We imperfect Christians or followers/admirers of Jesus Christ- call it however you wish- spend our lives witnessing to others, seeking to convince those others of the virtues and wisdom of following or turning to Christ in order to have eternal life and to deal with the stress and hardships of life. We tell them such a life will give them peace and happiness. That it will make them free, that a Christ-centered life is a superior life. We tell them about being with the Savior and about heaven and its glory. We tell them about the Bible, to read it and follow Christ’s “precepts” and example. Then, when the time comes for our own “departure” from this earth or that of our loved ones- close friends and relatives- we change our attitudes, our tune if you will. We scream, cry, curse, stomp, grab someone, rant and rave to the left and right, and every other thing you can think of. Why all this commotion? What are our “converts” or those we witnessed to all those years supposed to think? What feelings are our children and their children supposed to have about this Savior Jesus and the kingdom of God- about Christianity in general? We manage to frighten them nearly to death! It’s a wonder they do not run in the opposite direction! (Some do, of course, but also some return to home base- as prodigal sons and daughters)
So where’s the logic in all of this? Why do we preach such and such then later practice something different? Of course, when one’s time comes, the sad part is that the loved one is going to be missed by the one “left behind”. That’s a huge part of and reason for our rants and raves when faced with an illness that is terminal. (The doctor and hospital bills could well be two other reasons! But, joking aside, this is a serious little write or it’s supposed to be, not a light one. I almost always find it hard not to see humor in everything. You know, life is a stage.)
The great Spurgeon says in many places in his writings that we should actually be glad we get such and such illness. For it means we are bound for glory. It means we can now see more clearly the day on which we will shed these earthly worries, tragedies, needs and wants, embarrassing desires, and so on. Celebrations should be held when we know we’re flying out. Didn’t Mark Twain say we should cry at births and rejoice at funerals? Spurgeon says on page 201 of his Beside Still Waters the following: “Saints are prepared to go before they go. I have never visited a member of this church [the Metropolitan Tabernacle in late 1800s London] who expressed the slightest dismay or fear in dying. Grace is given, and they rise above the hour’s weakness. The Lord Jesus gives them triumph over pain and death. They pass away as if going to a wedding rather than to a grave. Doubts are driven away when you see believers die.”
Not only are Christians going to see the Savior and rest, they are leaving behind them an immensely imperfect world! Spurgeon adds on page 54: “How can we love a world that has become so dismal? Why should we seek grapes that are bitter? Should we not ask for the wings of a dove to fly to our dear country and be at rest forever?”
Lastly, on page 16 Spurgeon says: “Our afflictions are the highway that leads us closer to God. Our troubles are a fiery chariot to bring us to God. Our afflictions, wave upon wave, will drive our souls nearer heaven…”
We should not fear. Christ Himself tells us that- that He will be with us always. Do we truly believe what we expound upon? Or are we lukewarm? Are we “sunshine” Christians like fair-weather friends? Let’s ask for and pray for courage- to be brave and sensible when our “hour” beckons us. To be the example we should be for all those to whom we once witnessed and beseeched to make the big choice- for Christ.