Life Lessons about Dying Young

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In April, 2007, a student at Virginia Tech University went on a shooting rampage and killed more than thirty students and faculty members. Among the victims were potential church and government leaders who died in the prime of their lives. They became victims of someone’s insanity.

  • Why didn’t God raise His hand against the gunman and protect the innocent?

No answer is satisfactory to grieving parents who lose their children, or to brothers and sisters who lose their siblings.

Yet the reality, a life lesson, is that we are all subject to the control of a Higher Power:

  • sometimes God protects us in the line of fire and allows us to remain alive;
  • sometimes He retires us (through death) from the battle.


In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?

— Isaiah 38:10 (NIV)

A Young King Faces Death

King Hezekiah, was about thirty nine or forty, according to Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible when he became ill and faced death. "The Jews call such a death a cutting off, that is, by the hand of God, which is before a man is fifty years of age."

Hezekiah cried to the Lord, reminding Him that he had been a devoted follower. The lesson from His situation is that death is not always determined by how good or bad the victim has been. The Lord responded by giving Hezekiah an additional fifteen years.

  • What is it like for the person who knows how many years before he dies?

It would have been wonderful if Hezekiah could have forgotten about death completely, but it is likely that he thought about it every day for the rest of his life. Fifteen years would not even take him to the promised "three score and ten" (Psalm 90:10).

Death is inevitable, with or without warning. Hezekiah had a daily reminder that he would die. Question is, did it cause him to accept his death as timely, or did he still think it was untimely?


Cemetery Photo by Gnangarra
Cemetery Photo by Gnangarra | Source

Three Young Men Face Death

In another episode (Daniel 3), three Hebrew boys faced death by fire, for refusing to bow down in worship to a Babylonian image. Instead of crying and begging like King Hezekiah, they put the matter entirely in God's hands.

They never doubted His ability to rescue them, but they knew that rescue was not His only plan.

  • "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us. . . But even if he does not . . . we will not serve your gods"(17, 18).

Their faith allowed them to trust God with making the decision that was right for His purpose. There was no disadvantage for them if were dying young, while they were pleasing God.

One of the most important life lessons we can learn from those who died with their faith in tact is that faith is not always rewarded with life. The heroes of faith (Hebrews 11) received different rewards. Abel, who obeyed God, received death (verse 4), while Enoch who also obeyed, was taken to heaven (verse 5). The reality of faith is not that it produces the outcome we hope for; but that it maintains trust in God, no matter the outcome.

The Hebrew boys had a cheerful and comforting approach to death.


Five Important Life Lessons

  • 1. God is the Time-Keeper; we are all subject to His timing.
  • 2. Death is not influenced by how bad or good the victim has been.
  • 3. Sometimes death, not life, results from loyalty to our faith.
  • 4. The number of years one lives is not as important as the volume of the contribution one makes within those years.
  • 5. A life of gratitude facilitates the acceptance of death.


We All Face Death

For the most part, we do not even want to think about death. Even though some dare to express how and when they will like to die, they know that the control and the timer are in God’s hands.

Hezekiah wrote in his song,

“For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise;

The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today.”

An attitude of constant gratitude is the best preparation for a joyful life beyond our mortal death. The difference between dying young or dying when we're older is the time frame in which we make our contribution to life. And in the end, the number of years does not matter as much as the volume of the contribution we make.

The victims at Virginia Tech, King Hezekiah and the Hebrew Boys are witnesses to the fact that our lives are more important than our deaths. Their stories tell us to live to the fullest in obedience to God and to our faith; and to leave the ending of our lives entirely up to His wisdom.


Prayer

Thank You Heavenly Father, for the gift of life. Help us to maintain our relationship with You even in the face of death. May we enjoy Your presence every minute of the day, so that even in dying young, we will be ready to enjoy You forever in eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2012 Dora Isaac Weithers

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Comments 10 comments

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

Touching hub, Ms Dora- I enjoyed it this morning. I thought of the VA Tech shooting as I drove past that area last week. My thoughts were on those who lost their lives. I work with the mentally ill and there seems to be an increase in the bizarre behavior. Take care.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks for your input, Denise. We sympathize with those who have mental issues, and we mourn those who become their victims. We just have to live lives of love and obedience to God, and lives of love and service to others, until our time comes to pass through those gates. May God help us live each day to the full!


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 4 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

MsDora: Though God has given us "Free Choice" unfortunately death, the method and the timining we cannot choose.

Babies are aborted, mothers face miscarriages,satan robs and kills us with suicide,gangsters and terrorists, kill indescriminately, accidents happen,even nature can kill us.

Regardless of the methodology of our death, we must face it. We are on God's clock of life.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks for your comments, Dave. You gave great reminders that we cannot choose and that we all face death. It surely helps to know that our lives and deaths are "on God's clock." Blessings!


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 4 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

MsDora: My wife and I were discussing death this weekend, and she was commenting: What if this, what if that, what if something else. After listening to her list of "What ifs, it was my turn to talk cuz I'm a listener, and I simply said to her, "What if you bring this to God?" He has the answers.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Dave, your wife is blessed to have a man of faith like you, with whom to discuss this difficult (for some) topic. You're so right. We should trust God no matter what.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 4 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

MsDora: The topic is only difficult if we make it difficult. Husband and wife should be able to and must be able to sit together and openly and freely discuss any topic, and especially death. Nobody lives forever, even Jesus had to die.

What's the sense in having a "Marriage 'Partner' " if the only things you are allowed to discuss are things like the weather, or what's for dinner, or what's on the TV tonight? I could discuss that with a dog, but I need God and my partner to discuss the serious stuff.

For instance my wife Lyn knows that I am an "Organ Donor" as well as DNR. She knows that I am DNR because I want my organs to be able to help others, and there is no ifs, ands, or buts, this is my wish, my last wish.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

After having the opportunity to be around people who have been close to death, it has added to my testimony that death is not the end, as you have said here. It is but a new beginning. We can help those who remain by remembering their loved ones and keeping them in our hearts and prayers.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean Author

You're right Denise. We need to help each other find peace in the midst of loss.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Dave, you're a good model. Thanks for sharing. All the best to you and Lyn.

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    MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers (MsDora)946 Followers
    257 Articles

    MsDora authored "Monday Manna-a weekly devotional." She contributed to "A Cup of Comfort Devotional" and has written many other devotionals.



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