“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

NOT MANY THINGS IN THIS WORLD ARE CERTAIN, BUT DEATH IS ONE THAT IS. For every one of us who is living today, the day of our death is coming. We may delay it, but we can’t avoid it.

There is one exception, of course, and that would be the possibility that the Lord might come back before we die. If we happen to be living at that time, we will enter upon our eternal destiny without having died physically (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18).

But if the Lord tarries, we will die. And since that is true, I believe it’s important for us to decide how we’re going to think about that reality. Like every other subject, our own death can be looked at from a variety of perspectives, some more comprehensive than others, and some more helpful than others. For example, is the fact that we must die a curse or a blessing, all things considered?

Surely, the answer to that question has much to do with whether or not we die in a right relationship with our Creator. But even among those who, through Christ, expect to live with God in eternity, there might be a difference of opinion about our mortality.

If mankind still lived in the sinlessness of Eden, physical immortality would be a delightful, joyous prospect. But we don’t live in Eden, and in the world as it presently is, how many of us would really want to live much longer than the current human lifespan? If only a few of us could die and the rest had to live here forever, wouldn’t we see those who could die as the fortunate few?

From the vantage point of the faithful Christian, the day of one’s death is not such a bad day after all. In Christ, life in this world can be viewed as good (because it involves service in the noblest of causes), but death looks like an even better prospect. As Paul said, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

But to look at death in this way, we must be ready to die. And to be ready to die, we must reckon realistically with the fact that the day of our death is coming. If you are like me, that is a very hard thing to reckon. We know it, but it just doesn’t seem real to us. “So teach us to number our days,” Moses prayed, “that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” May our own death be real to us . . . right now.

“Everyone knows he will die, but no one wants to believe it” (Jewish Proverb).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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