It may seem strange that I call dying an exciting adventure, yet this is just what it is. An individual has been born to die. Between birth and death a lot takes place and what takes place is a preparation for that which is going to come at death. In one sense of the word I am to look forward to death because at death I am released. I am released from the bondage of this tabernacle (my body) in which I have dwelt for x number of years. At death my imprisoned spirit is allowed to be free to go back from whence it came, namely God.
What you see when you look at me is not the real me. You see only what I am living in. I am made up of dust. I was put together, fashioned by the miracle of God who breathed into me and made me a living soul. That is the true, real, absolute me. It is this true, real, absolute me that is going to live after death.
My body, my dusty body made up of x number of chemicals valued at only a few cents, even in this inflated age, will die. But my soul, that which lives in me, will live on. In this adventure of living, it is most important to be a Christian. After death it is the Christian, not the non-Christian, who is happy. The follower of Jesus is happy because now he can follow his Master in a limitless way.
In one sense of the word, when a person dies that is a time to rejoice because for him a glorious adventure has begun. Death for a Christian is a joyous occasion. But for we who remain, it is an occasion tinged and sometimes full of sadness. The reason for our grief is that we are human. We have emotional ties that bind. We have feelings. We are sensitive to love. And so we weep. And that is right. We weep for ourselves because we are left behind. We who are left behind can begin to prepare for our own glorious adventure. First, we must remember that it is not death to die. Our souls live on, freed from the bodies that held them. We must also have faith, faith in the promises found in the Bible. There are a number of resources that claim to aid us in life after death but unless we take the Bible as our source of belief, we will not have the right guide.
A most comforting text in the Bible is the one that assures us that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. We also will want to prepare ourselves for the place. Adequate preparation requires education. That includes educating our children also. Death comes to all. If we have the right perspective of death, a channel of clear-thinking about it, and a right relationship with God, we are going to view death as a passageway to glory.
For example, death strikes a certain home. In the home are two brothers. Each brother responds to the death of the mother in a different way, depending on his outlook on life and life after death. One becomes bitter and wants to cease living. The other is fired to continue on and make a great contribution to life.
Attitudes are very important, especially those regarding death. The attitude toward death will make for a great adventure, providing it is the proper attitude.
What makes death such an exciting adventure? Listen to these pluses of excitement in heaven: no more sorrow, no more mourning, no more darkness, and no marriage or giving in marriage. God's Word tells us that eye hath not seen nor ear heard of the things that have been prepared for us. He tells us that "our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed to us." So I, for one, am looking forward to this adventure. Indeed, it is just that. It is a new adventure in living. It is not death to die, that is when I will begin to really live!
We are not moving toward the great period. Perhaps it is not a period at all but a great exclamation point. It may be a series of dots meaning that there is something more permanent ahead. Man has been born to live for the comma we call death. Scripture calls this "absent from the body and present with the Lord." Now we are in the land of the dying but when we answer the trumpet's call we will be in the land of the living. What are we living for now? We are living for that time when we accept the invitation of death. To accept this invitation means that we know without a shadow of a doubt that there is something that lies beyond the end of the road.
Death is like a ship that leaves port bound for a world cruise. Friends come to the dock to wish the travelers "Bon voyage." They cry, they weep, they wave handkerchiefs back and forth. While they are in this state of remorse the ship begins to leave port. When one dies, the ship of the soul goes away. We mourn for the loved one. Yet there are others on the other side of the sea who are waving their handkerchiefs beckoning the ship to come in with its passengers. We mourn here because our loved ones pass into the distance beyond our sight. On the other shore are people who say, "Come on, come on. We have been waiting for you."
In I Thess. 4:13 we read: "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." Those are great words, words that ring out through the corridors of time. If we believe in Jesus, we have the blessed hope of resurrection and life after death.
When we die we go into the presence of God. This is beyond the end of the road. We see God. If today we would push aside the shrubs of doubt and the undergrowth of our lack of understanding, if we would hack away our entanglement with the things of the world, then we would see perhaps clearer than before that it is not death to die. To die is gain.
IT IS NOT DEATH TO DIE, to leave this weary road and join the brotherhood on high, to be at home with God.
IT IS NOT DEATH to close the eye long dimmed by tears and waken in glorious repose to spend eternal years.
IT IS NOT DEATH to bear the stroke that sets us free from earthly chains, to breathe the air of liberty.
IT IS NOT DEATH to fling aside this mortal dust and to rise on exalted wings to live among the just.
GIVER OF LORD AND LIFE, in Thee we cannot doubt. Grant us to conquer, strive, and to dwell with those on high.
TO BE WITH YOU is not death at all, it is the thought of death.
Paul said that death is just like falling asleep. He also said "For me . . . to die is gain." You see, death can't possibly be the end.