Daily Riches: Death and the Great Physician (John Donne and Philip Yancey) *

“Our last day is our first day; our Saturday is our Sunday; our eve is our holy day; our sunsetting is our morning; the day of our death is the first day of our eternal life. The next day after that … comes that day that shall show me to myself. Here I never saw myself but in disguises; there, then, I shall see myself, but I shall see God too…. Here I have one faculty enlightened, and another left in darkness; mine understanding sometimes cleared, my will at the same time perverted. There I shall be all light, no shadow upon me; my soul invested in the light of joy, and my body in the light of glory. … That voice, that I must die now, is not the voice of a judge that speaks by the way of condemnation, but of a physician that presents health.” John Donne

“A turning point came for Donne as he began to view death not as the disease that permanently spoils life, rather as the only cure to the disease of life, the final stage in the journey that brings us to God. Evil infects all of life on this fallen planet, and only through death–Christ’s death and our own–can we realize a cured state.”  Philip Yancey

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”
Psalm 39:4,5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • St. Benedict says to “keep death daily before your eyes.” How often do you consider your approaching death? How could doing that benefit you?
  • John Donne suggests we shall only really know God, ourselves, and true health, on the day that we die – that death is “… the final stage in the journey that brings us to God.”  Can you think about your death that way? If so, how does that make you feel?
  • If your life is “a moment … a breath”, what does that mean for how you want to live?


For More: Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church by Philip Yancey


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

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