© Debbie Porter 28th February, 2005
They say that good news doesnít sell papers, or bring in the big ratings for television. Though we may shake our heads over the type of stories we see coming from the press every day, the fact is that they are basically just giving the public what they want. "Feel good" news stories are fine as fillers, but they donít win the majority of readers, listeners or viewers on a regular basis.
Itís interesting, however, that what we want as the general public, doesnít carry over to our private lives as well. In that case, we want the reverse Ė lots and lots of good news, with only the teensiest little bit of a "hiccup" to that steady flow of bliss every now and then Ö if at all.
Of course, life isnít like that. Instead we usually end up with an average amount of the good, the bad and the indifferent happening to us from week to week. Jesus himself said that God "causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45 NIV)
But even knowing that doesnít change the desire in all of us to have good news Ė and have it to the max!
So when I received a letter recently that started with the words, "GOOD NEWS!" I was, not surprisingly, rather excited.
Now if this had been a missive from that very well known publishing company, with the prolific promises of prizes galore if youíll just keep purchasing their paraphernalia, I would have been fairly skeptical as to the value of this particular bit of "good news". However, it wasnít from them (and there wasnít a key, sticky label or return envelope to be seen). Instead, it was from the financial company that manages our retirement fund.
I donít know about you, but I think that a personal letter from this sort of company, with that kind of opening sentence, is more than a little interesting.
In fact, I was sort of hoping that it may have something to do with "interest" generally Ė such as a huge increase in the rate my investment was earning. What made it even more exciting was the fact that my husband, Steve, hadnít received the same letter. This "good news" was just for me!
Eagerly I read on Ö
Dear Deborah (it began),
We have good news (thereís that word again) just for YOU! (see Ö itís all mine!)
As a special reward for you, our loyal client, we have increasedÖ (here it comes Ö letís see that interest rate go through the roof) Öthe amount of your life insurance policy by $50,000!
Wait a minute! HOLD EVERYTHING!
Letís just rewind that a second Ö
Bringing all my comprehension skills to the forefront, I read that paragraph again, and had just as much trouble the second time around. My brain found it impossible to marry the concept of an increase in my life insurance with the term, "good news."
Strangely enough, I failed to see any personal good news in the fact that my loved ones would now benefit even more from my demise.
If thatís "good news", then I would sure hate to get a "bad news" letter from them.
Iíll admit it Ė Iím not in any hurry to die, and that letter just reinforced the fact that I have a long way to go before I can say, as Paul did, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21 NIV)
Although I am definitely working on the first part by trying every day to live my life for Christ, and in Christ, I know that I havenít yet reached that place where I can honestly say that "to die is gain."
I know in my head that it is and Iím more than aware that there will come a time when Iíll look back on this life as a very poor reflection of the rest of eternity with the Lord. But right now, at 44 years of age, I value each day of this precious gift we have from God and I want to use it to the fullest of its potential.
I have a feeling that Iím not alone in this attitude toward death either Ė otherwise we wouldnít pray for those who are stricken with life-threatening illnesses Ö and of course, thatís something that we, as Christians, are expected to do. (See James 5:14-15.)
Death wasnít a part of Godís original plan for mankind. It came in as a consequence of that first disobedience in the Garden and we have all been fighting it ever since. Everything within us, whether we know the Fatherís love or not, struggles against the idea of our own final breath Ö our final heartbeat. Itís not surprising, then, that itís referred to by Paul as our "last enemy." (See 1 Corinthians 15:26)
To people everywhere, the words "good news" and "death" have nothing in common Ė one look at the evening news will verify that. These two terms will always appear to be a contradiction Ö except for that one time when God the Son stepped down into our world and, through His death and resurrection, broke the bondage of sin and removed the curse of death for all who believe.
Thatís the Gospel Ė and that really IS the very best good news of all!
"It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan long before the world began--to show his love and kindness to us through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the coming of Christ Jesus, our Savior, who broke the power of death and showed us the way to everlasting life through the Good News." (2 Timothy 1:9-10 NLT)
Debbie Porter has encouraged, inspired and entertained thousands of men and women around the world through her writing since June, 2000. Her greatest desire is to encourage and build up the people of God to believe in their God given potential and to step into everything they were created to be. Deb lives with her husband and two teenagers in Sydney, Australia. You can contact Debbie through the "Your Letters" page of FaithWritersí Magazine, or by visiting her website at http://www.breathfreshair.org