|Posted on January 23, 2022 at 12:30 AM|
Isaiah 57:1 tells us “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.” Charles Stanley says “we will never know until heaven how many godly men and women have died early in life as a result of God’s grace.”
Many times we view death as a punishment. Even those of us who are seasoned Christians will fight it tooth and nail, citing all the reasons why we should keep struggling against the inevitable ravages of time or illness. And I think God blesses our indomitable sense of survival – after all, He gave it to us. We are particularly baffled when God takes someone early, simply because we can’t understand the reason for it. But there comes a time when we must allow God to work how He sees fit. Just because His thoughts and ways are not ours, doesn’t make them punitive or imperfect.
Because at the end of the day, for Christian’s death is a reward for finishing the assignment God has given us here on earth. When He allows us the privilege of coming home, He’s saying “well done, good and faithful servant.” I know it can be difficult to view our immortality in that way, particularly when our time here (or that of someone we love) has been short. After all, we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to look and act younger, battling against the inevitable decline of the temporary tent we inhabit in this world.
But what a blessing is the passage in 1 Corinthians 15 that asks us “O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” While our minds and bodies may long for life here and the comfort of what we are familiar with, we have the everlasting knowledge of what is to come. So, death is actually a victory and not a defeat!
I think a lot about what heaven will be like, particularly as I to come to grips with the temporary nature of my body. And while I don’t long for death, I’m not going to try and embrace or hasten it either. But being afraid of what is inevitable is just another type of bondage. Hebrews 2:5 tells us that we have been freed from the slavery of the fear of death.
It took me a minute to understand how we could be slaves to something that was embedded in us to give us a sense of self-preservation. But then I realized it’s not death itself that is the chain, it’s the fear of it that is the problem. There’s a difference between fighting the inevitable and working with the knowledge that the end is inevitable.
Many cultures honor death but don’t really embrace the fact that it, too, is temporary. It’s simply a step between this world and the next. What an honor and a comfort we have in knowing that when we draw our last breath here on earth, the next one we fill our lungs with will be in the presence of our King. There’s an old hymn, written by Jim Hill, that says:
What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see
When I look upon His face – the one who saved me by His grace
When He takes me by the hand and leads me through the Promised Land
What a day, glorious day that will be
So, for today let’s live as if these are our last moments here on earth, but secure in the knowledge that it is only a small step into our glorious and perfect future. Death – where IS your sting?
Be blessed, my Friend. God is on the throne.
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