Emperor Philip of Macedon was awakened every morning by a slave who spoke these words: “By His divine decree, by His imperial order, Philip, you too will die.” Every morning Philip faced the certainty of his death. He wanted to be reminded that he would not live forever, and that he should do what he could do now—because tomorrow was not guaranteed.
Death is a sure thing. Unless Jesus Christ returns in our lifetime, all of us will die. One day the obituaries will contain our name, and we will not wake again. Death is sure...but it is not a comfortable subject. No one really likes to talk about it. I was an adult before I ever attended a funeral service...and I was the pastor officiating! Death is sure...but for the Christian it is not threatening. For those who believe in Christ, the sting of death has been removed.
A mother died, leaving her husband and daughter. After the funeral, the little girl asked her dad, “Daddy, why did Mother die?” The father did not answer right away. He was struggling to find the right words. A short time later, the two were walking together when they were passed by a large truck. As the truck came close, it cast a shadow over the two of them, and the father saw his answer. “Do you remember asking me about Mom, and what happened to her?” The daughter nodded. “Well, let me ask you a question. When that truck came by just now, did it hit us?” The girl shook her head. “But something did hit us, didn’t it? Something dark?” Her eyes lit up. “Yes, Daddy,” she said, “the truck’s shadow hit us.” Her dad said, “That’s what happened to your mother. Death did not run over your mother. Only its shadow did. And shadows don’t hurt. I don’t know why it happened, but I know that she’s okay.”