Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Victory is ours if we follow our Lord.
Let me share with you the thoughts of great minds of the centuries about death! If you have made your peace with God, you need not fear death. The Bible tells us, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment!”
We learn quickly that this world is the land of the dying; the next is the land of the living. Men fear death, as if they know for certain it is unquestionably the greatest evil of the human race. It may turn out to be the greatest good. Jonathan Swift said, “It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.” “Death, to a good man, is but passing through a dark entry, out of one little dusty room of his Father’s house, into another that is fair and large, lightsome and glorious, and divinely entertaining,” suggested MacDonald Clarke. George Candler wrote,
“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power To tell just when the hands will stop - at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own; live, love, work with a will. Place no faith in tomorrow, for the clock may then be still.”
Joseph Jefferson had this inscription on his monument at Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. “We are but tenants, and shortly the great landlord will give us notice that our lease has expired.” On the journey of life, it just may be that death is our best friend. Who among us would want to grow old and never die? Lucan said, “The gods conceal from men the happiness of death, that they may endure life.”
It has been said, “The more we are acquainted with death, the less it terrifies us. When we die, we are leaving a world of trials and troubles to live in the presence of Jesus, who died to save us from our sins.”
I have lived long enough to know that death is the best friend most of us have. The tomb is not an endless night, it is a thoroughfare that closes in a soft twilight, and opens in eternal day.
Lucretius wrote, “Why shed tears that we must die? If the past life has been one of enjoyment, and if all thy pleasures have not passed through thy mind, as through a sieve, and vanished, leaving not a rack behind, why then doest thou not, like a thankful guest, rise cheerfully from life’s feast, and with a quiet mind go take thy rest.”
Norman said, “We picture death as coming to destroy; let us rather think of life as beginning, and that more abundantly; we think of losing, let us think of gaining. We think of parting, let us think of meeting. We think of going away, let us think of arriving, and the voice of death whispers, You must go from earth, let us hear the voice of Christ saying, You are but coming to me!”
Socrates, in Plato’s Apology, “To fear death, gentlemen, is nothing other than to think oneself wise when one is not; for it is to think one knows what one does not know. No man knows whether death may not even turn out to be the greatest of blessings for a human being; and yet people fear it as if they knew for certain that is the greatest of evils.”
Robert V. Ozment is a retired United Methodist minister.