I want to die like Jonathan Edwards

It’s raining in Austin.  I love the rain.

It has me in a pensive and reflective mood, and I’m thinking a little on the kind of death I hope to die today.

First- an encouragement for any of you who may fear death.  This comes from the heart of Mr. Charles Spurgeon and brings me comfort often.  I love the thought that I am immortal until my work here is done.

They shall not die prematurely; they shall be immortal till their work is done; and when their time shall come to die, then their deaths shall be precious. The Lord watches over their dying beds, smooths their pillows, sustains their hearts, and receives their souls. Those who are redeemed with precious blood are so dear to God that even their deaths are precious to him. The deathbeds of saints are very precious to the church, she often learns much from them; they are very precious to all believers, who delight to treasure up the last words of the departed; but they are most of all precious to the Lord Jehovah himself, who views the triumphant deaths of his gracious ones with sacred delight. If we have walked before him in the land of the living, we need not fear to die before him when the hour of our departure is at hand.

I do delight to treasure up the last words of the departed. They teach me much about how I want to die, and even more – how I want to live.

One guy whose death I treasure is Jonathan Edwards.  As he lay in his bed, breathing his last breaths, here is the letter he penned to his daughter:

Dear Lucy, it seems to me to be the will of God, that I must shortly leave you; therefore give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her that the uncommon union which as so long subsisted between us, has been of such a nature,as I trust is spiritual, and therefore will continue for ever.  And I hope she will be supported under so great a trial and submit cheerfully to the will of God.  And as to my children, you are now like to be left fatherless, which I hope will be an inducement to you all to seek a Father who will never fail you…

When it came time for him to leave this world, he cried these words out:

Now, where is Jesus of Nazareth, my true and never-failing friend?

And then he issued one final exhortation before he left this world:

Trust in God, and you need not fear.

I love that. I long to have the kind of life where Jesus is my true and never-failing friend through ever trial.  I pray to be the kind of woman who leans on Him and walks with Him through all things; who can say at the end of this that truly my dearest companion and most intimate friend was Christ alone.

I want to live the kind of life that urges those around me to live like Johnny E’s wife.  Upon news of her husband’s death she said this to her children:

What shall I say?  A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud.  O that we may kiss the rod, and lay our hands on our mouths!  The Lord has done it.  He has made me adore his goodness, that we had him so long.  But my God lives; and he has my heart.  O what a legacy my husband, and your father, has left us!  We are all given to God; and there I am, and love to be.

Are there any last words of the departed that you treasure?

6 thoughts on “I want to die like Jonathan Edwards

  1. oh thank you, i needed to read this! i’m so thankful that i stumbled across this during a lull in my work day, anxiety around death (and the subsequent guilt at knowing i “should” be fine with it since i have Jesus) have been a major source of pain for me for a few years now. this was like a breath of fresh air to read.

    1. Thanks, Justine. I, too, had the exact same experience – stumbled on this during the work day. I, too, have been a Christian for years, yet since a cancer diagnosis, have had heavy anxiety around this. I KNOW I shouldn’t have this (part of it is probably genetic) anxiety, but do. I am seeking counselling, regularly bringing this to God, have a good church, a great wife, etc., so I hope for God to “interdict” this issue…..

  2. My dad’s final words, as he leaned his head back and went home, “Thank you, Father”. I think of that often, and pray that I too will live a life of gratitude for all my Heavenly Father has done, and continues to do, for me!

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