Death is not our friend.
Yet, the inevitable truth is that man’s fall in Eden has marked us all for that appointment.
Few verses have given me as much peace as these comforting words in Psalms 139. Our time on this earth has been predetermined before we were ever born. Before our parents or grandparents were born. God Almighty holds all time and the ultimate destiny of life and death in His hands. The day, hour, minute, and second we were to be born was written in God’s appointment book, as well as the day we will pass from the earth. He decided our parents. He has already preestablished who your children and grandchildren will be and who their children and grandchildren will be. It is all under His sovereign control.
What gives us the ability to have peace in this?
There is nothing we can do or not do that will alter one millisecond of what God has already determined.
It is only natural when someone we love dies, for our minds go down the road of asking, “What if….?”
“What if he had not taken that flight?”
“What if she had taken a different route to work?”
“What if we had gone to the doctor sooner?“
In today’s world it could be questioning:
“What if he had taken the vaccine?”
“What if she hadn’t taken the vaccine?“
We can “What if?” until we are blue in the face. But the fact is, there is no “What if?”. There is nothing that we could possibly do to change the outcome of what God has planned for us from eternity past. We are powerless over any aspect of extending anyone’s life any longer than it is already determined to be. God has fixed that moment in time. He has already set the way it will happen. Thankfully none of us knows these details, or it is all we would ever be thinking about. We can worry ourselves to death over how to prevent meeting death. We can hide away in our homes. We can not fly on airplanes. But what is any of this “not doing” actually DOING? It is keeping us from enjoying life and fulfilling our calling. Matthew 6:27 says,
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
The answer? No one.
One of my favorite hymns has these words:
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from his hand
‘Til he returns or calls me home
Here, in the power of Christ, I stand.
From our first breath, to our final one, Jesus is the one who is in control. There is comfort in this. We can REST in this. We are not going home until He calls us there, and not one minute before it’s time. HIS time. So what do we do until then? Live our lives. Love our families. Tell others about Him. As long as we do draw breath we are to be about sharing the Good News of Jesus. If every one of our days was written in His book before a one of them came to be, this includes the things we do besides being born and dying. Will His book say that you lived for Him? That you served Him? That you shared the gospel?
That you told others how He has worked in your life? These are the things that I want to be written in His book: That I was faithful to Christ and that I didn’t squander the years that He gave me wringing my hands over things that were beyond my control.
Elisabeth Elliot, missionary and wife of Jim Elliot, who, along with 4 other missionaries, was killed trying to reach the savage Waodani tribe in Ecuador, continued serving in the jungles of South America, even after her husband was speared to death at the young age of 28. Could she have continued doing what God had for her if she had been racked with worry about whether she would live or die? She only knew she had to do the work she was called to. And she did it with a toddler in tow!
And an entire tribe came to know Christ as a result. Elisabeth said,
None of us knows what tomorrow holds. We could die in 50 years, or we could die tomorrow. But if we focus on the living and dying, as Elisabeth Elliot said, we strain our spiritual eyes so that we can’t see clearly what is required of us now. Christians are not to be people of anxiety and worry. The work we have to do for the Kingdom will suffer if we are paralyzed by fear of the uncertainty of this life.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.…Philippians 4:6-7
This is not a suggestion. It is a prescription for how a Christian is to live. He WILL give us the peace He promises. He holds each day as it is intended to be. Rest in that. Live in the tranquility of knowing that your life will be exactly as long as it’s supposed to be. There’s peace in releasing that burden and acknowledging that He is the Captain of this ship. It’s called trust. There is no sweeter or more peaceful existence than knowing He holds us. He has held us as babies in our mother’s womb, and continues to do so as He’s carrying us home.