I just read these statistics about the death rate:
One hundred twenty people die each minute in the world.
Seven thousand four hundred twenty-five people die each hour in the world.
One hundred seventy-eight thousand people die each day in the world.
Sixty-five million die each year in the world.
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 7:2, "It is better to go to the house of mourning than a house of feasting because death is the destiny of everyone, and the living should take this to heart."
It's essential to think about death, prepare for death, and to be prepared to meet God after death. I just read this past week that someone my age had just passed away. A famous comedian that I admired, a man named Norm MacDonald, died over the weekend.
I'm unsure what his faith journey was, but I read several articles about him over the weekend. One thing I do know about his faith journey is that he struggled with the fear of death. He battled cancer for the past 10 years, and he was unsure what would happen after he died.
He was known as a great comedian. He had made a lot of money, acquired lots of fame, but he struggled with life. He shared publicly about his struggle with gambling. He said he once went to a psychiatrist and was being treated for gambling. The psychiatrist said to him: "You gamble to avoid life."
In his deadpan response, he said: "Well, isn't that why you do everything?" He went on to say, "I'd rather fear losing money on a football game than ruminate all night about my upcoming illness and death. My biggest problem is ruminating about death. If I could get over that somehow. I read books about it, that Becker book, Denial of Death."
When he talked about his fear of death, it made me think about what the writer in Hebrews said. Hebrews 2:14-15, "Since the children have flesh and blood, Jesus too shared in their humanity so that by his death He might destroy him who holds the power of death that is a devil and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death."
Norm MacDonald said this about faith and death: "God is the best. That's what I'm trying to get to is God. Faith is the only salvation in every great novel I read, but I don't know how to get it. I don't know how to believe suddenly. I'm too stupid or proud or pretend I'm smart enough. I came to it a long time ago that I have to control everything, but I struggle with faith. It's tough to keep believing because it's the hardest thing to believe. Maybe I'm not deep enough."
It was the saddest thing to hear these quotes as he struggled with the fear of death. He feared meeting God and knew he had to have faith, but he didn't know whom to have faith in or how to have faith.
Paul wrote in Romans 10:13-16, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news."
As believers, we are commanded to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. The latest studies have shown that one in one people will die. Everyone will die and meet God. That fear of death that consumed Norm also consumes many other people.
Norm needed to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and salvation in Him. He needed to know that he is a sinner separated from God now and for eternity because of his sins. The one thing he needed to do was to repent and confess his sins before a holy God and then trust that Jesus's death and resurrection would restore him to God. Norm needed to have faith in Jesus. Norm needed someone to share the gospel with him.
Romans 10:9-10 says, "That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
Jesus took away his sins on the cross, and Norm would be forgiven of his sins if he had asked Jesus to forgive him. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all in righteousness."
When you are born again and know Jesus as your Savior and Lord, death does not have victory over you. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:54b-57, "… death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Death is nothing to laugh about. Apart from Jesus Christ, there is no salvation (Acts 4:12). I mourn the loss of Norm MacDonald. I don't know where he was in his faith journey or where he is now in eternity. But by thinking of him and ruminating over his fear of death, I realized that I need to Go & Tell others the glorious, good news of Jesus Christ. I need to share with others the gospel of Jesus Christ and that salvation is found only in Him. Through Jesus, death will be swallowed up in victory.
I pray that you will Go & Tell others our salvation in Jesus for the glory of God.