2 Kings 20
Once again, we encounter the subject of death, and I thought Hezekiah’s reaction on the news of his impending fate was telling (and quite familiar): "Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 'Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.' And Hezekiah wept bitterly." (vs 2-3)
Why is it that we tend to view death in terms of whether it is "deserved" or not? For instance, I have had more than one person express surprise to me that God would allow my father to get sick and die when there are so many "bad" people in the world. Surely a godly person shouldn’t die before an "evil" person! (Or, at least, that seems to be the conventional wisdom.)
In this chapter, God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and decided to heal him. He added 15 years to his life here on Earth, so that instead of dying at 39, he died at 54. Do you think Hezekiah was more than happy to expire at 54? I bet not. When is it ever really "okay" with us that we die? We don’t ever want to die, and we try to avoid it at all costs! But it is, quite literally, the one thing in this life we know that we can count on.
I think God looks at death much differently than we do. For Him, it is not a problem for any of His children to go to sleep (which is, in effect, what happens when we die here). In fact, Psalm 116:15 says that the death of the saints is precious to the Lord! He looks upon it as a sweet, nostalgic thing. That is certainly not our viewpoint on the subject.
I wish we could begin to see death as God does—not something to be afraid of or even to spend our life’s energies trying to avoid. But I wish we could see it as the beginning of the next phase in our relationship with God, the one in which we will never again experience separation. For that brief second in time, we are held safe in His arms, waiting silently until Jesus comes to take His loved ones home. It’s not the end of the world, but the beginning of an eternity with Him.