This past Sunday I mentioned one of my favorite saints in my message -- Charles Spurgeon. Thus, I thought I would send out a 'thought' from him for this week's selection.
It's a thought spoken in relation to the well known phrase from Ecclesiastes 3:2: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die..."
Spurgeon uses that verse to give us some encouragements in regard to often fearful thought of dying. I believe his statements are not only true, but liberating, comforting and fear-subduing. Enjoy.
A Time To Die
"God has fixed the time of our death (Job 7:1). It is useless to dream of living here forever. A time of departure must come unless the Lord returns... (I Thess. 4:17).
Here, diseases wait in ambush, eager to slay. But, "He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, not of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you" (Ps. 91:4-7). We are immortal until our work is done. The we shall receive our summons home.
Therefore, if duty calls into danger, if you have to nurse the contagious sick, do not hold back. You will not die by a stray arrow from death's quiver. Only God can take your breath. Your death is not left to chance. It is determined by a heavenly Father's gracious will. Thus we must not be afraid.
Of course, we must not be reckless and rush into danger without reason, for that is madness. Yet never fear to face death when God's voice calls you into danger.
Here is comfort: If the Father of our Lord Jesus arranges all, then our friends do not die untimely deaths. Believers are not cut off before their time. God has appointed a time to harvest His fruit. Some are sweet, even in the early spring, and He gathers them. Others, like baskets of summer fruit, are taken while the year is young. Yet some remain until autumn mellows them. But be sure of this, each will be gathered in its appointed season.
God has appointed the commencement, the continuation, and the conclusion of your life. "Every day appointed for me was written in His book before any one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16)."
As one who lost my good friend and cousin Gregg Mackey (a few months younger than me) quite unexpectedly this June, these truths came as a great comfort. People may be taken young, and they may leave this world before we would want, but they never die before their time, for their "time" or "the hour of their departure" was written in God's book long before the day they ever took their first breath.
There is, if we read Psalm 139:16 correctly, a plan laid out for our lives. One that includes who our parents will be, the day we are born, the events that transpire in our lives, the day when we will be raised from our death in trespasses and sins by the grace of the Holy Spirit, what our life calling will be, who we will influence for Christ, and on and on right up to, and including, the very day, hour, and minute we will depart to be transported into our eternal reward.
What often comes as shock or surprise to us, and others, fulfills a plan God inscribed in the book of God's providential plan long before we were ever born.
That, and not meaningless mere chance, brings great comfort to the believers heart at the sudden loss of a loved one. And it not only comforts, it diminishes fear, gives us great courage, and helps us to see (as Spurgeon points out), "We are immortal until our work is done... Therefore if duty calls into danger... do not hold back. (We) will not die by a stray arrow from death's quiver."
May our Sovereign God give you the peace that comes from knowing He's not only in charge, He's in control. He does, as the children's song tries to convince us, have, "the whole world in His hands." Let us live as if we believe it!
In His Service, Pastor Jeff