I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ for that is far better. Philippians 1:23 ESV
The Greek philosopher, Plato, once wrote a story called the Allegory of the Cave. It is a tale of men being chained to the wall of a cavern their entire lives. As they stared at the wall they saw shadows from the world above, to which they gave names. These images, though mere shadows, become their reality. Plato’s goal was to reveal the importance of education in removing our shadowy concepts of life and give us the true reality by means of knowledge. I would like to apply Plato’s story in a different realm.
We are all born into the kingdom of men and that is all that we know. The defining feature of this kingdom is that it is random and tragic. Calamity and heartache strike us all when we least expect it. The shadowy images of constant and unfolding misfortune, and the random nature by which they occur is our dominating reality. We fight and claw for our place in this kingdom of men, all the while death looms over us like a dark cloud. We are all miners in Plato’s story and have clung to the falsehood that we can never be free from the “cave.” Striving to somehow defeat the undefeatable beast of death and disaster we waste our days plotting our next move. We know we shall die, we just want it to be today.
It is not until Christ enters our lives that these shadowy concepts of reality are shattered. We imagine death to be our common lot until Jesus enters the equation and offers life eternal. We are men without hope and along comes the glorious offer of Christ and our King whispers, “Come unto me.” Have you reached out in faith to receive the life He is offering?
When a man emerges from a cave, there are a few moments that he hides his eyes from the sun. His vision was so adjusted to the darkness of the cave, that it takes some time to allow his sight to enjoy full light. But once he acclimates to his new world, he is amazed at the life swirling all around him. He wonders why he didn’t come out of the “cave” sooner. Such is the case for the Christian. We have been transferred out of the kingdom of the cave into the Kingdom of the God. We are to no longer think in terms of death; we rest in His righteousness and life. We no longer fear our mortality but see it a glorious victory that awaits us. Paul once wrote, “I desire to depart and be with Christ.” In his book, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens notes, “It is a far, far, better thing that I do then I have ever done, it is a far, far, better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” Death is no longer our defining feature; it is eternal life that is our song. Enjoy the sunlight today.