Close to our home we had a “prepper” store. I don’t know much about them. I hear the “prepper” ads on the radio from time to time. They warn of the impending end of our society and our country; they demand preparations to sustain for the end. Maybe they’re right.
I wonder about a more realistic preparation: death. Our society might fall to pieces; our economy might come tumbling down (again); Trump might get elected….But, death is certain. As a people, we are preppers for many things that might happen but we aren’t the greatest at being prepared for what will happen.
Richard Sibbes was a Puritan. Like most preachers back then, he was committed to helping his people walk the path that he knew they all would follow: the path to the grave. In his Works, he wrote this:
Epaphroditus met with a long and dangerous sickness [Philippians 2:27]. This is our nature; let us not dream of any immunity. God’s children are subject to sickness while they live. Daily experience proves it, for our bodies have the seeds of sickness in them. If we do not recover, God little by little unties the marriage knot between the soul and the body and so death comes more easily.
Since we cannot avoid sickness or death, how can we prepare ourselves beforehand?
- Before sickness comes, labor to make God your friend. If a man all of his life has followed his own wilful courses of sin and continually blasphemed God and abused him, how can this man think to find comfort in sickness? Repentance in sickness may justly be suspected to be just a fear of punishment rather than a loathing of sin.
- Wean your affections from the earth so you will be able to endure when any cross comes. It is an easy matter for one to die who has already died in his heart and affections beforehand. Consider the uncertainty and vanity of these things, and how they are unable to help you in your greatest need.
- Make up your accounts daily. When sickness comes, you will not have the hardest work yet to do. It is folly to put off the important until later. God may call you with a sudden death, or maybe allow your understanding and senses to be troubled. It is madness to put off our hardest work until our weakest estate.
- In health lay a foundation for comfort in sickness. A good death is prepared for in a good life.
You may think that today is a guarantee and that tomorrow is a likelihood. You may be right. But if you are wrong and God is not your friend and savior, all will be lost. Think on that.