There’s a certain assisted living home we go to regularly. We love visiting with them, and playing gospel bluegrass music for the residents.
Our purpose is to glorify God and bless the residents there, but what ends up happening more often than naught, is that we are the ones feeling blessed.
We’re blessed by the smiles and faces of pure delight by the dear ladies and gentlemen.
We’re blessed by the way their eyes sparkle when they tell us, “you made my day special,” “this is my favorite day every month!” and “God has really blessed your family, hasn’t He?”
We’re blessed, because we see how God has taken our music, and miraculously turned it into something that could bless another’s heart.
Each resident has their own unique personality.
Everyone has their own smile, their own way of enjoying the music, and their own way of participating in the program.
But one certain resident seems to have been born with a double dose.
This dear lady never forgets to playfully remind us that we are all her grandchildren (or children, it changes periodically) and that she loves us all very much.
She smiles during every song. She sings along (as do most of the residents) faithfully. And she can almost always be seen with her camera, taking pictures.
She’s even been known to get them developed and brings us copies from time to time!
Her memory is astounding, and she even asks about our grandparents, (who have visited only once, and live ten hours away!)
I had the pleasure of speaking with her during one of our visits a couple of days ago.
It was then I began to fully understand the hand of cards life had dealt her, and how faithfully she had played each one.
She had a daughter who grew sick when she was about fifteen years old.
They knew something was very wrong, but all the doctors would ever say was, “she’s fine.”
They knew that wasn’t the truth, and they told the doctors so, but they wouldn’t admit her to the hospital, and since they didn’t know what else to do, they took their daughter home.
Through a series of phone calls, and prayers later, they were finally about to bring their daughter back to the hospital, in hopes that this time they would be given an answer concerning the state of her health.
But it was too late.
It was early one morning when the fifteen-year-old girl stared out the hospital window into the darkness of the morning and asked her mother, “Mama, what time is it?”
Her mother told her, but then asked, “Why do you want to know what time it is?”
Her daughter answered, “Because I’m going to die. And I don’t want to die in the darkness, but when it’s light I’ll be ready to go.”
And when the sun rose above the mountain and peeked into the window of that tiny hospital room, her daughter went to be with the Lord.
This young girl didn’t fear death. She didn’t grow anxious about dying and leaving her earthly home.
I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting this young girl, but according to her mother she was a devoted Christian.
She didn’t fear dying. Her only desire was that she die in the light.
We’ve already covered the topic of being lights in the midst of darkness.
We’ve discussed what it means to be a light for Christ, and we’ve dwelt on what it looks like when we are being true lights.
But once our time on this earth has expired, once our purpose in this life is complete, once we’ve lived our lives according to Christ’s will…then what?
Death is not something many of us like to dwell on.
As I’ve heard various people say, “It’s not being dead that troubles me, it’s the dying part.”
Have you felt the same way before? Do you feel that way now?
Fearing death is a fear that many of us have. It’s a fear that I myself have had to confront before.
During my searching, I’ve found things that have blessed and encouraged me greatly.
This is what I discovered: For starters, (as we’ve already covered) fear is most often times wrong, and sinful. Very few fears are good fears to have.
We are told in the scriptures over and over again to, fear not. And why? Because Christ is with us.
C.H. Spurgeon says: “The fear of death is natural to man as a sinner.”
But he also says: “While the fear of death is natural to the sinner, it is not necessary to the saint.”
Though fearing death isn’t a necessary fear for Christians, and by the grace of God some of us have been delivered from it. It is still a very real fear in many of our lives.
C.H. Spurgeon says in his sermon, The Fear of Death, that death can be our best friend! “Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, there is no need that you should be afraid to die! It is even possible for you to look upon death as your best friend! You may yet come to be familiar with the shroud, the mattock, the grave — and find the cemetery to be no place of gloom and may even rejoice in the prospect of death.”
Even though we think we may have a reason to fear death, all our reasons can be contradicted with God’s Word.
Here are just a few of the scriptures that deal with fearing death:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” JOHN 14:1-4
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” HEBREWS 2:14-15
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” PSALM 23:4 KJV
“Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 CORINTHIANS 5:6-8
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” PHILIPPIANS 1:21
C.H Spurgeon says at the closing of his sermon: “It may not be long before some of us will have our faith tested in our dying hour. The preacher may be called away or you may receive the summons first. It would be well if we were all so familiar with death that we could say as one old saint did, “Dying? Why, I have died daily for the last 20 years, so I am not afraid to die, now!” Or, as another said, “I dip my foot in Jordan’s stream every morning before I take my breakfast, so I shall not be afraid to go down into the stream whenever my Lord bids me enter it.” May that be your experience and mine, Beloved, and then we shall have no fear of death!”
Let us endeavor to fear nothing! Not even death itself.
As you’ve just read, when we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord.
And how precious it is to be reminded that when we pass on, we will live with Christ in Heaven for eternity!
Do you have the blessed assurance and peace that your name is written in the Book of Life? Do you know without a doubt that when you die, you will be in Heaven with the Lord?
If not, take the time to search the depths of your heart and confront the lingering doubt in your mind.
As the scripture says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Pray to the Lord and ask Him to free you from the bondage of sin. Ask Him to forgive you of all your transgressions. Endeavor to live your life according to His will.
I once heard a missionary friend say: “We will either be on fire for Christ in this world, or in the lake of fire in torment for eternity.”
Strive to please the Lord and follow His example.
We, as Christians don’t have to fear death. There’s nothing to fear! Why? Because as one of my favorite quotes by Charles Spurgeon puts it: