In the last few days, the headlines have been filled with celebrity deaths. I am not sure if we are more aware of those who die at the end of the year due to the holidays, or if it seems the last few days of one year race to another, or what the real reason is. Part of it, I think, is that at the end of the year we begin to reflect on all that has happened in 2016 and notable deaths are one of the things that society records.
It also think part of it has to do with growing older. The older I get the more names I recognize of people that die, and the closer to death I am myself. I remember several years ago my father saying that he started attending more funerals than weddings. I suppose that is natural to all of us as we age. It may not be that more people are dying one year to the next, but it sure seems like each year we know more of them or at least know their names (as with celebrities).
Hebrews 9:27, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,”
Many in our world today forget this. Unless the Lord returns, a day of death is appointed for each one of us. We also know from Scripture that God has numbered our days before any one of them came to be. The real question we must face is, are we ready for death? Are we ready to stand before the Lord? Are we ready to face judgment?
Melissa’s health scare in Idaho a few weeks ago and now some doctor visits and testing, and I dealing with a head cold this week, are all reminders that our bodies are weak and frail and should serve as good indications of our mortality. None of us knows when we shall draw our final breath. None of us knows when our last day on earth will be.
I don’t mean to put a damper on the last couple of days of 2016, because I am looking forward to 2017 and all that God has for us as individuals and as a Church family. I hope that rather than the world that grieves without hope, or merely states RIP when a person they know or a celebrity dies, we look at the reality: those who trust in Christ alone for their salvation will spend eternity in heaven, and those who do not will spend eternity in hell. That is a stark reality for some, but the truth is not everyone goes to a “better place” when they die. 1 Corinthians 15 reminds us that death is the final enemy to be defeated when Christ returns. We long for that day described in Revelation when there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain. In the mean time, let us cling to the words we read after Hebrews 9:27, which state that judgment comes after death.
In Hebrews 9:28 we read, “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
If we live our lives eagerly waiting for him, we shall be ready for death, or Christ’s return, whenever it comes.