By Larry Ray Hafley
Like the assassination of President Kennedy a generation ago, the sudden death of Diana, Princess of Wales, has shocked the world. What lessons can we learn?
The Brevity of Life
She was only 36 years old, yet, whether young or old, our lives are “soon cut off, and we fly away” (Ps. 90:10). “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (Jas. 4:14).
Death Comes to All Men, Rich and Poor “They that trust in their wealth. . . . None of them, can by any means . . . give to God a ransom…. That he should still live for ever and not see corruption” (Ps. 49:6-9). The rich fool in Luke 12 looked forward to “many years” of luxurious retirement, but God said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (Luke 12:20). Wealth, fame, honor, and privilege did not save that man, nor the lovely Princess, and neither can they deliver us from our appointment with death (Heb. 9:27).
“The Sting of Death Is Sin”
Death would not hold as much pain as it does if no one died in sin (John 8:21, 24; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). When one dies outside of Christ, not having obeyed the gospel of Christ, it reminds us of death’s real sting, its real sorrow. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezek. 33:11). In contrast to that, the Psalmist said, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Ps. 116:15). Thus, while we mourn the Princess, let us warn people who are unprepared to meet God, lest at death they partake of the sting of death.
“Sorrow Is Better Than Laughter”
“It is better to go to the house of mourning , than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made wise. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning: but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool” (Eccl. 7:2-6).
The wise man will reflect on his soul’s salvation in the house of mourning. The fool seeks the shallow laughter and happiness of the world and blinds himself to the inevitability of death and the judgment.
Have you learned these lessons? In light of the sad and shocking loss of Princess Diana, it is time we paused to think on them and make application to our lives.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 20 p. 1
October 16, 1997