“And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: . . . But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (II Samuel 12:22,23).
These verses have long been used to comfort parents whose child has died in infancy. “Of such” Christ said, “is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). But there are other inferences that can be drawn from these touching words of King David.
Note the irretrievability of the dead. No prayers or fasting can bring back one whom the Lord has called home. Once on the other side, there is no returning to attend to neglected duties. All of those things concerning our children, spouse, work, neighbors, country, that were our responsibility to do, will be forever left undone. There is no returning to recover lost opportunities. Opportunities to speak on behalf of our Lord, opportunities to avail ourselves of His grace, all are passed forever. How important it is to finish our work before we go.
Note also the certainty of our own fate. “It is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27). “For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person” (II Samuel 14:14). Yet, why do we live as if we were immortal?
Finally, note that there is reunion after death. This reunion we find in Scripture is spiritual, but we will be given a resurrected body when He returns. It is also a conscious reunion, for our spirits are eternal and although much is not revealed about the hereafter, we will recognize one another and our state there will be glorious.
May these thoughts of death be of benefit as we fulfill the mission of life. JDM