There have been SO MANY deaths and potentially severely disabling health problems in my sphere of family and friends that I do not know how I could handle them all if I did not know what I know of the afterlife.
I wrote this so that any who receive it might send it on to others who might benefit.
Houses of Mourning. Houses of Feasting
by Richard Maffeo
While I prepared to speak at a recent funeral, the 23rd psalm played in my mind.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
As I reflected on what are for the Christian comforting words, another text dropped into my thoughts. It’s from John’s gospel were Jesus refers to Himself this way: “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”(John 10:14-16)
A friend recently told me the reason she doesn’t like getting older is not because of the wrinkles and the decreasing energy levels, but because of all the family and friends she continues to lose to death.
How well I know what she means.
That’s why Solomon’s words make more and more sense to me as time passes so quickly and relentlessly: “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2).
In other words, we all ought to take life – and especially death – to heart, because death is where each of us is headed. For some, sooner. For some, later. But we will all pass through that valley of the shadow of death at some time. And when we do, we’ll want the Great Shepherd holding our hand.
But – and this is key – there is only one way to ensure the Lord of Life will walk with us in that valley. We must first meet Him as our Shepherd/Savior on this side of the grave.
The Lord Jesus spoke sober truth when He warned: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.” (John 14:6).
He alone – and no one else at any time in all of earth’s history – Jesus alone is the doorway into eternal life.
“The Lord is my shepherd.”
Do you know Jesus as your shepherd? Do you hear His voice? Do you obediently follow His commandments?
We each must correctly answer those critical questions. As much as we don’t like to hear about death, the grave is our earthly destiny.
And then comes eternity.