Friday, October 13, 2023

Don’t Fear the Reaper - Martin Wiles

don't fear the reaper
How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! Job 14:1 NLT

They all died . . . one by one, but they didn’t fear the reaper. 

The first funeral I have vivid memories of was my mother’s dad. I had just turned fifteen, received my driver’s license, and wanted to drive in his funeral procession. Numerous strokes preceded his death, each one taking more from him but giving more to my grandmother—who became his primary caregiver. He lost his ability to walk alone, talk clearly, and eat alone—all those things he had once enjoyed. 

Several years later, I watched as both of my great-grandmothers died, one’s death in close proximity to the other. One of my great-grandmothers I wasn’t as close to. I don’t remember how she died. But the other, I saw regularly. She fell, broke her wrist, contracted pneumonia, and died shortly thereafter. 

Then came the death of my mom’s mom. She had developed Alzheimer’s ten years before her death. By the time she died, she only knew a handful of people—I wasn’t among them. 

The deaths that upended my world at the time were my dad’s parents. They had been like parents to me . . . had almost raised me. Although one outlived the other by a few years, I watched them both languish in a nursing home for a short period and then just die. We didn’t know anything particularly wrong with them besides old age. I got a chance to say goodbye before they took their final breaths. 

But the death that rocked my world—and caused me to consider my own demise—was my father’s. My wife, mother, and I watched him undergo heart surgery and then contract Mercer. After almost thirty days in the hospital, we let him go. The doctors offered us no hope. 

Most theologians consider Job the oldest book in the Bible. Even then, Job knew life was short and often filled with trouble. Although he didn’t have the fuller knowledge of the afterlife that God revealed as time progressed, he did believe death wasn’t the end. Trouble filled his life—courtesy of Satan’s attacks—but Job still placed his trust in God. 

Death knows no boundaries and holds to no age categories. It comes to the young, the old, and every age in between. It takes the poor, the rich, and the average. Money can’t stop it, nor can all the exercise in the world prevent it. Sometimes, we know it’s coming, but often, death sneaks up on us unaware. 

With the separation death brings, comes grief. Grief over the loss . . . the absence . . . the emptiness. But Job had a hope we can hold even more dearly. Something exists on the other side. Death is not the end. God has an eternity for those who follow Him—an eternity that will far surpass anything we hold dear on earth. 

Don’t fear the Grim Reaper. Christ has conquered death, and through Him, you can too.

How can you overcome the fear of death?

Father, I thank You for preparing something for me on the other side of this life. 

Tweetable: Do you fear the Grim Reaper? 

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