Kobe Bryant was an incredible basketball player. On January 26, 2020, at age 41, he died in a tragic helicopter crash. His daughter, Gianna, who was 13, was with him and also passed away. Nobody expected to hear this news. As I read the headline of an article shared on Facebook, my initial reaction was to shake my head, assuming this was another in a long line of fake articles about celebrity deaths designed to get clicks. Then I saw another article, same story. Then I googled his name. Then, and only then, did the news finally sink in. This man and his daughter are gone.
In these moments of unexpected loss, the words of James 4 come to mind: “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” We will never see Kobe Bryant grow old, and his daughter will never graduate. The plans they made, no matter how grand, are no more. With these thoughts milling through my consciousness, I, along with every other person, must remember: earthly life is not permanent.
The first two verses of Job 14 say, “Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil. Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.” Earthly life is a short experience, and each person needs to consider its purpose. There must be something more than an existence that is here today and gone tomorrow. In John 5:28, Jesus said that there was a time coming when “all who are in the tombs” will hear His voice, and be resurrected. The Scriptures repeatedly speak of the resurrection from the dead, noting that the choices we make on earth determine the state of our eternal existence (Matt. 25:46). Based on the teachings of God, death is not the end of us. Death is as much a beginning as it is an end.
God is giving every person who lives today an opportunity to prepare themselves for what follows death. God has spoken through the Scriptures to show the way to joy-filled eternal life, and it begins with obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus took the punishment for the sins of the world on Himself when He died on the cross, and because of His sacrifice, God can forgive each person’s sins and grant eternal life in place of the suffering each has earned (Rom. 3:23-26). Use your time to prepare for what comes after death. Make certain you are ready, because your death may come without warning.