"Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?" Job 38:17
When Job, that unique and godly man, was attacked by the kingdom of darkness, he lost everything that was precious to him. Friends came to "console" this man of faith, but their words brought no soothing comfort to his physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual torment. Before the book concludes, however, God wonderfully visits Job and begins to address him. As God speaks to His servant, He asks if Job had been privileged to see the gates, or the doors, of death.
On September 11, 2001, a horrific scene was played out before our eyes as a strategically planned terrorist attack unfolded on an otherwise beautiful day. When the fire, smoke and dust had finally settled, the total number of lives lost that day were 2,996. Nearly everyone of these (excluding the terrorists included in this number) had no idea that they would not return home to their family and friends as they went about their daily routine on that Tuesday morning. They may have passed through many different doors that day, but they would all eventually pass through the doors of death.
Think with me for a moment about the doors of death. This unsettling subject is one that we often desire to hide from, or forget about, yet death is a REALITY to EVERYONE. Wherever we might travel, we are constantly being reminded about death. In large cities and in the open countryside, we discover pristine land dedicated as the last resting place for those who have walked through the doors of death. Along busy interstates, as well as rural highways, we find memorials erected in those areas where someone's life came to a sudden end. Whether they were ready or not, they passed through the doors of death. Our local news, no matter the source, informs us on a daily basis that someone has died, a family is grieving, and once again we realize that the doors of death have opened for another person to walk through and they have stepped into eternity. Yes, death is a reality to everyone. But death is also a RESPECTER of NO ONE. It makes no difference who you are, what you've accomplished, your education or income level, nor your age, death is a respecter of no one. I have helped in funeral services for those who passed the century mark, as well as for those who never celebrated their first birthday. Death doesn't care about your age, your plans, your dreams, your goals, your desires, for death does not respect you, nor does it respect your family. Death is a respecter of no one.
As I write these words, Hurricane Florence is targeting the Carolina coastline. Predictions are being made based upon potential wind speed, storm surge, and rainfall approaching thirty-six to forty-eight inches, that will cause this storm to possibly be the worst in U.S. history to strike the east coast. Mandatory evacuations are now taking place across hundreds of miles of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. In spite of the warnings, however, some residents will foolishly decide to stay and ride out the storm. In all likelihood, their remains will never be found.
On 9/11, very few understood that they would be passing through the doors of death on that fateful day. With Hurricane Florence, some will choose to remain in place and face those doors regardless of the opportunity they had to escape. What about you? God does not promise us advanced time to prepare to step out of this life and enter into eternity. Death might come slowly for some of us, yet it also might come suddenly, unexpectedly, in a way that we never imagined. So, what's the best solution to such a problem? It's really quite simple: WE SHOULD ALWAYS BE READY! Why? Because we never know how, nor when, we might pass through the doors of death.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
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