I heard from a friend this week who is on his way to heaven. He has days left, the doctors say, or maybe even a few weeks. But either way, his body has endured almost as much as it can take and his time is now short. Thankfully, he is ready to depart. And as I consider his departure, I recall this reflection from the old devotional writer James Smith which speaks of the great gain that comes to those who die in the Lord. I share it to encourage him and to encourage us.
If we look at death as creatures, we shall fear it; but if we look at it as Christians, we shall not. It was once a curse, it is now a blessing. It was a loss, it is now a gain.
Dying we gain our freedom from every foe, trial, and trouble; and obtain possession of innumerable blessings. We are freed from sin and made perfect in holiness. We are delivered from sickness and pain, and enjoy perfect health and happiness. We shall gain knowledge, for then we shall know even as we are known. We shall gain holiness, for then we shall be with Christ and be like him. We shall gain honour, for then white robes shall be given us, and we shall be acknowledged as victorious over Satan, the world, and sin. We shall sit down with Jesus on his throne.
Death to every believer is gain. It is immediate gain. It is great gain. It is everlasting gain. It may be painful to pass through, but its results will be glorious. And shall we fear death? Why should we? Jesus says, “He that keepeth my sayings shall never taste of death.” He may depart to be with his Lord, but he shall never die.
Look through Jesus at death, and look through death to Jesus.
Soon will the Lord, my life, appear;
Soon shall I end my trials here,
Leave sin and sorrow, death and pain,
To live is Christ, to die is gain.