Why Thinking About Death is Good for Your Heart

Thinking about death is not encouraged in India. But it can be encouraging, stimulating, and life-giving to think about death intentionally.

I often catch myself thinking about death.

Once, I thought about death, longingly.

When I was young, I felt invisible, unimportant, unheard, and insignificant. Death felt like an escape. Of course, I had no courage to do anything about it.

Also, I knew in my heart I would meet Jesus face to face. I did not think I could face him and justify my premature arrival.

It felt like a soldier trying to flee the battle, only to bump into his general on the way out.

I would rather face the adversity standing in front of me than face him standing in front of me.

This faith-like fear kept me going.

Then I thought about death, naively.

When I was a young Christian, I read a verse of Scripture I will never forget: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Ps. 116:15).

If what is fearful to us is precious to God, how can we be fearful?

I considered it weakness when people mourned about death. Weeping for the dead must be short-sighted and shameful, I thought.

Truthfully, I was simply uncomfortable with the expression of authentic feelings.

Then I read that Jesus wept when he saw his friends grieving the death of the one he loved (John 11:35).

What is painful to us is sorrowful to God.

It warmed by heart and changed my mind to see him share in our sorrow, instead of mocking it.

It is Christlike to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Rom. 12:15).

Now I think about death, soberly.

My naïveté turned into fear when I became a father. I do not want my daughter to grow up without a parent.

I know people who have gone to be with the Lord, leaving behind young children and broken-hearted spouses. There is no reason to assume my wife or I are not vulnerable to the same.

I think about death when I see my daughter laughing, when I am sick, when I travel, or when I am driving through the chaotic streets of Delhi.

After the pandemic, can anyone think of death as anything less than sobering?

Once, when I was overwhelmed by the fear of death, I brought my heart to God, hid myself in Christ, and asked him for long life to see my children’s children (Ps. 128:1).

In such prayers, we are only at the mercy of God. But it is the best place to be, to overcome the fear of death (Heb. 2:14-15).

No force on earth can take me before he decides and no will of man can overrule my appointed time. It is all the assurance I need to live for him, while I still have breath.

Last year I faced death, personally.

My mother went home to be with the Lord long before we thought she would. It was a short while before Easter. The resurrection of Jesus has never felt more personal, practical, and powerful.

She is with him in his glory and Christ is with us in our grief.

One day Christ will call me home and she will be there to receive me. This hope stirs up a strange, new feeling that makes death desirable and undesirable at the same time.

Today I think about death, intentionally.

The apostle Paul longed to depart and be with Christ which is “better by far” but he felt it was “more necessary” to remain for the sake of the church (Phil 1:23-24).

You do not have to be an apostle to feel the same way today.

Death is desirable and precious because it means a glorious homecoming for the Christian and his Christ. But let us delay death as responsibly, dutifully, and prayerfully as we can.

For time is short, the harvest is plenty, the labourers are few, and our labour in the Lord is not in vain.

One day, all in Christ will think of death, joyfully.

We will dance on the grave of death and the devil. On that day, we will sing victoriously in empty graveyards that gave up their dead to the Son who gave up his life (1 Cor. 15:50-52).

What is precious to God will be precious to us.

We will be new creations in the new creation, united to Christ and reunited to everyone in Christ—perfectly, eternally, and irreversibly (Rev. 21:4).

With this confidence in our hearts, let us live for him who conquered death.