Author: Sallie Ross

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15

A dozen or so years ago, when the husband of a new acquaintance died, I remember the way people described his last hours. Friends and family were gathered around his bedside, singing hymns and praying tenderly over him. They said it was holy ground and that really, nonbelievers need to be along side to watch as Christians die.

I didn’t understand that then. Since then I have had the tender honor of being at the bedside of two different friends as they left this world. We, too, sang songs, read scripture and prayed around these gentle men. It was so profound with each one to really be escorting him to the edge of this life, to be cheering him on in his letting go.

And there was an inexplicable sense that they knew something we didn’t know, that they could see something that we couldn’t see, and so relinquishing was easy for them–much easier than the battle they had been fighting on earth.

People who do not know the Lord need to know that death for a Christian is multi-dimensional. For those left behind there is obviously deep grief. The body which housed the soul who was loved has died. But scripture tells us: “We do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.” 1Thess4:13 . So even in our grief there is a hope that accompanies us.

God is with us in life, in dying and in death. He is with us because of what this day is and because of what His son was willing to do. When we look upon the cross, when we stand below our Lord and feel His blood hitting down on us, we are left not as hopeless but as those who have found life. We must stand and look straight into the face of this day–that we might see straight into the heart of God. By His grace we are able to stand together.

–Lord God, let me gather this day with believers. Let me stand at the foot of the cross and weep with my brothers and sisters– heartbreakingly aware that my sins thrust my Lord onto that cross. And that He, fully human and fully divine, would receive death that I might have life. Let me come together this day with all throughout time, the great cloud of witnesses, all of whom are alive by His blood poured out this day.