A very inconvenient truth we cannot escape, if we choose to live in the company of loved ones: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” ~Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
If you could choose your death you would probably elect a quiet, peaceful trip to the light fantastic—a last-breath slip-away at 95 or 100. It’s a death with the blessing of concerned, grief-laden onlooking family.
Fundamentally, the best possible death assumes saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Death Has Two Forms
There are many forms of death, even to the living sacrifice of those most living!
Such a spiritual death continually manifests life for others and life ultimately for the person executing themselves for others’ benefit (2 Corinthians 4:10-12).
The event of a living sacrifice—in the kin of Romans 12:1—is a death to self, and this can be termed a preferable state of living for the godly.
The death expected of the common Christian—to die to themselves—is, however, not really the focus here.
Death of a Final Kind
The abovementioned death, that comes at the end of a long life, and one not without its own adjustments for sacrifice, is the best possible variety. This is given the fact that no death glorifies us in our mortal flesh, but it does glorify us if we are saved and we go to meet God, and, of course, it glorifies God also.
Everything there glorifies God.
For the family, such a death carries with it the unfolding experience of grief for loss; the unrequited situation regaling the need for inevitable adjustment. Their only consolation: this loved one is with the Lord. But such a state of being, to be without them, cannot really be reconciled.
Imagine the deceased person entering Glory, having hoped for years that each day might be ‘the day’. Suddenly—awash of life; the spirit flown—the faithful servant enters the presence of the King of kings. And there are no queues, no brief glimpses; no disappointments.
And what is heaven like? Two words: Eternal bliss.
But words cannot hope to capture what is beyond reality, or at least surpassing a sense of reality that we’re used to.
All this for death! And to think we avoid it and do anything to postpone the inevitable. That, of course, is totally understandable. We do not want to leave our loved ones, and we do not want to hurt them by our loss.
It’s the ultimate Catch-22—to stay or go to be with the Lord (Philippians 1:23-24).
The best kind of death is one late of years, slipping away peacefully as possible, to be with the Lord. This is the best possible death because life there starts—a life that will never end.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.