O death, where is your sting?

A number of our friends and acquaintances have died this year.  So, it’s not surprising that I have been thinking about death recently.

I’m 71, so I don’t have a ton of years ahead of me.  But I’m content.

I have a lovely family and I have lived a good life.  I feel blessed because my wife, children, and my children’s spouses are all committed believers in Jesus Christ.  Some of my young grandchildren have placed their faith in Jesus, too.

But, I must confess I would not have felt at peace about death when I was a younger man.  In fact, I was upset more than 20 years ago when I was told that I had probably suffered a heart attack.  That proved wrong after further tests.

Yet I was tormented by thoughts of leaving my family at that stage.  My wife had a career but one of my children was still at home and two others were not yet established in life.  My family would face financial difficulties and some of their dreams – and my dreams for them – might never become reality.

I also felt that there was more I could do with my life.  I wasn’t ready for death.

I think many of us feel we should have the right to decide when we die.  “Not yet, God,” we say.

I remember hearing someone at a healing prayer conference say that he had finally given up his fear of dying before he was ready.  He had turned this all over to God.  It struck me then that we all need to deal with this fact.  It is part of recognizing that this is in God’s hands and that he knows best what is right for us.

The apostle Paul faced death constantly – beatings, stonings, the threat of drowning.  But he was at peace.  In his letter to the Philipians, he says in chapter 1: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

He talked about this again in 1 Corinthians 15, where he declares: “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  The point he is making is that believers have nothing to fear when they die.  They will be with God and all pain and suffering will melt away and there will be everlasting joy.

It is something to take to heart.

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