In the Face of Death

When I walk into the restaurant, my face lights up when see an older man who has been sick for several months. The retired preacher has been diagnosed with a progressive brain condition. His face is happy and his voice is clear, but his words are disturbing. He explains that he is already unable to drive because of memory loss. He still feels good, but he can no longer remember things that he has known for decades. The worst part, he says, is seeing people that he loves and not being able to remember their names.

I am surprised because I imagine the worst thing is the slow loss of function and ability to live. The knowledge that you will soon lose all control over yourself seems horrible to me. But not him, he is not worried about himself. He feels pity for the people who will be disappointed when he cannot remember their names.

What impressive faith. In the face of a slow and unpleasant death, he shows no fear for himself. Where does such faith come from? Straight from Jesus. In Matthew 10:28, Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Jesus also reminded us, “do not be anxious about your life. . . . And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”  (Matthew 6:25, 27).

God wants us to focus on what is truly important – what happens to our soul when we die. When we entrust our souls to Jesus, we no longer need to have any fear of physical death. This is what prompted the apostle Paul to write, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. . . . I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:21, 23). So what about you? If you learned you have less than five years to live, what would you worry about?