From Twilight to Sleeping Beauty to Lord of the Rings to Sense and Sensibility, our books and movies are full of near-death experiences. In fact, when making the above list, I had a hard time deciding which Disney movie to use—almost all of them contain at least one near-death experience. An interesting find in a group of children’s movies. We thrive on these stories, drawn to the moments when everything could end, when at the very least the characters will never be the same. In stories, this simply adds to the adventure, suspense, romance, and general excitement of the story while providing a nifty place for the plot to take an unforeseen twist.
In life, however, near-death experiences do much more. To quote Switchfoot, they remind us that “we are not infinite” (“Gone”). When we almost die, but survive, we keenly know our mortality and realize that there is a purpose for our lives, something for which God spared us.
I recently joined many of my own characters in having a near-death experience when someone came very close to hitting me on the freeway and did not respond at first to my honk. Somehow he did not hit me, but it was an eye-opening incident. Appropriately, as it happened the David Crowder Band’s song “Come Awake” was playing: “Come awake from sleep, arise. You were dead—become alive. Wake up, wake up! Open your eyes! Climb from your grave into the light…Arise to life!! Shine!!”
Basically, God gave me a wake-up call. I’m here, alive, for a purpose. He’s not finished with me yet. I have to let go of feeling sorry for myself, hurt by my past, hindered by my present, impotent and too young to make a difference. Metaphorically, I need to let those hindrances be what really died when I almost died, and let boldness, courage, truth, conviction, and love live on with me. Sure, I’m young, but hey, when I was even younger I was unashamed of my youth, because the disciples were probably younger than me, and look what they did through God!! “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity,” Paul wrote to Timothy.
“We were meant to live for so much more” than our lazy, affluent culture would have us believe (Switchfoot, “Meant to Live”—I’m just full of Switchfoot references today). Don’t fall asleep, don’t slip into mediocrity. Keep your passion, live for what you were made for, change the world, save a life. When you face obstacles, you can tell them, “My God is infinitely greater than you, and He lives inside me. Be gone; I live for Him.” Don’t waste a single second. Today we live, and we live for God, because
Today will soon be gone,
Like Frank Sinatra,
Like Elvis and his mom,
Like Al Pacino’s cash—nothing lasts in this life…
Life is a day that doesn’t last for long.
Life is more than money.
Time was never money.
Time was never cash.
Life is still more than girls.
Life is more than hundred-dollar bills
And roto-tom fills.
Life is more than fame and rock and roll and thrills.
All the riches of the kings end up in wills.
We’ve got information in an information age,
But do we know what life is
Outside of our convenient Lexus cages?
She said he said, ‘Live like no tomorrow.
Every moment that we borrow
Brings us closer to the God who’s not short of cash.
Hey, Bono, I’m glad you asked.
Life is still worth living.
Life is still worth living.