(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907) LISTEN to audio! Download audio
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints!” Psalm 116:15
To me death has its unlovely aspects:
I may be ready by God’s grace to meet it, and yet I recoil instinctively from the act of dying.
It seems unnatural.
And is usually attended by pain and suffering.
It is a farewell to dear and beloved associations.
And It is going out into an untrodden land.
I cannot coax myself to love the dreadful experience.
Therefore I am glad to think that there is another side to the matter,
and that to my Lord, my death is precious! And why should it be so?
Let me consider the name by which He calls me, and I shall begin to understand:
“His saints!” That is His title for His sons and daughters, among whom I have been enrolled.
The people of His own purchased possession.
The redeemed people whom He has set apart for Himself.
He owns them in virtue of the stupendous price which He paid for them.
He has been at infinite pains to redeem and save and cleanse them.
Nothing which concerns them appears indifferent to Him.
Therefore the death of the humblest of them is of stupendous moment in His sight!
Let me reflect, too, that death is one of the means His grace and power employ to uplift and crown me! It looks as though I scarcely could know God thoroughly, or confide in Him completely until I learn to lean upon Him . . .
when heart and flesh faint and fail,
when the long and close fellowship of body and soul is sundered,
and when I pass forth alone into the mystery of unseen eternity.
Then He becomes more indispensable than ever.
My trust must be simple and absolute.
When lover and friend are put far away–I cling to Him and refuse to let Him go.
Death teaches us this perfection of dependence.
And let me predict to myself the future to which death is the doorway.
Because I can scarcely imagine it . . .
its spotless holiness,
and divine love.
But He sees it clearly and comprehends it in its breadth and length and depth and height.
Because He is familiar . . .
with the flowers and fruits of His upper garden,
the refreshment of the fourfold river,
music of the better country,
with the city’s foundations of gems, its gates of pearl, and its streets of gold.
Therefore is it a marvel that He should pronounce desirable and precious, that loosening and wrench from earth which liberates me for a Heaven like this?
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