Perhaps today. These are the words that I wake up to each day, not first thing in the morning, but usually within the first half-hour or so after opening my eyes to the day that our Lord has provided for me. These two words give me hope, they encourage me to seek His face so that I might be pleasing to Him, for this may be the day that I finally meet Him face to face. They assist me in the knowledge of the truths of His Word, that there is a day coming that He will call us home.
I know two things about each of you without ever meeting any of you that may be reading these letters, one is that you will die, your mortal body in one way or another will fail, and you will finally get to be where you have always wanted to be, in the presence of Christ. The second is this, you really want to meet Him in the air, your desire is to be part of the rapture of the church. There are only two relevant questions then for this second reason, why, and what are you doing until one of these two guaranteed events occur.
I believe that the answer to the first one is of course the easiest but will take most of our time in this letter to you. It is not that the follower of Christ is afraid of death, for the sting of death holds no sway over us, “Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” (John 14:19) but it is in the way that they may possibly die. We all would hope for a ripe old age to envelope us, that our family and friends would be around us as we simply lay back, close our eyes and in the next moment be with the Lord forever. I have never met anyone that is looking forward to a slow, long painful death that never seems to come, that desires that it would linger over them but not seem to be in a hurry to finally touch them while the pain increases and the anguish becomes unbearable.
Wouldn’t you like to know if David received an answer to his request to our Lord, and do you believe that you would make the same statement to Him that he did in Psalm 39:4 if you were to receive that answer, “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am.” Would you like to know when the last day on earth is set for you. Some do, you know, those who are facing execution for their faith can feel the sword at their neck and know that there is no reprieve. What do you believe their prayers are at that moment, for the Lord to save them, for the rapture to happen at that very moment, or for them to remain obedient to His will even in this final instant of their life? Should it make any difference whatsoever how we die, or our fear of the way it will arrive for us, or should we be concentrating on how we are living for Him.
Nearly every prophet of God, almost every apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ died a death that they would not have chosen for themselves. I have met no one that desires a painful death, but one in which they simply lay down, or sit in their favorite chair and fall asleep, anything but the agony of a suffering end. Let me inform you of a little secret that I do not believe many Christians realize, you and I are going to die in exactly the way that the Lord has intended for each of us to die, no variance whatsoever, the manner of your death will arrive in the exact way that He has intended for it to take place. If you can truly grasp this, if you can honestly understand this and accept it for the truth that it is, the fear of the way that you will die will disappear, and your only thought after that point will be that you will not dishonor Him in any way at that moment when it arrives.
Will those final minutes hurt, maybe, will there be extended pain, pain that you never knew existed, possibly, or will it arrive so quickly that you were not even aware that it happened until you see next the Lords face, could be. His decision, His choice, His will be done, not ours. The point is, what difference does it make, the consideration is not the manner of our death, but what we are doing up until that point. Unless you are a part of the blessed who will be raptured, those rare few who at the end of the church age will not taste death, the only question that matters up until that moment of your death is what you are doing for Him.
This letter is intended for the mature believer, those who have heeded the call, those that are serving Christ at His will and for His glory, not the professing Christian, though he be saved, that is not doing all that he knows he should be doing, those who still think that church attendance is all that is required of them. We will receive rewards for our works, but we will be judged by our faith and the ways in which we glorified Jesus Christ in this life. It is a matter of the heart, and the hearts response to the calling that has been placed before us is how the Lord will look upon us.
Every single person who knows Christ as savior is able to serve Him to the ability that He has been given by Christ, there are no exceptions, we all have the Holy Spirit of God within us, prompting us, guiding us, leading us in the paths that we are to walk upon. It is not only the desires that we are to exhibit in this walk, those that are shown by our actions, our faithfulness, but our hearts intents towards these desires. Are they a burden, or a joy, do they keep us from the things that we would rather do, or are they all that we seek after, is the glorification of His Name our one true goal, or is the knowledge that we will enter into His kingdom enough for us to stop somewhere upon that path and say “Enough, I can serve this far and no further.”
Here is the point, the juncture in every believers life that we must all face, where is that line that we believe we cannot cross, where we say that it has become to much, to dangerous, that we might lose more of ourselves than we had expected to lose and are prepared to not serve any further. Many Christians know exactly where this line is, and when they find it, they will not cross it, and our Lord will not force them to. He has other servants that will, and willingly. And who are these individuals?
These are they that do not seek the praise of men, ever, they know in whom they have believed and their trust in Him is full and never ending. These are they whose lives are not ruled by their current emotional state, or the circumstances that surround it, who see opportunities to serve their Lord in every instance, who faith is true and sure, who do not fear death or the way in which the Lord will bring it upon them. The one hour or so a week Sunday morning service is not even close enough for them in what could be considered obeying the Lord, the vast majority of the Scriptures resides in their heart, not only in memorized verses, but in the way that every moment of every day of their lives are lived. No one, not even those that they love the dearest on this earth will deter them from the appointed tasks that the Lord has placed upon them, their employment positions are not there for the betterment of mankind or to increase their financial wellbeing, but are seen as opportunities to serve Christ by serving their fellow man, and nearly all of that service is in the spiritual realm, not for the materialistic needs of it.
Nearly everything that these servants of Christ do is meant to glorify Him, nearly every thought focuses around how they can serve Him more, and though they can rest in Him at every moment, they have continuously a desire to serve further. They can do no less, for He has done all for them. They do seek these things in hopes of repaying Him in some way, that is not possible and an absurd notion to them, they do it out of a love that can never truly be expressed. The only reason these servants of Christ desire to stay on this planet is so that perhaps one more might come to know Christ through their actions, through their words, through His Words. These do not fear death, they are a group unto themselves, set apart for the service of the Lord. They are not seeking death, but they look forward to it, because it means an eternity in the presence of their Lord.
Perhaps today, my brothers and sisters in Christ, my fellow servants of Almighty God, perhaps today.