An unexpected guest always shows up at the wrong time. He comes when the house is a mess and no one is dressed. There’s no food cooked and nothing in the fridge. Out of the blue, in the wee hours of the night, “fo day in da morn′in” (is what the old people would say), he unexpectedly appears.
He shows up like he owns the place. Without warning, giving no time for the family to prepare, the unexpected guest arrives on our doorsteps. He isn’t considerate, doesn’t plan ahead or calls before he comes. He’s not concerned about how the master of the house may feel about him dropping by or how the visit will be an inconvenience. None of that is on his mind. He is not thinking about how his visit will cause such a ruckus. He’s only focusing on doing what he needs to do and accomplishing what must be done. I call it just plain selfish and rude! How dare he show up uninvited….. and baring bad news!
At 3am, an unexpected guest showed up on my family’s doorstep. Knocking hard on the door and demanding to come in. We couldn’t stop him. It was out of our control. He barged in before we had time to open the door and welcome him in. He didn’t care that I was sleeping real good in my warm bed. He wasn’t concerned that I was not in the mood for any company nor was he bothered by the fact that I was oblivious to the reason he was there. After he shared the bad news, I think he got a kick out of seeing me struggle for words to say. With no explanations or apologies, the unexpected guest made himself comfortable as he went about his business. With papers in hand, he came for the life of my grandfather.
By now, you would think that I’m used to this guest. One may wonder, why am I caught off guard? For I’ve been here before and I’ll be here again. Nevertheless, every time, each time, uninvited, Death unexpectedly shows up at my front door.
So here I am, as before asking the same question, “Why didn’t I?”
Death came today. At the appointed time, he arrived at my grandfather’s door (Eccl. 3:2). He offered no condolences. Didn’t say a word, but did what he was assigned to do. Every being must go through the threshold of Death; since the day Adam and Eve sinned, Death was given that responsibility (Gen. 3). Though it stings, it hurts, and can be frightening, most assuredly you and I will die (Eccl. 3:20, Gen. 3:19).
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27, NKJV)
Whether we try to run from it, delay it, avoid it, or ignore it, Death will come knocking. In your mind, he’ll show up at the wrong time, but it will be the right time. With the death certificate signed by the Creator, he carries our souls to judgement (Rev. 20:10-15). Either we’ll be condemned to eternal damnation because we’ve rejected Christ or welcomed into God’s arms of grace to spend forever and always in paradise with our Savior Jesus Christ. For our names were written in the Book of Life (Rev. 20:15)!
My sister, dealing with the loss of a loved one? Weep if you must, knowing God shall wipe away every tear that you shed (Rev. 7:17, 21:4). Go ahead and cry. It’s alright. As a believer, we understand we’re not crying as if we have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13-18). God comforts those who mourn (Matt. 5:4). Most importantly, “For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died” (1 Thess. 4:14, NLT).
But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:
Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God! (1 Cor. 15:51-57, MSG)
Encouraging You to Walk in Freedom! ™
Originally posted 3/19/15.
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