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A Christian response to death

August 26, 2011

One of our closest friends, whose children are friends with our children, has been told she has 6 months to live. From a human perspective a most tragic and upsetting situation and one we are struggling to come to terms with. But what should our response as Christians be to this news?

We went last week to pray with her and before we went the Lord led me to Psalm 139. We read that together and then anointed her with oil and prayed for healing. So my Christian response to death comes from this situation and a reading of Psalm 139.

1. Express everything you think and feel to God – this is part of your worship (vs 1-4). God knows us completely so there is no point in hiding anything from him, even your darkest time and thoughts. In bringing them to God you are acknowledging God exists and  knows, cares and is powerful (in the words of Hebs11:6 God ‘will reward those who seek him.’)

2. Speak truth from scripture about God to yourself (vs 5-12) – however bad things may feel as a Christian the truth is God’s hand is upon you (and your family) and you  are protected, guided and held. And even the darkest of places and times are a place where God’s light and love shines brightest – in us and from us.

3. It is God who determines our days (vs 13-16) – we are all terminal! As the famous quote goes “The only two certainties in life are death and taxes.” –Mark Twain.   As Christians we can be 100% certain that it is the Lord who determines our days on earth and none of us know how may days we may have or when the Lord may return. The challenge is to live each day as gift for worship and service of Him. To show that the Lord is the one who determines our days and it is for Him we live each day.

4. We do not fear death or fear for those who we may one day leave behind (vs 17-18) – what is our greatest joy and treasure here? – the presence of our Lord. What is the greatest thing we are looking for? – being in the presence of the Lord. What is the greatest need of our families and friends? – the presence of the Lord. As the apostle Paul writes ‘to live is Christ, to die is gain’. If we fear death it is because we have not experienced the perfect love of Jesus (1 John 4:18). Our response should be to ensure all our loved ones know the love of God which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

5. Sickness and death are enemies to fight (vs19-23) – Jesus came to overcome the effect of sin, which included sickness and death. These are therefore our enemies to fight. How do Christians fight our enemies? – through prayer and faith in the work of Jesus. It is our duty as Christians to be prayed for when we are sick and to pray for the sick and terminally ill. Our philosophy is not “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” we are called to know and fight our enemies. I am committed to believing and praying for my friends healing in anticipation of seeing it.

6. Fear and anxiety need healing (vs 23-24) – the main enemy of faith which stops us praying and fighting is fear often expressed in excessive anxious thoughts. This is a natural human response to our situations and circumstances but this is not the way the Lord has for us, he has another way – the way everlasting. To know this way we need to find time prayerfully and with scripture to allow the Lord to search us and lead us in the way everlasting. If you are feeling anxious as you read this – stop, find a quiet space and prayerfully meditate on this wonderful Psalm 139.

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One Comment
  1. “Express everything you think and feel to God – this is part of your worship”

    I have always seen worship as acts of singing or praying that acknowledge who God is. Joined with praise for the things he has done. We are often told that we can worship God in everything we do if we do it to God’s glory. But for some reason I have never considered what I have quoted above. The act of telling God everything is worship?

    So often when I come to pray there is so much I don’t say because a) it sounds whiny b) he must be getting bored of this:I know I should be past this already etc. c) hasn’t he got more important things to listen to?

    Expression as worship–something to think about.

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