The older I get, the more I see family and friends facing their mortality. We are not as young and healthy as we once were. And since I’m unlikely to live beyond 100, well over half my life is already passed. The many doors of opportunity that stood wide open in my youth are either shut or quickly closing.
And yet, of all possible lives I might have lived, the one I am in is infinitely better and more interesting than I could ever have dreamed of or imagined. I am also well aware that many people my age cannot say that about their lives. Instead, they feel regret, disappointment, bitterness, and pain. Of course, I have done plenty of things to make me feel these ways, but overall, the forgiving and magnificent grace of God, alongside the indescribable life He has given, have been nothing short of fantastic.
Pascal speaks of making a wager. He notes that in view of the possible eternal benefits, believing in God is wiser than the alternatives. Many have criticized his wager as being foolish and naïve. We should, after all, only believe what is true, no matter how bitter or discouraging that reality might prove to be.
However, while marveling at the grand adventure of my life, it strikes me full in the face: even if none of it is true, even if there is no God and at death I simply ceased to exist and fall into “the big sleep,” I would prefer this life to any other I might have lived. Seeking after and following Jesus has been one incredible and undeserved adventure after another. It has been so much richer and better than anything I might have conceived of, sought after, or accomplished on my own. I am overcome by a profound and immense sense of gratitude.
Don’t get me wrong. There have been many tough times and bitter disappointments along the way. Life is hard, no matter which path you choose. But I would not choose a different life, even if promised the world in exchange. The money, things, fame, pleasure, and comfort that so looked so enticing in my youth now seem increasingly petty, fleeting, and insubstantial. Life with Jesus really is better than anything or anyone else.
I also want to say that I have thoroughly and repeatedly investigated and examined the overwhelming evidences for the truth of Christianity and am more convinced than ever God is real, and that Jesus really did die for my sins and rise again. I have experienced rich and undeniable intimacies with Him at numerous times in life, and am utterly confident that because of Christ’s righteousness, I will one day stand in God’s presence holy and blameless, with great joy. But even if, on some incredible fluke of reality, Christianity turns out to be false, my life lived within it has been indescribably better than any other possible lifestyle or viewpoint.
Pascal was right. There are eternal benefits for betting on Jesus. But beyond this great hope, living for Him now will produce the grandest and most incredible adventure you could ever imagine. That’s bet worth making for this life and the next.