That statement is hard to imagine in the culture we live in today, isn’t it? The wisdom of the world tells us that there is nothing better than the life we are currently living. How did the old commercial say it? “Fellas, it just doesn’t get any better than this.” With the belief that this life is all there is, we are told to eat, drink, be merry, and “grab for all the gusto” on this side of the grave, because there is nothing on the other side.
Well, the wisdom of the Word declares that the world’s wisdom is folly, because there is something on the other side of the grave. There is a judgment . . . there is a heaven . . . there is a hell . . . and there is something infinitely better than this life and what it has to offer!
Your lovingkindness is better than life. (Psalm 63:3 NKJV)
What would it take for you to be able to say what King David said in this psalm . . . and mean it? Is there anything you are holding on to more tightly than Jesus? Is there anything you have right now that if you lost it, your life would be turned upside down? Only the truths of the Gospel can ravish us to such an extent that we are ready, willing, and able to forsake everything this life has to offer for the One who has given to us everything we have. Only the truths of the Gospel can convince us that only God can satisfy us—fully, finally, and forever. The author of The Pilgrims Progress knew this truth and lived it out at great cost.
For more than 12 years English Christian writer and preacher, John Bunyan, was imprisoned while his second wife Elizabeth cared for their six children. His crime for which he was put in chains: preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ without state sanction. On a number of occasions the magistrate would have let him go if he had promised to stop preaching. But he would not. John said he would remain in prison until the moss grew on his eyelids rather than fail to do what the Almighty had commanded him to do. He said that parting from his dear wife and children, “has often been to me in this place as the pulling of the flesh from my bones.” This was especially true with regard to his eldest daughter who was blind and was given to him through his first wife who had died.
For John Bunyan, there was something indeed better than life: the loving-kindness of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He chose the loving-kindness of his God over his freedom. He chose the loving-kindness of his God over being with his family. He chose the loving-kindness of his God in spite of intense persecution and prison. He refused to deny his God, though to do so would have brought him great worldly benefit. It’s hard for us, living in this day and age, to imagine living with that kind of personal peace and security in the midst of such persecution, but here was a man so sold-out for Christ that the confession of his life proclaimed that it was better to live in the love of God than to live with his wife and children!
Only the love of God can satisfy your deepest longings. Only the loving-kindness of God can answer your prayers, solve your problems, and overcome your obstacles. It is only when we want the presence of God more than anything else in life that we will be able to hold loosely everything we have at present . . . because we are looking forward to all that has been promised us in the future.
Because the best is yet to come, what we have now is only a shadow of what is to come. Our greatest joy, our deepest affection, and our highest love in this life pales in comparison to what awaits us when we get home and stand in the presence of the One whose loving-kindness truly is better than life.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!