“It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27, NIV)
TOWARD the end of his life, Tom Paine told a friend to disregard anything he might say about religion around the time of his death. "People get scared when they die," he explained, "and they tend to experience deathbed repentance. If I do that, just remember that that is not me talking but a scared old man.
David disagreed. He asked God to show him the end of his life. "Let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days, let me know how fleeting life is!" Many people live in denial of the end of life. They eat vitamins and pump iron to keep up the illusion of youth. But try as hard as you may, "all paths lead but to the grave."
David was wiser and more courageous than Paine. He wanted to face the truth of death because he knew it was inevitable. He had that strange desire to know the truth, the whole truth, even the truth about his own demise. David did not know about the resurrection in Christ, but he knew the true and living God, the father of Christ, and perhaps he had working faith in survival that went something like this: God will sustain every good thing He has created.
Death is truth, but can you face it like David, or will you discount your thinking in the last days of your life, like Paine?
Lord, "teach us to number our days so that we may get a heart of wisdom." In Jesus' name. Amen.
- ARLIE J. HOOVER, Abilene, Texas