About Jesus - Steve Sweetman

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The Death Of His Faithful Servants


It was an experience I'll never forget.  Yes, it was sad.  It was very sad, but it was just as awesome as it was sad. 


"The death of His faithful ones is valuable (precious in the NIV) in the Lord's sight (Psalms 116:15 HCSB)."  Why in the name of Heaven does God view the death of His faithful servants as being precious when we are so saddened and devastated by their passing?


It was a Saturday evening when my wife, Dianne, and I had to drive two and a half hours home.  Dianne's brother Bill had been in the hospital and close to death for several days.  We didn't know how many days he had left, so it wasn't an easy decision to drive home that evening. 


Bill could not communicate with us but I'm convinced he could hear and understand all we said to him.  Not wanting Bill to die alone I told him to tell Jesus that he was ready to leave this life.   I then laid my hand on him and asked Jesus to take him, right then and there, and He did.  As I prayed one tear slipped down his cheek.  He grasped for breath twice, and five seconds later Bill was on his way to Heaven.  It happened that quickly.   


It was Thursday evening, June 7, 2001, at 8:50 PM when I told dad that we had to go home.  Like Bill, he could not communicate with us but I'm convinced he could hear and understand us.  It had been a busy number of weeks caring for dad as cancer was robbing him of his life.  Then there was mom.  She needed daily care after being stricken by a severe stroke in 1995.  I was tired so I told dad to tell Jesus that he was ready to leave.  I then laid my hand on dad in the hospital room and asked Jesus to take him, right then and there.  Amazingly, like Bill, one solitary tear slipped down dad's cheek.  That told me he understood what I was praying. 


Dad was a proud man.  He'd do anything for you but he had a hard time having you do something for him.  He had made it perfectly clear.  Long before cancer invaded his body he told us that when the time comes his casket would be closed.  No one would stand gawking at his dead body in an open casket.  After praying that Jesus would take dad at 8:50 PM we left him and arrived home at 9 PM to hear the phone ringing.  "Your father passed away within two minutes after you left him," the nurse said.  That was typical dad.  He wanted no one gawking at his dead body and he would have no one see him die, not even his son.  He would wait until we were gone and die on his own terms, and that he did.


Within 5 seconds of asking Jesus to take Bill he was gone.  Within 5 minutes after asking Jesus to take dad, he was gone.  Was it sad?  Of course it was sad.  The tears still try to escape my eyes as I recall these events, but, helping Bill and dad leave this planet for Heaven as Dianne I had the privilege to do was beyond amazing.  It was awesome. 


Death is not final; not for the believer nor for the unbeliever.  It's the doorway into eternity.   For His faithful servants death is the entrance into the arms of Jesus and those who have preceded them.  We may be sad to see those we love leave, but those we love are undoubtedly overjoyed to enter into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For this reason, the death of God's faithful servants is precious in His sight.


The Apostle Paul wanted nothing more than to be with Jesus.  Philippians 1:21 to 26 makes that clear.  The only reason why he wanted to hang around here on earth was to help others find Jesus.  That was it.  If not for his calling as a faithful servant of the Lord, he'd rather be in Heaven.  I believe the moment a Roman sword sliced Paul's head from his shoulders, although painfully devastating for those watching, was the moment he longed for. 


For many, it's only our love for this life and this world that makes us reluctant to leave for Heaven.  The Apostle John was right when he said that perfect love, and that includes our love for Jesus, throws off all fear, even the fear of death (1 John 4:18).  When it's time for a faithful servant of the Lord to leave, let him go.  Encourage him into the loving embrace of Jesus.  There's a time to be born and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3:2).  May the Holy Spirit give us the discernment to know and understand the appropriate times of the lives of God's faithful servants.                            


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