Death. It is final. Many avoid talking about it because they fear it. It is in the news on a daily basis. A lot of people do everything they can to delay its arrival. But, inevitably death will arrive at each of our doorsteps. It will come knocking and there is nothing you or I can do about it.
This week, my sister-n-law Eunice passed away. It was unexpected and a total shock to the whole family. She has had health challenges over the past few years (stroke included) but none that we thought would take her life this past week. In fact, my family and I were on the road driving to visit Eunice and my father/mother-n-law for a few weeks when we got word of her sudden critical state and ultimate passing. What made this ever more difficult is that we were only one hour from arriving to see her and my parents-in-laws. Even my wife’s brother and his wife were in the air traveling to visit them/us for the next week as well. Yet, our planned time as a family took the one turn we would all love to reverse but cannot.
I know Eunice is with the Lord. Despite her medical problems, she is now fully healed, walking again and able to use her arms. Selfishly, I wanted God to heal Eunice on this earth. I wanted more time with her. But, God had other plans and His plans are always perfect. Today, she is with her Creator. She is home where she belongs. She is where every follower of Jesus should desire to be more than any other place.
As I think about death this week, I find myself asking, “Why do we seek to extend our lives as long as possible?”. The presence of Jesus is exactly the place we, as believers, should desire to be. I am not referring to “Being in His Presence” as we sing a worship song kind of thing. I am talking about being in the physical literal presence of Jesus our King. As Paul the Apostle wrote, “To live is Christ but to die is Gain”.
At the same time, we are not to force our arrival into Jesus’ presence pre-maturely. That is not our right or calling. We should, however, do what we can to be good stewards of our bodies that God has given us. But in the end, God decides our death date, not us. That date is pre-decided by God and God alone. How we get there is also in God’s hands. Until that day, we are to love God with everything we are, think, have and do. We are to serve God wholeheartedly. We are to labor to make Jesus known to All Peoples in All Places so they can also have the opportunity to enjoy the same relationship with God, which comes only through Jesus the Messiah.
Death, for the Redeemed, is not the end. It is merely the beginning. Death is neither a tragic event for a believer. It is a wonderful move from this sin-filled earth to God’s glorious presence for all eternity. Yet, for the non-believer, their death reality is entirely different and tragic.
We all deserve God’s wrath because of our sin. Those who reject Christ will, unfortunately, face God’s wrath for all eternity. Yet, if we surrender to God through Jesus, we receive the greatest gift of all time, one that none of us deserve. It is a free gift given to us because Jesus gave His life in place of ours nearly 2,000 years ago. He paid the penalty for our sin. He voluntarily endured the wrath of God that we deserve because of our sin. But, God does not simply blanket every person automatically with His incredible gift of salvation. At the same time, we can neither earn this gift or God’s favor. The only thing we have to do is confess our sin to God and surrender our lives to Christ. By doing so, God will deliver us from the power and penalty of our sin for all eternity.
Are you ready to face your death? Are you ready to enter eternity? Are you confident you will be with God for all eternity? Do you really and truly know that what you believe about God is, in fact, the Truth?
Jesus made a bold claim in John 14:6 that He is the only way to God the Father and that no other way to God exist, period. I believe this wholeheartedly and I share this Truth because I care. I will never force you to surrender to Christ but I will tell anyone willing to listen about this amazing gift. Your relationship with God is, in the end, between you and God and the most important decision you need to make. But, make sure you are correct about what you think is Truth before death comes knocking. If Jesus’ claim is true, then there is truly only one way and He is it…Period!
I challenge you to take seriously what will happen to you, your family, your friends and everyone you know before death comes knocking at your/their door. It may be soon. It may be far away. But, it will knock. You/them will have no choice but to answer. You/them (yes, even I) will one day die then we will all face God and give account for our lives. We will either face God’s wrath because of our own sin or we will experience God’s eternal grace because of what Jesus paid for in our place.
Which Will It Be For You?
“No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” – 1 John 2:23 (ESV)
Steve Schirmer, President of Silk Road Catalyst and co-Host of Missions Talk. Least Reached Advocate. Dedicated to No Place Left.