A few years ago our youngest son sold policies to folks who wanted to make arrangements for their funeral. He usually spoke to both the husband and wife. He said the wife would usually look at him as he was explaining the policy. The husband, in some cases, was different. He would focus on something else in the room. His wife would ask the questions, but usually he was very quiet. Of course, men aren’t the only ones like that.
Anyone who has attended church services with much regularity or been present during a
funeral has heard:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. ~Hebrews 9:27
People approach the subject of death in different ways. Some feel that if they don’t think
about it, it will not happen. Others think about it, but considering their youth, feel it is
years and years away. Others joke about it rather than give it serious thought. Some refuse to prepare for it. In biblical language they think, “I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for MANY years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’” (Luke 12:19).
We live in a broken world. Bad things happen to good and bad people alike. Life can be cut
short. I have preached the funeral of teenagers killed in auto accidents. When a young
person loses his life, there are different reactions from those who survive. Youthful friends
are devastated. They are in shock. They can’t believe it has happened. Youth aren’t
supposed to die. Some will blame God. One young man’s girl friend was killed at a railroad
crossing. He cursed and rejected God.
I have seen fear in the eyes of those who were told they only had a few weeks to live. I have also seen calmness and that peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7,9b,12-13). I have known folks who were sick for several weeks or months before they passed away. They knew they were dying, they just didn’t know the exact moment it would happen. I have known folks who died suddenly, without warning. Even if we know a loved one doesn’t have much time, we seldom are prepared when it happens. When it is sudden, it is a shock.
All of us have two natures. The Bible refers to one of them as “the flesh” or “sinful nature.”
The KJV also uses the term “carnal.” Paul speaks of it in Romans 7:14, 17-18, 20-21, 23, and 25b KJV, NIV, TLB – Notice all 3 translations).
Due to that “nature” or “flesh,” I fear death. Why? Because that “carnal” nature or flesh
wants me to put my trust IN WHAT I HAVE DONE, depending upon MY WORKS as MY
GUARANTEE that I will go to heaven. Being honest with myself, I know that I always come
up short. I miss the mark. Since I know I have missed the mark, my fear cries out:
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? ~Romans 7:24
I cannot pay off my debt of sin! As long as I put my TRUST in myself to have enough good
works to EARN my salvation, FEAR will follow me to the grave!
To have peace, I must put my TRUST in JESUS! That’s what Paul did. That is what I have done. I KNOW I will go to heaven, not because of my good works, but because I put my TRUST in what He did for me upon the cross.
Where have you PLACED your trust?
(This writing comes from my friend, veteran Gospel preacher Ray Hawk. Ray lives in Jackson, TN with his lovely wife Mary Nell. Connect with him on Facebook HERE. With Ray’s permission I will be posting some of his reflections from time to time. jd)