I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the phrase "cradle to grave" a wave of depression comes over me. Evidently this is not a universal experience because it has become a common enough concept in the sales pitches of business and government. During the campaign season the president floated a storybook online ad called “The Life of Julia” touting his cradle-to-grave protection of the citizenry. A fictitious American female named Julia is taken care of by Uncle Sam from the Head Start program at age 3 until she reaches Medicare at age 67. What nobility.
I guess “cradle to grave” just gives me the creeps because the sound of it shrinks my life down to such a small measure: You’re born, you consume stuff, you die. When you stop and think about it, that three-word summary could describe an animal as easily as a human. Aren’t we more than that? Don’t we have higher aspirations? Even the men in the 12th century who built all those gothic cathedrals with the pointing spires piercing the cloud cover, whatever their relationships with God were, at least they were reaching upward and not groveling in the dust for a few free crumbs.
We who know Christ also have a kind of care and protection that spans the beginning and end of life. But somehow that doesn’t give me the same icky feeling as government cradle-to-grave care. I think it is because the one who is in charge of your cradle-to-grave care is the one who owns you—and when all is said and done I would rather for God to own me than the government. For one thing, God’s “coverage” starts before Obama’s:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you …” (Jeremiah 1:5).
God’s care and coverage also reach to old age, are surer than the Social Security program, and will last beyond the grave. Top this, Mr. President:
“So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me …” (Psalm 71:18).
And in between those two times the Lord promises me something that the D.C. bureaucracy cannot: Freedom! Delicious freedom!
“For freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).