger patient may be suffering from. One frantic hour later, though the medics did their best and I prayed my best, he died. A wave of helplessness swept over the cabin crew, doctors on board, passengers and myself as the body was covered with a white sheet and his ears, mouth and nostrils were stuffed with cotton wool. As a note of finality settled on everyone on board, the rest of the flight bore a somber mood, as expected. I assumed the only food-for-thought on most people’s mind was the brevity and unpredictability of life.
As I retreated back to my seat, I gazed at the empty seat beside me where the man sat just over an hour ago. Now – he was nothing more than a corpse, a lifeless body in the aisle. Could this man not have kept himself alive until the plane landed? Just how much control do we mortals have over our lives?
“…before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.” – Ps. 22:29
This incident which I witnessed just a few months ago reminded me of the truth that none of us can keep ourselves alive because no person created his or her own life. We are all debtors to the One who created life and can take it back whenever He decides. He created it so He owns it. None of us has a right to do whatever he or she likes with this singular and fleeting life for which we shall give an account to the real Owner.
Recently, I decided to do some online research on some of the richest people in history who could afford literally anything money could buy and some of the most powerful despots around the world. Most of them lived as though they would never die. They seemed invincible and convinced their hangers-on and admirers that they were immortal. But where are they today? Dead and gone. But death is not the end. For beyond the grave, lies eternity where each person will answer to the Creator of life how he or she spent their lives. This transient world has a way of convincing us that we are in charge and can decide what to do with life. Man has tried to manipulate cells to create life and use science to live forever on earth. But the sad reality is that Life is a Creation of God and He alone knows how long it has been allocated for each man to live. Others have tried to disprove the existence of God and assert that there are other origins to life. Tragically, when they slip out of time into eternity, they wake up to the fallacy of their claim when they are confronted with this God “to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13)
What do you believe about the origins of your life? Before you give a hasty answer to that question, pause and ponder. Because what you are currently investing your singular life in may betray what you say and make us question the authenticity of your response. You see, once I acknowledge that the One and True Living God created my life, then I automatically accept that He has a purpose and design for what He has created and I dare not use this life for whatsoever whimsical dreams or selfish ambition I choose to pursue with the life He has borrowed to me. If every life is a creation of God, it becomes precious, sacred and must be treated with dignity.
God is Spirit (John 4:24) and He created man with a spirit in him. Once that spirit is recalled out of the body, there is nothing anyone can do to stop the One who created it all with a purpose. How much of that purpose are you living for today?
Mark Kolo is the International Team Leader for Global Activation Ministries (ACTIVATE). His passion is to see an awakened Ekklesia in and from Africa blessing the nations with the authentic Gospel leading to movements especially among the unreached peoples.