"Can you sit with her…Pastor…I
just can't do it. I just can't watch her go…"
Patting the old man's arm,
Ken walked into the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.
He found the woman's bedside and took the chair beside her.
She would leave this world at any moment. Her breathing
was labored, her color pallid…but Ken knew of her salvation.
He was sure of her destiny.
How do you feel about dying?
I once heard someone say that
dying is like being born…we are here, in the "womb"
of the world, not wanting to be born into true life,
eternal life. We just don't realize the life that
awaits us -- if we are believers in Christ, that is -- beyond
this limited world. Like newborn babies, we fight the "labor"
of death and the "birthing process" of new life!
We don't want to leave our warm, comfortable, yet oh so
confining, world! And why not? Because we have the understanding
of one who does not yet know real life…life face-to-face
with Jesus, life in heaven. If we only knew what was awaiting
us…we would go eagerly, anxious to ride that sweet chariot
After all, who would want to
stay inside of the womb here? There would be no room for
growth, no knowledge or understanding of what we are really
missing. No life as God originally intended.
Heaven is more than we can
It must be wonderful…and inviting!
Lottie Moon thought so. A dedicated missionary to China
in the late 1800's and early 1900's, Lottie loved the Chinese
almost as much as she loved the Lord Jesus. Times were hard
in China, and because her Chinese brothers and sisters were
suffering and starving, Ms. Moon too refused to eat. She
gave away all she had to so many in need! She grew weaker
and weaker. With death soon approaching, Ms. Moon was put
on a ship to return to the United States. While docking
in Japan, Lottie Moon spoke of Jesus' love to her nurse,
Cynthia Miller. Not long after, on the Christmas Eve of
1912, she awoke and smiled, raising her fists together in
a friendly Chinese greeting.
Obviously, she had met the
Lord Jesus face to face. Finally, she was going home.
But how do you feel about dying?
Perhaps life is like living
in an airport. We can but imagine where death will carry
us believers -- into the beautiful blue eternal life beyond.
We are, in essence, waiting in an airport, waiting to catch
the flight of a lifetime! As believers, we have already
passed through security -- the security believers gain at
salvation. Have you heard? Once we belong to Him, we can
never be snatched from His hand!
give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
no one can snatch them out of My hand.
No matter how you feel about
dying…it's most likely inevitable. Solomon tells us
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity
under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die…
"I knew I was near heaven,"
a friend told me after a long illness. "I saw a beautiful
gate, covered in dazzling jewels! I heard a voice. He spoke
to me; He called me by name. I couldn't see anyone, but
immediately I knew who it was! I knew it was my Savior.
It was Jesus!"
"I knew Him by His voice."
calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.
When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of
them, and His sheep follow Him
because they know His voice.
But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will
run away from Him
because they do not recognize a stranger's voice.
"Oh, how I wanted to go
to my Lord!" my friend continued. "But He told
me No, not yet…"
That was years ago. Now my
friend IS with Jesus, her Lord. I know she is happily in
His presence, listening to the sound of His voice.
So what's the point? We're
going to die, it's true. People die every day, and it makes
us a little uneasy. Loved ones die. We struggle through
seasons of grief. We wonder how we will "do life"
without them. But somehow, we survive their deaths. We know
that someday we, too, must face that next chapter of eternity.
At times, on rough days, I look forward to that "time
of rest and rejoicing". Other days, I rejoice at being
a part of this world -- the temporal, yet God-given.
Are you ready? Do you know
where you are going? Some people I talk to have just left
their "life after death" up to chance, claiming
they hope they go to heaven, but saying they can
never know for sure. Until death's moment, that is.
They claim, though they truly
believe in Jesus, that it is possible to lose their own
salvation -- that Christ's gift wasn't good enough to last
a lifetime. That Jesus' sacrifice is conditional upon their
That's tragic! That's not what
the Bible says…
write these things to you who believe in the name of the
Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life.
I John 5:13
As an Awana activity one Sunday
night, the youth wrote their worries on slips of paper.
We played a game where we took these wadded up pieces of
paper and we threw them away -- leaving our worries behind,
never to pick them up again.
Later, I opened up these slips
of paper and read the worries scrawled there. Several youth
I'm worried I won't go
to heaven when I die…
I'll never be good enough
to go to heaven…I'm afraid of hell!
I worry that I won't be
modest enough…or nice enough…and God won't let me in…
No matter how much we talked
to them, how much we reasoned with them, they refused to
believe the truth of God's Word.
For them, death was something
to be feared. But why? Jesus is already there. He is the
Victor over death! God designed the plan of the Messiah
so that we who believe wouldn't have to fear death anymore.
O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
I Corinthians 15:55
Elijah saw a bee for the first
time this spring. He screamed and came charging into the
house! You see, he's allergic to bees, and he was stung
three times last summer. His swelling and raspy breathing
was what made me nervous, every time he was stung.
What was he afraid of? The
sting. He hated looking down at those painful bee stings
and finding the stinger yet remaining!
But the stinger has been removed
from death, don't you see? It can't hurt us anymore! If
we have truly embraced the Lord Jesus as our Savior, then
we don't have to fear death! Of course we could never be
good enough to achieve salvation. But it's not about
It's all about Jesus. Jesus
has conquered death! The grave of despair and hopelessness
and sin is no more.
sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
but thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
I Corinthians 15:56-57
As Ken sat at the old woman's
bedside in that Intensive Care Unit years ago, the woman's
breathing slowed. Suddenly, she raised up and reached out
Then, she was gone.
Those who walk
uprightly enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.
© 2011. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights