A young soldier was home on leave before being sent to the battlefront. He spent some time visiting his grandfather, who was crippled with a painful disease. As they were both Christians, they spent much time in conversation about spiritual things. As he was about to leave, the young man asked his grandfather to pray for him that he might have the courage to die if he were required to do so. The old man looked up with eyes that revealed the terrible pain he was suffering and said, “I will, my boy, and please pray for me that I will have the courage to live.”
No one would deny it takes strength and courage to die, but often it takes greater courage to live and face the difficult circumstances and problems that confront us daily.
Some of the greatest of God’s saints in the Bible wanted to die rather than live because they were so crushed by the situations they were facing. Think of Moses, who was so overwhelmed by the burdens and problems of the nation of Israel that he prayed to the Lord to kill him [Numbers 11:14-15]. Elijah also prayed that God would take his life [1 Kings 19:4], and of course, Jonah can be added to the list.
We learn from the experience of these men of God that the problems and pressures of life are real, and that often it takes more grace and spirituality to face these situations in the strength of the Lord than it does to face death.
The Lord does not promise us an easy road to heaven, but He does guarantee, [2 Corinthians 12:9] “My strength is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” [Dr. Stanley Barnes in Eagles’ Wings]