This past Labor Day found us racing away from a relaxing visit to the zoo to dealing with the shock, grief, and preparation that comes with the passing of a dear, loved one. My grandpa, who lived an incredible 91 years, passed away in his home.
Death is something that we tend to fear, the death of others and especially our own death. I can honestly say that I’m not sure if I fear it or not. Unfortunately, the thought of death is usually only thrust upon us in times like these, when we’re least prepared for it. Although Grandpa was old, he was fairly independent and in pretty good health for his age.
My mind is inevitably drawn to thoughts of my own death. Will I be ready? Will I be afraid? I’d like to think that, knowing what I believe, I can be completely free of fear from death. But I’m not. I’m afraid of the unknown, for even though Scripture has told us much about what lies ahead, there are still so many questions.
My prayer today is that God would prepare my heart, even now, for coming home to Him. For now, though, I want to fully embrace Paul’s attitude of living between two kingdoms:
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!
I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” Philippians 1:20-26
I’m thankful, for sure, that Grandpa knew Christ and that I will see him again someday. I’m also thankful that these words are a joy and a hope to me and my family in this difficult season:
It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears
O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die
It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore