We don’t really want to be reminded of death and funerals every minute of the day, do we, but now and again is probably not a bad thing.
If nothing else, we will come face-to-face with the brevity of life.
Following are a few reminiscences from recent days, which are intended to bring encouragement... and hope.
My wife and I met at Bible College in Glasgow a good number of years ago, and have fond memories of our course there. A former principal, well-loved and respected, died recently and a letter was sent out to former students.
‘He was taken ill early on the morning of Wednesday 30th August and, when he was taken to hospital, his condition was diagnosed as being inoperable. Staff made him comfortable, and he was able to spend time with each member of his family before he passed away later that afternoon.’
Now, it is this part of the story which is particularly poignant. ‘As he was told that his condition was terminal, he replied to the doctor, ‘I am a Christian, so this is not terminal, it’s transitional.’
I trust I shall have the same composure when the moment arrives.
Now, some verses of Scripture which have been a great delight in the last day or two. John 6, 37-40, Jesus speaking: ‘All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’
In addition to all this, I attended a thanksgiving service a few weeks back. Some words from Matthew Henry, Bible commentator, were read out during the proceedings.
‘Would you like to know where I am? I am at my Father’s house in the mansions prepared for me. I am where I want to be – no longer a stormy sea, but in God’s safe and quiet harbour.
My sowing time is done and I am reaping; my joy is as the joy of harvest.
Would you like to know how it is with me? I am made perfect in holiness. Grace is swallowed up in glory.
Would you like to know what I am doing? I see God, not as through a glass darkly, but face to face.
I am engaged in the sweet enjoyment of my precious Redeemer. I am singing hallelujahs to him who sits upon the throne, and I am constantly praising him.
Would you like to know what blessed company I keep? It is better than the best on earth. Here are the holy angels and the spirits of just men made perfect. I am with many of my old acquaintances with whom I have worked and prayed, and who have come here before me.
Lastly, would you like to know how long this will continue? It is a dawn that never fades. After millions and millions of ages, it will be as fresh as now.
Therefore, weep not for me.’
Gloomy? Not in the least.