Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday Hymn - It is Not Death to Die

From Come Weary Saints

It is Not Death to Die

It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

Bob Kauflin rewrote it from an older hymn. Here are the words to the original hymn, by Malan, translated by Bethune:

It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road,
And midst the brotherhood on high
To be at home with God.

It is not death to close
The eye long dimmed by tears,
And wake, in glorious repose,
To spend eternal years.

It is not death to bear
The wrench that sets us free
From dungeon chain, to breath the air
Of boundless liberty.

It is not death to fling
Aside this sinful dust
And rise, on strong exulting wing
To live among the just.

Jesus, Thou Prince of Life,
Thy chosen cannot die:
Like Thee, they conquer in the strife
To reign with Thee on high.

This song has come to mean a lot to me. I first heard it last summer, when we bought Come Weary Saints. After a few weeks of listening to the CD, I commented to Terry that I couldn't understand why that song stood out to me, among all the others. In fact, I could barely remember what other songs were on the album but that one was always one I pondered. I think it was partly because I have never really looked forward to heaven, although I grew up in a Christian home and understand (at least partially) God's plan of salvation at an early age. I was challenged by the words to consider in a new way my view of death and heaven.

Fast forward a few months and I discovered why that song had stood out to me. When I found out about Emily's death, I was driving home from a conference. (In case any of you wonder, I made Terry tell me on the phone because it was better to know the truth than spend the drive wondering what was going on). After a while, I turned on my ipod to "It is Not Death to Die" and listened to it at least two times. God really used it to change my focus even at that moment to His truth of what death is. That doesn't mean that I didn't grieve and didn't argue with God but that even at that moment, He was taking my grief and starting to turn around my understanding of what He was doing.

The other song I listened to just as I was coming into town was "How Deep". The chorus is

How deep is His love,
How high and how wide is His mercy,
How deep is Your grace,
Our hearts overflow with praise to you.

And it begins with "You were broken that I might be healed". As I listened to that song, it hit me - God's Son had died. He knows our grief because His Son died. But because of His Son's death, we are healed and we can look forward to the time when we will enter into the kingdom of God.

We grieved Emily's death. We are still grieving her and probably always will. But we take comfort in God's words of comfort and His promises. And when everything seems to press in on me, then I sing the words of "It is Not Death to Die" to myself and God reminds me yet again that there is more to life than we see now and Emily is now praising her Saviour in His presence.

Spurgeon also says,

"Dear friend, have you found that trouble cuts the cords that tie you to earth? When the Lord takes a child, there is one less cord to fasten you to this world and another band to draw you toward heaven. When money vanishes and business goes wrong, we frequent the prayer meeting, the prayer closet and the Bible. Trials drive us from earth. If all went well, we would begin to say, "Soul, relax". But when things go amiss, we want to be gone. When the tree shakes, the bird flies away. Happy is the trouble that loosens our grip of earth."


MrsCrystal said...

Juanita you are an amazing and inspriing mom and wife. Thanks for sharing.

Ruth said...

I rejoice in how the Lord prepares us for things, even though we don't recognize it at the time, but becomes crystal clear after. God is so good to us especially when in the deepest pit of grief..

Cheryl said...

This song was sung in my church this morning, so when I posted the words, a friend sent your post to me! Well, the day you posted yours? That was my husband's & my last anniversary together, our 29th, as we had only 6 more months together in the hospital before his graduation to Glory! Thanks for your encouraging words!