Like many of us, writing is not easy for me. Even if I understand a thing well enough to talk about it, I struggle with what to write, how to write it, and why I’m even writing it. Yet, sometimes I am deeply touched by what someone else has written about it. This is one of those times.
Having past the 60 year mark of my life (by 2 or 3 years), I have grown increasing aware of my own mortality. I want to gain a greater understanding of the meaning of my death — and so a deeper appreciation for the meaning of my life — for those who are in the Lord. I have gained so much from those who have allowed me the honor of sharing with them as they faced their mortality. Of course, nothing will impact me more as when I face my own.
I do know that the resurrection into eternal life is the final act of God’s merciful redemption. I do know that death for the redeemed is a transition from this life of sorrow and pain into the life of eternal peace and joy.
I am currently re-reading the autobiography of restoration preacher Samuel Rogers. Born in Virginia, he grew up and lived on the frontier of Kentucky and Missouri. He died in 1877. I rediscovered his own description of his final days as it was recorded by his son who was with him:
The concluding years of my beloved father were his happiest. Being quite deaf. and almost blind, he gave himself to meditations upon the divine. His hope grew brighter every day. He conversed as one whose home is beyond the clouds. He dwelt by faith in regions so sublime, that he was able to see all things, even the darkest clouds, from the heaven-side. When anyone inquired of him if he were not alone, being in his room so much alone, he answered promptly, “No, for God is always with me.” He retained his mind and memory in full vigor to the last moment of life. When informed that he had a few moments to live, he was exceedingly joyful. He said, “Is it possible that the old pilgrim is near his journey’s end? O, to think that in a few moments I shall meet my Father, who has lead me all the journey through; and Jesus my blessed Savior; and that I shall so soon be with the soldiers of the cross who have gone before; and then to meet your mother, and your little children (addressing me) — this is joy to great to express!” — and closing his own eyes, he slept the blessed sleep. May such an end be mine, and yours dear reader, is my prayer. —– Autobiography of Samuel Rogers, by John Rogers; 1880; Cincinnati, Ohio
This is not some sappy faith of a sentimental old man or his son. This is the real heart, spirit, and faith of a man toughened by the frontier life and strengthened daily by the Spirit of God.
Do not sacrifice for anything even one heartbeat of your relationship and fellowship with God. Do not allow the burdens and troubles of this life to blind and numb you to our merciful Heavenly Father who will walk with you in every day of life he gives you. Yearn to be with God. He yearns for you. Do what you must to nurture your fellowship with Him. Know this peace and joy of the hope of our Redeemer. Until our Redeemer returns, or calls you home, walk with God.
1 Corinthians 15. 2 Corinthians 4