Before he died, leaving a faithful wife and several beautiful children, he stated that he was lost in prayer when the train struck. He, a Christian man in the prime of life, had suddenly passed on.
He was ready to live or to die and was a good citizen, family man and an excited church member.
Leo Rosten said: “The purpose of life is not to be happy — but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all.”
The Bible has a great deal to say about the brevity of life. Millennia ago Job lamented, “No man is sure of life” (24:22).
The Psalmist David prayed: “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath” (Psalm 39:4, 5).
Billy Graham commented: “The Bible has much to say about the brevity of life and the necessity of preparing for eternity. I am convinced that only when a man is prepared to die is he also prepared to live.”
An outstanding young minister spoke with unbounded enthusiasm about his immediate plans to go to Indonesia as a missionary.
But only a few days afterward, while hiking in Yosemite National Park, he slipped and fell from a cliff and died, leaving behind his bereaved wife and several children.
Why do such things happen? Why are loved ones snatched from us? Why do men have to die? Man has grappled with the problem of death since his creation.
King David was greatly disturbed over the sickness and death of his baby and the death of Absalom, his son. Death came upon the human race as a consequence of sin in the Garden of Eden, and since then men have died.
Whether saint or sinner, we all die. Even God is disturbed when the unsaved die, for the Bible says that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
On the other hand, there is often a ring of victory at the funeral of a Christian, and though the loved ones may be grieved at the passing of the deceased, an overriding sense of triumph prevails.
The presence of God is often evident at such times, for God always welcomes His children home. The Psalmist David states, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).
A man does not have to be wise to realize that he will someday die, and that he may die any day. His actions do reflect wisdom, however, when he does something about being ready for death.
It is difficult to underst and why some people, who have heard the saving gospel of Christ preached all of their lives, will stumble toward the grave totally unprepared for it.
God, realizing that people were dying without being ready for death, gave His Son that men, through the Son, might be prepared for the hereafter.
In fact, Christ takes the sting out of death, and when His perfect will is some day fully accomplished, He will take death away.
But until that day man will die, and he is very wise to stay ready for it. Actually, getting ready to die is a fairly simple procedure.
If we repent of our sins (Luke 13:3), and believe that Christ can and does save us (Acts 16:31), and then fully commit our lives to Him, we are saved; we are ready for life or death.
Thomas Ken prayed, “Teach me to live that I may dread the grave as little as my bed.”
We had nothing to do with when or where we were born, and we will probably have nothing to do with when or where we die. Nonetheless, we have everything to do with being prepared for death.
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning at the bar
When I put out to sea ...
For tho’ from out our bourne of time and place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.