Death and the Afterlife: We are all “Going down the Valley”

Death and the Afterlife

We are all “going down the valley”

There is an old song that says, “We are going down the valley, one by one, with our faces toward the setting of the sun.” The sentiment of these words are true. Each of us who read these words are walking toward the valley—the proverbial valley of death. This includes you and me.

I was made to think of this yesterday when I saw a survey article on personalities who died during the past year of 2018. One by one, the article listed people who were alive at the beginning of the year but who departed sometime during the course of the past year. We probably are aware of some of them. Consider the following:

January. John Young (age 87), the astronaut who walked on the moon and later commanded the shuttle flight.

February. Billy Graham (age 99), the popular evangelist who counseled many American presidents and was reputed to be “the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history.”

March. Roger Bannister (age 88), the first runner to break the 4-minute mile.

March. Stephen Hawking (age 76), the atheistic, evolutionary theoretical physicist whose brilliant mind did not prevent him from being paralyzed by disease for decades before death.

April. Barbara Bush (age 92), the “first lady” of the white house who was married to George H. W. Bush.

August. Aretha Franklin (age 76), the so called “Queen of Soul” music, known and admired around the world.

August. John McCain (age 81), the American prisoner of war who overcame dreadful treatment by the North Vietnamese, then went on to a long career in congress.

September. Bert Reynolds (age 82), the movie and television performer, known for his active “love life” off screen.

September. Paul G. Allen (age 65), the billionaire philanthropist who founded Microsoft with his friend Bill Gates

November. William Goldman (age 87), who was a leading screenwriter and Academy Awards receiver.

November. George H. W. Bush (age 94), the American president who participated in the victory in Kuwait.

We know that there are many other people who could have been listed but these personalities do show that no one is exempt from death. All must one day die and meet his or her Maker. Scripture is accurate when we read that “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Friend, are you prepared to meet God? You may not be listed in this way, to receive public acclaim, but you too must face God in judgment. We can’t escape this inevitable appointment. Now is the time to prepare—for we do not know what the future holds. “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

–Richard Hollerman

“2018 Saw Passing of Leaders, Dreamers and the Queen of Soul” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, December 28 or 29, 2018).


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