By John Ed Mathison
One subject that most people avoid is the subject of death. People are reluctant to talk about it, but we better understand what it means and what its implications are because it will happen to each of us. Occasionally someone will say to me, “If I die…” I usually interrupt and remind them that the question is not “If I die, but when I die.” The death rate always has been and still is 100%!
There are a lot of answers offered for how to deal with death and what the results will be. This is one question every person had better get right because we don’t get a second chance to answer it!
My friend, John Geiger, has the right answer. In June 2017 he was diagnosed with ALS and doesn’t have long to live. Recently a large group of people gathered at our office to pray for revival. John was there. It took a lot of effort for him to make it. His contagious smile, deep faith, strong spirit, and confident witness verified that he knew the right answer about death.
John says, “As we fight death, whether it’s 1 year, 10 years, or 50 years, we all have final breaths. We can spend our time talking about ourselves – that’s a waste of breath. We can spend it grumbling and complaining – that’s a sad use of air. Or we can spend it in praise and thanksgiving proclaiming the truth in all circumstances.”
He rightly contends that “Jesus has solved the problems of mankind, especially our final enemy – death. And He didn’t do it with just a positive philosophy. He did it Himself by coming and taking the form of a man, dying a death, and rising from the death with witnesses. This is a message that changes the world and changes my attitude for being faithful with whatever breaths I have left.”
John relates how a skeptical person confronted him about his attitude. John said he told the man about his ALS and the man looked at him and said, “Oh, everybody needs something to comfort them – something to believe in. I’m so glad you have those nice thoughts.” John then looked at the man and replied, “Comfort? I don’t want comfort.” The man was shocked. John said, “I want truth. If Jesus Christ came out of the grave – His body rose – I want to know because there is hope for mankind and hope for death. But if he’s still in the grave, I don’t care what you try to comfort yourself with, there is no comfort.”
John has spent his life teaching students how to live – now he is teaching all of us how to die. He knows who holds the keys to death. He knows the truth!
A lot of people are very fearful today, especially with all the talk about nuclear weapons. Bunkers are being designed that might help people survive a nuclear attack. Properly stocked and built, these bunkers might keep you alive for a few months. Some will cost you a billion dollars – but you will eventually die. A billion dollar bunker won’t help you when you die – but a bunker that was briefly occupied for 3 days 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem is empty, and that’s the bunker that makes an eternal difference! (Tweet this!)
That’s why Paul said, “O death, where is your sting? O grave where is your victory? Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:55) Death is the victim, not the Victor. The victory has already been won!
Please get the answer right about dealing with death!