‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ 1 Corinthians 15:55 NIV
When Carolyn Arends’ father lay dying in the hospital, an oxygen mask made it virtually impossible for him to communicate with his family. So they were surprised to hear him humming an old Sunday school song: ‘With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm, as we go sailing home.’
Just hours before he went home to Heaven, a boyhood chorus he had learned 60 years ago gave this dying man comfort and strength. Arends writes: ‘I hope I go down singing, speaking, and thinking about Jesus… Death unaddressed is the bogeyman [monster] in the basement; it keeps us looking over our shoulders and from entering joyously into the days we’ve been given. Dragged out of the shadows and held up to the light of the Gospel, death not only loses its sting, it becomes a reminder to “use wisely all the time we have” (see Psalm 90:12 CEV)… A race toward the finish line has a different sense of purpose and urgency than a jog around the block. When a believer acknowledges he’s headed toward death [tomorrow or in 50 years], he or she can stop expending the tremendous energy it takes to deny his mortality and start living into his eternal destiny here and now. He can be intentional about investing in the things he wants to be with him at the end… Death hurts, but it’s not the end… we don’t mourn as those who have no hope… I don’t know how many days I’ve got left, but I want to use every one to get the truth about who Jesus is—and who I am in Him—more deeply ingrained.’
SoulFood: Jos 1–4, John 15:18–27, Ps 65, Pro 28:17–20
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