In the category of “Most Depressing Song in the History of the World” comes Peggy Lee’s classic hit, “Is That All There Is?” In case you are too young to remember it, I will offer a recap. Throughout the song, the singer croons about notable life experiences, things like her house burning down, a visit to the circus, falling in love for the first time. After each, she poses the plaintive question: “Is that all there is?” Lamenting over life’s many disappointments, she refuses to kill herself lest death itself might also disappoint her. In some ways, she sounds like the pop version of the teacher in Ecclesiastes, who proclaimed, “I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind” (2:17).
Paul, on the other hand, tells us that though much in our world is broken, it is not meaningless. On the contrary, what meets the eye is not all there is. There is so much more.
Reminding us that we belong to heaven more than earth, Paul promises that Christ will one day take our “weak mortal bodies” and transform them into something glorious like his own. Not only that, but the Lord will accomplish this feat by using “the same power with which he will bring everything under his control” (Philippians 3:21). One day, we will realize that nothing in this world is outside the overwhelming power of Jesus Christ. Everything—even mental illness, decrepitude, and death—will give way to him. Everything that causes us anguish will be defeated and overturned.
I have a young friend who is autistic. On that day, she will become fully herself. My mother is slipping into dementia. She will be restored. My sister died suddenly, at the age of sixteen. She will be raised up.
What in your life has been disappointing? For whom do you grieve? As you bring each one into view, remember that everything, everywhere is going to be conquered by the same mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead and that will surely raise us from death to life.
Is that all there is? Not on your life!