A Prayer by John Calvin:
Almighty God and Father, grant unto us, because we have to go through much strife in this earth, the strength of thy Holy Spirit, in order that we may courageously go through the fire and through the water, and that we may go to meet death in full confidence of thy assistance and without fear.
Grant us also that we may bear all hatred and enmity of mankind until we have gained the last victory and that we may at last come to that blessed rest which thy only begotten Son hath acquired for us through his blood. Amen.
The quote above and Calvin’s prayer are taken from the flyleaf and back page of I Shall not Die, but Live by Douglas Taylor. This book is a collection of 247 blog posts that Taylor posted to in his last days. They are full of gospel comfort and encouragement; a useful book for those facing death themselves or for those seeking to comfort the dying.
How will you die? I’m not asking about the method, but the spirit. Many of us don’t fear death itself, but the way we may die gives cause for concern. A slow, lingering, painful death is much more of an obstcale in the minds of most that a sudden, quick death. Well, go we must, but we don’t get to choose how we go. The Lord chooses out our path for us right until the very end. The question is: if our ending is not of our choosing and it turns out to be long and painful, will we squeal like stuck pigs, remain silent & strong like stoics or sumbit ourselves gracefully to God’s will? I pray it will be the latter.
We will probably die as we live. If we are those that whine and complain about illness and pain, we are likely to create a fuss on our death-beds too. Maybe the Lord will keep us dying long enough until we learn to stop whining! If we are submissive to God’s providences generally, we are likely to be submissive on our death-beds too. Of course, this is a generalisation and it remains to be seen how we will behave when put under real pressure.
The history of the church is replete with examples of men and women who died well. The remained faithful till the end with a sure hope on Christ. The chances of our dying a martyr’s death is slim in these times, but whatever our circumstances, we can still die full of faith that the Lord who gave us our salvation is ready to welcome us home. We can die without fear. The way we die, oculd be the evidence that our non-believing family and friends need to be convinced that there is indeed a God in heaven worth living and dying for. may we wll be such witnesses when our time comes.
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