Sure Beats the Alternative!

“He recovered from that awful illness.” “Sure beats the alternative!”

“She survived that terrible accident.” “Sure beats the alternative!”

“I woke up this morning with a few aches and pains.” “Sure beats the alternative!”

We run into this response over and over again. Some comment about waking up, surviving an accident, or recovering from an illness prompts the response, “Sure beats the alternative!” What do people mean by this?

Much of the time, the response is probably a shorthand way of saying that we are happy things worked out, happy that our friend is still alive and with us, or simply that we are happy they are alive and kicking. After all, life is a blessing, and it is (usually) a joy to be alive. But what IS the alternative that we are glad did not happen?

For a Christian, the alternative is not a black hole and uncertainty about what comes next. It is not an end, but a transition into a new beginning. As Paul says in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” And as Jesus said to the thief dying on the cross (Luke 23:43), “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” We have hope for life after death, and the alternative to the here and now is something to embrace rather than fear.

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