Tuesday, May 5, 2020

A Sadness That Is Greater Than Death

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” – James 4:13-14

There is nothing that reminds us of our mortality than the death of someone close to us.  We can watch the news or read about 60,000 plus deaths from COVID 19 complications, perhaps feel sad that it happened, but when death happens close to us – without warning – like a slap in the face – we are reminded of just how fragile and brief life on this planet is.

I received a call from my sister yesterday.  Like it or not, my siblings and I are in the generation that is passing.  It has been happening for, well since man was created, dust to dust.  It is not a surprise.  When I watch old movies, I realize that most if not all of the people in the movie are dead.  That is the nature of things. So I know that my season is nearly done – maybe 20 more years – maybe not – so when any of my siblings call, I am expecting to hear that one of us has passed.  Not morbid thinking, just being realistic. I don’t dwell on this season of my life but am resolved to it. So my sister called me and I wondered, “Who is it?” To my surprise, it was my nephew. That I was not expecting.

I won’t share the details, but I will share, what I think is, an important point.  When a person dies and you don’t know if they were a Christian, then you find yourself hoping they were.  Why? Because the consequence of their not being a Christian is eternity in hell.  We all know that don’t we? But we don’t like to think about it, especially when it has to do with someone we care about. The truth is, we won’t know this side of heaven. The temptation is to give those closest to the one who passed a false hope.  Maybe suggesting that the person might have been a Christian – even though their life did not reflect it.  Really a dilemma considering the grief that person is already dealing with. But the truth is, when there is doubt, there should be silence on our part. Only God knows the truth. Only God knows the condition of each heart.

So I don’t know where my nephew was spiritually.  I do know what I hope. Death is certain and our physical death is final – dust to dust. But there is an eternal – spiritual aspect to our existence which must be and will be accounted for. The lost choose to ignore it – deny it even.  That does not change the truth. The fact that we have been saved on the eternal side of things – we will all die a physical death – only God knows when, how and where – but the question is – how will we live this mortal life we have been given.

Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’”  – John 4:10

If they only knew…… Let you light shine bright my friends.  For as long as our lamps can – let them shine in a world that faces death and its uncertainty every day.  Pray for those who have no hope that they would turn to the One who is the source of hope and life.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” – John 7:38

As I was typing this, a song came to mind as it often does, Almost Persuaded, Philip P. Bliss, pub.1871, Public Domain.

“‘Almost persuaded’ now to believe; ‘Almost persuaded’ Christ to receive;
Seems now some soul to say, ‘Go, Spirit, go Thy way,
Some more convenient day On Thee I’ll call.’

‘Almost persuaded,’ come, come today;
‘Almost persuaded,’ turn not away;
Jesus invites you here, Angels are ling’ring near,
Prayers rise from hearts so dear; O wand’rer, come!

‘Almost persuaded,’ harvest is past! ‘Almost persuaded,’ doom comes at last!
‘Almost’ cannot avail; ‘Almost’ is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail— ‘Almost,’ but lost!”

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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