You’re Going To Die
You’re going to die. I mean it, you are really going to die. You may die in your sleep. You may die in a horrible accident. You may die at the hands of cancer. Before you read on any further, please stop and reflect on that sobering reality.
Today, talk of death isn’t very common. If you bring it up you are described as being morbid, depressing, or just plain weird. However, I think that is the wrong approach to the topic of death. It is my conviction that we need to think, speak, and live with a more conscious awareness of our inevitable death. One of the people I have learned much from was the theologian Jonathan Edwards. When he was 19 years old he endeavored to write out 70 resolutions that would help him navigate through life. One of those resolutions was, “Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.”
I still remember the first time I read that. I was sitting at a small desk that I had in my dorm room and devouring all things Edwards because I was doing an independent study on him. I leaned back in my chair and began to feel a deep and profound sadness in my bones. The reality of death was so real at that moment that I felt as if I may actually die right then. I thought of daughters and never seeing them marry. I thought about never being able to walk barefoot on the summer grass again. I thought of never sharing another kiss with a woman. Or never seeing another shooting star. Death was to me the great killjoy.
How about all of you? When you think on your death what affections grab hold of your heart? Is it sadness? Or maybe F\fear? Perhaps anxiousness?
Here is where being a follower of Jesus make us a paradox…we are to love all the good and beautiful things of this life while also looking upon death with great longing and almost childlike excitement! Now, don’t hear what I’m not saying. The process of dying is a great mystery wrought with unsettling reservation. But death itself is no longer an end of life but a beginning life unspeakable for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul knew this truth well which is why he was able to say pen these words:
“For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better.” – Philippians 1:21-23
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:6-8
“So we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 5:6-8
When I read those words by the Apostle Paul I am both filled with excitement and shock! Excitement because I believe everything he has written about being with God in heaven forever. However, shock because I also hear this little voice within me saying, “Come on Paul! Are you serious? Are you sure this isn’t a bit of hyperbole to get your point across?”
You see, I think the reason most of us aren’t singing our death song like the Apostle Paul is that we aren’t gripped with a vision of God and being with Him that was as big as Paul’s. We don’t think about the infinite happiness that awaits us when we behold the face of Jesus. As a result, we don’t think about death often. But death is coming. The writer of Hebrews didn’t mince words when he wrote, “And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment.”
Each of us is going to die and appear before God. The question is will you appear before Him as one who will just begin the adventure of life unspeakable? Or will you appear before Him as one who will receive a criminals sentencing? Only you can answer that question, but I do know that when you really stop and reflect on that fact that you’re going to die, the answer to that question will become a bit clearer.