Tired and Scared?
Tired and scared?
Ol’ Man River – a song from the Kern and Hammerstein musical Show Boat – has suggested both our title and subject. Listen on YouTube to Paul Robeson singing it in the 1936 film version or to William Warfield in the 1951 re-make and enjoy the treat. It movingly expresses the hardships and struggles of African Americans; especially the lines,
Ah gits weary
An' sick of tryin'
Ah'm tired of livin'
An' skeered of dyin'
How many, I wonder, if they were honest, would admit that that’s how they feel? Or how many will get there in the coming weeks and months? For this, that, or the other reason life is a weariness and a burden. They think to themselves, what a relief it would be to be done with it! But then comes the thought of death and it’s not a pleasant one. Death makes them afraid. And so they carry on from day to day like Joe in the song, tired and scared. Tired of living and scared of dying.
If that is in any way a description of you, the living Christianity of the Bible has a message of hope for you. Listen to these words. They are from a letter written in the first century AD to Christians in the city of Philippi: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Ch.1.21). The author is Paul the apostle. There was a day when he couldn’t have said the first part because he hated Christ. And there was a day when the second part, had he said it, would have been utterly false. What made the difference? It was Christ himself.
It is Easter this month and it will be like no other that we can remember. No breaking up of the schools for the Easter weekend, no holidays abroad, no wider family gatherings, no special church services on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. It will still be true, however, that on the first Good Friday Christ died for our sins. And it will still be true that on the first Easter Sunday Christ rose from the dead. It’s what made all the difference to Paul. It’s what can make all the difference to you.
The day came when Paul had a remarkable encounter with the now living Christ. It transformed his life. From that time forward Christ took his rightful place at the very heart of Paul’s life. To know him for himself, to love and serve him, to further his cause, to suffer for his sake, to see him formed in people – that was life for Paul. And death was gain. For it meant departing to be with Christ. And that, he knew, was better by far.
Knowing Christ for yourself is not a ticket to an easy life. But it will give purpose, meaning, strength, and hope. As a Christian you will not face life’s challenges alone. Christ will be with you to help you in all that is hard. So too to take away your fears about the future. Death in itself is a scary thing. But with Christ as your Lord and Saviour it really will be gain. It won’t be a step into a dark unknown. Nor into the presence of a fearful God who will punish you for your sins. It will be a home-going to your Father in heaven. It will mean the companionship of Christ Jesus your friend. It will mean being forever free of all suffering and sin.
Tired of living and scared of dying? You need to know the Christ of Easter! Why not reach out to him today?