"Where do you go to, Beloved Son,
With your heart harshly troubled, my noble young one?"
"I must go to the world and bequeath hope and warning,
To tell fractured hearts that a new age is dawning,
There's hope, healing and fire, vile sin and great ire,
And a fearful judgement to come."
(Copyright Andrew Clarke)
Yesterday, reading a historical article in the newspaper, I read about Elizabeth Bathory. It's a problem that she had the same given name as my closest companion, my wife, because she has an evil history. Elizabeth Bathory was one of the people on whom the vampire legends are based, along with Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula.
She was a princess in what is now Hungary, born in 1560 and being bricked up alive in a room in 1610. She had killed hundreds of young women, drunk their blood and bathed in it because she hoped it would preserve her own youth and beauty (Beauty? Physical only, by the sound of it!) Once it was discovered what she was up to, her accomplices were put to death but because she was an aristocrat she could not be. So they imprisoned her until she died, instead.
Some reports had it that she was descended from Vlad Dracula, the Impaler, who must be among the vilest and grossest human demon who ever blotted this planet God made.
The underlying thing is trying to cheat death. It's been going on forever. People want to avoid aging, and dying. Youth is made into an ideal state, to be worshipped, idealized and imitated in later life even if it can't be made to last into later life. Well, being human, I don't want to look or feel too old, admittedly. Who does? We want to stay fit, and active, and (I'll be honest) still a bit attractive to look at, for as long as possible. But past a certain point it just becomes an obsession, with results that can be either ridiculous or straight out evil. Some people have multiple face lifts and other surgery, trying to look twenty five when they're nearer fifty five, and can start to look like something Dr Frankenstein did on a bad hair day.
Or it can become a murderous obsession, like Princess Bathory, above.
People want to stay young, partly, because they are vain, or afraid that they will be left out of a society that idolizes youth. In doing that, they are being shallow. All life is part of the human continuum, and all of it is meant to be. I was glad to be young when I was, but now I'm fifty seven I can cope with being fifty seven. In fact, I have no choice, unless it becomes absurd self-deception.
People want to cheat death because they are afraid of what comes next. If there is nothing, then once they die they've got nothing left. If there is something, then what is it, they wonder.
They could find out, if they want to believe God's revelations. But that would require them to be humble, and humility does not come easily to people.
God's Word tells us, we WILL die. But that death is only of the body. And if what comes after is better, then clinging to life at all costs is not only futile but it can be self-destructive. You can cling to life and find out it is not only a fragile straw, but a spiky one that can let you down and pierce you. I wrote once before about people who knowingly laid down their lives because they felt they should die themselves rather than see others killed. They would rather die in good conscience than live in bad conscience. It's easier to talk about than to do, but that is how it is. It really IS better to die in good faith than live in bad. I hope I die painlessly in my sleep at a good age, but if I have to, I pray I can die in good faith rather than live in bad. God help me.
So there is the stupidity and pointlessness of thinking, this life is all there is. You can cling to what you will lose anyway, and behave badly towards others in order to cling to it, and find out it's just a sack of dust. But if you remember the soul, not just the body, then you know your existence does not end when your physical form stops breathing. You know that conscious life goes on. Then it matters where that life will be lived.
I'm very thankful the Lord found and called me. I'm very thankful the Lord found and called my wife and our five children. I can never stop thanking Him for that. Without that, I might be madly trying to preserve youth and life and making a complete fool or villain of myself.
Come again, Lord Jesus