Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Faith and Death

Do those who believe in God fear death? That is a question that I am not qualified to answer. As a pastor I have been at the bedside of a few people that died in a very calm sense. They were not medicated to the point that they were not aware of their surroundings. I have witnessed, on a couple of occasions, individuals that seemed to be in some struggle or turmoil as they died. That was evidenced by sighs, groans and other noises and motions. I do not know what was going on, except to say, their death didn't seem peaceful.

Scripture tells us that, "Love casts out all fear, for love is from God." I want to align that verse with some anecdotal stories that go back hundreds of years. I have a very old copy of, Foxes Book of Martyrs. Stories of the faithful being tortured and put to death are centered on the presence of peace and the presence of a presence. Nero used Christians to light his gardens at night. The martyr was impaled on a large pike, covered in pitch and ignited. Christ followers were noted to sing and praise God up to the time of death.

I have no doubt that God was with the untold thousands of His children that left this world into His kingdom. The question comes to my mind as to what takes place within the human spirit when a person embraces Christ. I believe that a change takes place in the mind and heart of the person who confesses their faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is at that point the human spirit enjoys an intimacy with God Himself.

When John Wesley was dying his friends and family were gathered around him. There had been singing and praying and the time of his departure was close at hand. His biographer wrote that as Wesley was drawing his lasts breath he said, "I'll praise my maker while I've breath, and when my life on earth is done, I'll praise him, I'll praise him." After those words the saint of God and founder of Methodism moved into another world.

I am not afraid to die. Do I want to die? No, not today or anytime soon. Will I be afraid to die as I watch my physical capabilities falter? Will I be afraid to die as I understand, to the extent that I can, my mental capabilities falter and fail? Today I am not. May the rest of my life be, Today.

Tedd Galloway is a former missionary and is currently the pastor at West Adrian Community Church. His book, A Mother's Heart Moved the Hand of God, is soon to be released through, Morgan James Publishing. You can follow Tedd on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. His website is, www.teddgalloway.com