To Be or Not To Be

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

— Psalm 23:6

We can’t always say that what Shakespeare’s characters say is what he believed. Nevertheless, I believe Shakespeare was a Christian, and his testimony on that is clear.

Consider the character Shakespeare paints of Hamlet, the melancholy Dane. Consider his view of life as contrasted with that of the devout Christian.

In this famous scene, Hamlet has an unsheathed dagger in his hands. He is wondering whether he should kill himself or not:

To be, or not to be: that is the question…
To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause…

The philosophy of life and death reflected in this passage is vastly higher than the awful secular philosophy of life portrayed by much of the media today, who believe that by simply committing suicide, by flinging the gift of life back into the face of the Giver, by deserting our post, by showing our cowardice, that we are going to solve all of our problems. Hamlet chooses against suicide because the Almighty has set His canon (law) against self-slaughter.

What a vast difference there is to those who come to know Jesus. Through all the difficulties of life, the Savior can sustain us until He brings us safely home.

Lord of life and death, we acknowledge that You decide when we are born and when we die. Thank You that our time is in Your hands. When life becomes too burdensome for us, then help us to cast our burdens on You…