Death Reviewed

There’s something about death that has a way of putting things into perspective.

My father-in-law lived a quiet life of godly character, integrity, servanthood, and hard work. His legacy is well represented in his family by the grace of God.

Today . . . he is with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8)!!

Since his passing a few days ago, the following thoughts have come to mind.

Death has once again fulfilled the clear directive from God. Hebrews 9:27 says, And as it is appointed for men to die once. Unless the rapture occurs in our lifetime, we are all going to die (1Thessalonians 4:13-18). With that being said, you better be ready; you better be thinking about eternity. God in His mercy and grace wants you to be saved (2 Peter 3:9).

I had the joy of sitting down with my father-in-law a year ago and recording his salvation testimony. At the age of 14, having heard the gospel from a faithful Sunday School teacher, he walked the aisle of a local church, knelt at the altar and received Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. He mentioned that he had been in church all his life, his parents were faithful attenders serving in the church, but he had never been born again. To which he said, “Looking back, I don’t know why I waited so long.”

Truth is, death is coming, but you are not ready to die unto you are ready to live; here in Christ on earth and in eternity with Christ! Death will happen.

Death for the believer is precious. Psalm 116:15, Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die. NLT). The word precious means “highly valued.” This value is first of all connected with the gospel. Christ not only died for the believer but as the believer to reconcile him/her back to God (Romans 5:8-11), to secure a home in Heaven (John 14:1-6), and give him the promise of being in the Lord’s presence forever! Death is “highly valued” because the believer is God’s purchased, precious possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Even if the cause of death is considered a tragedy here, in a moment when our last breath is taken, that tragedy is turned into triumph, something highly valued!

Yes, it was difficult seeing dad in his condition . . . dementia, recovering from hip surgery, day-after-day in a nursing home bed, pain and sores, unable to communicate and move as he once did. Yet, God worked through his looming death to reveal His character, endurance, grace and peace to all of us, especially Dad’s family.

His death was precious because through his suffering, the nursing home staff heard the gospel. They saw the life of Christ being lived out through family. As dad slipped into the presence of the Lord, he reached up and took the nurse’s hand, smiled and breathed his last. What did Dad see? Indeed, highly valued is a believer in the Lord’s sight when he dies.

Death is a release for the believer. For the saint who has been groaning (2 Corinthians 5:2) due to a prolonged illness, he/she has been released from their pain, discomfort, and difficulty! Also, because they have been freed of the penalty of sin effected by Christ on the cross, the believer in heaven is now totally free from the presence and power of sin!

Many times in recent years Dad would say, “I am ready to go to Heaven.” His loss of hearing, heart issues, and macular degeneration had made his quality of life sub-par. His life now and forever is one of freedom!!

Death is completely in the sovereign, omniscient hands of God. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). From God’s viewpoint, the number of our days are already appointed, and man nor medicine can thwart God’s plan. And, in this context, there is great comfort in knowing that God’s ways are always perfect (Psalm 18:30).

Although we miss Dad now and will in the days to come, Dad is finally home. Death was the “entrance ramp” into Glory. He knows no sin, sorrow, nursing facility, broken bone, poor eye sight, heart issues, old sin nature, chaos, relational turmoil, heartache, worldly disappointments, etc. As was sung at his funeral service, “Celebrate me home!”

When the time comes and I am standing at the river
That separates the two worlds that I love,
Torn between my precious friends and my family
and the place of peace that’s waiting up above,
Hold my hand and stay there by my side.
And when I finally step into the tide,

Celebrate me home!
Celebrate me there.
Celebrate me in that land of wonder where nothing can compare.
Celebrate me in that place
Celebrate me saved by grace
Don’t just sit and weep because I’m gone
Celebrate me Home.

I have spent most of my life on earth preparing
To take the trip from here to Heaven’s throne.
With the Shield and Word of God to guide me
Its a comfort knowing I am not alone.
So when I take my final fleeting breath
and fade into the gentle sleep of death

Celebrate me home!
Celebrate me there.
Celebrate me in that land of wonder where nothing can compare.
Celebrate me in that place
Celebrate me saved by grace
Don’t just sit and weep because I’m gone
Celebrate me Home

Lyrics: Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey

Artist: The Perrys

Watch the service here:

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