It is not death to die

Frank Shell was the pastor of my home church in Clinton, AR. His younger son, Joe, was my college roommate for four years and is one of my best friends in the world.

Yesterday my wife called me at work after receiving a text message from Joe.

Brother Frank died.

I hurt.

But, God’s providence had already provided a word of encouragement for me. Mere hours before I received word of his death, I visited one of my favorite blogs, Pyromaniacs. On a weekly basis Pyromaniacs features an excerpt from another of my favorite preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Here is yesterday’s offering of Spurgeon…

Die I must—this body must be a carnival for worms; it must be eaten by those tiny cannibals; peradventure it shall be scattered from one portion of the earth to another; the constituent particles of this my frame will enter into plants, from plants pass into animals, and thus be carried into far distant realms; but, at the blast of the archangel’s trumpet, every separate atom of my body shall find its fellow; like the bones lying in the valley of vision, though separated from one another, the moment God shall speak, the bone will creep to its bone; then the flesh shall come upon it; the four winds of heaven shall blow, and the breath shall return.

So let me die, let beasts devour me, let fire turn this body into gas and vapor, all its particles shall yet again be restored; this very self-same, actual body shall start up from its grave, glorified and made like Christ’s body, yet still the same body, for God hath said it. Christ’s same body rose; so shall mine.

O my soul, dost thou now dread to die? Thou wilt lose thy partner body a little while, but thou wilt be married again in heaven; soul and body shall again be united before the throne of God. The grave—what is it? It is the bath in which the Christian puts the clothes of his body to have them washed and cleansed. Death—what is it? It is the waiting-room where we robe ourselves for immortality; it is the place where the body, like Esther, bathes itself in spices that it may be fit for the embrace of its Lord. Death is the gate of life; I will not fear to die, then, but will say,

“Shudder not to pass the stream; Venture all thy care on him; Him whose dying love and power
Stilled its tossing, hushed its roar, Safe in the expanded wave; Gentle as a summer’s eve.
Not one object of his care ever suffered shipwreck there.”


About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

One Response to It is not death to die

  1. Joe Shell says:

    Thanks for the good word my friend – definitely encouraging for us all. Comments like yours (and many others over the last few days) are why I believe Proverbs 17:17 is one of my favorites: A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born for adversity.

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