Isaiah 57:1-2 The righteous perish,
and no one ponders it in his heart;
devout men are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.
This is a truth that few people really grasp. A specific example of this is found in 1 Kings 14, where the young son of King Jeroboam dies, and the prophet Ahijah says about him, “All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the Lord, the God of Israel, has found anything good.” (1 Kings 14:13) In other words, he wasn’t being punished by death, he was being rewarded! We fear death, when sometimes it is the best thing that can happen to someone. Among those who have had what are called “near-death experiences,” my wife is hardly unique in strongly looking forward to going back to heaven! It’s not at all that she has a “death wish,” but rather that she has seen that what lies beyond is so much better than what she goes through here. I feel that Billy Graham was specifically spared from seeing the political turmoil that is going on in the US right now, since he was a “pastor to presidents” for so many years. That’s not at all to say that death is always a reward. It all depends on where you are headed after death! The point is to so live on this earth that God will be delighted to have you with Him for eternity. When we are indeed walking with Him in this life, we have no reason whatsoever to be anxious about how long we will be here, because we will continue walking with Him over there. Sometimes we get really tired of all the junk we go through here, but we need to remember that when we respond properly, it just makes us more fit for heaven, and that’s something to be glad about.
I have always felt that the Lord taking my father home at age 64 was a special reward for him, keeping him from having to retire from the mission field, which he had really been dreading, Right now I’ve passed that age by over 7 years, and I recognize that each day means the Lord has something more for me to do here. I am not to shy away from that, but eagerly seek out God’s plans for me so that I may be an open channel of His grace and blessings to those around me. Having seen how rough my father’s death was on my mother, I do all I can to stay healthy for the sake of my wife. For me, going to heaven will be a total delight, but if she’s left behind, it will mean a mountain of headaches and heartaches for her, and I’d like to spare her that. I’d certainly like to keep her with me for as long as possible, but I have no anxiety whatsoever about our destination for either of us. That will certainly be a grand reunion with so many who have gone before!
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for yesterday and all it held. Thank You for the way You are working on so many levels, and for allowing me to be part of that. I pray that every moment You give me on this earth will be spent exactly as You desire, so that Your will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!