The title caught my eye. “It Is Not Death to Die” — what an intriguing phrase. I jotted the words down on a slip of torn-off notebook paper and stuck it in my pocket. When pondering a thought, that’s what I do. I seem to need to carry ideas in my pocket for awhile. They roost in there, like a hen on her eggs, waiting for an insight to hatch.
Through the morning I argued with the short sentence that captured my thoughts. Of course dying is death, I say to the paper in my pocket. The final exhale, the last look before closing the eyes, the heartbeat halted — that’s death. That’s what it is to die. Right?
In the afternoon I had to know more. A little research revealed the origin of the words. In 1832, 60 year old Henri Abraham Cesar Malan wrote a hymn titled, “Non, Ce N’est Pas Mourir”. Fifteen years later, George Bethune translated the French lyrics into English and the song found it’s way into 126 hymnals. One hundred and sixty years later, Sovereign Grace Music recorded the hymn with a new tune. I think Henri would approve.
By the evening, I was sitting at my piano singing a song that made its way from my pocket to my heart. I got it. Dying is not death in the sense that there is nothing more but blackness and non-existence. Paul said that to be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:8) Jesus said, “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)
It is life to die — more life than we can fathom.
The best of everything is yet to come.
This week, this is my song:
It Is Not Death to Die, Sovereign Grace Music