“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15 KJV)
I had this Scripture rolling around in my mind as I stepped into the Nursing Home yesterday to share some music with the residents. As I came in I was informed by a nurse that there was a resident who was passing away. I asked if I could play a song for her. She asked the family and they invited me in.
As soon as I stepped into the room she took her last breath. Soon, they were listening for a heartbeat… nothing. She was gone.
It is hard to process watching someone pass away before your eyes. As the family sobbed one woman was reading the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. As she finished, I offered a song. We sang Amazing Grace and then by request How Great Thou Art. I had played this song (her favorite) on so many occasions before for this woman and now it was for her gathered family.
I got the chills as I thought about how she might be observing us hovering in the room. It was a sobering moment. The faith and love of the surrounding family spoke volumes about who this woman was and of the faith and love she had passed down. Jesus has her covered. If she trusted that, then she’s in glory. Simple as that.
Do you ever think about how frail life is? We take it all for granted and we think we are so strong and are the masters of our own destiny, don’t we? Truth is, we are all just a few short breaths and heartbeats away from eternity.
Due to a certain vitamin deficiency (magnesium) I would sometimes get heart palpitations. My heart would stutter and flutter. Sometimes I got light-headed. When this first happened to me more than a year ago I was terrified! I thought my heart stopped and I fell to the ground and begged Jesus, “Have mercy on me! I don’t want to die!”
When this has happened since, I calm myself and just take the moment to receive the Lord’s grace, forgiveness and love. I realize he has my days in his hands and I exist for his pleasure, and I die for his pleasure as well. I trust his perfect timing in this and as much as I enjoy life and my family I’d welcome the promotion.
I know I’m going to be with Jesus. I know I’m going to paradise… forever.
This isn’t because of anything I have done to deserve or earn it, but simply because I trust Jesus. He has me covered. My salvation is secure. For me the biggest questions have been answered.
As I was running in the park the other night I wondered if I will hear, “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your Master” from the LORD Jesus.
I expect so. Everything we have done for him by his Spirit will be remembered while all our sins are forgiven and forgotten. What a deal.
Of course everything not done by his Spirit but by our own efforts or for ourselves will be burned and we will suffer great loss, but, for the believer, our spirits will still be received into glory (but as through fire). Because of Gods great love he has made it impossible for him to reject the believer because he has made himself one with us and he cannot deny himself. But John makes it clear that the true believer will not continue to make a practice of sin. There is great tension in this and it causes us to examine our own faith and life and areas that we need to repent of.
I thank God for the tension. He never intended us to coddle ourselves in carefully scrutinized and dissected theology. No. We are all on trial every day of our lives until our last breath. Will we embrace and pursue Jesus and his love and let this effect who we are and how we live? Or will we live for ourselves and pursue the world and it’s passing pleasures?
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
His word is a constant challenge to our hearts as he intended it to be. My question for you. Are you letting it challenge you? Or are you running? If your heart stopped right now would you be in terror or have peace? Are you ready to take your last breath?
“When death takes me down and I breathe here no more
My anthem will sound on that eternal shore
I’ll join with the angels in heaven on high
I’ll sing Praise the Lord, He is the light”
(I Saw The Light Lyrics, David Crowder/ Hank Williams)