“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb. 9:27)
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)
The verse offered first brings fear to the minds of many, the second a calm assurance, but only to those who have died to self.
I do not believe that very many who have been born-again contemplate their own death often enough, they seem to find the topic morbid, even frightening, to many it is not a reassuring thought. As stated previously in these letters to you, when the topic is brought up, it is not usually that door that those who have been born again fear so much as what lays just before it is opened, and that thought is usually pain of the flesh.
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (2nd Tim. 2:12)
The possibility of pain is what causes some to stop serving, approaching pain is usually used as an excuse not to stand any longer for His glory. And then, as most do, they beg for forgiveness and strength to stand the next time.
“And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Luke 4:11)
I do not believe our Lord ever even got a splinter in Joseph’s woodworking shop. He never stubbed His toe, He never caught a bad cold, but He suffered more physical pain in His life than anyone else ever has or will.
I ask you, that final pain, if He so allows it, will you recall it a thousand years from today, will you seek solace from your brothers and sisters in Christ from it a million years from that final day?
That suffering that is promised my friends may be more than being hated by the world, it may be more than tears at the funereal of a loved one who died in their sins, it may be physical, and it may last quite a while.
But not forever.
How can we compare any amount of time in pain, no matter in what form it arrives to Psalm 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” How can we call it a burden when we are yoked together with the Lord Jesus Christ, how can we fear pain or death with the knowledge of the promise of John 10:29, “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
It is a big step, a leap of faith that can in no way be taken until that moment arrives, death can be planned for, but not fully prepared for, unless we believe those promises. Pain can be prepared for, but not fully accepted until it arrives.
I am so tired of hearing people say, “It could be worse,” when the subject of death is broached, it merits a lack of faith on their part, but I can understand when someone says that they do not fear death, but they do have hesitations about the way it may arrive. Perhaps this will help you somewhat if you are still one of those. Recall what Paul was told when the ship was going to go down, how all would be safe if they listened to what the Lord told him. Paul had no more fear of dying in those days of that storm than he did when that asp bit him.
You should do the same, as all who have been crucified with Christ should.
We know in full assurance where we are going, we know because the Lord Jesus Christ said so.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3)
“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)
In these promises you must rest, not in the fear of death and most certainly not in the way the Lord has planned for you to pass through that door. What may seem frightening to you today will be no more than a distant memory one day.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
Trust Him in this.