When I lived in Montréal, I remember a shocking news story about a young woman who died instantly when a piece of concrete fell on her as she was eating supper with her husband in a downtown restaurant. In another bizarre accident, a young man was killed when a helicopter crashed on him as he was walking down the street from his house to mail a letter. Neither of these people knew it was their time to die.
The woman was celebrating her birthday and the young man was sending off his application for citizenship. Both were experiencing very happy moments when they were killed by freak accidents whose odds of happening were in the millions to one.
In both cases there was the proper outpouring of grief and sadness that such an abrupt death should happen to people who were experiencing such happy lives just moments before they died. No one mentioned the obvious truth however, that there really is no good time to die. Even elderly people who are ill struggle for one extra moment of life to stave off death if only for a little while longer.
The harsh reality is that death catches all of us by surprise. Whether it's a sudden accident or death from an incurable disease – we never know which will be our "last" breath.
For unbelievers the response to death (sudden or lingering) is to create new safety laws and regulations so the "accidents" don't repeat themselves, or calls for more research money to cure the diseases that cause death. These are noble endeavors but can only delay, not prevent death.
Christians, on the other hand, deal with death by being prepared for its sure arrival. Jesus has promised all those who believe and follow Him that He will "raise them up on the last day." (John 6:44) This is the assurance that even if death cannot be avoided, it will be followed by resurrection and eternal life.
There's no good time to die but every day is a good time to believe and obey Jesus Christ so that even if death catches us by surprise, it won't catch us unprepared.
- How have you prepared for your eventual death? Does it follow Jesus' teaching and the example of the Apostles? (Acts 2:37-38)
- Can people go to heaven without faith in Jesus? Why? Why not?
- How old does a child have to be in order to be baptized? Why that age?