Sudden Death

J. D. Conley
March 5, 2017

Death can come at any time. One is fond of thinking their death is in the far off misty future, and when it does finally arrive it will be well prepared for and even desired. But death is not a servant to our preferences and schedule. Very often death stomps in with suddenness and in the twinkling of an eye. At such unwelcome and unexpected times like this how wonderful it is to be found doing the Lord's bidding.

There have been gospel preachers who met death in the midst of preaching a sermon, performing a baptism, or conducting a Bible study. In such cases death was sudden, yet it arrived at a most appropriate time for its victim. Sudden death for these meant sudden victory, (Rev.2:10)!

But for God's people left remaining, what should be their attitude toward the sudden death of a loved one? Certainly, there is a time for mourning and grief, (Eccl.3:4; Rom. 12:15). But should grief be a cause or a reason for all efforts in the kingdom to come to a halt? Indeed, there is an allotted time for grief and tears, (2Sam.12:18-21; Jn.11:31-35), but there must be a constant and faithful performance of the Lord's will too.

A good example of persevering in faith despite forlorn circumstances is found in (Psalm 126:5) where the psalmist writes, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." This was a favorite passage of Philip Henry, the father of Matthew Henry, who wrote a valuable commentary on the entire Bible. Philip Henry was a Puritan preacher who met sudden death when he was scheduled to preach. The congregation at first intended to postpone the service, but during the interim someone made reference to the above passage and the service went forward.

Later on while writing his commentary on the Bible, Matthew Henry made these comments about this beloved verse of his father's, "Weeping must not hinder sowing; when we suffer ill we must be doing well."

Even the pain brought on by a sudden death of a dear loved one should not prevent us from steadfastly doing the Lord's will. May we be busy sowing the seed in happy times as well as in sad times. In doing so we shall reap joyful harvest!