He sits in the church pew and sings as though time has wrapped a wool blanket around his vocal cords. The oxygen tubes cannot deliver the difference between his abilities and the song’s demands. He gasps and strains but remains a beat behind. Last year’s stroke reminded him of death’s inevitable encroachment. A once spry old saint, now at the mercy of his own broken body, he now struggles to thrust lyrics off his tongue. It was perhaps the most beautiful song to reach God's ears in our little group that morning and one that compelled angels to their knees. How does one weak and worn son of God thunder the heavens with his worship?
Ann did it, too. Her death was imminent, she knew it, and she sang. There in the bed, surrounded by astonished visitors, she whispered hymns and drew blessed tears from those who witnessed her testimony of the God who saves, the God who built an eternal house for her from which she was now separated by only a few heartbeats and lingering shallow breaths exhaled in praise.
Phyllis could not sing. She could barely move her contorted body ravaged by a degenerative disease. Others sang hymns in her presence and she gleamed in a full-faced smile while her eyes danced like David before the Lord.
How is it possible? What faith bathes their feeble faculties that they are able, in the face of dreadful death, the last enemy, to take so strong a stand in the spiritual realm? Those mighty warriors lift the shield, wield the sword and wound the dragon while scarcely alive in a house of frail bone and paper skin!
It might surprise non-believers to learn that God’s children have been singing themselves to sleep all over the world for as long as they have been privy to God‘s redeeming heart. Not all of them, not in all situations, not always while in the throes of painful exits are they capable, but stories of worshipful transitions into timelessness are not rare.
Eternal life begins at the acceptance of Jesus, and those who continue the song throughout the battle die well and live on.
No wonder demons shudder.