A while ago, I was sitting in a waiting room, waiting to see my doctor. I didn’t know what was making me sick, but understood that it could be something serious. It turned out to be minor, but I realized anew that, unless I die suddenly or the Lord returns first, I will at some point recieve a diagnosis that will signal the end of my life. It’s just a matter of time.
My mother works as a nurse at an end of life care facility, looking after people who have only days to live. Most of them have not lived in a way that makes it easy to die. Their families are broken, their finances are a mess, their minds are weakened by chronic drug or alcohol abuse, and their souls are utterly untended. That in addition to bodies struggling to continue living. The majority of the patients are not ready to die.
What about me? What about you? What are you doing to get ready for your diagnosis? Are you practicing what William Perkins called “the science of living blessedly forever”? Are you staying in close communion with God? Loving the saints? Serving your family? Confessing your sins regularly, hating and forsaking them because they are displeasing to God? Looking forward to the fulfillment of so many promises that the Lord makes to His people in His Word? Praying that you will be preserved in faithfulness to the end of your race? Getting ready to die well?
Death ushers the unbeliever into a terrible reality: “This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts. Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death shall be their shepherd, and the upright shall rule over them in the morning. Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.” But in Christ, the believer is ushered into glory: “God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. ” (Psalm 49:13-15)
Mary Winslow wrote that “We are here for a little while, soon to appear at Christ’s bar. Live for Jesus – live for Eternity.” That will enable us to be ready for death, whenever that happens to be for each of us.