“IF I SHOULD DIE BEFORE I WAKE”

“IF I SHOULD DIE BEFORE I WAKE”

Most of us know the old bedtime prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep.

I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake,

I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take.

Years ago, a lady wrote in to the advice column of the late Ann Landers about this prayer.

She said she was “horrified” by the prayer.

“What’s more,” she went on to say, “suggesting to a child that he might die in his sleep seems unnecessarily cruel.”

The account of Jairus’ daughter in today’s Gospel text reminds us that little children do die.”

If Christian parents are to pass on to their children the only faith that saves, what else does this involve but teaching them how to meet death?

Sunday after Sunday, service after service, sermon after sermon, prayer after prayer, hymn after hymn, year after year, what else are we really doing but preparing to die?

Sin, with its wages of temporal and eternal death, makes Christianity and its living Lord relevant in every age, in every place, for everyone.

It is hatred toward our offspring, masquerading as love, if we teach them about dental hygiene, how to handle a basketball, how to make money, how to watch out for strangers – but never teach them about what the Bible calls “the last enemy” – and do not teach them about the Lord Jesus Christ who has disarmed and defeated death.

One can only guess what kind of childhood one Pennsylvania prisoner must have had.  When told by the doctor that there was no hope of recovery, he looked up and cried:  “I can’t go out there alone; God is up there waiting for me!”

Had no one loved him enough to tell him about the One who said,

“I am the Resurrection and the Life.  He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die?”  Had no one loved him enough to tell him the good news of a Savior who redeemed us to His Father so that we do not have to be afraid?  

His last words were:  “I can’t meet God alone!”     No one can.

We need Christ.  Our children need to hear this from us – that because of Jesus, they do not have to be afraid to meet God, that He has prepared a joyful place for them.  In home devotions, at weekly services, at our Lutheran school and Sunday School, God has given us the avenues to tell our children!    Not to do so is nothing less than spiritual child abuse.  “Prepare to meet your God!”  (Amos 4:12).

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