A Near Death Experience

Read Psalm 116

Featured Verse: Psalm 116:1

“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;he heard my cry for mercy.”

There’s nothing like coming face-to-face with death to bring clarity to what is most important in life. The psalmist had either come through a literal near death experience, or he had gone through something spiritually that was so intensely difficult that death would have been a welcomed option. Whatever the reason for this deeply personal psalm, staring the grim reaper in the eye led the writer to this bottom line: I love the Lord!

I don’t wish a near death experience for you, me or anyone, but I do pray that we would voluntarily come to the same overriding conclusion of what is first and foremost in life: The extension of God’s mercy to us and our response of love to the Lord. Tell me, what else in life is more important than that?

Now I understand, as do you, that love is a term used rather loosely in our world. We love our favorite food, or a certain TV show, or a song or a celebrity—we even love our pets (dogs I can understand; cats I can’t). And when we are teenagers, we love our best friends one day and hate them the next. Love is a pretty squishy thing in our culture.

But when a near death experience peels all the false “likes” and faux “loves” back from the core of what love truly is, we find a response of love for God that expresses itself in very real terms and quite practical actions. The psalmist mentions several: Prayerful dependence on the Lord in daily life (Psalm 116:3), calm assurance in the face of death (Psalm 116:15), heartfelt gratitude for God’s goodness (Psalm 116:17), ruthless follow-through of our vows to obey God’s law (Psalm 116:18), and vocal, even visible and thoroughly authentic demonstrations of public praise for the God we claim to love (Psalm 116:19).

Do you love the Lord? I do! How about we not just say it, but show it today in one of these practical ways. After all, in his mercy he has saved us from a great deal of bad stuff in life (Psalm 116:4,8) and from even worse stuff after death (Psalm 116:15).

Wow! Now that I think about it, I really do love the Lord!

“I have learned to love you late, Beauty at once so ancient and so new.”
~ Saint Augustine

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