“Though He slay me yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:15) As I have stated before, you cannot give praise and glory to one you do not trust, and unless you completely trust God , your honor of Him will always be one hindered by doubt, impeded by a heart that is not quite fully His. I recently heard a well renowned pastor on the radio, a man who serves God with his whole being, speak on a time in his life where death seemed imminent, cancer had invaded his body, and it looked as if he was beginning the last days of his time here on earth. What struck me was the fear he expressed that he had during this time, for many times I had heard him and the words of “Though He slay me…” in one form of Scripture verse or another pass by his lips. But now, as far as he had been informed by the doctors, that time had come, and the words were now longer just read from a book but being experienced for real.
For those that have been following these letters to you for any length of time, you know that I have been close to death several time, and I will not burden you again with any of the incidents, so if I speak in a callous way in this area, please forgive me, but it was quite easy for me to see that this was the first time this pastor had experienced a time in his life where he realized that it was for real, that his mortal existence in the body was going to come to an end, that all those things that happen to other people was happening to him, that this was one funeral service that he was not going to preside over, much less attend. His faith was strong, but as is the usual occurrence in these matters, ‘why’ was the first question, not praise God, for I am now going to go home, ‘what’ was the second question, what do you want me to learn from this, not giving glory to God for the time he had been blessed with and preparing his heart to meet the Lord Jesus Christ face to face.
It is so easy to read, “Fear not the sentence of death, remember them that have been before thee, and that come after; for this is the sentence of the Lord over all flesh.” (Eccl. 41:3) until the doctor comes in and says, “You might want to sit down,” it is a joy to praise the Name of the Most-High, until that pain in your side starts getting worse. Many will say at this point, “Well, I don’t fear death, but I am kind of afraid of the way I might die,” and to that I reply, well, how are you going to die? I know exactly how I am going to leave this mortal shell, my friends, just like God has said I will, just exactly like he has known before the foundation of the world, I have one, and only one concern of that day, that I would not dishonor His Name in any way, shape or form as I am leaving.
I have not been in a tavern, a bar if you will, for many decades now, but I remember signs in nearly all of them that read, “No politics, no religion, no death,” three subjects that nearly always bring up contention points, and the last thing you want around a bunch of drunk people is contention. Death invokes terror, there is no other way to put it, we generally fear what we do not know, and death is the great unknown, even for the Christian, and even more so for those who have never felt his breath on their necks. The last thing on our minds on that moment is praise, it is dread, terror that the unthinkable is finally happening, that you will have no more tomorrows, every single thing that you have worked for in the entirety of your life will now belong to someone else, you will not be here any longer. (Eccl. 1:3)
I have read and heard from the wisest of men that it is morbid to desire death, but, please forgive me in my ignorance, is not the one thing we are to be looking forward to is to be with our Lord Jesus Christ forever and eternally, should not our greatest desire be to be with Him who paid the ultimate price for us through His own death on the cross. Should we not look forward with joy to the one event that will finally allow us freedom from all of the wiles of the Devil, from all of the influences of sin, from a mind and body that cannot serve Him to its fullest while we inhabit it here on this earth.
Why do I hear so many Christians speaking on their desire for the rapture, but none on the desire for death. I can only suppose it is because the rapture is an easy way out, no pain, no suffering, none of those things that the Word of God promises to the believer before he gains entrance into the Kingdom of God. (2nd Cor. 4:17) Why do we fear death when we are commanded not to. (Matt. 10:28)
Here is a verse of praise in this area for you to memorize, if you have not already. “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Psalm 116:15) Isn’t it amazing how we will praise Him on a sunny day, but ask for protection in the storm, does it surprise you that we bring glory and honor to His Holy Name when we feel physically fine, but ask ‘why’ when the pain comes, are you astonished when we sing songs of praise and adoration in the service on Sunday morning, but the melodies of praise are far removed from our lips when the end is in sight.
Heaven is the only place that I can think of that everyone wants to go but is afraid of the final step to get there.
“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord: and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lords.” (Rom. 14:8) My friends, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, if you have been saved by grace through faith, then what possible fear could you have of that last moment, of your final step from this world to the one that He has provided for all of His children. I contend, and I believe rightfully so, that the fear of death is a sin, for it removes from us trust in the Lord our Gods provision for that final crossing, but for those of you that have never come close to that last step, I understand, and can offer only one form of help, prayer, prayer that the fear of what you see as the most frightening thing that will ever happen to you will be removed, that the thoughts of the sting of death will be no more to you than a passing thought, for all of your thoughts will revolve around the praising of the Name of the One who is able to save you from its terrible fear. No mature Christian should have an irrational fear of death, their mind and hearts are too busy praising the one who has conquered it.