“For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14b)
There is value in coming to grips with the reality of death. For one, the understanding that death is real should, and does (hopefully) make us aware of our mortality, and the fact that one day, we ourselves will die. All around us, every day, we are confronted with it. A man or woman we once knew dies. A famous person dies. A dignitary, or actor, or head of state, or someone considered important dies. The poor die. The rich die. The young die. The old die. Everyone, everwhere, dies — eventually.
The fact that death is real and that we will all one day die should affect us all, and should help to prepare us for our eventual meeting with God. The king Hezekiah was confronted with the reality that he would one day die, when the prophet Isaiah approached him one day, and said, “Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” (2 Kings 20:1) I must say that I think Hezekiah was a lot wiser than a lot of people of his day, and of today, because he took the warning seriously, unlike many of us who do not take this warning seriously. For we read, “Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.” (2 Kings 20:2-3)
How does the reality of death affect you? Are you like Hezekiah, who cries out and says, “Oh God, I know it’s true!” Or, are you like the person who denies or supresses this truth? Are you perhaps like the man that I know, who although someone very close to him recently died, yet he still does not want to take God seriously? If you have not yet trusted Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, what would it take to bring you to that point? What sorrow, or disaster, would have to take place in your life, for you to begin to cry out to God to have mercy on you? Are you a James or a Hezekiah, who responds to the truth of God’s word, and repents of his sin, so that God will spare you and have mercy on you, or are you like the man who said, “I have many more years to go. Later on, I will think about God”? I pray that you might be like the former, and not the latter.
May the Lord bless you as you consider these things today!