Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dying in Peace - Martin Wiles

Lord, now I can die in peace! As you promised me, I have seen the Savior. Luke 2:28-29 NLT

“Preacher, Mrs. Mamie just died.”

“I’ll be right over.”

“Marty, your granddaddy wants to see you before he dies.”

“Okay, I’ll leave right now. I should be there in two hours.”

One a shut-in, the other a relative. Two of the many I’ve watched die or seen their bodies shortly after they have. Some struggle before taking the last breath. Others surrender peacefully. These two did. 
Mrs. Mamie was a long time member of the church I pastored. Her husband was still able to attend church, but she wasn’t. I visited them monthly. They would never let me leave without taking some junk food home for the kids. 

When I crossed the threshold the day of the call, she sat peacefully in her favorite chair—a calm look of assurance on her face. No struggle. No grief.

As I walked in my grandfather’s nursing home room, he smiled, raised his hands to heaven, and said, “I’m going up.” And shortly thereafter, he did. Peacefully. 

For some unknown reason, God had told Simeon he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah. On one particular day, the Spirit led him to the Temple. The day Mary and Joseph were presenting baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required. Simeon knew He was the Messiah. He knew deliverance for his nation and the world was on the horizon. He could die peacefully.  

Death is a doorway into eternity. Life doesn’t end with my final breath—actually it just begins. Life as God planned it. At least for believers. But the only way I can die in peace—regardless of the circumstances surrounding my death, is to prepare for it while I’m alive. Neglecting God and living for self won’t do. I may slip peacefully from this world, but I won’t live in eternal peace. Rather eternal torment. An eternity separated from God. 

Accepting Jesus as the Messiah who died for my sins allows me to die in peace as it did Simeon. Whether I struggle with a disease prior to death or succumb through a tragic accident won’t matter. Death will be peaceful, knowing I’m slipping into my Savior’s arms. 

When your time comes, will you die peacefully?

Prayer: Father, we thank You for the promise of a peaceful death and a joyous eternity when we know Your Son as our Savior.

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