Sudden Death -- Sudden Eternity

Yesterday, I felt a tight, gripping sensation in my chest. Dizziness. Weakness. This morning I still feel weak, distant, dizzy.

Did I have a heart attack? Maybe. God knows, doesn't He? Will I die soon? Many people will die today -- I could be one of them.

Am I ready to die?

I've known people who had silent heart attacks. Perfectly healthy people who exercised regularly and watched their diets. They just keeled over and died. A mother in her early forties with several children -- her children found her lying dead in the kitchen. A sister in her early twenties -- a blood vessel in the brain exploded. No warning signs beforehand. One moment they were here, the next moment . . . gone, forever gone. Silently passing into eternity.

Some people fall victim to the foolishness of others. A young mother and her baby -- her car hit broadside by a teenager out on a fling. Instant death. Mother and baby were buried in the same coffin. A local grocer, robbed at gunpoint, grabs for the shotgun pointed at his face, accidentally forcing the robber's finger into the trigger -- the rest of the story is too gruesome to repeat.

Sometimes God Himself lays the deathblow. Several young boy scouts were out camping -- lightning strikes and instantly kills one of them. Over lunch break on a construction sight -- a worker returns to work to find a coworker dead from choking on a peanut.

Some people die from "freak" accidents. Over lunchtime, the owner of a rock quarry goes down into the rock crusher to make some repairs. His son returns from lunch, and starts the rock crusher, unaware that his dad is in the crusher . . .

All these incidents happened to people I know. Real people. People just like me. People who lived, loved, hated, worried, and became afraid. People who dreamed and had longings, dark days and bright days. From the most gifted and the most loved, from the richest to the poorest. Everyone dies. In a moment they're gone.

Death comes, whether we think we're ready or not. Perhaps it's life's greatest inconvenience. Unplanned, unscheduled. In some ways, death is more real than the trivial fantasies of this transient dream we call life.

Am I ready to die?

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).

Two simple conditions. Have I met them?

Am I ready to die? Are you?

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers , and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

Words spoken by God, not man. Read carefully those sins that will send us to hell. Not the size or style of your covering, nor the width of your hat brim, but the condition of your heart.

Who then can be saved?

Am I ready to die? Death is too serious to trifle with. Eternity is too real, too long. Across the face of the earth, approximately 200,000 people will die today. Before tomorrow's sun rises, you or I could be one of them.

Spend some time alone with God right now. Make sure you're ready.

I want to do that too. Please pray that we're ready, and that we're making it easy for others to be ready.

Phillip Cohen

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