If given the option of living six more months of life with much quality, or 20 more years with little or no quality, which would you choose?
This is not a test. It is, however, an interesting and very different issue for born again believers in the Lord Jesus, as opposed to those who do know Him. The former have much assurance of life both in the here and now, and in the hereafter. The latter have little expectation of any existence but the all too brief temporal span from birth to death. Thus, the question we raise may well elicit very different answers from the believer and the unbeliever.
I suspect that many believers would opt for the six months of quality. Unless God chose for us to linger, (which He might for His good purposes), most of us would likely see little reason to remain in a difficult earthly existence when a glorious Heaven awaits. We would likely seek to live those six months with a great spiritual zest and enthusiasm, seeking to glorify the Lord Jesus, and as I recently heard in a radio advertisement, "leaving this world exhausted!"
The unbeliever might well have a well have a different response. If this present life is all there is, many might well desire the twenty years, hoping to make the best of their difficult lot because a disturbing nothingness is viewed as the only other possibility. Indeed, humanity bears within its heart a great and intrinsic yearning to be. To be forever. The unbeliever, however, has no real hope that his cosmic desire for eternal existence is anything more than an evolutionary cruelty somehow misprogrammed by natural selection. He might therefore opt for twenty years of difficulty in order to stem the tide of nothingness that he believes will drown him in a forever too horrific to easily embrace (sadly, of course, he is wrong in his opinion that life ends upon physical death, and an even greater darkness than nothingness actually awaits those who reject the Lord Jesus).
The truth of the matter is that none of us has six months or twenty years of earthly existence. We have today. Frances and I often challenge each other when either of us expresses concern about the future. "Oh, so the Lord has appeared to you physically and guaranteed that you'll be here tomorrow?!" He doesn't do that, of course, because the Bible plainly commands that we must sink our heart and being into the only day promised in our present existence.
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow... Go to now, ye that say, To day or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that" (Matthew 6:34; James 4:13-15).
The best response to the rhetorical question we raise is to outrightly reject its premise. One day. Today. This day is all we have. If we have awoken to greet December 2, 2011 (or whatever day you may be reading this), let us go forth with that "great spiritual zest and enthusiasm" to see what our Heavenly Father has prepared for us, and for those with whom we live our lives. Such a perspective will open our hearts and eyes to His presence and loving purpose for the only day God has given to us. He awaits us therein, and we will find Him as we join the Psalmist in his joyful assurance and affirmation...
"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."