By John McCort

The hours drone on as we wait at the bedside of a brother in Christ whose body is wracked from the throes of cancer. The room is dark. The mood is solemn. The only sounds are the silent hiss of the air conditioner and the wheeze of his labored breathing. The voices are muffled outside the room. Hovering over him is the matriarchal figure of his strong willed mother and his devoted wife. His mother’s lips tremble as she wipes the sweat from his brow. Her eyes are red-rimmed and swollen from weeping. His wife courageously caters to his last dying needs.

The death vigil wears on. The end is near. The pale rider on the horse of death is galloping nearby. The moments slip by slowly and turn into hours while we wait for him to breathe his last. Waiting, dreading that fateful moment, yet hoping that death will come quickly to bring him release from his agony. It is night now. He will not live to see the light of the morning sun.

It is over now. His spirit has been released from his body of pain; a release for which. he has been praying. The voiceless lips of the death angel have beckoned him home. The pale rider on the horse of death has ferreted him to the celestial regions of the departed saints. Sin no longer will have any dominion over him. He quietly rests in the bosom of Abraham, never more to experience the agony of sorrow and pain.

There is a sterling quality to the passing of a Christian. There is dignity and hope in death, not the emptiness and utter despair experienced by the sinner. The Christian longs for death. The sinner dreads it. His widow has not sunken into the must dungeon of despair and hopelessness. There is not that utter sense of finality which accompanies the death of the unsanctified. She is quietly grateful that he is in a better land for eternity. For the heathen, death would have tolled farewell forever. Death would have signaled the beginning of an eternity of agony and torment.

As we accompany his body to the grave, to us who are Christians, we know that we are not saying goodbye forever. We are merely returning his body to the earth from whence it came. Our brother is not in that gray casket. His spirit has gone to await judgment; the final destiny of all men. We will join him there shortly.

Truth Magazine, XVIII:38, p. 2
August 1, 1974